Public Transportation in Paris - How to Get Around Paris

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One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Paris is a magnificent city to explore while strolling around. But, even when you are on a short trip to Paris, you will possibly use public transport at least once. This city flaunts an extensive system of public transport that functions admirably. The notable public transit options that we will explore include Paris Metro, RER, Tramway, Bus, & Taxis.

Paris Ticket Options, Metro, Bus, & RER Travel Passes

  • Single Tickets
This holds validity for a single journey within Paris and its immediate vicinity. Such tickets are either sold individually or in a pack of ten, known as a carnet.
1T+ Ticket for Metro, Bus, or RER within Paris: EUR 1.90
Contactless T+ 10 tickets for adults: EUR 14.90
Contactless T+ 10 tickets for children (4-10 yrs): EUR 7.45
Note: The T+ ticket charges keep on changing yearly.
  • Paris Visite Card 
Paris Visite Card is a ticketing mode that is extensively promoted to travelers and vacationers. Many people opt for the convenience of this card.
Paris Visite Card Rates in Paris
Rates for Zone 1-3
  • For Adults: 1 Day - EUR 13.20, 2 Days - EUR 21.50, 3 Days - EUR 29.40, 5 Days - EUR 42.20.
  • For Children: 1 Day - EUR 6.60, 2 Days - EUR 10.80, 3 Days - EUR 14.70, 5 Days - EUR 21.10.
Rates for Zone 1-5
  • For Adults: 1 Day - EUR 27.80, 2 Days - EUR 42.20, 3 Days - EUR 59.20, 5 Days - EUR 72.40.
  • For Children: 1 Day - EUR 13.90, 2 Days - EUR 21.10, 3 Days - EUR 29.60, 5 Days - EUR 36.20.
Note: Other than purchasing the Paris Visite Card in this city, you can also buy it through agents and online as it is widely available outside, but you may have to pay an additional charge for it.
  • Navigo Decouverte (Weekly & Monthly Travel Pass)
Rendering great value for money, the Navigo Card is appropriate for those spending at least one week in Paris. This reusable card enables you to travel in all zones of the city at a fixed fare plus the cost of the card to be paid once (EUR 5). Whenever you come to Paris again, you can load up fares onto the same card. 
Zone 1-5: Weekly Fare - EUR 22.80  and  Monthly Fare - EUR 75.20
Note: The week runs Monday to Sunday, and the last day for the sale of this card in the week is Thursday. So, you cannot purchase one for the weekend if you arrive on Friday.

With its modish entrances and wacky design at stations, Paris Metro is a symbol of the city. For getting to the airport or exploring the city further, the RER network (regional train service) is ideal. Besides, buses are also easily accessible. Usually, taxis and ride-hailing apps supersede other options after dusk. Notably, a single ticket can be used for traveling in the Metro, RER, buses, & trams as well. You can handily buy tickets from manual ticket offices and self-operating machines. Let us explore the popular transit option!

Here is the selection of popular transit mediums available for travelers in Paris.

1. Paris Metro

Paris Metro
The fastest medium for exploring Paris city is the Paris Metro (Métro or Subway). There are sixteen interrelated lines in this underground system, those enumerated from 1 to 14. There are two additional lines, known as 3bis and 7bis. Notably, every line has a different color and number that is illustrated on the RATP (Régie Autonome des Transport Parisiens) maps & signboards.

Usually, the Metro signage is 'M' or Métro/ Métropolitain. As reported, every part of Paris has a metro station at a maximum distance of 500 meters or 1640 feet. A mini foldable Paris Metro map is available for free at the information kiosks at the metro entrance for your convenience to identify the Paris Metro zones, the metro lines, their connections, & the metro stations.

Tip: The Metro ideally connects with the RER express trains to move around the city center. You can use one travel card for both of these. The ticket options include a single-journey called T+ Ticket, and Passe Navigo & Paris Visite travel cards. You can purchase the tickets at the manned ticket offices & machines at metro stations, and from some tobacconists. 
Timings: Sunday - Thursday: 5:30 AM - 1:00 AM, and Friday - Saturday (and on the eve of bank holidays): 5:30 AM - 2:00 AM.
Fares: Single ticket - EUR 1.90 for one journey, including all connections (only valid for moving around Paris)
Pack of 10 tickets (carnet) - EUR 14.90
Rush Hours for Paris Metro: Monday - Friday: 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM, 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

2. Paris RER (Réseau Express Régional)

Paris RER
The Paris Réseau Express Régional (RER) train is a regional transport system that connects the city center with the neighboring suburbs. Also, it complements the Paris Metro and offers a bigger transportation network to the locals & visitors in the middle of Paris. Notably, there are five lines of RER express train - A, B, C, D, and E, running over 365 miles of track with more than 250 stations. This express train also links the city center to Disneyland, Charles de Gaulle Airport, and Versailles via lines - A, B, and C, which are most favored among tourists. These routes connect:
  • RER A: City center with Disneyland Paris.
  • RER B: City center with the Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport.
  • RER C: The Palace of Versaille to Orly Airport.
Tip: The Paris RER has fewer stops than the Paris Metro and is comparatively faster. It takes merely 10 minutes with an RER train for a 30-minute metro ride. Hence, it is more appropriate to take the RER train for distant destinations. Besides, RER train stations have their own ticket offices and machines. A single ticket covers a one-time journey, inclusive of all connections within zones 1 & 2 in Paris. Also, please note that sometimes the same RER line can have different destinations, so you should look at the information displayed on the platform to confirm the final stop to avoid taking the wrong train.
Timings: The schedules and timetables of the RER trains vary with lines. Here are the Paris RERs to notable destinations:
  • RER A: Châtelet Les Halles – Disneyland: First train at 5:19 AM and the last train at 12:36 AM
  • RER A: Disneyland – Châtelet Les Halles: First train at 5:13 AM and the last train at 12:20 AM.
  • RER B: Charles de Gaulle – Gare du Nord: First train at 4:56 AM and the last train at 11:56 PM
  • RER B: Gare du Nord – Charles de Gaulle: First train at 4:56 AM and the last train at 12:15 AM.
Fares: Considering that you remain within the limits of the city, the tickets for RER remain similar to the Paris metro. At the RER ticket vending machines, you can select your destination, and the machines will tell you the price.

3. Paris Tramway

Paris Tramway
In Paris, trams were slowly replaced by metro lines during the 1950s. The trams entirely disappeared from the city in 1957. However, it was reintroduced at the end of the twentieth century as the RATP Group decided to bring this comfortable transit option back. This is because it is an inexpensive, clean, & ideal means of transport as it does not cause pollution. Notably, Paris has four tramway lines - T1, T2, T3, and T4 that run through the periphery of the city. Likely, you will not use the trams commonly, being a tourist. However, the T3 line may be useful if you are in the southern area of the city and want to get from east to west or vice versa. Any of the RATP tickets - Single T+ tickets or weekly/monthly travel cards are accepted for the Paris tram. It is just that you should stamp your ticket or scan your e-pass when boarding, otherwise you will have to pay a heavy fine if you are found without a validated ticket.
Timings: About 5:00 AM - 1:00 AM (varies with line)
Fares: Single-way journey: EUR 1.90 onwards

4. Montmartre Funicular

Montmartre Funicular
Another transportation option is a kind of automatic railway called the Montmartre funicular. It links the foot of Butte Montmartre with its top, where the Place du Tertre and the Basilique du Sacré Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart) are perched. During the summers of 1990, Montmartre funicular started operations. It has been rebuilt and reinstated on various occasions since its inauguration.

The original funicular was water-powered and utilized a system of filling & emptying cisterns according to the passenger load. Contrastingly, at present, the funicular is electric and completely automatic. Remarkably, it transports more than two million passengers annually. The funicular journey lasts 90 seconds, and different kinds of transport tickets can be used on it, including single-journey tickets & travel cards.

Tip: The Montmartre funicular ticket office closes before midnight, so you must purchase the t+ ticket before heading to Montmartre if you are visiting at night.
Timings: Monday - Sunday: 6:00 AM - 12:45 AM 
Fares: Single ticket - EUR 1.90 onwards

5. Paris Bus

Paris Bus
With over 60 day routes and 40-night routes, the Buses in Paris are one of the handiest & easiest modes of moving across the city. Notably, Paris buses can sometimes be faster than the Metro or RER, as for many destinations in Paris, buses can offer the shortest distance, and you get to enjoy the splendid views as the bus rides through many of the notable attractions and neighborhoods of the city. The schedules & timetables of buses in Paris differ largely as per the varied bus routes. The bus route number and direction are indicated on the sides and front of the bus. Moreover, some specific buses do not run on Sundays & public holidays.

Besides, Noctilien are night buses that have the signage - N in front of their line number. These run from midnight to early morning. These buses usually run every 10 to 15 minutes during the weekends and every 15 to 30 minutes during the week. 

Tip: You should purchase the bus ticket before getting on the bus at any of the métro stations, newsstands, or a tobacco store. Though you can also get them after boarding the bus, such tickets cannot be used for transfers. 
Timings: Day buses: Monday - Saturday: 7:00 AM - 8:30 PM, though the main bus routes run until 12:30 AM (Sunday off for some buses);
Noctilien: Monday - Saturday: 12:30 AM - 7:00 AM
Fares: Single ticket - EUR 1.90 onwards
You can purchase the ticket directly from the bus driver with an additional charge of EUR 0.20 (US$ 0.20).

6. Paris Taxis

Paris Taxis
With more than 20,000 taxis or cabs running 24 hours a day on the streets of Paris, you can catch one anytime. Taking a taxi is the ideal option during bad weather, late nights, or when you do not have much time to spend in the city. It is usually not hard to hail a cab throughout the day. All the licensed Paris taxis within the main city area use a taxi fare meter to calculate your fare corresponding to the distance. Normally, they have a Taxi Parisien signage on the roof, and the drivers have a badge with their license number. 

Tip: You can simply hail a cab from the streets or walk to any of the 500 taxi ranks. Also, you can call any notable taxi/cab service. Cabs always cost similar, whether you book from any of these ways. Besides, keep in mind that if traveling during the main holidays you may have to pay extra charges for additional luggage, baby strollers, and pick-up from the airport. 
Fare Mechanism:
Base fare: EUR 2.60 (US$ 2.80).
Rate per kilometer: 
  • Day Fare - Monday to Saturday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM: EUR 0.96 (US$ 1); Sundays: 7:00 AM - 12:00 AM: EUR 1.21 (US$ 1.30);
  • Night Fare - Monday to Saturday: 5:00 PM - 10:00 AM: EUR 1.17 (US$ 1.20); Sunday night and public holidays: EUR 1.47 (US$ 1.60)
Additional charges:
  • For the fourth passenger: EUR 3 (US$ 3.20)
  • For per suitcase (after the first suitcase): EUR 1 (US$ 1.10)
  • For waiting for one hour: EUR 33.48 - EUR 42.41 (USD 36.21 - USD 45.88)
  • Minimum service fee: EUR 7.10 (US$ 7.60) inclusive of supplements.

7. Vélib’ Métropole

Vélib'Métropole in Paris
Paris has an impressive network of bike lanes along with an ever-augmenting range of electric scooters. Vélib' Métropole is a next-gen self-service bicycle hire system like no other across the globe. It is a large-scale public bicycle-sharing system in Paris that embraces around 14,500 bicycles and has approximately 1400 stations situated across the city. There are mechanical and electric bicycles with green & blue color signage respectively. Operating 24 hours a day, there are systematic public charge stations under the city's bike-sharing scheme. If you want to cope with the traffic on two wheels, Vélib' is an ideal choice. 

Here is how to register for borrowing a Vélib':
  • Visit any Velib’ Station across the city and follow the steps on the screen, which are as follows:
  • Select key 1 for purchasing a ticket.
  • Then, create a 4-digit pin.
  • You will be asked to pay a deposit of EUR 150 as a caution fee if the bike is not returned.
  • Put your credit/debit card in the machine and remember your card must have a chip and pin to work here.
  • Collect your printed receipts.
  • Once you get the receipt that has your subscription number, you can choose your bicycle from the rack.
  • Then, return to the screen and press key 2, after which you will be asked to feed in your subscription no. (on the receipt), the pin created, along with the no. of the bicycle you selected.
  • Lastly, go back to the stand, click the unlock button, and begin your ride.
Tip: The rides on regular bikes of less than 30 minutes are free-of-charge. After this, the second half-hour period will cost EUR 1, the third half-hour will cost EUR 2, and from the fourth half-hour onwards, each half-hour will cost EUR 4. On the newer light-blue electric versions, rides start from EUR 1. Besides, when exploring the city with family or friends, you can opt for the 1-day pass - V'Découverte, or the  7-day pass - V-Séjour, and hire up to 5 Vélib' Métropole bikes at a time. You can purchase these passes online for accessing a Vélib'. Contrastingly, you can also go for the on-the-spot offline option.
Fares: Sign-up charge for one day: EUR 5
Seven-day pass: EUR 15
The public transport network in Paris impressively serves the whole city, including all its suburbs. The RATP-administered network is very efficient and affordable. The well-connected and convenient Paris Metro, RER, & taxis are better choices for long distances, and buses are a great option for moving to various destinations within the city. With the Paris City Pass, you get unlimited access to public transportation within the inner district of the city along with various other benefits. The public transportation access is valid depending on the purchased Paris City Pass, and you are not required to get any other ticket. You can definitely rely on the well-organized public transport network in Paris to explore this elegant city on your next trip.

This post was published by Kanika Sharma

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