Planning a trip to Paris, but worried about navigating the Metro? I’ve got you covered! Paris has a robust public transportation system that isn’t as complicated as you think. When I visited Paris with my sister, I was anxious about navigating the transit system, but once we got there, it was actually really easy to get around!

Photo of Paris metro sign

Your first experience with the Paris Metro will probably be getting from the Airport to your hotel. I highly recommend using the metro instead of hiring a car service if you’re comfortable traveling with your bags. Olivia and I each took a carry-on and a personal item, so we had no issues traveling with our luggage.

Traveling from the Airport to the City

Once you get through customs, find the helpdesk or an airport employee to ask which direction to walk for the metro. It’s a good idea to learn some basic phrases in French and always make an effort to speak French when you meet someone new. The French are not rude or obnoxious. What’s obnoxious is going to a different country and expecting everyone to speak English! Grab my French cheatsheet for a full list of the key phrases you need to get around Paris with ease!

At the Metro station hub, head to the train ticket kiosks. You want to get a one way Airport Ticket to Central Paris. There are a few other options you can choose, but if you’re unsure about your transportation needs and frequency, an Airport Ticket will take you right into Central Paris for about 10,30€.

RATP (Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens) is the transportation authority for the Paris Region. Just like the New York City MTA, there are a few transit ticket options depending on your destination, when you arrive to Paris, and when you plan to travel.

Top 3 Ticket Options for Tourists:

Carnet (Stack of 10 Metro t+ Tickets)

Good For:

  • Visitors who arrive at any time
  • Visitors who will be traveling on the metro less than 4x/day
  • Visitors who will be staying less than a week

A carnet of 10 Metro t+ tickets will serve the needs of most tourists in Paris. Each ticket is good for one ride anywhere within central Paris (Zones 1-3). When I visited Paris with my sister in 2017, the Carnet of 10 t+ tickets were perfect for our needs. We stayed in central Paris close to the Lourve and a few other attractions, so we walked most of the time. Try to be strategic with your attraction choices and timing to get the most out of your metro tickets by looking up the hours of operation and distance between nearby attractions. Save your shopping for the end of the day, so you don’t have to waste two tickets to go back and forth from the hotel.

Weekly Navigo Pass

Good for:

  • Visitors who arrive on Sunday evening or Monday morning
  • Visitors who have been to Paris before
  • Visitors who will be traveling on the Metro more than 4x/day
  • Visitors who are staying for one week or more

If you’re a returning tourist who plans on relying on public transportation frequently and you will be in Paris for a week or more, the Navigo Pass is great choice in terms of convenience and cost. The Navigo pass allows unlimited rides on public transportation within Zones 1-5 including the airports. Unlike the tiny cardboard t+ tickets that you have to insert, the Navigo pass is a plastic card that you simply swipe over the reader at the turnstile, which makes it much more convenient than fumbling with the t+ ticket. If you’re traveling on the metro or buses frequently, the Navigo Pass will end up the cheaper choice than purchasing Carnet after Carnet of individual tickets. The only downside to the Navigo pass is that it’s only valid from 12am Monday to 11:59pm Sunday. The 7-day span cannot be customized to when you arrive to Paris, so if you arrive on a Thursday, you might want to consider the Paris Visite Travel Pass below!

Paris Visite Travel Pass

Good For:

  • Visitors who arrive on any day of the week
  • Visitors who will be traveling on the Metro more than 4x/day
  • Visitors who are staying for 5 days

If you missed the window for purchasing a Navigo pass, but want the convenience of unlimited trips, I recommend getting the Paris Visite Travel Pass. The Paris Visite Travel Pass will allow you unlimited rides on public transportation anywhere in your selected zones, so if you’re planning on visiting a bunch of attractions everyday, this travel pass will definitely save you time and some money. It also comes with some great discounts and promotions at popular tourist attractions and museums. This value of this transit pass is truly in the number of trips you plan on making on public transportation and if you will be traveling outside central Paris into Zones 4 and 5. If you’ll be traveling by metro more than 4 times a day and your trip includes a visit to Châtaeu de Versailles or Disneyland Paris, the Paris Visite Travel Pass is a great option!

Pricing (As of Dec. 2019)

  • Metro t+ tickets – 1,90
  • Carnet (10 Metro t+ tickets) – 16,90
  • Airport Tickets (Prices Vary depending on the airport you are traveling from and your mode of transportation.)
    • From CDG to Central Paris via RER – 10,30
  • Paris Visite Travel Pass
    • 5-day Adult Ticket – Zones 1-3 (Central Paris) – 38,35
    • 5-day Adult Ticket – Zones 1-5 (Greater Paris Area) –  65,80
  • Navigo Weekly (+ 5 fee for the plastic card) – 22,80

Since prices can change, be sure to check the RATP website (they have an English language option) to ensure you’ve budgeted enough to cover travel costs.

To my surprise, traveling in Paris by train and bus was much easier than expected. By the end of our first day, my sister and I were pretty comfortable with the main connections to and from our local metro station. Admittedly, the Paris Transit app and google maps helped a ton too! I hope this post helped simplify the different metro ticket options available. Visiting Paris was a trip of a lifetime and an experience I recommend to everyone! Want more travel tips and tricks? Subscribe to my newsletter to stay up to date on my best travel advice!

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