Getting around in Paris
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Updated 3 weeks ago

Thanks to a fantastic public transport network, navigating Paris is not only straightforward but can be great fun too. Whether you choose to rent a bike and weave your way through the city, walk on-foot down cobbled streets or boulevards, hop on a bus or descend into the famous Metro system, there is always a simple solution to getting around in Paris.
Public transportation in Paris

Train and Tram

The train system comprises the Metro and the RER. The Metro is a network of underground and overground trains serving the heart of Paris and immediate suburbs. Launched in 1900, the network has evolved significantly and is an extremely practical option for Parisians and visitors alike - so much so, that it is used by over 4.5 million people every day. As in any big city, if you do use the Metro or train network, be sure to stay vigilant, as pickpockets can pry on unwitting tourists and newcomers.

If you live outside Paris or need to travel to the suburbs, you can use the Réseau Express Régional - known more colloquially as the RER. The RER passes through Paris but connects neighbourhoods which are located at significant distances from the centre of the city. Of the 257 stations of the RER, only 33 are located within the city. To travel to Charles de Gaulle airport, for example, the RER offers a much faster and cheaper alternative to taxis, particularly during peak hours. A ticket from the centre of Paris to Charles de Gaulle Airport costs around €10 (one-way). You can also use the RER to visit the towns and forests around Paris as well as touristic locations, including Versailles.

A Metro ticket for a single journey in Paris costs €1.90. You can purchase tickets individually or as a “carnet” of 10 tickets, at the cost of €14.90. Tickets can be bought at the stations and some newspaper kiosks, but be wary of touts loitering around the metro stations claiming to have cheaper tickets. The Paris Metro runs from approximately 5.30am until 00.40am Monday - Thursday and until 1.40am on Fridays and Saturdays.

If you intend to use the trains regularly, it is better to get a Navigo pass. These are available on weekly, monthly or yearly subscriptions, and many companies refund part of the cost of the pass as part of your working contract. The Navigo pass allows you unlimited travel on the Metro and RER system within the Ile de France region. For visitors to Paris, multiple-day tickets are also available, allowing an unlimited use of the public transportation system.

The tram is becoming increasingly popular in Paris, and this growing network is available in the Southeast and Southwest of Paris. Tram lines are generally located towards the end of the metro lines, and many of them extend to the newly developed areas around Paris.
Bus
Paris has an extensive bus network, including a useful schedule of night buses that run right through the night - distinguished by an “N” sign. Night buses run from the North to the South and from East to West serving the major stops such as Montparnasse, Auber, Pont de Neuilly and Vincennes to name only a few.

Bus tickets are exactly the same as Metro tickets. If you do not already have a ticket available, these can be purchased from the driver at the cost of €2 per ticket, but it is better to buy tickets before getting on board or to have exact change. Note, that the bus system can be quite slow during peak hours.
 

 Good to know:
You are likely to come across controllers in most means of transports, including the Metro system. They are strict, and will not hesitate to issue fines if you are unable to present a validated ticket, so be sure to hold on to yours after passing through the ticket barriers.
Useful transport apps
The official transport organisation for Paris known as RATP has its own official app which includes useful options for journey planning, the latest alerts and maps. Another helpful app is Citymapper, which has comprehensive journey planning information and includes all Paris transport options including trains, Metro, bus, Velib stations and more.
Taxis and taxi-hailing apps
Paris has an extensive network of “Taxis Parisiens”. These vehicles are equipped with a meter and fares cannot be negotiated with drivers. Simply hail any taxi with a green light showing. Drivers sometimes have a reputation for being grumpy, and often might even refuse clients for short rides. If they do, know that it is illegal for a driver to refuse a client. In spite of repeated requests to clamp down on Uber-like services, there is still an extensive offering of taxis which can be booked through apps. While Uber is very popular, “Chauffeur Privé” is its French equivalent and offers top-notch service as well as a frequent user program.

Parisian sharing schemes

Vélib is the name of Paris’ bike-sharing scheme and has proved extremely popular in Paris. There are more than 1400 stations across the city at which users can find and dock their bikes.  
It is best to pre-register online before using the system. However, it is possible to pay at Vélib stations with a credit card. Recently updated, the Vélib fleet of bicycles now includes 30% electric bikes to help with Paris’ more hard-to-reach neighbourhoods. Membership is affordable at €3.10 per month for non-electric bikes, while for short trips a 1- or 7- day pass is the perfect option. Vélib is available 24/7.

Bicycle lanes are becoming more and more common in central Paris, making cycling safer for everyone. That being said, central Paris is a big city with heavy traffic, so be mindful of your surroundings if you are using a Velib, and avoid very crowded areas.

The somewhat troubled update of the Vélib system in 2018 brought a whole host of alternative sharing options to Paris, including electric scooters which have proved popular. Unlike the Vélib system, these scooters have no docking system and can simply be picked up where found, via the relevant operator’s app on a smartphone.

CityScoot offers another sharing scheme in Paris, this time for electric Vesper-like scooters, with no subscription, and payment-per-minute. Available via the CityScoot app.

  Useful links:

RATP
Velib
City Scoot

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