How to use the metro in Paris
When you come to Paris, one thing you’ll obviously be confronted with is our metro system. A lot of people might prefer walking or taking the bus, but we have to admit that the metro is often the fastest way to go places.
It has 16 lines and 303 stations, so it is very practical to explore all the city. We Parisians are of course used to it, but when it is your first time in Paris, it can perhaps be a bit difficult to understand the whole system! Here are some tips from a local on how to use the metro in Paris!
How do I spot a metro entrance?
The first thing you need to know about how to use the metro in Paris is, of course, how to spot a metro entrance. Usually you shouldn’t have much difficulty: the average distance between two stations is 550 meters, so when you’re in the center, you’re nearly always within a five minutes’ walk from one! Nearly all of the entrances are very noticeable, with big signs with either ‘Metropolitan‘ (on the older, more artsy ones), ‘Metro‘ (on the red ones with a lamp post at the top) or simply a yellow ‘M‘ (for the more modern ones) written on them.
Where to buy metro tickets?
You’ll generally find an employee selling tickets and automatic ticket machines at every station. However, I advise you to try to buy your tickets in advanc. The lines can often get very long, especially in touristy place such as Montmartre or near the Eiffel Tower! The machines are available with various foreign languages to choose and take coins or credit card (sometimes cash).
What kind of ticket should I buy?
Another important thing you need about know on how to use the metro in Paris is the kind of ticket you’re going to buy. You have a lot of possibilities on this one, but the main advice I usually give is to buy “carnets” of ten tickets, for you to use in metro, bus, RER, tramway. Overall you’ll pay less than if you buy them one by one. The cost for a “carnet” is 14,10€.
You can also buy a Mobilis pass which gives you unlimited access to transports for one, two, three or five days, but it’s not always cheaper than the normal “carnet“. It depends on how much you’ll ride the metro! Another thing, too, if you want to go to Versailles or Disneyland, which are further away from Paris: you’ll need a different type of ticket to get there. They usually cost around seven euros, they’re available in every station.
Other tips and tricks on how to use the metro in Paris:
- Pay attention to the hours: the metro in Paris doesn’t run 24h, so be careful when you’re out in the evening. During the week, the last metro will be at around 00.30 am, while on Fridays and Saturdays evening it will be between 1 am or 2 am depending on the line.
- Beware of pick pockets: you’ve perhaps heard some announcements in the metro warning you about pickpockets, and it is true the metro is a risky place for this, although with some common sense you should be fine. The technique they’ll often use is just stand on the platform and snatch your wallet out of your pocket right before the doors close on you, leaving you helpless as the metro departs. The best ways to avoid this is to close your bags, watch your belongings, and don’t leave your backpack on your back while travelling.
- How to behave like a local: taking off your backpack is not only safe, but also usually seen as a civil gesture because it will leave more space for other people in the car. The best solution is to keep it between your legs or on your front. For the same purpose, don’t seat on the folding seat near the doors when there are too many people in the car. This is considered as the polite thing to do, and this way you won’t be seen as the rude tourist by the Parisians! Also, start moving towards the doors before you’ve arrived at your station: everybody will know you want to hop off and will be ready to let you pass when it’s time.
- A tip on a very special spot: although Parisians like to complain about how dirty and disagreeable our metro system is, there is one great spot where it allows you to have one of the coolest views on… the Eiffel Tower! Hop on metro line 6 between stations Trocadero and Bir Hakeim, where the line runs above ground – you’ll be amazed by the panorama!
- Read our article about everything you need to know about the Parisian metro to get even more information about it!
The article is over! By now, you should know how to use the metro in Paris! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need further information about anything. If you want to know some useful tips for your first time in Paris, you should read this article. Then, I also strongly recommend you to join some of our walking tours which will allow you to walk the city in the company of a local guide that knows all about the city of Paris and its best places!