This guide walks you through how to use the public transit in including the Paris metro, trams, buses and commuter train. We also cover how to get your Navigo pass.
Step 1: Buy a ticket
Before you can use public transit in Paris, you need to buy a ticket. There are several options for buying tickets, including paper tickets and the Navigo pass.
Where to buy a ticket
You can buy paper tickets at any metro, RER or tramway station, and when boarding buses.
When buying tickets in a Metro station, the machines accept credit and debit cards, coins and cash.
Tickets can be also be found at Paris Tourist information centers and sometimes at newsstands or tobacco vendors (“tabacs”).
The Navigo pass is a contactless smart card that can be loaded with various types of tickets and passes. If you are planning on living in Paris, you should acquire a Navigo pass as it works out cheaper and more convenient.
What ticket to buy
The type of ticket you should buy depends on several factors, including how long you will be staying in Paris, how often you plan to use public transit, and which zones you will be traveling in.You have two options when using public transit in Paris.
The Navigo pass is a contactless smart card that can be loaded with various types of tickets and passes. There are several options available, including the Navigo Découverte, Navigo Semaine, Navigo Mois, and Navigo Annuel.
- Navigo Découverte: This is a non-personalized pass that can be purchased by anyone. It costs €5 for the card itself, and then you can load it with a weekly or monthly pass. The weekly pass (Navigo Semaine) costs €22.80 for all zones, and the monthly pass (Navigo Mois) costs €75.20 for all zones.
- Navigo Semaine: This is a weekly pass that allows unlimited travel within selected zones from Monday to Sunday. It costs €22.80 for all zones.
- Navigo Liberté: You are charged €1.69 per journey and are debited monthly depending on usage. This pass is not eligible for employer compensation.
- Navigo Mois: This is a monthly pass that allows unlimited travel within selected zones from the first to the last day of the month. It costs €75.20 for all zones. Your employer will compensate half the cost of the pass.
- Navigo Annuel: This is an annual pass that allows unlimited travel within selected zones for one year. It costs €827.20 for all zones if paid in full upfront, or €73 per month if paid in monthly installments. However, your employer will compensate half the cost of this pass also.
In addition to the Navigo passes, there are also single-use tickets available for use on public transit in Paris.
- t+ ticket: This is the most common type of single-use ticket. It can be used for a single journey on the metro, RER (within Paris), bus, tramway, or funicular. A single t+ ticket costs €1.90 if purchased individually, or €14.90 for a book of ten tickets (“carnet”).
- Mobilis day pass: This is a day pass that allows unlimited travel within selected zones for one day. The price varies depending on the zones selected, ranging from €7.50 for zones 1-2 to €17.80 for zones 1-5.
- Paris Visite pass: This is a tourist pass that allows unlimited travel within selected zones for 1-5 days. The price varies depending on the number of days and zones selected, ranging from €12 for a 1-day pass for zones 1-3 to €65.80 for a 5-day pass for zones 1-5.
How to get a Navigo pass
- Visit a sales location: To acquire a Navigo card, you can visit any metro, RER, or Transilien station, or any RATP or SNCF sales office.
- Provide a photo: You will need to provide a passport-sized photo to be used on your Navigo card.
- Pay the fee: There is a fee of €5 for the Navigo card itself. You can pay this fee at the sales location.
- Choose your pass: Once you have the Navigo card, you can choose which type of pass to load onto it. There are several options available, including the Navigo Semaine (weekly pass), Navigo Mois (monthly pass), and Navigo Annuel (annual pass).
- Load your pass: After choosing your pass, you can load it onto your Navigo card at the sales location. You will need to pay for the pass at this time.
- Start using public transportation: Once your Navigo card is loaded with a pass, you can start using it on public transportation in Paris and the surrounding Île-de-France region. Simply tap your card on the validation target when entering a metro or RER station or boarding a bus or tram.
Paris uses a zonal system with six circular zones radiating out from the center. Zone 1 covers the city of Paris, and zones 2-5 surround it. For example, zone 5 includes Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, and Disneyland Paris. You need to assess which zones you will use before buying your respective tickets.
There are several options for ticket duration, including single-use tickets, day passes, multi-day passes, weekly passes, and monthly passes. However, the best option for you will depend on how long you will be staying in Paris and how often you plan to use public transit.
There are several types of tickets available for use on public transit in Paris. The most popular is the t+ ticket, which can be used for a single journey on the metro and costs €1.90. It can be used on the RER (within Paris), bus, tramway, or funicular.
In addition to the t+ ticket, there are several types of passes available for use on public transit in Paris. These include the Mobilis day pass, which allows unlimited travel within selected zones for one day; the Paris Visite pass, which allows unlimited travel within selected zones for 1-5 days; and the Navigo pass, which is available in weekly and monthly versions and allows unlimited travel within selected zones.
If you get caught without a ticket
If you are caught using public transit without a valid ticket or pass, you will be subject to a fine. The amount of the fine varies depending on the type of violation and when it is paid. For example, if you are caught without a ticket or pass on the metro or RER within Paris, the fine is €35 if paid directly to the ticket inspector or within 7 days (or within 20 days online), €65 if paid within 60 days, and €180 if paid after 60 days
Step 2: Validate your ticket
Once you have purchased your ticket or loaded your Navigo pass with the appropriate fare product, you need to validate it before using public transit. This is done by inserting your paper ticket into the slot on the turnstile or by holding your Navigo pass against the purple validation target.
It is important to validate your ticket or pass every time you enter a metro or RER station or board a bus or tram. This not only ensures that you have paid the correct fare but also helps prevent fare evasion.
Step 3: Use public transport
Once you have validated your ticket or pass, you are ready to use public transport in Paris.
Go in the right direction
When using the metro or RER, it is important to make sure that you are going in the right direction. Each line has two directions, indicated by the name of the last station on that line. For example, line nine is called “Pont de Sèvres/Mairie de Montreuil” because it travels from the station Mairie de Montreuil in the east of the city to Pont de Sèvres station in the west.
Take the bus or tram
In addition to the metro and RER, Paris also has an extensive network of buses and trams. These can be a good option for getting around the city if there is no convenient metro or RER station nearby.
To take a bus or tram in Paris, simply board at any stop and validate your ticket or pass using the validation machine onboard. Buses have front and rear doors; you should board at the front door if you need to buy a ticket from the driver.
Public transport options
There are several options for using public transport in Paris.
Within the city of Paris, the most common modes of public transport are the metro and bus. Also, the metro is a fast and efficient way to get around the city, with 16 lines and over 300 stations. The bus network is also extensive, with over 350 lines providing coverage throughout the city.
If you need to travel outside the city of Paris, you can use the RER or Transilien trains. These are regional trains that connect Paris to the surrounding suburbs and beyond. There are five RER lines and several Transilien lines, providing fast and convenient service to destinations such as Versailles, Disneyland Paris, and Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports.
Employer contribution to transportation costs
Known in French as “Prise en charge des frais de transport par l’employeur”. Employers are required by law to cover 50% of the cost of their employees’ public transportation passes, including the Navigo pass. This applies to all Navigo passes, including the weekly (Navigo Semaine), monthly (Navigo Mois), and annual (Navigo Annuel) passes.
To take advantage of this benefit, employees need to provide their employer with proof of purchase of their Navigo pass. However, this must be done by presenting the receipt or invoice for the pass, or by providing a copy of the pass itself. The employer will then reimburse the employee for 50% of the cost of the pass.
This benefit is available to all employees, regardless of whether they work full-time or part-time, and regardless of the size of the company they work for. It is intended to encourage the use of public transportation and reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.
The RATP (Paris public transport operator) provides a range of services to help people with disabilities use public transit. These include a telephone helpline (
3424) and a dedicated website section.
In addition, the RATP offers a reduced fare for people with disabilities who hold a valid disability card. This allows them to travel at a discounted rate on all forms of public transit in Paris.
However, if you have a disability and need assistance using public transit in Paris, you can contact the RATP for more information on the services and facilities available. You can also check their website or mobile app for real-time information on the accessibility of stations and trains.
Here are some resources that you might find helpful:
- RATP – Official website of the RATP (Paris public transport operator), with information on accessibility services and facilities.
- Île-de-France Mobilités – A service provided by Île-de-France Mobilités (the transport authority for the Paris region) that provides information on the accessibility of public transit in the region.
Other ways to get around
In addition to public transit, there are several other ways to get around Paris.
Rent a bicycle
Paris has a public bicycle-sharing system called Vélib’ Métropole. You can rent a bicycle from any Vélib’ station and return it to any other station in the network. This is a convenient and eco-friendly way to get around the city. Be aware however that some bike stations may have poorly maintained bikes, so always check the condition of the bike before you rent it.
Vélib also offers monthly or yearly passes.
Rent a scooter
Electric scooters are also available for rent in Paris. Several companies, including Lime, Tier and Bolt, offer scooter-sharing services. You can use their app to locate and unlock a scooter, then ride it to your destination and leave it there for the next user. However take caution when using scooters in Paris as accidents can occur.
Finally, Parisians voted to ban rental electric scooters, with 90% of votes being in favor of the ban. However it is not clear when the ban will be enforced.
Rent a moped
If you prefer something with a bit more power, you can rent a moped in Paris. Several companies offer moped rentals, like Cityscoot. However you will need a valid driver’s license to rent a moped.
Rent a car
If you need more flexibility or want to travel further afield, you can rent a car in Paris. There are many car rental companies operating in the city, including major international brands such as Hertz, Avis, and Virtuo.
Call a taxi
Taxis are also available in Paris. You can hail a taxi on the street or call one using a taxi app such as G7 or LeCab. Taxis in Paris are metered, so the fare will depend on the distance traveled and the time of day.
Ride-sharing services such as Uber and Bolt are also available in Paris. You can use their app to request a ride from your current location to your destination. The fare will be calculated based on the distance traveled and the time of day.
Bicycles on public transit
You are allowed to bring bicycles on some forms of public transit in Paris. On the RER and Transilien trains, bicycles are allowed at all times except during peak hours (Monday to Friday from 6:30 am to 9:00 am and from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm). However, on the metro, bicycles are only allowed on line 1 on Sundays and public holidays.
Dogs on public transit
Dogs are allowed on public transit in Paris under certain conditions. Small dogs that can be carried in a bag or basket are allowed on all forms of public transit at no extra charge. However, larger dogs must be leashed and muzzled and are charged a child fare.