Everything you need to know about the metro in Paris. Paris is an excellent city to explore on foot, but also a very large city. For the many top 10 sights in Paris, it is usually wiser to take the metro occasionally. Public transport in Paris is well served throughout the city, as well as in the Parisian suburbs. The Paris Metro has extensive coverage and is easy to use once you know the different lines and zones. Are you coming to Paris by train (Eurostar/Thalys) from Brussels or Amsterdam? Then you simply take the metro at Gare du Nord.
Did you know that the Paris Metro is one of the oldest metro systems in the world? It first opened its doors to the general public in July 1900. Today, with more than 300 stations, 16 metro lines (1 -14 and there are 2 additional lines) and a distance of approximately 210 kilometers, the metro is the fastest way to travel travel through the city of lights. There are 16 metro lines in Paris, each with a color and number. Some stations are connected to the RER. Don’t worry if you accidentally board a train going the wrong way. You can get off at the next stop and get on the right train without having to buy another ticket.
Metro, RER, tram, bus… the different ways to get around Paris by public transport are extensive and will take you wherever you want to go! The metro is the perfect mode of transport if you want to visit Paris in 1 day, for example. In this article best tips for using the metro in Paris, so that you can get the most out of your city trip to the City of Light: where you can buy (online) tickets and metro tickets, prices & fares, timetables, opening hours, directions, map/ map, is the metro safe, etc… Taking the metro in Paris is a great way to discover the city.
1. Buy metro tickets and tickets (online) for the metro in Paris
The type of metro tickets and tickets you should buy for the Paris metro depends on the length of your stay and how much you will use public transport.
The paper metro tickets in Paris are gradually disappearing and are making way for rechargeable public transport passes (Navigo Easy) or tickets on your smartphone (currently only available on Android). You can currently still get individual paper metro tickets at the counters and automatic machines (€2.10 per ticket), but the paper carnet with 10 affordable metro tickets has no longer been for sale since September 2023. Good to know: children under 4 years old travel for free on the metro. There is a reduced rate for children from 4 to 9 years old.
• Ticket t+
This is a separate ticket for the metro and is called a “Ticket t+”. The price for such a ticket is €2.10. The tickets are not date-related and unused tickets remain valid for a long time. A “Ticket t+” is valid to travel within zones 1 and 2. With the “Ticket t+” you can also ride the tram and bus and also the cable car at the Sacré-Coeur.
TIP: retour tickets for the metro in Paris do not exist. If you want to travel back by metro, you just need a new ticket!
• A ‘Carnet’ of 10 metro tickets
Will you regularly use the metro in Paris? Then it is best to buy a carnet. That is a digital card and will cost you €16.90. You also pay €2 once for the rechargeable Navigo pass. Ask at the counter for a ‘Navigo Easy pass’ (there is also a ‘Navigo Découverte pass’ for longer trips).
• Mobilis day ticket
With the Mobilis day pass you can make unlimited use of the metro in selected zones. A day ticket for zones 1 and 2 is optimal for a visit to Paris in 1 day. Rates start from €8.45 and the price depends on how many zones you choose.
• Paris visit pass for families with children
This is a multi-day day pass and useful if you are staying in Paris for a number of days and therefore want to travel unlimited by public transport for several days. This pass is very affordable for families with children. From €6 per day you can travel with this pass within zones 1 to 3. You can also benefit from discounts at various attractions upon presentation of your ticket.
TIP: buy tickets for the metro in Paris online? A useful option is the Bonjour RATP app for live schedules and updates. You can also buy digital metro tickets online via this app, provided you have already purchased a Navigo Easy pass.
2. Map of the metro and RER in Paris
View the map of the Paris metro and the RER lines. Each line is numbered and given a color so that it is easy to distinguish on a map. Knowing the names of the stations that interest you most is important to avoid making the wrong choices.
3. The different metro lines and zones of the Paris metro
There are currently 16 different metro lines (1 -14 and 2 additional lines) and more than 300 metro stops in Paris. When you look at the map of the Paris metro for the first time, you will notice that the city is divided into zones. Many popular tourist spots are located in zone 1, while zones 2 and 3 include the suburbs bordering Paris. In zones 4 and 5 you will find Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, Disneyland Paris and the Palace of Versailles.
4. Difference between the metro and the RER
The RER (Réseau Express Régional) is a train that takes you to places just outside Paris (banlieu). The trains are bigger and longer than the city metro, they travel faster over greater distances and can therefore save you time.
There are five RER lines of which these are the 3 most important:
Line A: to Disneyland Paris and one of the most popular ways to reach the park
Line B: to Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports
Line C: to the Palace of Versailles
Good to know: do you only use the RER within zone 1 in Paris? Then you can use the same ticket as the (city) metro lines. If you go just a little further, you will have to buy a separate RER ticket from the Paris border to your final destination.
5. Tips for taking the Paris metro/underground
• Always take the fastest route: get to know the Paris metro network and then plan your trip online. RATP (the Paris Transport Network Association) has a very useful route planner that allows you to choose the fastest metro lines, avoid certain stops or combine your trip with other modes of transport such as the RER.
• Peak hours in the Paris metro: With one of the busiest metro networks in Europe, it is best to travel on the metro outside of peak hours, namely between 8am and 10am and between 5pm and 8pm.
• Avoiding major station junctions: Châtelet, Nation, Gare de Lyon and also Montparnasse are stops and stations to avoid if you want to save time (and stress). These are very large stations and it can take well over 10 minutes to travel from one point to another. Little time? Then hop on the RER earlier to avoid extra stops.
• Beware of pickpockets: the Paris Metro is relatively safe, but still make sure you put all belongings and valuables in a secure bag and don’t let them out of sight. As in any metropolis, pickpockets can be active in busy metro stations and RER trains.
6. Use free Metro apps for the Parisian subway
Download the free Paris Metro app Citymapper. This app helps you plan your route and shows the nearest metro stations in the area. Another useful option is the Bonjour RATP app for live schedules and updates. You can also buy digital metro tickets via this app, provided you have already purchased a Navigo Easy pass. Furthermore, Google Maps is of course also great for finding your way in the Paris metro.
You can also still use the free tickets that are available at most counters in the metro stations.
7. These are the most beautiful metro stations in Paris
• Arts et Métiers is decorated in a style reminiscent of the novels of Jules Verne
• Cluny – La Sorbonne whose ceilings are decorated with beautiful mosaics
• Cité with beautiful lamps in retro style
• Louvre-Rivoli is decorated with copies of some of the most important works on display at the Louvre
• Abbesses has a beautiful fresco depicting a period in the history of France
8. Famous sights in Paris and associated metro stops
A first time to Paris? Then a visit to the top 10 places to visit in Paris should not be missed.
Find out below which metro stops you need to take to visit some famous attractions in Paris. Be sure to order your tickets online in advance to avoid the queues.
• The Eiffel Tower in Paris | Metro stop ‘Bir-Hakeim’ or ‘Ecole Militaire’ (book Eiffel Tower tickets)
• The Louvre | Metro stop ‘Palais-Royal’ or ‘Musée du Louvre’ (book Louvre tickets)
• Musée d’Orsay | Metro stop ‘Solférino’ (book tickets Musée d’Orsay)
• Arc de Triomphe | Metro stop ‘Charles de Gaulle-Etoile’ (book Arc de Triomphe tickets)
• Disneyland Paris | RER A ‘Marne la Vallée / Chessy’ (book tickets Disneyland Paris)
• Château de Versailles | RER C ‘Château Rive Gauche’ (book tickets Château de Versailles)
Frequently Asked Questions about the metro/subway/underground in Paris
The type of tickets and tickets you should buy for the Paris metro depends on the length of your stay and how much you will use public transport. At the top of this article is a handy overview of all possible metro tickets and tickets, with associated rates/prices. The most famous tickets are Ticket t+ and a carnet of 10 metro tickets (carnet only available digitally).
The Paris Metro has 16 lines indicated by a number (1 -14 and there are 2 additional lines) and a color. There are more than 300 stations, so you never have to walk more than a few minutes to find the next metro stop.
The metro trains in Paris usually run from 5:30 am to 1 am after midnight. On Friday and Saturday they work an hour longer, until 2 a.m. The time difference between the trains can be between 2 and 15 minutes. During peak hours, the busiest lines arrive every few minutes.
For more precise information about the timetable, opening times and the first/last metro in Paris, check the Ratp.fr website.
The RATP transport system in Paris is divided into 6 zones. With a Ticket t+ you can travel in the city center in zones 1 and 2. Most attractions are also located within these zones.
Please note that certain popular destinations are outside zones 1 and 2. For example, Versailles is in zone 4 and can be reached via RER C. Disneyland is in zone 5 and can be reached via RER A.
Charles de Gaulle airport is located in zone 5. Take RER B. A ticket will cost you €11.45 and the journey takes about 30 to 40 minutes. Buy your ticket at the machine in the metro station.
Yes, it is generally safe to travel by metro in Paris. Still, it is better to be careful with pickpockets, especially during busy times on the metro and RER. Always be extra careful around the metro stations of the famous sights in Paris such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Sacré-Coeur, etc...
Taking the metro in Paris is a great way to explore the city. You’re never far from a metro station or RER and you usually won’t wait more than five minutes for the next train. Time to buy subway tickets and tickets online and explore the underground of the City of Lights. Have fun in Paris!
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