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Paris Transportation - Getting Around Paris

Updated on January 26, 2014

Arriving in Paris

Getting Around Paris

The first impression about the Paris transportation system is just how easy it is to get there and around. You have several options to arrive to Paris. The most obvious option for non European travellers is to arrive in Paris by plane to one of the two major international airports: Orly and Charles de Gaulle.

European travellers prefer to arrive in Paris by railway thanks to the world’s most comprehensive high speed rail (TGV) system operated by the French operator SNCF. The TGV or high speed train network links Paris to London, Amsterdam and Brussels several times a day with very fast journey times.

Paris transport

Time Out Paris (Time Out Guides)
Time Out Paris (Time Out Guides)

Paris transport is constantly evolving. This guide keeps updated information about new ways of getting around Paris and how to pay for it.


Getting Around Paris

Once you arrive in Paris, you have several options to go around it. You can use the train, metro, tramway, buses and even river boats and bicycles.

Paris boasts the densest and most efficient subway system in the world. The number of stations and train sets, its reliability, safety and exceptional maintenance are always admired by visitors. I must say that after having used the metro in several European and North American cities, only in the Parisian metro I have felt safe enough to travel alone without any worries. Not only that, but it has been the only metro where I have encountered men who have given me a seat or helped me with my baggage to go on and off the trains. If you add to that the beauty of the main train stations and certain metro stations like the one at the Louvre, travelling by rail is a pleasure in Paris.

Paris Gare du Nord

Built in 1846 the Gare du Nord serves 180 million travellers every year.
Built in 1846 the Gare du Nord serves 180 million travellers every year.

The Metro

In the street, the metro entrance is always shown by a sign reading Metro, Metropolitain or just M.

To reach the platforms, you must pass through the checkpoints. Each line is identified by its colour, number and directions.

To enter a Metro control zone, you must be in possession of a valid ticket which must be validated in every case. Don’t forget to retrieve your ticket and keep it throughout your journey.

The TICKET + (below) Is the best one for those persons taking the metro only occassionally. It costs 1.70 euros and allows you to travel one time in all the Parisian Metro lines and the RER (zone1) it is also valid for the bus, tramway and the funiculaire at Montmartre. If you buy the same ticket when you board a bus, the same ticket will cost you 2 Euros. The best way to economize a little while using the Parisian public transport is buying a book of tickets (10 tickets) you will gain almost 30% on the price. Thus, a book of ten tickets will cost you 13,70 euros for an adult or 6,85 euros for children under 10.

Paris metro fares

A woman on a bike in Paris

A woman on a bike in Paris
A woman on a bike in Paris | Source

Paris by Bus and bicycle

Paris also benefits from a dense coverage of a public and private bus network. Each bus is clearly identified by its line number and direction and its main stops shown along the side. You should always board at the front and go off at the back. As you get aboard, you should validate your ticket by slipping it into the validator.

Other forms of transport in Paris include a self help bicycle hire service called Velib. The Velib uses a sophisticated electronic system to manage the rentals which are increasing every year. It is claimed that during some days rentals are up to 110,000 per day. The self-service bicycle hire scheme supports Paris pollution reduction policy while supporting the government initiative to support a healthier lifestyle to fight obesity and obesity associated diseases.

With Velib, you'll pay €1 for a day ticket or €5 for a seven-day ticket, which lets you take an unlimited number of 30-minute journeys. Trips longer than 30 minutes incur additional fees.

Velib: Renting a bike in Paris

Some facts about Parisian Transport

  • The RER transports 440 million passengers every year.
  • The Parisian Metro has 16 lines, 381 stations and 688 train sets covering 212 km of track.
  • The Parisian Tramway has 2 lines and 38 stops along 23 km of track.
  • There are 1078 bus routes in the Paris region and nearly 31,000 stops.  


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    • festersporling1 profile image

      Daniel Christian 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      very informative hub, I enjoyed reading it.. visit my hub about Paris also here:

    • boyfromsweden profile image

      boyfromsweden 7 years ago

      great information ;) just published a hub also about paris.

    • profile image

      Train Sets 7 years ago

      I love the Paris Metro. There stations are so beautifully with the Art Nouveau designs preserved and and still intact.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Thanks for the information. I always wanted to go to Paris.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 7 years ago from France

      SweetiePie: It is becoming more and more popular and even fashionable to cycle in Paris. I've noticed the last time I was there that there were a few fashion shops catering for fashionable cycling gear.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I love the fact that Paris actually encourages people to rent bikes and ride around. This sounds like a great way to see the city.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 8 years ago from France

      sixtyorso: I enjoyed your hub, thanks for the link. Next time you are in France you'll need to make a detour to come and have the aperitif with a fellow hubber :-)

      rmcrayne: It is so true what you say, and despite the years it hasn't changed much. I'll never understand why people treat the French as snobs, when indeed they are very friendly with everyone. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 8 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      I visited Paris in 1997 and had a wonderful time. We took the train from Germany. We had been told by many Americans not to go to Paris because it was too expensive and the people were snobs. Wrong on both counts! It was no more expensive than large cities in Germany or Holland. And the people were great. Two times locals came up to us, including when we first emerged from the station, trying to find our bearings to the hotel, and said "You look like you need help. What can I help you find?" I swear I'm not making this up.

      As you said, easy public transportation. We used the Metro, my first time on a Metro, and it was quite easy to figure out. When I moved to the Baltimore/DC area, I felt much less intimidated about figuring out and using the system alone. I thought proudly to myself “I learned to use the Metro in Paris.”

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 8 years ago from South Africa

      I recently visted Paris see my hub if you wish

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 8 years ago from France

      shamelabboush: yes, there is something very romantic about Paris, maybe the architecture, the atmosphere, the aromas of freshly baked bread or exotic perfumes meeting your senses at every street... who knows what is it, but Paris is unique and worth a visit!

    • shamelabboush profile image

      shamelabboush 8 years ago

      Oh Paris, the city of Romance and passion! If only I can go there someday!!! I think I will, thanks for the inspiration Princessa..

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 8 years ago from France

      Ethel: you must, it would be an unforgetable experience!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Must visit Paris

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 8 years ago from France

      bingskee: She did, she adores Paris and is looking forwards to her next trip :)

      Advisor: you are welcome and thanks for reading!

      DeBorrah: thank you,Paris is really my fetish city, it doesn't matter how many times I visit, I am always discovering something new in there!

      dohn121: LOL visiting Paris by bike is really the thing to do if like me you are planning to stop every 5 minutes in the boulangeries and pattiseries that tantalize you with their displays and aromas.

      cocopreme: Yeah, some stations are really beautiful...

      ocbill: As I mentioned it, Paris is the only city where I feel completely safe wondering around in my own. There are dubious spots like in every other city but if you do keep away from them you have no problem at all.

    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 8 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      great topic. I also remember feeling pretty safe while on the train there. The city of art did have lots of oticeable artistic graffiti on certains stops but still no sense of feeling unsafe.

    • cocopreme profile image

      Candace Bacon 8 years ago from Far, far away

      Great hub! I agree with you about the Metro. The Metro stations in Paris are actually beautiful. The French know how to make something as normal as trains into a work of art.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I'd really love to visit Paris one day. Truth be told, I'm one-eighth French, lol. Thanks for sharing this with all of us. I'd also like to ride around via Euro Pass as well. Riding a bike is a great way to burn off some (or a lot) of unwanted tummy!

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 8 years ago

      Princessa, Very good informative hub on Paris! Great suggested spots to visit as well as photos! It truly is a beautiful place! Thank you for sharing, Blessings!

    • advisor4qb profile image

      advisor4qb 8 years ago from On New Footing

      I would LOVE to go there! Nice hub, thanks!

    • bingskee profile image

      bingskee 8 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      your little princess had wonderful photos in her hub. she must have enjoyed the experience very much!

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 8 years ago from France

      Hi Laura: I'll let my little princess know that you enjoyed her hub, she was very proud of her photos :)

    • Laura du Toit profile image

      Laura du Toit 8 years ago from South Africa

      It was worth the wait. I particularly loved your beautiful little daughter's hub.

      Thanks for sharing!