Things to do in Paris

Getting Around Paris – Public Transportation in Paris 101

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Paris is a beautiful city lined with shaded boulevards, historic monuments, museums, fashionable boutiques, bistros, bars and a lot more. Ideally the best way to discover Paris is on foot. But knowing that it is a large city with 20 arrondissements, one can easily depend on the elaborate public transport system of Paris to get around the city.

In this guide, we will take a look at all the major public tranport options available in Paris and what you need to know about them before visiting the City of Lights.

Paris Public Transportation - An Introduction


The city of Paris is divided into administrative districts called arrondissements which start in the centre of the city and pinwheel out clockwise. The Paris public transportation system covers these arrondissements pretty exhaustively.

It is operated by state owned public transport operator called "Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens" (RATP). It includes the Metro (subway system), the bus, the tramway and the RER. With underground Metro being the most frequented public transport, all these modes complement one another and connect any corner of the city to another.

Above ground network of buses and tramways take care of the capital’s periphery. The Réseau Express Régional (RER) higher-speed and wider-spaced-station train network connects the capital to more distant suburban regions.

Paris Public Transportation - Tickets & Where To Get Them


T+ Tickets

All public transport modes in Paris - metro, RER, bus, tram and the night bus - are run by the RATP and use the same ticket, the T+ ticket. A single ticket costs €1.90 while a pack of 10, usually referred to as the carnet, cost €14.90. With a single ticket, you can travel anywhere within the city of Paris on the public transport networks, and even transfer between lines on the same ticket. These tickets can be bought from ticket vending machines near the turnstiles in Métro stations,ticket windows, bus stations, tobacconists or for a slightly higher price from the driver on buses.

Another ticket option - a pass with unlimited travel - is also a popular, specially among tourists.

The Paris Travel Card - Paris Visite

The Paris Visite card is a pass that allows unlimited access to the metro, RER, bus and tram networks in Paris.

The Paris Visite pass is available in 1, 2, 3 or 5 consecutive day formats. Each of these formats have have the following options:

• Zones 1 to 3 : Paris and the close suburbs.
• Zones 1 to 5 : Paris, the suburbs & Orly/CDG airports, Disneyland and Versailles.

What Makes Up The Paris Zones

Paris public transportation
Credits: www.maps-paris.com
Paris Visite Card
Paris Travel Guide

Paris Visite Card

Learn all there is to know about the Paris Visite Card and pick up your Visite card before heading out to your Paris trip!

Getting to Paris From the Airport


Paris is one of the world’s most travelled destinations and thus has world class airports to facilitate the travellers. There are two main international airports in Paris, Charles de Gaulle International Airport, also known as Roissy and Orly Airport (ORY). Between these two airport Paris handles millions of travellers each day. As expected the two airports are very well connected to the city through multiple modes of transportation.

From Charles de Gaulle Airport

Charles de Gaulle International Airport, one of the largest and busiest international airports of the world is the principal hub for all major airlines. The airport has 3 terminals, split over various levels. The terminals are connected by automated metro with a frequency of 4 minutes.

  1. The RER Train is quick and cheap- RER B city trains leave from 2 terminals of the airport. Trains for Paris usually leave from platform 11 & 12. An adult ticket costs about €10 and that for children(4-9 years) about €7. The ticket is used to enter and exit the train.
  2. The cheapest airport bus transfer options between Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) and Paris city centre (Opéra Garnier) are the Roissybus service operated by RATP. The ticket cost is about €11 which can be bought from newspaper stands, ticket machines, or from the driver after boarding for a higher price.
  3. Cabs operate on a flat fare basis irrespective of the traffic conditions or time of day. The set fares are €50 to the right bank (north of the Seine) and €55 to the left bank (south of the Seine).

From Orly Airport (ORY)

Orly Airport serves as a secondary hub for domestic and international flights in Paris but it is still one of the busiest French airports. It is located 14 km (9 miles) south of central Paris, on the opposite side of the city from Charles de Gaulle. It has two terminals, Orly-Sud and Orly-Ouest, both of which are smaller and easier to navigate than their counterparts at CDG.

  1. The RER B Train is a good option for Orly airport transfer to the city. Orly Airport is connected to the RER B train line at Antony train station by the Orlyval shuttle train. The southern branch of the RER-B line goes towards Saint-Rémy-les-Chevreuse. The train has a frequency of 4-7 minutes, it takes about 25-35 minutes for the journey, and costs €13.25 (RER + Orlyval).
  2. Bus is the cheapest option of airport transfer from Orly Airport to the city. Bus number 183 picks you up in front of Terminal Sud and drops you at Porte de Choisy station in Zone 1 which is quite central. It takes about 50 minutes and costs €2.
  3. Taxis between Paris and Orly Airport have a flat fare of €30 for the left bank (south of the Seine) and €35 for the right bank (north of the Seine) regardless of the traffic situation or time of the day.

Public Tranportation in Paris Deconstructed


1The Metro

Metro is the popular rapid transit system for public commute in Paris. Mostly underground this 214 km long network with about 300 stations is one of the busiest metro systems in the world. There are 16 lines( identified by different colours and numbers) operating over different routes covering the length and breadth of Paris. The direction of each line corresponds to its terminal station. Most stations have a large metro map at the entrance and at the platform. You can identify your route and the train you need to take on the map.

Timings: Sun-Thur: 5:30 AM- 12:40 AM & Fri-Sat: 5 AM - 1:40 PM
Frequency: Every 4-5 min
Payment Mode: T+ ticket/the Paris Visite Card
Cost: €1.90 (Single Journey), €14.90 (10 tickets)
Paris public transportation

2Paris RER

The RER is a hybrid suburban rapid transit train that goes through Paris and beyond to places like Château de Versailles, Stade de France, Disneyland Paris etc. RER functions like the Métro, but has fewer stops and hence faster.The RER train network consists of 5 lines represented by different alphabets and each line has a distinctive colour. It has over 250 stations and several connections with Paris Metro. RER has scheduled service and runs mostly above ground, except within central Paris.

Timings: RER-A: 5:19 AM - 12:36 AM & RER-B: 4:56 AM - 12:15 AM
Frequency: Every 3-5 min to 15-30 min
Payment Mode: T+ ticket/the Paris Visite Card
Cost: €1.90 (Single Journey), €14.90 (10 tickets)
Paris public transportation

3Bus

The ease of travelling in the metro is usually contrasted with the accessibilty and the beautiful views of Paris one gets by travelling on the bus. With a total of 64 bus lines and hundreds of stops throughout the city, travelling on the bus is surprisingly easy and sometimes even quicker than the metro. These bus lines are colour-coded and numbered, and directions are indicated by the station name at the end of the line. You can buy T+ tickets from ticket windows in Metro stations or bus terminals, from automated ticket machines in Metro stations or bus terminals or individually from bus driver.

Timings: 7 AM - 8:30 PM
Frequency: Every 10-15 min
Payment Mode: T+ ticket/the Paris Visite Card
Cost: €1.90 (Single Journey), €14.90 (10 tickets)
Paris public transportation

4Tram

The ease of travelling in the metro is usually contrasted with the accessibilty and the beautiful views of Paris one gets by travelling on the bus. With a total of 64 bus lines and hundreds of stops throughout the city, travelling on the bus is surprisingly easy and sometimes even quicker than the metro. These bus lines are colour-coded and numbered, and directions are indicated by the station name at the end of the line. You can buy T+ tickets from ticket windows in Metro stations or bus terminals, from automated ticket machines in Metro stations or bus terminals or individually from bus driver.

Timings: 5:30 AM - 1:15 AM
Frequency: Every 5-7 min
Payment Mode: T+ ticket/the Paris Visite Card
Cost: €1.90 (Single Journey), €14.90 (10 tickets)
Paris public transportation

5Night Bus

The Paris Night Bus service, also called the Noctilien, makes travelling at night very convenient, especially after the metro closes for the night. There are 47 lines branching out from five major transfer hubs: Châtelet, Montparnasse, Gare de l’Est, Gare Saint-Lazare, and Gare de Lyon. All RER stations are served by the Noctilien network. All of the RER stations are connected to the Noctilien network.
Tip: You can look out for the sign N in a circle with a red star next to it. The bus lines also have an N before the number of the line.

Timings: 12:30 AM - 5:30 AM
Frequency: Every 5-10 min to 15-30 min
Payment Mode: T+ ticket/the Paris Visite Card
Cost: €1.90 (Single Journey), €16.90 (10 tickets)
Paris public transportation

6Taxi Cabs

Taxis in Paris can be easily identified by the "Taxi Parisiens" sign board on top of the car. Unlike other cities, the type and colour of the car used for taxis vary quite a lot. So the best way to look for a taxi is to find cars with the official signage on its roof. There are a total of 18,000 licensed taxis in Paris and you won't generally face an issue getting one. You can easily hire a taxi at one of the 500 official cab stands, by waving one down on the road or by telephoning a cab stand.

Timings: 24x7 everyday
Payment Mode: Cash
Cost: base price is €7.10. Additional €1.07/km
Paris public transportation

Tips on Using The Paris Public Transport System


Paris has an efficient and elaborate public transport system. With little bit of planning and research you can find it very convenient to use it.

  • Going through the city maps with various public transport options is very helpful.There are free maps available at all ticket windows.
  • Google maps app is good for planning routes and schedules.
  • Keep a margin of 15-30 minutes while using the public transportation as it may be little confusing for first timers to figure out the stations and trains.
  • If you enjoy the view while travelling do include buses in your choice of public transport.
  • If travelling with family, public transport may sometime turn out to be almost as expensive as cabs. Do your calculations before deciding.
  • It is always advisable to check for any current events like a strike which may affect the public transportation in the city.
  • Like many other cities in the world Paris is notoriously known for pickpockets. It is a good idea to not carry any valuables and to keep your wallets safely.

More Paris Transportation Tickets


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Ready to Explore Paris?


Fancy heading out to some other must-visit Paris attractions? Take inspiration from our list of the best things to do in Paris here. Use our comprehensive Paris Travel Guide to explore the rest of Paris in a hassle-free fashion with all the need-to-know information in hand.

FAQs: Paris Public Transport System


What is the safest mode of transportation in Paris?

Parisians and foreigners alike believe that the Paris metro is the safest mode of transportation. 

What is the cheapest mode of transportation in Paris?

The Paris Metro & RER are considered the cheapest modes of transportation in Paris. Buy yourself the T+ ticket or the Paris Visite Card for discounts. 

Is it safe to travel by cab in Paris?

Yes, it is safe to travel by cab in Paris. However, most cab drivers do not speak in English. We'd advise you to have your address written down on a piece of paper to give the driver. 

What are some handy apps to download for your trip to Paris?

There are a few apps that will be helpful for first-timers in Paris. Citymapper, RATP, Detour, Kapten, Le Cab, and Secret de Paris are a few to name.

Paris Public Transportation