5 Steps to master the Paris metro

Navigating the metro can be daunting, from purchasing tickets to finding your way through the stations. Each year, the network provides 1.5 billion trips, so it can be crowded.

Master the metro in 5 steps.

Step 1: Plan your journey

The Paris metro has 14 active lines, each with its own color and number.
Each line has 2 directions, and the end of the line determines the name of the line. So each line has 2 different names.

  • Study the metro map. Note: during the Olympics, several stations will be closed !
  • Use a journey planner. Use apps like Google Maps, Citymapper, or the official RATP app to plan your trip.

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Step 2: Buy a ticket

  1. Paper tickets are no longer available.
  2. There are two ways to buy tickets: on a card/pass or uploaded to your mobile phone.
    * Pass: Purchase your card/pass at metro stations from a ticket booth or the machines. You buy a card, and you can upload the tickets via the machines.You need a passport photo for the pass.
    * Mobile tickets: Upload tickets to your mobile phone via the official public transport app in Paris, the RATP app.
  3. Check fares and options:
    The Paris metro has as many as 24 (!) different tickets and travel passes. Fares also change during the Olympic Games.
    Therefore, consult the official public transport website RATP in Paris for current fares and ticket options to see which travel pass is best for you.

Step 3: Find a metro

  1. Metro stations are indicated above ground by signs, often recognizable as a large letter ‘M’.
    At the entrance, you’ll find signs with the route. The endpoint of the line (posted on the signs) indicates the direction you need to follow.
  2. Hold your card or mobile phone at the turnstiles to gain access to the platform. Keep your ticket, as you will need it to exit the station or during inspections.

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Step 4: Board the correct metro

  1. Make sure you are on the platform that corresponds to the direction of your journey. Signs or displays will show which metro is arriving and how many minutes you need to wait.
  2. Wait until the metro stops, let passengers exit first, and then board. The entrance has foldable seats. Once no fixed seats are available, the seats at the entrance must be folded up.

This is a layout like you find on the metro. It indicates where you can transfer to another line.

For exemple: You take the metro to the Eiffel Tower and choose line 6. The metro station for the Eiffel Tower is called ‘Bir Hakeim.’ Determine the direction you need based on the endpoint, so choose line 6 towards Charles de Gaulle – Étoile or line 6 towards Nation.

Step 5: Exit the metro

  1. When you arrive at your station, exit the metro and follow the signs to the exit (“Sortie”). There can be many exits, so check the correct number via the travel app.
    Use your ticket if needed to pass through the turnstiles at the exit.

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