Paris Metro Guide for Tourists
All about the Paris Metro for tourists: Paris Metro tickets 2024, Paris Metro pass options, and how to navigate the Metro of Paris.
The Metro of Paris is Europe’s best subway system and allows locals and visitors to go from one point to another in Paris quickly and cheaply.
Inaugurated in 1900 for the Paris World Fair, the centenary Paris Metro 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 first-timers in Paris.
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 quick guide to the Paris Metro for tourists gives information on the different Paris Metro tickets 2024 (and how to buy them) and our best tips on how to use the Paris Metro 2024. If you want to know if any Paris Metro Strike is scheduled during your coming trip to Paris, then head to this post.
Content of this Paris Metro Guide 2024
- Paris Metro Tickets 2024
- Navigo Easy: Best Paris Metro Pass for Tourists
- Paris Metro Day Pass 2024: Is it Worth it?
- Other Metro Paris Tickets 2024
- Paris Metro Lines and Paris Metro Map
- Paris Metro Hours and Paris Metro Rush Hour
- How to Use the Paris Metro – Top Local Tips
- Metro of Paris Etiquette
- When Things Go Wrong
- How to Avoid Pickpockets in the Metro of Paris
1. Paris Metro Tickets 2024
The Paris Metro tickets are also called T+ tickets. You can use the Paris Metro tickets for zones 1-3 only (= within Paris) for the next 90 minutes after validation (without exiting the network). With this Metro Paris ticket, you can also travel by bus, tramway, RER (within the limits of Paris), and Montmartre’s funicular.
GOOD TO KNOW: With a Ticket T+, you can connect for free between metro-metro, RER-RER, and metro-RER in central Paris for 90 minutes from your first validation. You can take the Montmartre funicular with a Ticket T+, but you cannot connect to other modes of transport.
The T+ tickets are only valid for getting around Paris. To go from Paris to Versailles, Fontainebleau, or Disneyland Paris, a Billet Ile de France (Ile de France ticket) is necessary. The Billet Aéroport is the ticket to buy if you want to travel to the Airports in Paris.
TIP: Always keep your Metro Paris ticket until you leave the Metro. Ticket controls are frequent in the Paris Metro, especially at the beginning and end of the month.
Paris Metro Prices 2024
The Paris Metro ticket price is 2,15 €. The T+ ticket comes with a few discounts, which are the following:
> A pack of 10 T+ tickets (called Carnet de Dix in French) costs 17.35 €, which means 1.73 € /ticket.
> A pack of 10 T+ tickets at a reduced price (called Carnet de Dix Tarif Réduit in French) is available for kids from 4 to 9 years old and costs 8,65 €. A passenger with a reduced fare ticket must be able to prove their right to the reduction at any time during their trip (e.g., with an identity card). There is no single T+ ticket with a reduced price for kids.
These are the Paris Metro prices 2024. The Paris Metro prices usually change every year in January.
IMPORTANT: The sale of paper tickets T+, alone or in a pack, is now permanently discontinued in Metro stations and stops. Today, Paris Metro tickets T+ are only virtual, and you must upload them on a Paris Metro card or your phone (more on this below).
How to Buy Paris Metro Tickets
Because Paris Metro T+ tickets are now virtual, you can buy these Paris Metro tickets online, with your phone, or load them onto a physical Paris Metro card.
> On Your Phone: buy and validate your tickets with your phone via any of the free RATP apps.
> On a Paris Metro Card: purchase the Navigo Easy card (a plastic card) and use the vending machines or your phone to buy and top up your tickets. Then, use the card to validate your tickets.
Can I buy Paris Metro tickets in advance?
> Your Phone: you can buy Paris Metro tickets online (=upload them on your phone or a physical card) if you have any of the RATP apps. To view, purchase, or validate tickets, NFC Activation is necessary.
> Vending Machine: you can buy Paris Metro tickets in advance (=upload them on your physical card). I always buy a bunch of Paris Metro tickets at the end of the year because I know that in January, the Paris Metro ticket price will be higher.
Where to Buy Paris Metro Tickets
> Your Phone: you can buy Paris Metro tickets online anywhere, as long as you have your phone. Simply download one of the free RATP applications available on the App Store and Google Play: Ile-de-France Mobilités and Bonjour RATP. To view, purchase, or validate tickets, NFC Activation is necessary.
> Physical Card: First, you need to purchase the physical card (Navigo Easy) at one of the Metro Information Kiosks. The Navigo Easy card cost is 2 €. When you buy your card, you can ask the staff to upload it with a few T+ tickets or a pack of 10 tickets.
For the next time, you can upload T+ tickets on your Navigo Easy card with your phone (if you have one of the RATP apps installed) or at the metro, tram, and train stations (RATP and SNCF stations). In the Metro, you will have to use the vending machines located at the entrance before the tripods.
The Information Kiosks at the Metro only provide information. If you ask kindly (s’il-vous-plait,…), they can upload the Navigo Easy card for you when you purchase it, but that’s all. The Metro staff in the Information Kiosks only inform Metro users and eventually help them if there is a problem with their tickets or Paris Metro pass.
2. Navigo Easy: Best Paris Metro Pass for Tourists
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 card that can be loaded with T+ tickets, Orly Bus tickets, Roissy Bus tickets, or a Paris Metro Day Pass. In my opinion, the Navigo Easy Pass is the best Paris Metro Pass for tourists.
The Navigo Easy Pass is an individual Paris Metro pass. This means that several people CAN NOT travel simultaneously with the same card. However, it is not a personal pass, so you can lend it to somebody if you don’t use it.
Unlike other Paris Metro passes, the Navigo Easy Pass has no validity limit; you can use it and load it as many times as you want for ten years!
You can buy, use, and reload the Navigo Easy Pass with your smartphone (if you have one of the RATP apps). The descriptions below are for those who prefer to use the Navigo Easy Pass as a physical card.
How to Load Your Navigo Easy Pass at the Metro Station
First, you must buy a travel card at one of the Metro Information Kiosks. The cost of the Navigo Easy plastic card is 2 €. When you buy it, the vendor 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 you want, – and he will do it for you. That was easy!
Next time, you must load it yourself in the vending 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 your purchase with cash or a card.
Don’t take the credit card back until the machine tells you to do so. The machine loads the tickets on your card only after the payment is approved. Same with the Navigo Easy card: don’t take the Navigo Easy card back until the machine tells you so. And that’s it!
How to Check Your Navigo Easy Pass Balance at the Metro Station
It is very easy! Go to any vending machine and follow steps 1 to 5. In step 5, on the right corner of the screen, the machine tells you how many tickets are left in your pass (Pass Contents). When I took the picture, my balance was 10 tickets.
Then, go on with the process – if you decide to buy more tickets –, or take your Navigo Easy card back. I promise to take a better picture soon!
You can also check the balance when you validate your ticket at the tripods (but sometimes, it is difficult to see).
3. Paris Metro Day Pass 2024: Is it Worth it?
The Paris Metro Day Pass (Navigo Day ticket) allows you unlimited travel for one day, from 12 am to 11.59 pm, with the same conditions as T+ tickets.
You can buy and use the Paris Metro Day Pass with your smartphone (if you have one of the RATP apps), or upload it in one of the following Paris Metro cards: Paris Navigo, Navigo Découverte, and Navigo Easy.
You can buy this pass up to 6 days in advance, and it will start working after the first validation on the day and until the end of the metro service that same day. The Paris Metro Day Pass 2024 costs 8,65 € (zones 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 4-5), and 20,60 € (zones 1-5).
Is the Paris Metro Day Pass 2024 good for tourists? The Paris Metro Day Pass can be a good pass if you plan to use public transport in Paris a lot in one day. If you buy a 10-ticket booklet, the cost of a single ticket is 1.73 €. If you plan on using the metro 6 times or more during the day, then the Paris Metro Pass will be cheaper than a booklet of 10 T+ tickets.
4. Other Metro Paris Tickets 2024
The Metro of Paris proposes different Paris Metro passes (called forfaits in French) for different prices and durations. Below, we only mention the most interesting passes for tourists:
Navigo Pass (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annual)
The Navigo Pass is the most used pass by the locals. Paris’ Navigo Pass allows unlimited rides with all the public transportation in Paris and the Ile-de-France region (except Orly Val) during a day, a week, a month, or a full year.
> Navigo Daily Pass is described above.
> Navigo Weekly 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, you will only use this pass for four days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the same week). The cost of this pass is 30.75 € (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 first day until the last day of the month. The cost of this pass is 86.40 € (all zones). “All zones” is the option to choose, even if you only want to travel around Paris.
You can load this Navigo Pass on your phone via any of the RATP apps. If you prefer to use it with a physical card, first, you need to purchase one of the two following Paris Metro cards: Navigo travel card or Navigo Découverte travel card. Once you get the card, charge it with the best Navigo Pass for you (check Chapter #2 for how to load it).
> The Navigo Travel Card is available for Paris and Ile-de-France residents, and it is free under the 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.
> The Navigo Découverte Travel 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 from 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.
Navigo Liberté+ Pass
This is an ideal option for occasional travelers, as long as they have a French bank account. It allows you to use all transport within Paris, Funicular of Montmartre included. All you have to do is validate this Paris Metro card each time you travel.
Each journey costs 1.69 € (excluding OrlyBus/RoissyBus), compared to 2.10 € for a single T+ ticket. If you have to make several journeys during the day, you will pay a maximum of 8.45 €. You will be charged at the end of the month depending on the number of journeys made.
To benefit from it, simply go to one of the commercial agencies mentioned above, providing your contact details and French bank account IBAN. The Navigo Liberté + contract is available exclusively on a personalized Navigo travel card (with your first and last name and your photo).
Paris Visite Pass
The Paris Visite Pass for 1, 2, 3, or 5 consecutive days, can be very convenient, especially if you are traveling outside of Paris, in the Ile-de-France region. This Metro pass Paris + Ile-de-France allows unlimited travel without having to worry about travel prices and also offers cultural and commercial advantages, such as reduced museum prices.
You can buy this pass 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).
The Paris Visite Pass is sold as a paper ticket, available at ticket offices in RATP and SNCF Transilien stations. The ticket fares depend on the zones (1-3 or 1-5) and the number of days, from 13,95 € (one day) to 44,45 € (five days) for zones 1 to 3 and from 29,25 € (one day) to 76,25 € (five days) for Paris + Ile-de-France region. The Paris Visite Pass costs half price for kids aged between 4 to 11 years.
Paris Metro Anti-Pollution Pass
Does the air smell bad in Paris today? In the event of a pollution spike, the Metro of Paris offers a 1-day Anti-pollution Pass (Forfait Antipollution) with unlimited travel on all modes of public transport (except Orly Val) throughout Paris and Ile-de-France. This pass costs 3.90 € and is available online (via any Paris Metro app) and at any Metro station in Paris.
How to know when this special Paris Metro Day 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 Metro Pass Paris for Youth
The Weekend Paris Metro Pass for youth (Forfait Navigo Jeunes Weekend) 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 4.70 € for zones 1-3 and 10.35 € for zones 1-5 and is available online (via any Paris Metro app) and at any Metro station in Paris.
5. Paris Metro Lines and Paris Metro Map
The Metro of 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, you have different Paris Metro maps on each platform. 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, metro stations, and connections between them.
> 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 handy. On it, you can see the Paris Metro zones, all the metro lines, metro stations, and their connections. All the RATP apps have the Paris Metro Map included. You can also download a PDF version here for free.
6. Paris Metro Hours and 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.
7. How to Use the Paris Metro – Top Local Tips
Download a Paris Metro App
The best way to navigate Paris by Metro is to download a Paris Metro app on your phone. I use RATP’s free app Ile-de-France Mobilités, available for Android and iPhone.
This Paris Metro app includes a 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.
With this app, you can also get live metro traffic news (current interruptions and maintenance works).
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 electronic panels on the platform 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 Sortie. 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-Les Halles; the direction panels are placed so badly that I always end up turning around the same 2 or 3 pillars in the hall above. The only explanation for me is that the guy who placed all those panels drank a little bit too much wine that day!
Sometimes, Walking is Faster than Taking the Metro
Look at the map below with the walking distances between main metro hubs. In most cases, you need 30 min or less to go from A to B on foot.
Here’s a more detailed Paris Metro Map with walking distances between metro stations. Sometimes it’s faster and more pleasant to walk in the open air than changing metro lines in Paris underground!
Check that Your Metro Station is Working!
The Metro of Paris is currently under huge renovation works to adapt the metro stations to people with disabilities. This means that some metro stations are closed to passengers for a certain time, the trains do not 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 work on the RATP website.
8. Metro of Paris Etiquette
It’s 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.
Just 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 don’t need to leave, please step out of the metro to let passengers leave. 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 😉
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 Sortie #1.
Most Beautiful Metro Stations in Paris
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 about this part of Paris underground.
If you have some extra time, visit the most beautiful metro stations.
9. When Things Go Wrong
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 or Metro stop, 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 clear, 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, degradation of a rail, or failure in the electrical system. This usually means traffic is interrupted or delayed
> “Incident d’exploitation”: this is a ‘jolly’ expression that can mean many things. It can come from 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 had to stop. Leave the train and look for a plan B.
10. How to Avoid Pickpockets in the Metro of Paris
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 mechanical stairs. Thieves like busy mechanical stairs, especially when they go 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 possible, 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, keep your backpack in front of you until you leave it.
> Consider an anti-theft 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.
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