The Paris Metro

Paris boasts one of the oldest and finest underground transit systems in the world. With few exceptions, most tourists visiting Paris will experience the city's Metro before leaving town.

Read on for our tips on riding the Metro.

Metro Paris sign

Stations

The Metro in Paris is color-coded and easy to follow. Most stations sport a noticeable "M" sign. Look for stations marked with intricately designed letters forming the word "Metropolitain." These signs helped inspire the art nouveau movement around Europe and are quintessentially “Par-eee.”

Exit signs are indicated in blue with the word “SORTIE.” Connections are indicated with orange “CORRESPONDENCE” signs.

Hours of operation

The first trains of the morning get going around 6 a.m. and the last trains leave their base stations around 12:30 a.m. (2:15 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays).

Some ticket windows close at 10 p.m. For nighttime travel, buying tickets ahead of time is a wise move.

Tickets

Be sure to hold onto tickets, as you may need to show them to transit inspectors. (You can toss them when you pass the “Limite de Validite des Billets” signs on the way to the exit.)

Tickets for the Metro and the bus are €1.70 each. A "carnet" of 10 tickets costs €12.70. Travel is half-price for children between the ages of four and 10 and free for children under four. A ticket is good for bus transfers up to 90 minutes after validation.

RER

The Réseau Express Régional, or RER, is Paris' suburban train system. The RER passes right through the center of the action. It travels much faster and with fewer stops than the Metro. The RER is ideal for longer city trips (for instance, to Versailles). There are five lines (A through E) with branches indicated by numbers. RER hours are identical to those kept by the Metro.

RER tickets for travel within Paris city limits costs the same as the Metro. Tickets to areas outside the city limits are more expensive and can be purchased in a station from a ticket counter or machine.

Mobilis day pass

The Mobilis day pass will give you unlimited access to the zones of Paris you need for one full day. The two inner zones of Paris go for €6.40, while paying €8.55, €10.55 and €15.20 will get you up to zones three, four and five, respectively. Note that the Mobilis is valid for a full day, not 24 hours, so it is best to start using one at the beginning of the day.

NaviGo pass

The “NaviGo” pass costs €19.15 for a full week of unlimited metro and bus transport inside zones one and two, with travel in additional zones going up by minimal increments. The ticket salesperson may try to tell you the pass is for “locals only” but anyone can purchase the card. The card itself costs €5, plus the additional weekly (the “week” runs Monday through Sunday) charges for the zone of your choice.

Paris Visite tickets

"Paris Visite" tickets, intended for tourists, provide admission for unlimited travel on the bus, Metro and RER. Additionally, the "Paris Visite" card provides discounts on sightseeing trips, bicycle rentals and major stores.

A one-day pass good for travel in zones 1 through 3 costs €10.25. A two-day card costs €16.65, a three-day card costs €22.70 and a five-day card costs €32.70. For children, a one-day card costs €5.10, a two-day card costs €8.30, a three-day card costs €11.35; and a five-day card costs €16.35. Check the RATP Web site for fares for Zones 1-6.

More information