Travel tips to get around in Paris in a cost-effective way

General information:

To get around using the public transportation, you need to buy tickets. They come as:

  • single tickets,
  • books of 10 (1 “carnet”): the ticket will be roughly 25% cheaper than if bought as a single,
  • day-tickets for  unlimited rides.
    • You can buy unlimited rides for the day (from midnight to midnight), for a specific zone (“mobilis”). This is worth it only if you are planning on riding more than 5 times a day. The pricing scheme makes it interesting for 1 day only: if you are planning on riding more than 5 times a day for several days, the “Paris Visite” may be a better deal.
    • You can buy unlimited rides for 1 to 5 consecutive days (starting at midnight the first day to end at midnight on the last day), in zones 1 to 3 or 1 to 5, including discounts to some museums and attractions (“Paris Visite”).
  • Tickets can be bought by credit cards at any subway station.
  • Make sure you keep your ticket with you once validated (it will be required if you are controlled).
  • There is no expiration date on subway tickets. Just make sure you don’t keep them by your cell phone as they will get de-magnetized and won’t work any more. If this happens, go to the info or sale counter and they will replace the ticket for you for free.

Getting out of Paris:

  • To get out of Paris, you will need to ride the RER (express train) and buy a specific ticket for that specific destination. For instance, to visit Versailles, you will need to buy a ticket to “Versailles Château”. You can depart from (and get back to) any station within the city limits (and obviously, which ever station you start from within the city, the price remains the same).
  • The same applies to the airports.

Buses:

Buses are a great way to get around while witnessing the Parisian life. Bus lanes ensure that you won’t get stuck (too much!) in traffic.

  • You must validate your ticket on the machine by the doors of the bus when you hop on.
  • If you want to hop on a bus, and if you don’t have tickets, it’s OK: you can buy a ticket in cash only to the driver. But this ticket will be valid only for that specific trip on that specific bus, and you won’t be able to use it if you connect with another bus. It will also be slightly more expensive (about 10 to 15% more than a single bought at a subway station).
  • When you validate a regular ticket (bought at a subway station) in a bus, it will be valid for 90 minutes on the whole bus network (excluding the bus numbers you validated it on: so you can’t take the same bus number twice with the same ticket).
  • When you connect with the same ticket in another bus, remember to validate your ticket.

Finding your way:

  • Ask for a map at any information counter.
  • Download the free “RATP” application on your smart-phone.
  • Download our interactive map of Paris and use it in maps.me to avoid roaming fees!

Vélib:

Paris was one of the first cities to implement a bike sharing system. Hop on a bike from any bike station, ride, drop off your bike at another station and visit around. It is a great way of discovering Paris!

  • Be careful, there are more and more bike paths, but you have probably heard the reputation of Parisian drivers!! And especially bus and taxi drivers with whom bikers share some lanes…
  • The first 30 minutes are free!
  • Make sure you don’t keep your bike with you for the whole day, as after the first 30 minutes, you get charged by time.
  • This system works 24/7, when the subway stops at night, and night buses are not that nice to ride, so it is always a good method to get back home late!
  • The vélib stations are also shown on maps.me!

Taxis & Uber:

These are not public transports, but if you get out of a restaurant a bit too late, you may miss the last métro back… Traffic being fluid at night, hopping in a cab is an efficient and safe way to get back to your place.

  • Despite a bad reputation, Parisian cab drivers have improved their standards thanks to the competition with Uber and others,
  • Most of the time, they take credit cards, even though they don’t like it too much… So take some cash with you as well,
  • One of the biggest cab companies in Paris is Taxi G7 that you can book online, with the free app or by phone,
  • This is old-school scams, but still: make sure the meter is on… And use maps.me to route to your destination, as there are still stories of tourists being taken around the ring road three times before being dropped off!

 

Claire

Travel tips:

  • Check out this interactive map for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area!!

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