a VirtualTourist member from Riverside
I will be staying in Montrouge, right outside the city of Paris. From what I've read you can pretty much get anywhere in Paris by taking the Metro. But it also seems very confusing to me with changing stations and getting on the right one. I'm worried I'm going to jump on the Metro and end up somewhere I don't want to be. Am I making this out to be harder than it is? Is the Metro really easy to use and get around on?
Also, most of my activites are in the city of Paris (Eiffel Tower, Lourve, Norte Dame.....etc). Once I get to the city, is it easier tio take taxis to these locations or continue to use the Metro's. I will be there in Dec and Jan so depending on how cold it is I might not walk to walk everywhere.
The metro is incredibly easy to use and can get you to all of the places you're interested in going. When you are changing lines you'll see names listed for each direction. Look at your metro map (you'll be able to get a copy to carry around) and find the name of the very last stop you're headed to. That's the direction you're going. Paris was my first city using a metro and it is very easy for beginners to understand. Enjoy your trip!
Using metro is Paris is really easy. Montrouge is in the south, if you walk north then Port d'Orleans is the nearest station. From there take the purple line towards Port de Clignancourt and get out at Cite or Chatelet. From there you can walk to the Notre Dame and Louvre. Other destinations are also easily to reach, just take care you've a good map of the metro. Honestly I won't take the taxi. It's much more expensive and probably takes the same time.
No, don't take taxis. You may get caught in traffic. And it's much more expensive.
The metro is easiest and most convenient always. Done it loads of times, you'll get the hang of it quickly (Laurel explained it very clearly).
Be prepared to walk a lot in Paris. Even with the metro...
The best way to get to know any city is to walk about its streets, from sight to sight. The attractions that you list, and others, are within easy walking distance of each other. Taxis can be costly. Let your feet guide you through a wonderful city made for walking. You cannot take a Métro along the River Seine, which everyone should walk beside once in their lifetime!
Yes, the Métro can be confusing. It can also be wonderful; the Louvre stop is decorated with art. Find the Métro stop closest to your destination. Follow that color Métro line to either end, note the terminus name. Take the train in the direction of the terminus that leaves you at the stop you want; each train is clearly marked with the terminus name. Parisians are, despite their reputation in America, friendly & helpful people. Make an effort; you will find help.
Dress warmly, in layers, for the time of year you will visit. You will be fine. We have visited in late Dec./early Jan., as well as Feb., and we were comfortable.
Calculate if buying a Paris Pass (www.parispass.com) will save you money on museum admissions. I think that it is worth the price just to skip the long line at the Louvre.
Hi, Once you get over the first day and realise how easy it is, you'll laugh at yourself. Buy a "carnet" of 10 tickets for the metro, each journey will cost you one ticket, no matter the distance or the number of changes you make, providing you don't go out the doors..... This carnet costs today 13€30 but of course may go up before next January, so you see each voyage will cost you around 1€33.These same tickets are good for buses and the RER within Paris. It is not the same ticket to go out to CDG or Orly airports, nor Disneyland or Versailles. Here is the RATP site that you can convert into English and you can have a look at a map before your trip. http://www.ratp.fr/
As said above Paris is that small you can walk to loads of places without having to use your tickets once you are in the centre.
Just to add some more encouragement, yes the metro is very easy! I hate figuring out public transit but we didn't have any trouble at all in Paris.
Laurel did explain it very well: find the name of the last stop in the direction you want to go: that'll be the platform you want.
Absolutely no reason to take cabs: buy a carnet (book) of 10 tickets at a metro station and use them as needed.
The metro is easy to figure out, just study the maps and as long as you work out which station you need then you will be fine.
Also buy a good street map and experience Paris by walking to most of the places. Taxis are good for getting back to the hotel late at night if you feel unsafe but otherwise you will miss the magic of the city not to mention pay through the nose for the pleasure.
>Am I making this out to be harder than it is? Is the Metro really easy to use and get around on?
Yes and yes.
Just to underline the comments above..it will be much, much easier than you think it will be. Remember that Paris deals with millions of visitors from abroad every year: of course its transport systems are easy to work out, because those visitors bring in a vast amount of money. Everything is clearly signed within the Metro stations and, imo, you would have to try very hard to get on the wrong train. But if you did, you could simply get off again, and get the next train back (they are very frequent) to where you should have been.
Look at the official Paris transport site in English:
There's loads of helpful info, maps, route plans and even apps.
And yes...I agree that you should walk as much as possible. Yes, it's perfectly safe as long as you use normal city common sense and aren't wandering around deserted streets in the early hours of the morning. You can simply pack appropriately: you know Dec and Jan will be cold, so pack clothes you can layer, warm outerwear, good warm boots or shoes, hat/scarf/gloves.
Unless you have very large funds available I would advise you to avoid using taxis: use your feet and public transport instead.
Can't add too much more here other then the hardest part is sometimes it will seem like you are walking forever underground to make a transfer from one Metro line to another. But the signage is very easy with the Lines listed with the stops at the end of either line. Even if you hope on the wrong Metro by accident you can easily get off and get your way back to where you want to.
One word of caution (and this applies to most Metros, Subways, etc around the world), be careful of pickpockets. Keep your valuables close by and well hidden. Be careful when you listen to the buskers (musicians). I always find the nearest wall and put my back up against it and then listen. That way nobody can approach me from the rear and try any sort of pickpocketing.
Walking is suggested and it is best to see Paris while you are walking, but if you are staying somewhere far away from your last destination at the end of the day or it is raining (usually about 1/2 the time on our 2 trips) taking the Metro is great.
Also be sure to buy a carnet of tickets (that's 10 tickets good for 10 single rides). These are very small so bring along a little pouch or something to carry them in and then throw them away when you have used them after you exit a station so you are not confused as to which ones you have or haven't used. Bonjour!
Thank you everyone for all your advise. I can't want to see Paris, Now I'm not worried about the Metro anymore.
We're very glad!! It would be terrible to spoil the excitement worrying about the metro! Relax and have fun planning: you will love Paris. :)
And do come back if you are still having trouble sorting it all out?
Just to add, without confusing you ; Have a look at buses too, much more pleasant riding around above ground than below it. Plus the ticket is good for an hour, so you can changes buses as frequently as you can the metro.
Each of those Metro Stations are very unique. Different types of art and some of the buskars are very good.
Glad you initial worries have been allayed. I'm worried about "feet". You'll do lots of walking. Don't forget the pavement in Paris during the time of your visit stays frozen most of the day. Forget fashion. Take better than average water resistant walking boots with inner sole liners and wool socks.
Have fun de p.
True, True, True - My wife found this out the hard way on our first trip to Paris in 2008. This time she was much more sensible. Plus she packed a lot lighter this time around for our trips on trains in Italy.
Yes, using the metro is pretty easy. In most cities I find buses confusing and if crowded, never know when to get off. In Paris we always take the metro for longer journies and then walk; the Metro is part of the experience of visiting Paris. Although December and January will be cold by Californian standards,I would be surprised if getting around on foot would be a problem. You can always stop for a coffee or glass of wine to keep out the chill. Do try and avoid simply travelling from one sight to another. Enjoy just being there and taking it all in. Spending time looking in shop windows can be as interesting as a gallery or museum. Have a look at my Paris pages: h Enjoy Paris, it is a beautiful city. Bruce
The link from my previous answer is: [original VT link]
I'm going to add a little warning about the Paris Pass recommended above. I've compared a bunch of passes available in Paris and the Paris Pass is the most costly. There is a pass called the Paris Museum Pass that is much less expensive and I recommend if you are going to visit a lot of museums. The only place we've ever run into a line is the Musee d'Orsay and it moves fairly quickly. At the Louvre, just avoid the entrance by the Pei Pyramid and you won't have a line. We use the Lion's Gate entrance on the Quai Mitterand and have never seen more than one other person in line there.
Check the Paris Museum Pass at parismuseumpass.com/en/home....
You will also have web links and hours for all the museums there so it's helpful even if you don't want the pass.
The suggestion for a carnet of 10 Metro tickets is excellent. Prices usually go up in July so it may be a little higher, but still will be a bargain. They just went up January first so perhaps they won't go up in July. That would be nice.
I wrote a Tip about all the various passes in Paris and it hasn't been updated since last autumn but prices will be close (or the same). It has the web sites of all the passes so you can check them out and see if any of them interest you. parismuseumpass.com/en/home....
Passes are funny. You need to decide what you want to do and how you want to do it. A pass that is perfect for one person may not work for another and you are the only one who can decide what works for you. We usually go with a carnet of Metro tickets and nothing else but we have bought both the Paris Viste and the Paris Museum Pass when it suited what we wanted to do on that particular trip.
If you haven't been to Paris before, you'll quickly discover you love walking . . . even in bad weather. It is just so pretty and I think it's even prettier in the rain. Must admit I've not seen snow there but bet that is really pretty too.
Sorry, forgot the CTRL C
Here's the Tip about all the passes.
[original VT link]
Here's a very detailed explanation of the Metro system with web links to the system.
[original VT link]
I have to agree with Sally on the value of the Paris Museum Pass (no transit included) versus the Paris Pass. I'd done the math beforehand and the Museum Pass + buying carnets of transport tickets was a far better value for us.
Here's what I wrote up on that one:
[original VT link]
I make myself a little 'hit list' before I leave
ie. xx station (look for xxx end line sign) change at xx station looking for signs to xxxx as I can't remember all the end destinations and once I'm on a roll moving I don't want to stop and read the maps within the station.
Also, there is a Metro map above the doors in each Metro car so you can follow your progress and know exactly where to get off. It's not completely foolproof but it's close.
Thanks for all the additional information on the Paris Pass versus buying books of tickets. After doing some research from the links you guys provided. It's way cheaper just to get 2 Museum Paris Passes and then 2 books of 10 Metro tickets for my husband and me. It would be twice the price to get the Paris Pass. $174 to buy them separate verus $416 USD.
Good work, Judith! Yes, we found the price of the Paris Pass to be very high indeed as compared to the museum pass+ carnet option. And the nice thing about carnets is that they can be shared where passes can not.
My husband and I shared one carnet over our 6 days in the city (September) and barely used all the tickets but winter may have you using public transport a bit more than we did.
I would buy just one "carnet" at a time, as Kate says, the tickets can be shared between you. With the walking you may do, you not even need a second one.
Not only can you share the tickets in the carnet, you can save any left over for your next trip. We always try to save at least two tickets for the next trip. That way we know we have that first ride paid for. Even if the price goes up, they are accepted.
Sorry - I have not read through all of the replies but I found this site extremely useful and had the same concerns as you. parismap.metro-passes.com/ma...
The site is interactive so you can easily figure out where you can go to from different stations by clicking on the line or station. To make sure you are always headed in the right direction, just look for the end station in the direction you want to go.
And that is also written on the front of every train.