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How to travel in Paris by Metro

Iconic art nouveau Metro sign by Hector Guimard circa 1900
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The Metro, Paris's world famous underground system, is by far the easiest way to get around the city center, most of the visitor-friendly arrondissements and to all the key attractions. Stations are relatively close together so if you are walking around central Paris, you are never far from the Metro.


Tickets for public transportation

t ticket smallThe T+ is the basic ticket, good for one journey, in one direction on the Metro, RER trains within Paris Zone 1, most buses, trams and the funicular to Montmartre. Tickets are sold as singles or in Carnets of 10 for a discount of about 30%. T+ tickets allow you to transfer between metro lines, RER lines and bus lines as long as you continue in the same direction and the first and last validation are within 90 minutes.


carnet tickets smallParis Visite travel cards are for unlimited travel for 1, 2, 3 or 5 days on the Metro, some RER trains, most buses and some airport trains. Prices are based on the number of days and the number of zones but tickets are always for one person and non-transferable.


Which card is right for you

If you are planning to make at least five one way trips in one day, or to travel beyond the city center to the Paris suburbs, consider a travel card. For most visitors, a Carnet, or booklet of 10 single trip tickets is better value. Here is why:


  • Two people can share the tickets in a Carnet. You and your travel partner can each have five trips. A travel card must be used by one person at a time and is non-transferable.
  • The tickets in a Carnet have no time limit. Use them over several days, save them for another trip or pass leftover tickets on to another traveler. A travel card, in contrast, must be used within the number of days purchased. With a one-day travel card, you'd have to take seven trips to equal the value of single tickets at the Carnet price.


Where to buy tickets

T+ tickets and Carnets can be purchased from ticket offices at Metro and RER stations, from automatic dispensers at most Metro stations, some bus stops and at some shops and agents displaying the RATP sign. Some automatic dispensers take chip and pin debit and credit cards but many only take coins.
Paris Visite travel cards have two parts - a magnetic ticket and a non-transferable travel card. You can only buy both together at a ticket office in a station.

How to find your way

Every Metro station has a map to help you navigate. Pick up a free map when you buy your tickets as well. Metro lines are numbered and color-coded on the map. To find your way you need to know:


  • The name of the station you are in
  • The name of the station where you want to go


Find these stations on the map and determine which line they are on - by color and number (usually marked on the map at each end of the line). The direction the train is going is indicated by the name of the last station in that direction. So, for example, Line 4 goes from Porte d'Orléans to Porte de Clignancourt. Choose the train with the terminus in the direction you want to go. Be careful about this because you cannot change direction without using another ticket.

You may have to change from one train to another to reach your destination. The points where the lines connect, allowing you to do this, are shown on the map. Major stations where many lines converge are shown as white lozenges on the map.

RER and Trams

RER are French commuter trains that reach out into the suburbs and airports. Within Central Paris, RER lines are like express trains and leave from separate platforms at some Metro stations. Trams are new to Paris. There are three lines operating on the edges of the city and are rarely needed by visitors. Within Paris, T+ and Paris Visite tickets can be used on RER and Trams.


See also:



metro map downloadable small