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If you're going to travel underground you need a map. While there are good Metro maps mounted on the walls of all the Paris Metro stations, you're going to need your own map to help you plot your route before you jump on a train.
Our favorite way to carry around a Metro map is for it to be in a guide book or Paris Map book.
That way we've got everything covered — from streets to public transportation.
We tend to like smaller books that fit in a pocket or purse, and lighter books that aren't a burden to carry around. Here we review the Paris maps and guides that we think have the most useful Metro maps included.
Michelin is the premier name in Paris maps. This is an easy-to-carry map of Paris, arranged by the areas of Paris. Each double-page map includes an inset map showing all the arrondissements as well as the specific area that page covers.
There are 144 pages of maps, index, and appendices. Except for the legend pages, the book is in French, although that's not a real problem for a map book!
The Metro map is very good. It covers a two-page spread right at the back of the book, so it's very easy to find. This Metro map Paris shows all the lines of the Metro, the RER and the tramway. We like the fact that the Metro lines are presented on a map of Paris, so you have a real idea of where each line runs. We like this "human" approach much better than the "graphic" versions that seem to want to impress us with thier design rather than their usefulness.
Also included are smaller-scale RER and rail maps, bus maps and bus info, and airport information.
TimeOut Shortlist is a combo map/guide book that covers the city by area. For each area there is included a very good small map. It's sort of a condensed version of their larger guide, but we like it better, it's easier to carry around.
The Metro map is particularly good. The back cover tri-folds out into a useful Metro map in an easy-to-read size. This map is in the modern, graphic style, but still good.
More than the Metro map, though, this is a good guide to have around. It's used by both visitors and Parisians, and we often use it to find a nearby lunch spot wherever we are in Paris.
RATP, the operator of the Metro, RER and bus lines in Paris, has a very useful tool on their website.
It's an interactive route-plotting tool that lets you put in your point of origin and your destination, and then returns the best route for you. You can choose to travel by rail or by bus, you can choose to find the quickest route or the route with the fewest changes.
Instead of just accepting Metro stations, the interactive Metro map Paris tool lets you input your apartment or hotel address as well as the exact address you are going to.