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Transport in Paris

Navigate Paris like a local with our top 15 tips for using the city’s transportation network. Learn about metro, bus, and RER travel, avoid common pitfalls, and travel efficiently around the City of Lights. Essential advice for any Paris visitor.

Transfert from airports

You can reach Paris from both Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports through RER (train) or taxi. If you want to book a car transport in advance, we advise you to use INTUI travel transfer service.

Metro is king in Paris

Metro is Paris’ underground network, it’s very dense with 14 lines and stations almost everywhere.
and at rush hours you have trains every 2 or 3 min.

Ticket system is rather simple :

  • Single Tickets (Ticket t+): valid for one continuous journey within the Paris Metro, including transfers.
  • A single ticket costs a few euros. You can also purchase a “carnet,” which is a book of 10 tickets at a discounted rate.
  • Day Passes (Paris Visite travel Pass): offers unlimited travel within selected zones on the Metro, RER, buses, trams, and suburban trains (like to Disneyland Paris and Versailles). Available for 1, 2, 3, or 5 consecutive days. Cost varies based on the number of days and zones selected. More details here…
  • Weekly/Monthly Passes (Navigo Decouverte Pass): unlimited travel within selected zones on all public transport in Paris for a week (Monday to Sunday) or a month. Passport-sized photo is required for this pass. This is a cost-effective option for longer stays or frequent travel.
  • Airport Travel: specific tickets are required for travel to and from Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, which are not covered by standard metro tickets.

All are available at Metro and RER stations, through vending machines or ticket counters (Paris Visite travel Pass can be bought throgh machines, only weekly Monthly Navigo passes must be bought on counters). Special ticketing options (such as Youth Pass) are available for young travelers (ages 4-11) at a reduced fare. As for buses, you can buy single tickets to the driver.

About the bus :

A good alternative is the bus network, very dense but with a lower speed and frequency. Good option if you’re tired of walking up and down metro stairs, or if you want to see beautiful views of Paris. You can use the same tickets and pass as for the Metro.

Go faster with RER :

There is another network, called RER (Réseau Express Régional), a rapid transit system in Paris and its surrounding suburbs, designed to connect the city center with outer suburbs quickly and efficiently. There are fewer stations but it can be useful to go quickly from one part of Paris to another (provided there’s a RER station nearby). Within Paris (zones 1-2), you can use the same tickets as the Metro. For travel outside these zones, you’ll need to purchase a specific RER ticket that covers your destination.

The RER consists of five lines, labeled A, B, C, D, and E. Each line is identified by its own color on maps and signs.
To get to Disneyland Paris, you’ll have to take RER line A.

Small difference with Metro and bus : you’ll need your ticket to exit RER stations, which is not the cas with Metro and bus.

Taxi and Uber :

Not so much used as in other big capitals, it’s an option when you’re tired and outside rush hours. But you can sometimes wait for a taxi for a long long time. Especially at night in central areas, where they’re too few and many people are looking for them.

Here’s my guide about Paris taxis with lots of tips…

Tips and hints about transport in Paris :

  1. Purchase a Paris Visite pass: This travel pass offers unlimited travel on the bus, metro, tramway, and RER networks within Paris and is available for various durations.
  2. Download Citymapper app: this is the best app to plan your intinerary from point A to point B in Paris. All Parisians use it.
  3. Keep track of Metro operating hours: most Metro lines run from around 5:30 am until 12:30 am (1:15 am on Fridays and Saturdays).
  4. Validate your ticket: always validate your ticket when entering the metro or RER. There are fines for traveling without a validated ticket.
  5. Beware of rush hours: the metro can be very crowded during peak hours (8:30-9:30 am and 6:00-7:30 pm). Plan your travel accordingly.
  6. Stay alert for pickpockets: especially in crowded or tourist-heavy areas, keep an eye on your belongings. Pickpockets are often teenagers or young adults. They operate as groups, take a phone, a wallet or a bag just before metro door closes so that the owner has no time to react. In case you get your wallet stolen in a metro station, check the trash bins in the station, since pickpockets usually take the money and get rid of the wallet in the first trash bin they find (I saw a girl putting a wallet in a bin once : I thought it was weird, so I took it to the Metro counter where a Japanese tourist was in panic… She was so happy to get here documents back!).
  7. Use the RER for longer distances: RER trains are the fastest way to travel longer distances, such as to Disneyland Paris or Versailles.
  8. Consider walking or cycling: for shorter distances, walking or renting a Vélib’ bike can be a pleasant way to see the city. Of course, be cautious with cars, pedestrians and motorbikes, and respect red lights! (Parisian bike riders often don’t do it and many end up in the hospital afterwards…)
  9. Check for strike updates: they’re not that frequent, but they can be a pain. Check for updates on the RATP app or website.
  10. Know the last train times: if you plan to stay out late, know the time of the last train or metro to avoid getting stranded.
  11. Use night buses: if you miss the last metro, the Noctilien night bus service runs throughout the city and suburbs.
  12. Keep your ticket until the end of your journey: keep your metro or RER ticket until you exit the station as you might need it to exit (especially in RER stations) or in case of a check.
  13. Take advantage of the bus network: buses are a great way to see the city, and some lines offer particularly scenic routes, like the 69 which passes the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. But traffic may cause some delay between buses, so check on Citymapper app.
  14. Explore beyond the city center with the Metro: don’t hesitate to use the metro to explore neighborhoods beyond the typical tourist areas for a more authentic Paris experience. Getting lost in Paris streets is a pleasure and there are almost no “dangerous” zones in Paris (avoid Porte de Clignancourt or Barbès-Rochechouart areas at night, but even there the risk of problems is low).

FAQ about transport in Paris:

What are the best ways to get around Paris at night?

The Paris Metro, running until around 1:15 AM on weekdays and 2:15 AM on weekends, is a convenient choice, connecting various parts of the city quickly.
For those preferring surface travel, Noctilien, a night bus service, operates throughout the city and its suburbs, providing service when the Metro is closed. Here are more info on Noctilien…
Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are readily available, offering door-to-door convenience without the need to navigate public transport routes.
For the more adventurous, renting a Vélib’, Paris’s public bicycle sharing system, can be a delightful way to explore the city’s night-time charm, with well-lit bike lanes ensuring a safe journey. More info On Velib’ here…

How do taxis work in Paris?

To flag down a taxi, look for the light on the roof: a green light indicates it’s available, while a red light means it’s occupied.
Designated taxi ranks, found near major tourist sites, train stations, and busy areas, are also reliable spots to find taxis.
Understanding taxi fares is crucial; they’re metered and include a base charge plus additional fees for things like luggage, late-night rides, and airport or train station pickups. Fares can vary based on the time of day and traffic conditions, with rates higher at night and during rush hours. For a more predictable fare and convenient service, consider using taxi apps like G7, Freenow or Uber, which allow you to book rides in advance, estimate your fare, and even choose payment methods before your journey begins. These apps also offer the advantage of finding a ride without needing to speak French, as you can input your destination directly into the app.
Remember, it’s customary to tip your driver around 5-10% of the fare for good service.

Is renting a car a good option in Paris?

Paris is renowned for its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture, but it’s also known for its challenging traffic, limited parking spaces, and narrow, bustling streets. The city boasts an efficient and extensive public transportation system, including the Métro, buses, and trams, which can be a more convenient and cost-effective way to explore the city’s attractions.
Moreover, Paris is very pedestrian-friendly, with numerous landmarks within walking distance of each other. Exploring on foot or using a bicycle (with the city’s Vélib’ bike-sharing system) offers a unique opportunity to discover the charming streets, hidden courtyards, and beautiful architecture up close.
For those moments when you need to go further or prefer not to use public transportation, taxis and rideshare services are widely available and can be a more stress-free way to navigate the city.
If you’re planning to explore beyond Paris, such as visiting the châteaux of the Loire Valley, the Normandy coast, or the Champagne region, renting a car could be advantageous. For travels within the city, though, embracing Paris’s public transport and enjoying the walkable cityscapes can enhance your experience.
Paris’s charm often lies in its unexpected moments – turning a corner to find a stunning historical building, stumbling upon a quaint café, or marveling at the intricate details of its iconic architecture. These experiences are best enjoyed at a leisurely pace, sans voiture (without a car).

What’s the best way to get to Disneyland Paris?

The most popular and cost-effective way to travel to Disneyland Paris from the city is by the RER A train. This regional train service is not only efficient but also allows you to immerse yourself in the daily life of Parisians. You’ll board the RER A train towards Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy station, which is the final stop and directly at the gates of Disneyland Paris. Trains run approximately every 10 to 15 minutes, and the journey takes about 45 minutes from central Paris stations like Châtelet-Les Halles or Gare de Lyon. It’s a convenient option that offers a seamless experience for families and solo travelers alike.
The other option is using the shuttle services running directly to Disneyland Paris from key locations in Paris, including airports and major hotels. The Magical Shuttle bus, for example, offers direct transfers from Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Orly (ORY) airports to Disneyland Paris. It’s a hassle-free option, especially if you’re traveling with luggage or after a long flight.
As for other options, like taxi or renting a car, they’re both pricy and not the best, since you’ll certainly en up spending more time getting there by car than with transport.

Can I use my contactless bank card to pay for public transport in Paris?

Not yet, but you can use it to pay for tickets at vending machines.

What are typical scams in Paris transports?

Pickpockets, as in any big city. Pickpockets often work in teams and may use distractions such as sudden commotion, performances, or someone asking for directions. Keep your belongings secure and close to your body. Use anti-theft bags or keep your wallet in a front pocket. Be particularly vigilant in crowded places and near the doors of trains and buses.
Fake petitions : individuals, often pretending to be deaf or mute, may approach tourists with a petition to sign. While one is distracted by the petition, another might attempt to pickpocket the unsuspecting victim. Politely decline any requests to sign petitions, DO NOT engage with groups approaching you with clipboards. It’s ALWAYS a scam. In Paris like in any big city.
Ring scam : a scammer picks up a “gold” ring off the ground and asks if it belongs to you. When you say no, they offer it to you, claiming they don’t need it. After accepting it, they ask for money for coffee or a train ticket home. Do not accept the ring or engage with someone trying this tactic. Walk away and keep your belongings secure.
Gold or friendship bracelets : someone might approach you, offering a free friendship bracelet or a gold chain, placing it directly on your wrist or neck. Once you have it on, they demand payment. How to Avoid: Firmly decline any offer of free items or keep your hands in your pockets and walk away.
The “Found” Ticket : a scammer finds a ticket on the ground (which is actually theirs) and offers it to you at a lower price. These tickets are often invalid or expired. Only purchase tickets from official counters or machines.

Are there any river transport options for tourists in Paris?

Sightseeing Cruises : called usually “Bateaux Mouche” (fly boats), these cruises are designed to let you marvel at the beauty of Paris from the water, offering panoramic views of the city’s most famous monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, and Musée d’Orsay. Companies like Bateaux Parisiens and Vedettes du Pont Neuf offer various sightseeing tours, including options with audio guides available in multiple languages to enrich your understanding of Paris’s history and architecture.
Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Services: similar to their bus counterparts, hop-on hop-off boat services like batobus provide a flexible way for tourists to explore Paris. With several stops at key locations along the Seine, you can easily visit attractions at your own pace. A ticket allows unlimited trips within its validity period, making it a convenient option for sightseeing.
Dinner cruises: for those seeking a more enchanting experience, several companies offer dinner cruises on the Seine. These cruises combine gourmet dining with picturesque views, creating a memorable evening.
Private Boat Tours: for a more personalized experience, you can opt for a private boat tour. This option allows for a customized itinerary, making it ideal for special events, intimate gatherings, or simply for those who prefer a more exclusive experience.