Everything You Wanted to Know About Paris Metro Tickets

With Metro tickets you'll be able to zip around Paris with ease. The Paris Metro and bus system is the absolute best way to navigate the city. However, it's important to learn a few tips and techniques. We'll also remind you about the Metro pass.

It's not unusual to see confused groups of tourists in the Metro trying to figure out how to buy tickets or how to use the Metro map. Do your homework and you won't be one of them. These days, almost every station has machines to purchase Metro tickets using either Euros (coins or bills) or a credit card, and instructions are available in English. Once you get the hang of using the Metro, you'll be surprised how much you use it.

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Useful Metro Information

You can find additional helpful information about the Paris Metro in some of other guides —

How to Buy Paris Metro Tickets

How to Buy Paris Metro Tickets

The machines at the Metro stations sell both individual tickets and carnets (a pack of ten tickets, which costs less per ticket). A carnet is around 15€, versus around 2€ for a single ticket.

Instructions are clearly explained in several languages. If you're using a credit card, it must have a password and a chip (puce as they say in Paris). By this method you can buy tickets anytime, day or night, as long as the Metro is open – about 5:00 AM to 12:45 AM.

Each ticket is good for one ride on the Metro, no matter how many changes you have to make. So, you can get from Parc de la Villette (in the far northeast of central Paris) to the sports complex at Porte de St Cloud (in the far southwest) on one ticket! (That entire journey, by the way, takes 45 minutes and only involves one Metro change.)

Metro Travel The Easy Way – The Paris Insiders Pass

Paris Pass

One of the advantages of buying a Paris Insiders Pass is that it includes unlimited Metro travel. (As well as unlimited travle on buses and the RER.) You won't have to worry about buying tickets at the Metro station each time, or wonder if you need to buy another carnet.

The best way to get this Metro pass (which, by the way, is called Paris Visite) is to get ahold of a Paris Insiders Pass while you're planning your trip. Not only does it give us unlimited Metro (and bus and RER) travel within central Paris, you also get free entrance to 60 Paris museums and monuments. There are other special features as well, like a hop-on open-top bus pass.

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How Paris Metro Tickets Work

How Paris Metro Tickets Work

As you enter the Metro station, have your Paris Metro ticket ready. Simply put the ticket into the ticket slot on the turnstile machine. The turnstile will then be ready to push through. Grab your ticket out of the machine and go. (Some stations now have automated sliding doors at the gates.) Don't forget to grab your ticket, you may need to show it to Metro security (to prove you paid). Note, though, that security checks don't happen very often.

There are occasions when the tickets do not work, the magnetic strip fails. If that happens, hang on to that ticket and present it at a Metro station information booth for a replacement. By the way, the tickets are valid forever until you use them.

If you're using the Paris Visite Metro Pass that comes with the Paris Insiders Pass, you have one ticket (a permaticket) that lasts for the entire duration of your pass. There's also an ID card that is part of the package. So just have your Paris Metro Pass ticket ready. That's all you need.

Oh, and don't forget to retrieve your permaticket from the turnstile machine before you pass through into the Metro!

What About the Navigo Card?

Navigo

If you aren't buying the Paris Insiders Pass (which includes the Metro pass), then, for simplicity and stress-free Metro travel, we recommend buying the 10-Metro-ticket packs called carnets. We recommend the carnets over the Metro's Navigo Weekly pass

The Navigo card itself costs five Euros up front, just for the plastic card. In addition, Navigo passes have always required that your photo be attached to the pass package. We are not completely sure that these requirements apply to the new Navigo Weekly pass, but we would expect they do.

The carnet tickets cover the central Paris zones — that is, all the areas you are going to want to visit. The Navigo Weekly includes zones that are outside central Paris, which we bet you would never need.

When we're in Paris for less than a month at a time, we use the carnets. Buying them is simplicity itself — use a credit card at the automated kiosk in virtually any Metro station. (You can select to have the menus displayed in English.) For a one-week visit we figure we might save five or six Euros total if we bought the Navigo instead of carnets, but for the ease of use and purchase, the 10-ticket packs win out for us. (Save any unused tickets to use during your next visit to Paris.)

The Navigo weekly currently costs €22.80 (plus card and photo costs). Two 10-packs of carnets are enough for most travelers staying a week, and that costs €29.80, The carnet tickets are shareable (the pass is not), they don't expire, and they get you to anyplace you want to go in the center of Paris. We always opt for the easy way in Paris!

Paris Metro Etiquette & Safety

Just as in Paris restaurants, there is a certain etiquette observed on the Paris Metro that may be a little different from what you're used to.

  • Speak softly.
  • Don't eat or drink on the Metro.
  • Keep your personal belongings on your body.
  • Move aside for people who are leaving the train.
  • When waiting for a train, leave some space around the doors for departing passengers.
  • As a car fills up, move back when you can to provide space for new passengers.
  • When you have to get around other passengers to leave the train, simply say "pardon" (PAHR-doh) and they will let you by.

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