Taking the Metro in Paris
With its winding streets, confusing street numbers and general lack of order, Paris can be an intimidating place to navigate, especially if you’re not familiar with taking public transportation in general. While the metro and bus maps of Paris may look horrifyingly difficult to understand, once you get the hang of it, you’ll find the system is incredibly easy to understand. Here, the members of Trippy.com give us a primer on how to get started taking the subways and buses in the City of Light.
First of all, what do those “M” notations on my map of Paris mean?
“M means the Métro, which is the underground or subway.”
“It is an underground train, not a bus.”
“By the way, those lines called A-E are not buses either. They are suburban "RER" trains that go through tunnels in Paris and then above ground out in the countryside. The buses in Paris are numbered from 20 to 95, plus higher numbers in the suburbs.”
“As mentioned above, M means Metro. The Google public transportation function gives you all modes of transport, not just a bus even though that is the icon used by Google.”
What’s the most economical way to take the city’s public transportation? Should I buy a weekly pass or just pay each time?
“How I can get a full map for the bus routes for the 20-95 buses? Second question can I buy a bus ticket where I can have un-limited access for all the buses for 5 days, or I need to buy separate tickets?”
“You could get a one-week Mobilis pass for all transport (buses, trains and trams), but I have never done this because I usually travel around Paris on the Vélib' bicycles.”
“If you are a big fan of buses and want to try out all 75 lines, then a Mobilis pass might be the thing for you. Otherwise just buy a carnet (pronounced "Car-Nay") of ten tickets which can be used on buses, trains or trams.”
“You can buy a 'carnet' of 10 bus tickets on the Metro stations- use as needed. Validate your ticket on the bus.”
“Another way to get around (which is really relaxing) is by Waterbus (Batobus).”
“In Paris all modes use the same tickets so they are good on bus, RER (within the city), Metro (subway), trams and the funicular up to Sacré-Coeur.”
“The Mobilis Pass can only be bought for one day, not a week. You would have to buy one every day for a week. If you want a weekly pass, there is the Navigo Découvertet but it's only good Monday through Sunday. If you arrive mid-week, you lose days and have to buy a new one the following Monday. We buy a carnet of 10 tickets at a Metro station and it's 14.10 euros for ten individual tickets that we can share. The Mobilis is 7.00 euros a day and the Navigo is 21.25 euros plus an additional 5 euros for the original card that you can keep. For some reason, tickets cost a bit more when you buy them on the bus so go to a Metro station to buy them.”
“There are a couple of problems with using carnet tickets when riding the bus - you cannot always transfer to another bus line, you can't get back on the same bus line going in any direction (if you wanted to HopOn/HopOff), and there is a 90-minute time limit per ticket once it's been validated.”
“To avoid worrying about all of that, if you plan to use the bus several times a day - or want to use it as a HopOn/HopOff way to visit the city - I would recommend the Mobilis Pass. You must validate this ticket each time you board the bus, and your last trip of the day must be validated by midnight.”
“You can buy carnets or the Mobilis Pass at the airport or any Metro station, or at little shops called "tabacs", which display the "RATP" sign outside.”
“Also, the Mobilis Pass allows you unlimited travel on the Metro, Bus, or you can switch between both systems on the same ticket.”
“When you get to Paris, you can pick up this very simple blue booklet which displays all the bus lines, the areas they cover, shows the stops on a street map, and lists all the stops in order, going in both directions. It's about 6 EU at most newsstands or bookstores: "Le Bus Parisien - L'Indispensable"