Getting Around Paris by Public Transport

Getting Around Paris by Public Transport

From the second you arrive in Paris be it by airplane, train, coach or even car, getting around on public transport in Paris couldn’t be easier. Our apartments in Paris are near public transportation lines.

The whole network (RATP) is integrated allowing the use of a single ticket for most journeys enabling a swift and simple journey from A to B. The system is made up of the Métro (underground), bus, RER (suburban express railway) which connects with the Métro inside Paris and two over ground tramways. Paris and its suburbs are split into 8 zones with zones 1 and 2 covering the central city area. The SNCF and TGV are served at mainline stations on the edges of the city centres and serve the areas according to their geographical location in the city and name of the station i.e. Gare de Lyon (in the south east of the city) would serve directions and suburbs towards Lyon and on to Burgundy, Alps and Italy.

Metro and RER

One of the best underground transport systems in the world, Paris has a very comprehensive underground system that starts in the central area of the city and radiates outwards towards the suburbs in all directions. The Métro system runs from about 0500h to 1240h depending on the line. Each line is numbered and directions of trains are named after the last stop, making it simple to determine which direction a train is heading – pay attention to lines that split if you need a stop on a branch. The orange correspondence signs indicate connections – though some can be a long walk notably Châtelet Les Halle, Républiique and Montparnasse-Bienvenüe. Most lines run from the central area out to the suburbs with the exception of lines 6 and 2 that serve the inner suburbs and form a loop, for travelling across an arrondissement (an area of the city that starts at 1 near Notre Dame and spirals outwards to the 20th at Porte de Montreuil) it may be better to catch a bus. The Visit Paris by Métro is the official application for the Paris metro station and is available for iphones and android phones at the RATP site below.


Buses are a great way to see the streets of Paris and get a real feel for the city, something that is often missed when travelling on the Métro. Traffic can sometimes be a problem and in the summer there’s a chance it gets pretty warm. Buses run from about 0630h to 2030h and some until 0030h from Monday through to Saturday with a limited service on Sundays. A night bus service called Noctambus runs from Place du Châtelet to the suburbs when buses and the Métro have finished. Travel passes are accepted and single tickets can be purchased on the bus allowing one change. Métro tickets and passes are valid on buses and night buses alike – you should validate your ticket in the machine next to the driver or show your travel pass to the driver, stops served by the Noctambus are labelled with an owl logo. Single journey tickets can also be purchased from the driver on the bus as well.


Some of Paris’ attractions are not served by the Métro and will require a journey on the RER, these include Le Chateau de Versailles and Disneyland Paris and the airports of Orly and Charles de Gaulle. Destinations further afield can be reached using the SNCF and the speedy TGV making a day trip to Lille a possibility if you’ve seen everything in Paris. Tickets can be purchased at any main online station regardless if you are departing from that particular station or they can be booked online in advance. If you get a train ensure you validate your ticket in a composteur machine located next to the platforms otherwise you may be subject to a hefty fine.


An excellent alternative to the Métro or bus if you’re are staying near the river is the Batobus, a regular service that runs up and down the Seine from The Eiffel Tower to Les Jardin des Plantes and stops at many of the nearby attractions including Champs-Elyséss, Louvre, Notre Dame and Musée D’Orsay. Day tickets cost about €16 for an adult and €6.50 for a child. Many of our apartments are situated close to the river.


There are two suburban Tramway systems that run from la Defense to Issy-Val de Seine and from Bobigny Pablo Picasso to St-Denis and connect with the RER, as well as the Métro. Tickets and fares are the same as buses and passes and travel cards are accepted.

Ticket Types

There are several options available for purchasing tickets for the RATP system. The simplest option is to purchase a Paris Visite pass for however number of days you are visiting. These can be purchased for either zones 1-3 or 1-5 and are valid for 1, 3 or 5 days. If you know that you’ll be spending most of your time in the centre then a zone 1-3 should suffice though you would need to buy a separate ticket for journeys to and from the airport and out to places like Versailles or Disneyland. The card also offers discounts at many attractions across the city including museums and restaurants – see the RATP link below for details. Another option is purchase a t+ or carnet of tickets that are a book of ten tickets permitting a 90 minute journey in one direction with transfers allowed – this makes sense if you will be making just a few journeys on the Métro.

If you plan to stay in Paris for a full week or longer with lots of travelling then it may be worth your while to invest in a Carte Orange: a commuters travel pass (requires a passport size photo) that is available for durations of either a week or a month for specific zones – the equivalent of the London Oyster card.


Taxis are readily available in Paris at any time of the day, though tend to become less frequent very late on. As with other cabs around the world a white light indicates an available taxi and an orange light indicates that the taxi is occupied. Tipping is not necessary although most people will round up to the nearest Euro. Taxi ranks have a blue sign, rarely take more than 3 passengers at a time and can only refuse to go in a particular direction in the last half hour of service.

  • – English version of the RATP site
  • – English version of the Batobus site