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Table of Contents
- The Metro of Paris
- Paris Metro Lines, and Paris Metro Map
- Paris Metro Zones
- Paris Metro Hours & Paris Metro Rush Hour
- Paris Metro Tickets
- Navigo Easy: the Paris Metro Pass for Occasional Travelers New!
- Other Paris Metro Passes: Paris Navigo Pass, Paris Mobilis & More
- Paris City Pass is Great for Visiting Paris
- How to Use the Paris Metro
- Metro of Paris Etiquette
- When Things Go Wrong in the Metro
- How to Avoid Pickpockets in Paris Subway
- Metro of Paris: Advanced Tips by Locals
The Metro of Paris
The Paris Metro is Europe’s best subway system and allows locals and visitors to quickly and cheaply go from one point to another.
Inaugurated in 1900 for the Paris World Fair, the centenary Metro of Paris has grown organically, trying to adapt itself to the city’s new needs. For this reason, the Metro of Paris is a labyrinthine (sometimes chaotic) network of railroads, corridors, and metro stations, and it can be overwhelming for Paris first-time visitors.
The good news is that with the right information, the Paris Metro system is relatively easy to use, and it is a great way to discover Paris like a local.
This Paris Metro Guide covers all the information on the Paris Metro zones, best Paris Metro tickets, Paris Metro passes, and our best tips to learn how to use the Paris Metro.
TIP: If you are interested in Paris Metro Strikes, go here
Paris Metro Lines, and Paris Metro Map
The Metro in Paris covers all the Arrondissements of Paris and some of the city’s surrounding suburbs. It is 220 km long, and it goes underground most of the time. There are 16 Paris Metro lines, numbered from 1 to 14, plus line 3bis and line 7bis. The Metro of Paris counts 302 metro stations, 62 of them with transfers between lines.
To find your bearings, on each platform, you have different Paris Metro maps. The most useful maps for you are the Plan du Métro (Map of Paris Metro) and the Plan du Quartier (Neighborhood Map).
On the Paris Metro Map, you can see all the Paris Metro lines with their corresponding colors, the metro stations, and the connections between the lines.
On the Neighborhood Map, you can see on a larger scale the neighborhood streets where the metro station is located and all the exits for that metro station. One single metro station can have multiple exits, so if you are going to a specific address, have a look at this Plan du Quartier before leaving the metro and choose the exit closer to your destination point; it can save you lots of walking!
A (free) mini foldable map of the Paris Metro is also available at the information kiosks located at the metro entrance, and it is very handy. On it, you can see the Paris Metro Zones, all the metro lines, metro stations, and their connections. If you prefer to have the Paris Metro Map pdf on your mobile phone, you can download it here for free.
Paris Metro Zones
If you wonder how much is the Metro in Paris, the Paris Metro cost depends on the kind of ticket o pass you buy and the Paris Metro Zones.
You will notice that the background has two different colors on the Paris Metro Map: light yellow and dark yellow. These two colors correspond to the Paris Metro Zones.
Light yellow corresponds to zones 1-3. Zones 1-3 is the cheapest option and allows you to travel within Paris, the part of the city represented by the light yellow color on the map.
With zones 4-5 (dark yellow) you can go to the Paris region and venture further afield to see, for example, Disneyland Paris or the Palace of Versailles. If you want to travel to the airports, you will need zones 4-5 as well.
Paris Metro Hours & Paris Metro Rush Hour
What are the Paris Metro hours? What time does the metro close in Paris?
The Paris Metro hours depend on the day of the week. The Metro of Paris runs from 5.30 am to 1.00 am during the weekdays and from 5.30 am to 2.00 am on Friday, Saturday, and bank holidays.
Paris Metro Rush Hour
If you are using the metro to visit Paris, we recommend avoiding the Paris Metro rush hour, from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 10 am and from 5 pm to 8 pm. Traveling out of the Paris Metro rush hour means an easier journey, and perhaps you can also get a seat.
Paris Metro Hours during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2020
The Paris Metro Hours for Christmas Eve are yet to be confirmed. We’ll be adding more details when they are announced, so keep checking back!
Paris Metro Hours during New Year’s Eve 2020 and January 1st, 2021
During New Year’s Eve in Paris, the metro usually works all night long. This year, things might be different due to the pandemic, but we still don’t have the details. We’ll be adding more details when they are announced, so keep checking back!
Paris Metro Tickets
The Paris Metro tickets are also called T+ tickets. The Paris Metro tickets price is 1.90€, and you can use it for zones 1-3 only, for the next 120 minutes after validation (without exiting the network). With these Metro tickets Paris, you can also travel by bus, tramway, RER (inside Paris), and Montmartre’s funicular.
The T+ tickets are only valid for getting around Paris. To go from Paris to Versailles or Fontainebleau, it is necessary to purchase a Billet Ile de France, while a Billet Aéroport is the ticket used to travel to the Airports in Paris.
The Paris Metro prices usually change every year. We always update this Paris Metro Guide when ticket prices change.
How to Buy Paris Metro Tickets?
You can buy Metro Paris tickets at all the metro stations, only at the ticket vending machines. The kiosks located at the metro entrance usually don’t sell metro tickets. The Metro staff in the kiosks only inform metro users and eventually help them if there is a problem.
The T+ ticket comes with a few discounts, which are the following:
» A pack of 10 tickets (called carnet de dix in French) costs 16.90€, which means 1.69€ /ticket.
» A pack of 10 tickets reduced price (called carnet de dix tarif réduit in French), is available for kids from 4 to 9 year old, and it costs 7.45€. There is no single ticket with a reduced price for kids.
TIP: Always keep your Metro Paris ticket until you leave the metro. Ticket controls are frequent in the Paris Subway, especially at the beginning and end of the month.
Finally! Visitors or occasional metro travelers in Paris have a loadable pass perfect for their needs. The Navigo Easy Pass is a flexible and convenient Paris Metro pass which can be loaded with T+ tickets, Orly Bus tickets, Roissy Bus tickets, or a Paris Metro Day Pass.
Unlike other Paris Metro passes, Navigo Easy Pass does not have a limit of validity; you can use it and load it as many times as you want for 10 years!
Sold in stations for 2€, the Navigo Easy Pass is an individual pass. This means that several people CAN NOT travel simultaneously with the same card. However, it can be lend or given to somebody else if you don’t need it anymore.
TIP: since November 1, 2019, the pack of 10 paper T+ tickets costs 16.90€. On the other hand, the same number of T+ tickets loaded in the cards Navigo Liberté + or Navigo Easy costs 14.90€. This is to encourage people to use virtual tickets instead of single-use paper tickets.
How to Load Your Navigo Easy Pass
First, you need to buy the travel card in one of the metro kiosks (2€). When you buy it, the staff will ask you if you want him to load it with some tickets. Tell him ‘un carnet de dix, s’il vous plait’ or the number of tickets that you want and he will do it for you. That was easy!
Next time, you will have to load it yourself in the machines. Instead of writing a long description, I took pictures of every step.
By default, the machine will communicate with you in French, but we will change this too. Use the roller to move through the options and the green button to validate. You can pay with cash or card.
Don’t take the card back until the machine tells you to do so. The machine loads the tickets in your card only after the payment is approved. And that’s it!
How to Check Your Navigo Easy Pass Balance
It is very easy! Go to the machine and follow steps 1 to 5. On step 5, on the right corner of the screen above, the machine tells you how many tickets are left in your pass.
Then, go on with the process if you want to buy more tickets or take your card.
The Metro of Paris proposes its users different Paris Metro Passes (called forfaits in French), for different prices and durations. Check out below which Paris Metro card suits you best:
Paris Navigo Pass (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annual)
The Paris Navigo Pass is the most used pass by the locals. Paris Navigo Pass allows unlimited rides with all the Paris and Ile de France public transportation (except Orly Val) during a day, a week, a month, or a full year.
To get a Paris Navigo Pass, first, you need to purchase one of the two Paris Metro Cards available: Paris Navigo Personalisée or Paris Navigo Découverte. Once you get the card, charge it with the best Navigo Pass for you.
» The Navigo Daily Pass. It is valid for one day, from 12 am to 11.59 pm. You can buy 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 that same day. The cost of this pass is 7,50€ (zones 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 4-5), 10€ (zones 1-3, 2-4, 3-5), 12,40€ (zones 1-4, 2-5) and 17,80€ (zones 1-5).
» The Navigo Weekly Pass is valid one week, from Monday to Sunday. You can buy the pass from Friday of the previous week until Thursday of the week when you want to use it. If you decide to buy it on Thursday, for example, it means that you will only use this pass for 4 days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). The cost of this pass is 22,80€ (all zones). ‘All zones’ is the option to choose from, even if you only want to travel around Paris.
» The Navigo Monthly Pass is valid for one month, from the 1st of the month until the last day of the month. The cost of this pass is 75.20€ (all zones). ‘All zones’ is the option to choose, even if you only want to travel around Paris.
To load your Paris Navigo Pass, it is necessary to buy a Paris Metro card first. There are two kinds of Paris Metro card:
» Paris Navigo Personalisée Card is available for Paris and Ile de France residents, and it is free under presentation of proof of residence (e.g., an invoice with your address in Paris or Ile de France). You also need to bring a picture to get this card.
» Paris Navigo Découverte Card is available for everybody (residents and non-residents), and it costs 5€. You also need to bring a picture to get this card.
You can purchase these Paris Metro Cards in the following commercial agencies:
Gare Paris Saint Lazare, Gare du Nord, Gare de Lyon, Bibliothèque François Mitterrand, Gare de Montparnasse, Charles de Gaulle-Etoile Station, and Pereire-Levallois Station.
Once you have the card, you can recharge it with your preferred option (day, week, month, or year) in the ticket vending machines in any Paris Metro station.
DID YOU KNOW? If you speak French, sometimes you will hear in the metro about a certain Carte Orange (Orange Card). Carte Orange and Navigo Pass are the same things. Indeed, many years ago, the Navigo Pass was orange; that’s why many people still refer to the Navigo Pass as Carte Orange.
Paris Mobilis Ticket
The Paris Mobilis Ticket is an interesting Paris Metro day pass and the most popular ticket among tourists (well, at least until Navigo Easy appeared).
The Paris Mobilis Ticket is valid for one day, from 0.00 to 24.00. The cost of this pass is 7,50€ (zones 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 4-5), 10€ (zones 1-3, 2-4, 3-5), 12,40€ (zones 1-4, 2-5) and 17,80€ (zones 1-5).
The main advantage of Paris Mobilis against the Paris Navigo Daily Pass is that Mobilis is sold as a magnetic ticket, so travelers don’t need to buy any Paris Metro card.
Paris Visite Pass
The Paris Visite Pass allows travelers to use all of the Paris transport networks during 1, 2, 3, or 5 consecutive days.
The pass allows people to travel anywhere in Paris (zones 1 to 3) OR in Paris plus the Île-de-France region (all zones, including airport connections, Orly Val, Disneyland Paris, and Château de Versailles). Also, its holders get interesting discounts in some Paris tourist sites and shows.
Paris Visite Pass is sold as a magnetic ticket. The ticket fares depend on the zones (1-3 or 1-5) and the number of days. Also, there is a special fare for kids.
TIP: If you want to buy a pass only for transportation in Paris, possibly Paris Mobilis will be more convenient for you. There is nothing that interesting in zone 3 for a Paris first /second timers to get a pass up to it.
Paris Metro Anti-Pollution Pass New!
Does the air smell bad today in Paris? In the event of a pollution spike, the Metro of Paris proposes a 1-day Anti-pollution Pass (forfait antipollution) with unlimited travel on all modes of transport (except Orly Val) throughout Ile-de-France. This pass costs 3.80€ and can be bought at any metro station in Paris.
How to know when this special Paris Metro Pass is available? This information usually appears on the screens of all metro stations just before the metro automatic tripods. You can also check it online on the RATP website.
Weekend Day Pass for Youth
The Weekend travel pass for youth is a one-day travel pass limited to young people under 26. It can be used only on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays from 12 am to 11.59 pm and for your choice zones.
This pass costs 4.10€ for zones 1-3 and 8.95€ for zones 1-5.
Metro Paris Tickets for Dogs
Dogs are allowed in the Parisian Metro in some cases:
» Small dogs, suitably locked in bags or baskets (max 45 cm), provided that they don’t annoy other passengers – FREE
» Dogs with blind people – FREE
» Dogs on a leash and muzzled – these dogs need Paris Metro tickets, reduced price.
The Paris City Pass is not exactly a Paris transport pass; it is a Paris Tourist Pass, that’s why we wanted to keep it apart from the other Paris Metro Passes.
The Paris City Pass is like a magic wand. This fantastic Paris tourist pass includes a 1-way transfer from the Airport to the city center, a Skip the Line Louvre Ticket, a Skip the Line Ticket for Montparnasse Tower, a cruise on the River Seine, and a 3 days metro card for exploring the City of Light.
If this was not enough, the Paris City Pass also proposes a 20% discount on top museums, attractions, tours, and excursions (we counted more than 50 proposals on the list!), like tickets and tours for the Palace of Versailles, Paris guided tours, Paris Catacombs skip-the-line tickets, tickets for the best Cabarets in Paris, and much more.
Unlike other Paris Passes, the Paris City Pass does not have a time limit of days. This allows users to visit the museums and attractions when they want and at their own pace. Only the metro card is valid for 3 consecutive days.
After booking your Paris City Pass online, you will receive your pass by email, which avoids the hassle of finding the pickup place of your pass in a city that you don’t know. This means that you can use your pass as soon as you land in Paris!
How to Use the Paris Metro
Download the Paris Metro App
The best way to navigate Paris by Metro is to download a Paris Metro App on your phone. We use the RATP’s free app Next Stop Paris, available for Android and iPhone.
This Paris Metro App is like a Paris Metro trip planner. The app has a map of the Metro of Paris, and it calculates the best itinerary from A to B for you. Thanks to its geolocation function, it also shows the closest metro station to your position.
Next Stop Paris also works offline. However, if you are offline, you won’t be able to get live Metro traffic news.
Know your Direction and Follow the Panels
Each metro line has a specific color and a number. The panels on the metro walls and the platforms’ electronic panels show the line number and the direction (first station – last station). For example, if you take Line 2, you will see panels with Line #2 Porte Dauphine and Line #2 Nation.
Exits are called SORTIE in French, and a single metro station can have more than one. To choose the right exit, look at the Neighbourhood Map, look for your destination, and take the closest exit to your destination.
Metro stations close to a tourist sight always include a brown panel with a sketch drawing of that specific tourist sight. Follow the panel.
Avoid Busy Metro Hubs
Unless it is vital, avoid big and crazy metro hubs like Châtelet, Montparnasse, or Gare de Lyon. These stations can have up to 15 different platforms, and it might take a good 10 minutes to navigate from one line to the other.
We don’t suggest stopping at Châtelet; the direction panels are placed so bad that we always end up turning around the same 2-3 pillars. The only explanation for us is that the panels guy who placed all those panels drunk a little bit too much that day!
Sometimes, Walking is Faster than the Metro
Check this Alternative Paris Metro Map with walking distances between metro stations. Sometimes it’s faster, and definitely more pleasant, to walk in the open air than changing metro lines in Paris underground!
Now, look at the map below with the walking distances between main metro hubs. In most of the cases, you need 30 min or less to go from A to B on foot.
Check that Your Metro Station is Working!
Currently, the Metro of Paris is under huge renovation to adapt the metro stations to people with disabilities. This means that some metro stations are closed to passengers for a certain period of time, and the trains do no stop there, and you need to find an alternative itinerary.
You can check if the closest metro station to your hotel is open or closed for works on the RATP website.
Metro of Paris Etiquette
It is true: Parisians have their own rules when they use the Parisian Metro! Published online, the Paris Metro Etiquette Guide lists ’12 basic commandments’ split into four categories: ‘helpfulness,’ ‘courtesy,’ ‘manners’ and ‘politeness.’
Only because you are not Parisian; it does not mean that you don’t need to follow the rules. When navigating Paris by Metro, there are some big “faux pas” and, local or not, you should know them. Most of the rules are based on politeness and common sense like:
» Smoking signs in the metro are not pieces of art but bans.
» Mind your hygiene. Please, mind your hygiene!
» Assist elderly passengers or pregnant women with their bags and let them your seat if they don’t have one.
» Let passengers leave the train before stepping on it. OR if you are on the metro just in front of the door but you don’t need to leave, please step out of the metro to let passengers leave and then enter the metro again.
» Avoid folding down seats when the metro is full. This is a HUGE passenger ‘faux-pas,’ not appreciated by commuters (and they won’t hesitate to tell it to you clearly until you stand up).
You will be happy to learn that Parisians are encouraged to be patient and helpful with lost tourists if only to relish their bad French privately: indeed, some Metro Stations like Boucicaut, Daumesnil or Aulnay-sous-Bois are not that easy to pronounce in French 😉
When Things Go Wrong in the Metro
When using the Metro in Paris, check the information monitors with all metro lines’ status before taking the first train. If there is an issue with your metro line, you can look for a plan B by checking the Paris Metro Map.
From time to time, you will hear some information coming from the metro loudspeakers, on the platforms, and inside the trains.
Some messages like ‘Beware of pickpockets’ or ‘Please mind the gap between the train and the platform’ are multilingual messages repeated in French, English, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese. Other messages, instead, are only in French, and they are not that specific, even for locals.
What the heck are they saying? Should you worry? Here are the most common messages in French and what they usually mean:
» ‘Colis suspect’ or ‘bagage abandonné’: abandoned bag or luggage, the traffic is interrupted until the police arrive and check the bag.
» ‘Panne de signalisation’: there is a technical issue like cable theft off, degradation of a rail or failure in the electrical system.
» ‘Incident d’exploitation’: this is a ‘jolly’ expression that can mean many things. It can come from both infrastructure (referral problems) and external elements like alarm signals or people on the tracks.
» ‘Incident voyageur’ or ‘malaise voyageur’: a traveler is considered to be ‘sick or ill’ if he suffers from heart problems, fainting, or simply hotshots. The metro driver must go to check his condition, so the train stops.
» ‘En raison d’incident divers’, le trafic est perturbé, voir arrêté’: one of the worst messages that you can hear in the Metro in Paris because it means that many things are happening at the same time. Start thinking about a plan B.
» ‘Incident grave voyageur’: this is the worst message you can hear in the Metro. Unfortunately, most of the time, it means that there was a suicide somewhere along the line, and the train has to stop. Leave the train and look for a plan B.
How to Avoid Pickpockets in Paris Subway
Unfortunately, pickpockets are common in the Metro of Paris, especially along lines 1 and 9, with stops like Trocadéro, Louvre, or Champs Elysées.
Be careful not only inside the trains or platforms but also on the stairs. Thieves like busy mechanical stairs, especially when they are going upstairs: they place themselves right after you, one step below you, which is the perfect position to open your backpack.
How to Avoid Being a Target for Pickpockets in the Metro?
» Try to stay as awake and aware as you can, especially in the most touristy areas.
» Don’t show valuable belongings like expensive cameras around your neck, fancy mobile phones, or jewelry.
» Since you enter the metro and until you leave it, keep your backpack in front of you.
» Consider an antitheft shoulder bag.
» A money belt is always a good idea for tourists.
» If anyone spills anything on you, just refuse their help. If you were walking, keep walking.
Metro of Paris: Advanced Tips by Locals
If you have read all the chapters down to here, you know by now how to use the Paris Metro like a local. But there is more! Read the tips below for becoming a seasoned pro on using the Parisian Subway:
Are you meeting other people in the city? In Paris, it is common to meet friends at the exit of a specific metro station. But what happens when a metro station has many different exits? To avoid confusion, we always meet at exit #1.
A Metro with an Interesting History and Beautiful Metro Stations
The Metro de Paris, the second oldest metro in the world (only after London), has an interesting history and beautiful metro stations. Read the informative panels (in French) to learn about its history and some curious anecdotes.
If you have some extra time, visit the most beautiful metro stations.
Pro (FREE) Paris Metro Apps
Paris-ci la Sortie du Metro is a cool Paris Metro app that allows you to save between 5-10 minutes in the metro.
How does it work? The Parisian Subway has platforms with an average length of 80 m, which means up to four minutes walk from one side to the opposite side during rush hour. On this app, you introduce the line you take, the station you intend to stop, and the direction you want to take; it can be an exit or a connection. The app then tells you which is the best position on the train (back – middle or front) to travel to reduce the platform’s walking time.
Funny Metro Station Names
If you speak a bit of French, try to translate some station names into English, some of them are very funny!!
You can take the metro and stop at Aladdin, Nice View, Excel Man, Bleach, Libyan Desert, The Mute, Duplex, Martian Fields, Gaiety, Pleasure, Va Va-Voon, Saint Germain of the Meadows, The Tiles, or even George Clooney.
Some interesting articles in the blog
- Plan your first time in Paris here
- The Paris Arrondissements Guide is here
- Check how to skip the lines in Paris here
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