Paris Metro Guide: How to use the Paris Metro
The Paris Metro is the best metro system in Europe and allows residents and visitors from all over the world to move quickly and cheaply across the city. Inaugurated in 1900 on the occasion of the Paris World Fair, the century-old Paris metro has grown organically over the years’The Metro de Paris has been working hard to adapt to the new needs of the city. For this reason, the Paris metro is a labyrinthine (sometimes chaotic) network of railways, corridors and stations that can be overwhelming for first-time visitors. The good news is that with the right information, the Paris Metro is relatively easy to use and is a great way to discover Paris.
Here is all the information and our best advice to take the Parisian metro with peace of mind.
Paris metro lines, fare zones and map
Paris Metro is a 220 km long network running mostly underground. It has 16 lines, numbered 1 to 14, plus line 3bis and line 7bis. The Paris metro has 302 stations, including 62 with transfers between lines.
To find your way, on each platform, you have different maps. The most useful maps are the Metro Map and the Neighborhood Map. On the Paris Metro map, you can see all the lines of the Paris Metro Paris metro with the corresponding colors, the stations and the connections between the lines.
On the map of the area, you can see on a larger scale the streets of the area where the metro station is located and all the exits from this metro station. A single metro station can have several exits, so if you are going to a specific address, check it out’Take a look at this map of the neighborhood before you leave the metro and choose the exit closest to your destination, it can save you a lot of walking !
A mini foldable Paris metro card is also available at the information desks located at the entrance of the metro and it is very convenient.
Paris metro and bus schedules’Paris metro rush hour
The Paris metro runs continuously from 5:30 am to 1 am on weekdays and from 5:30 am to 2 am on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays.
If you use the metro to visit Paris, we recommend that you avoid the peak hours of the Parisian metro which are from 8am to 10am and from 5pm to 8pm. Outside of these hours, your trip will be more pleasant and as a bonus you’ll probably have more chances to find a seat.
Paris public transport fare zones
Paris public transport (Paris and its surroundings) is divided into 5 circular zones:
- All Paris metro stations are included in zones 1-2.
- Versailles and the’Paris Orly airport are located in zone 4.
- L’Paris Charles de Gaulle airport is located in zone 5.
- Fontainebleau is located in zone 5.
- If you want to buy a day pass to travel around Paris, you don’t have to buy a day pass’have that’to buy the zones 1-2.
- If you want to buy a day pass to travel around Paris AND Versailles, you must take the zones of’option 1-4.
Paris Metro ticket prices
Paris metro tickets, also known as T+ tickets, are sold at a unit price of 1.90 euros. They cover zones 1-2 and can be used for 90 minutes after validation. You can buy Paris metro tickets in all metro stations, at vending machines.
The ticket offices located at the entrance to the metro do not systematically sell metro tickets, however agents are available to inform and direct you in case of problems.
You can benefit from some discounts with the T+ ticket:
- A pack of 10 tickets (called “carnet de dix”) costs 14,90€, or 1,45€ /ticket.
- A pack of 10 discounted tickets (booklet of ten at a reduced rate) is available for children aged 4 to 9, for €7.45. After this age, the tickets are at full price.
- Always keep your metro ticket until you leave the metro. Checks are very frequent in the Paris Metro, especially at the beginning and end of the month.
- This T+ ticket is not valid for the airports of Paris (choose the “Airport Ticket” option), Versailles or Fontainebleau (choose the “Île de France Ticket” option).
Paris Metro passes: Paris Navigo, Paris Mobilis and more
The Paris Metro offers its users different packages, for different prices and lengths of stay. Here are some tips to help you find the best subscription for you:
Paris Navigo Pass (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly) and Paris Metro cards.
The Navigo Paris pass is the most used pass by locals, it allows you to make an unlimited number of trips on all Parisian public transport for a day, a week, a month or a whole year. To obtain a Navigo Pass, you must first purchase one of the two available Paris Metro cards: Paris Navigo Personnalisé or Paris Navigo Liberté +. Once you have your card in your pocket, load it at the terminals available for this purpose with the package adapted to your request.
The Paris Navigo Personnalisé card is available to residents of Paris and Ile de France and is free upon presentation of proof of residence (i.e. a bill). You must also bring a photo for this card.
The Paris Navigo Liberté + card is available to all (residents and non-residents) and costs 7.50 euros per day.
You can get these Paris metro cards online or at the following commercial agencies:
- Gare Paris Saint Lazare, Gare du Nord, Gare de Lyon, Bibliothèque François Mitterrand, Gare de Montparnasse, Gare de Gaulle-Etoile and Gare Pereire-Levallois.
Once you have the card, you can recharge it in the machines of any Paris metro station.
- The Navigo day pass is valid for one day, from 12:00 to 23:59. You can purchase this pass up to 6 days in advance, and it will start working after the first validation and until the end of the metro service on the same day. The cost of this pass is 7.50 euros (zones 1-2), 10 euros (zones 1-3), 12.40 euros (zones 1-4) and 17.80 euros (zones 1-5).
- The Weekly Navigo Pass
- is valid for one week, from Monday to Sunday. You can buy the pass from Friday of the previous week until Thursday of the week you want to use it. If you decide to buy it on Thursday, for example, this means that you do not have to buy a new pass’use only for 4 days. The cost of this pass is 22.80 euros (all zones). “All zones” is the option to choose, even if you only want to travel around Paris.
- The Monthly Navigo pass
- is valid for one month, from the 1st of the month to the last day of the month. The cost of this pass is 75.20 euros (all zones). “All zones” is the option to choose, even if you only want to travel around Paris.
The advantage of the monthly Navigo Pass is that it allows you to travel throughout the province of Paris during the weekend’Île de France at no extra cost. This additional option is not available for the weekly pass.
It is the most popular ticket for tourists. The Paris Mobilis ticket is valid for one day, from 0 to 30 days.00 à 24.00 hours. The cost of this pass is 7,50 euros (2 zones of your choice), 10 euros (3 zones of your choice), 12,40 euros (4 zones of your choice) and 17,80 euros (zones 1-5).
The main advantage of Paris Mobilis over the Navigo Jour pass is that Mobilis is sold as a magnetic ticket, so you don’t need to buy a Paris Metro card.
Paris Region Pass
The Paris Region Pass allows you to use all public transport networks for 1, 2, 3 or 5 consecutive days. The pass allows you to travel anywhere in Paris (zones 1 to 3) OR in Paris plus the Ile-de-France region (all zones, including airport connections, Orlyval, Disneyland Paris and Château de Versailles). In addition, its holders benefit from interesting discounts at certain Parisian tourist sites and shows.
The Paris Visite Pass is sold as a magnetic ticket. Fares depend on the zones (1-3 or 1-5) and the number of days.
OUR ADVICE – If you are looking for a pass for transportation within Paris only, Paris Mobilis is for you.
Navigo Jeunes Week-End pass
The Navigo Jeunes Week-End is a one-day pass exclusively for young people under the age of 26. It is valid on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays until 11:59 pm and for the zones of your choice. This pass costs 4.10 euros for zones 1-3, 8.95 euros for zones 1-5 and 5.25 euros for zones 3-5.
Planner of’and navigation of the Paris metro
Download your Paris Metro or City Mapper application
The best way to navigate the Paris Metro is to download the Paris Metro or City Mapper application on your phone. The principle is the same, the applications are free and available on Android and Apple. These Paris Metro apps are like a Paris Metro route planner.
With a Metro Trip Planner feature, the apps calculate the best route from point A to point B for you. Thanks to a geolocation function, they also show you the metro station closest to your location. As a bonus, the’The City Mapper application also tells you in which train to position yourself to quickly access your exit.
Pay attention to the signs
Each line has a color and a number. Maps on subway walls and electronic signs on platforms include line numbers and directions (first station – last station). For example, if you take line 2, you will see signs with line #2 Porte Dauphine and line #2 Nation.
Exits are marked SORTIE, and a single metro station can have more than one. The applications mentioned above are also a reliable indicator of which exit to choose.
Metro stations near a tourist sight always include a brown sign indicating the specific monument. Just follow the sign.
Avoid busy metropolitan intersections.
Unless it is really necessary, avoid the big crowded stations like Châtelet, Montparnasse or Gare de Lyon. These stations can have up to 15 different platforms and it can take a good ten minutes to navigate from one line to another. We don’t suggest stopping at Châtelet, the directional signs are so badly placed that we always end up turning around the same 2-3 pillars.
Sadistic or ill-tempered, we have our suspicions about the intentions of the person responsible for this mess.
The Paris metro and its rules
That’s right, Parisians have rules for their Parisian metro. Published online, the Paris Metro Etiquette Guide lists 12 “commandments” divided into four categories: “helpfulness,” “courtesy,” “manners” and “politeness.”. These rules apply to everyone, there are big mistakes to avoid on the metro and, visitor or not, you have to know them well and remember them. No’Concerns about the rules are simple, with a little common sense and politeness, and it’s all over:
- Signs in the metro are not works of art’art, but prohibitions.
- Pay attention to your hygiene. We’ve all had the displeasure of being awakened at rush hour by suspicious body odor;
- Assist elderly passengers or pregnant women with their luggage and let them sit in your seat’they don’t’don’t have any.
- Let passengers off the train before boarding, it avoids stepping on each other.
- Avoid unfolding the folding seats when the metro is full to avoid the wrath of other riders (they will not hesitate to point this out to you until you stand up).
You can also count on Parisians for a successful metro experience. They are encouraged to be patient and helpful with lost tourists, if only to revel in the most pungent and unusual accents in private: indeed, some metro stations like Boucicaut, Daumesnil or Aulnay-sous-Bois are not so easy to pronounce.
How to avoid pickpockets in the Paris metro ?
Unfortunately, pickpockets are common in the Paris metro, especially along line 9, at stops like the Trocadero or the Champs Elysées, where many visitors pass through. Beware of robberies not only inside the trains or on the platforms but thieves also like crowded escalators, especially when they get on: they are right behind you and slightly below you, the perfect position to check the contents of your backpack
- Try to stay as awake and aware as possible, especially in the most touristy areas.
- Don’t show any valuables like expensive cameras around your neck, fancy cell phones or big jewelry.
- As soon as you enter the metro and until you get back on the surface, keep your backpack in front of you.
- A money belt is always a good idea for tourists.
- If someone spills something on you, refuse their help. If you walk, keep walking.
How to use the Paris Metro: Our tips
If you have made it this far, you now know how to use the Paris metro like a local. Here are a few more tips to become a seasoned pro on Paris by Metro.
You have an appointment with other people ? In Paris, it is common to meet your friends at the exit of a metro station. To avoid confusion when a metro has several exits, we always meet at exit #1 of this specific metro station.
A short history of the metro and its stations
The Paris metro, the second oldest in the world after London, has an interesting history and beautiful metro stations. Don’t hesitate to read the information panels to know its history and some curious anecdotes.
From time to time, you’ll hear information from the subway speakers, on the platforms and also inside the trains. Parisians are real polyglots, some messages like “Beware of pickpockets” or “Watch out for the gap between the train and the platform” are multilingual messages repeated in French, English, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese. Other messages, on the other hand, are only spoken in French and are not as specific as that, even for the locals. What they say ? Should you be concerned ? Here are the most common messages in French and what they usually mean:
- Suspicious package or abandoned luggage: bag or luggage abandoned, traffic is stopped until the police arrive to check the bag.
- Signal failure: there is a technical problem like an electrical system failure or a rail damage.
- Operating incident: this covers several things, the’incidents can come from both the infrastructure (switching problems) and external elements such as alarm signals or people on the tracks.
- Traveler incident or traveler’s illness: a traveler is considered sick if he/she suffers from heart problems, fainting or simply being shot. The metro driver has to go and check its condition which leads to the’train stop.
- Due to’various incidents, traffic is disrupted or even stopped: one of the worst messages you can hear in the metro because it means that many things are happening at the same time. Start thinking of a plan B.
- Serious passenger incident: this is the worst message you can hear in the metro, most of the time it leads to the total stop of the train for an indefinite time. Leave the train and look for a plan B.
The Paris Metro: a real adventure
The Parisian metro is a real must for life in the capital. Sometimes difficult to understand with its non-stop trains and its maze of corridors, the Paris metro is nevertheless a real monument. Some stations in the heart of the city are very much appreciated by travelers.
The Paris metro lines are indispensable and are part of the city’s cultural heritage’a list of’adventure to be experienced. Each country has its own’such an institution that is a must-see. Discover on http://www.aventuredumonde.en, every adventure you can experience on your travels around the world.
Just like the English language, the beautiful hotels in Corsica or the Statue of Liberty in New York.
If the directions and changes of the Parisian metro have already caused us some mishaps, disconcerted, irritated and sometimes even discouraged, getting lost in the metro is an integral part of discovering the city and its secrets. So get your maps and enjoy the ride !
Map of the Paris metro inside and outside the city
Here is a map of the network and the various means of public transportation available in Paris. The Grand Paris Express, which should arrive by 2025, will expand the network plan and allow many Parisians to reach more destinations in the Ile de France, whether by bus, RER or metro in the suburbs of Paris.