Paris is known to have one of the most efficient public transport systems in the world. However public transport services in Paris can become overcrowded since they are so popular with the people. The city also draws a steady throng of tourists, leading to further overcrowding in trains and buses. The good news is that the city government continues to invest a good amount in public transport in order to improve the passenger conditions.
To help you make your way around the city, here is our guide to the public transport system in Paris.Maps & brochures
Before you start travelling anywhere, remember to pick up a map of the metro, rail system and bus routes. These are available at all stations and airports in Paris. The metro station also keeps brochures that provide details of transport tickets and foldout maps, which can often come in handy while commuting. Public transport maps can also be obtained at the information centers of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Fares & tickets
A metro ticket is prices at 1.70 euros and is valid for one journey. You can purchase these white tickets as singles or as booklets of 10 tickets (carnet) for 13.30 euros. You can buy them at the ticket offices or from machines at metro stations.
Some tobacconists also sell tickets. These tickets are valid for zones 1 and 2 and are useful for travelling anywhere in the city. Regular passengers may avail of a weekly, monthly or yearly Navigo pass, which have varied prices depending on the zones they cover. RER tickets for travelling within Paris are identical to the metro tickets. The same tickets can also be used on buses. You can buy single tickets from the bus driver, which are valid for a single journey without any connections.
Buy a pass or a book of tickets if you plan to commute regularly as these will also allow you to change bus routes.
Travelling by Paris metro is a quick way of getting around the city. It operates daily, including Sundays, between 6am to 12:30am. The metro also works on public holidays, although trains are less frequent on holidays and Sundays.
There are about 300 stations covered by the metro and their entrances can be identified by the big yellow ‘M’. The metro has 16 lines: lines 1 to 14, 3 bis and 7 bis. These can be seen on signs at the stations and in your map. Blue and white signs on the station platforms and in the tunnels indicate the directions and connections of that line. The time until the next train arrives is indicated on illuminated signs above the platform. Network maps are also found inside the trains and you can track your journey using these. You can get an approximate idea of how long your journey will take by adding 2 minutes for each station and 5 minutes for each connection between the stations.
The RER is faster than the metro since there are fewer stops.
It runs daily from 6am to 12.30am, even on public holidays. There are five lines of the RER, indicated by the letters A to E. If your station is connected to the metro, you can make use of the same ticket for the entire journey. As with the metro, the train schedule is displayed in the station, and maps of each line are found on the platform and inside the trains.
The Paris buses are an efficient way to travel around the city. Many of the routes pass through the city center. The bus network consists of 59 routes and since buses travel along special lanes, travelling is quicker. Buses run from 7am to 8.30pm from Monday to Saturday. Some buses that serve major RER and metro links operate till 12.30am. At bus stops, you can find the bus numbers and itineraries of each bus displayed.
The Noctilien or night bus is very useful if you’ve missed the last metro. This regional bus network operates from 12.30am to 5.30am and consists of 47 lines throughout the city. Your metro or bus ticket, or travel pass is valid for travelling by night bus if it covers the same zones.