Using the Metro in Paris

We have some tips to help you make the most of your trip to Paris. It is a smart idea to learn how the metro (subway) works when you visit Paris. Paris has 301 metro stations and is the largest underground transportation system in the world. Keep reading our article to be a confident and metro-savvy traveler during your stay in Paris

Metro in Paris 101

The metro in Paris starts running at 5:30 a.m. and stops running at 1:15 a.m. (or around 2:00 a.m. on Friday/Saturday). You won't have to wait longer than five minutes for your next train as trains arrive every few minutes. The metro in Paris has 6.75 million passengers every day, but it is often crowded during rush hour. Avoid Metro lines 1 and 4 during rush hour if you can. There is also the RER which is like the Metro but is a different train service that serves mainly the suburbs. When you travel around the city, make sure to use the Metro and not RER. Metro stations will have a large "M" on their signs. Every Metro line is identified by a number. The direction of each line corresponds with its terminal station. You don't have to worry if you accidentally board a train that is going in the wrong direction. You can always get off at the next station and take the correct train, without purchasing another ticket.

subway paris

Metro in Paris tickets

To ride the metro in Paris, you will need a ticket. Most people buy tickets at the stations. You'll find ticket windows at most stations. Sometimes there can be long lines at busy stations. Each station will have a ticket machine to save time. Automated machines can take cash, coins and credit cards. However, you will need a chip card to use the machine.

There are many languages available, so you don't have to worry. You can also buy tickets at tabacs (places where cigarettes are sold) or newsstands. To ensure that the ticket you purchase is appropriate priced, always note where you are going to travel. You could be fined if you're caught on the metro in Paris without a ticket, or with a ticket that doesn't cover your trip. Keep your tickets with you for the entire ride.

You can buy multiple types of tickets, but we recommend buying a zone 1-1-2 carnet (a 10 ticket book). It costs 12.70 euros and is good on the metro, bus, tram, Montmartre funicular and RER (within the zone 1). An unlimited 1, 2, 3 or 5 day travel pass is also available.

Metro in Paris extra tips

The metro in Paris is great for getting around, but there are many stairs and long hallways. Choose another mode of transport if you have a lot of luggage or a stroller. You will most likely have to transfer trains to get from A to B. However, you can transfer as many trains as you like on the same ticket. A large metro map will be displayed at the station's entrance and on the platform. A few stations also have a map of the neighborhood. You should know where you are going to go, and which train to take.

At the ticket window, you can get maps for free Because people walk on the left side, it is important to stand to your right when you use the escalators. You should keep your ticket until you get out of the station. RATP staff often inspect tickets, and you could be fined if you don’t have one. As with any city, the Metro in Paris often attracts pickpockets. Pickpockets tend to get on overcrowded trains. Be very careful with your bags. Lock your backpack zippers. Pickpockets prefer easy targets, so you should have a deterrent. Don't use your smartphone in the metro (on the train, in the station)! Phones can be stolen easily. Phones are often taken by violence, so use them sparingly.

metro paris

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