Paris Transit Options

water taxi

Here is information about Paris transit passes. (Please note that fares change, so check the RATP website directly for latest information and fares.) Tickets and passes are available in métro and bus stations, as well as RER and train stations, and kiosks at Orly and Charles de Gaulle Airport. You’ll also find a link at the end for a listing of other places in Paris to buy transit tickets and passes.

Please note that many of the métro stations have changed and the people in the ticket booth no longer sell tickets. The major stations, however, are still manned by cashiers. Most of the transactions are now done by bilingual machines which don’t take American credit cards, although the machines they do take cash and coins in euros. I recommend bringing exact change in coins when you go.

Also prices are subject to change and for the most up-to-date information, follow the links provided to check on prices directly at the website(s).

Paris passes are generally good for zones 1 and 2, which are sufficient for most visitors. Tickets to the airports or to Versailles (which are other zones) are best purchased separately since you will likely only be making that trip once or twice, which isn’t enough to justify the higher-priced pass

In my opinion, if your arrival dates jibe with the ones for the Navigo Découverte, that’s the best pass as it allows unlimited travel so you don’t have to fumble and worry with tickets and transfers.

It’s only valid Monday-Sunday and you’ll need to purchase a one-time card (€5), but most visitors who come for the week will likely use more than the ten tickets in the carnet, and you can simply recharge the Navigo Découverte card on subsequent visits.

Individual Métro and Bus Tickets

Single tickets (€1.70), available in métro and train stations, as well as from bus drivers and other agencies. Note that tickets purchased from drivers cannot be used for transfers.

Carnet

Ten tickets (€13,30) are available as a carnet, which can be purchased in métro and train stations and in Tabacs showing a RATP sticker or sign. Called T+ Tickets, they’re good for ten rides anywhere on the métro, bus, or RER within Paris, and transfers. But you can’t transfer from bus to métro, or vice-versa. Tickets are good indefinitely and can be split amongst others, and used on subsequent trips.

Navigo Découverte

This one-week pass is available to anyone and is only valid from Monday mornings through Sunday evenings. These replace the Carte Orange. You must first buy a card and pay a one-time fee (€5) and have a stamp-sized photo (approximately 25mm x 30mm), which does not need to be passport quality. There are photo machines in some métro stations but I recommend bringing one from home, if you can.

These passes can be purchased in any métro or train station, as well as certain agencies within Paris and at the airports. Then you can pay by the week (€19,80) or by the month by reloading the card, as desired.

Carte Mobilis

You can buy a one-day pass, called a Carte Mobilis at any métro station or other agencies. Price is €6.10 per day, which will pay for itself after just three rides. No ID is required.

Vélib’

The Vélib’ program is a shared-bike program which allows use of public bicycles in 30-minute increments. Visitors can purchase a day pass (€1) or a week pass (€5) at the automatic kiosks at the bike stations.

Note that you can only purchase tickets if you have a credit card embedded with a microchip, which most American credit cards don’t have. You can read more about them at Vélib’ Bikes in Paris.

Paris Visite

A Paris Visite pass can be valid for one (€9.30), two (€15.20), three (€20.70), and five (€29.90) days. You don’t need a photo and they can be valid for any consecutive days that you wish.

With this pass, you can get some discounts and reduced admissions for museums, sights, and spectacles, such as the Lido, as well as others.

In my opinion, these are rather expensive and you’ll do better buying a carnet of tickets or a Navigo Découverte, unless you’ll be using the transit a lot during those few days and/or you plan to visit several of those places to take advantage of the discount. For convenience, you can purchase a Paris Visite online, in advance (from places such as RailEurope and Discover France), for an additional fee. If going that route, it pays to shop around as prices vary.

(Please note that I’m not affiliated with either of those links or sites. They’re purely for informational purposes only.)

Paris Museum Pass

Not a transit pass, but the Paris Museum Pass is available as a two (€32), four (€48) or six (€64) day pass that allows discount admission to museums and major monuments. Another feature is there are special lines for admission, allowing you faster entrance.

It’s worth doing some calculation to see if the Paris Museum Pass is worth it to you. Because some exhibitions in Paris are crowded, being about to jump the queue (officially!) does have a certain value: if you’re planning to go to a lot of museums, it might be a worthwhile investment.

(Prices mentioned above are subject to change, as well as conditions.)

smallest car in paris?

Related Paris Transit Links:

List of Places Where Métro Tickets & Passes Are Available

Paris Visite

Paris Airport Transfers

RATP Fares

Public Transit Fares from Airports

RATP Information (in English)

Official Navigo Website (in French)

Vélib’ Information (in English)

Favorite Travel Necessities

Paris Bicycle Tours

Navigo Découverte

Paris Travel Tips (Archives)

Recommended Paris Dining and Travel Guides

31 comments

  • Never heard of the Voguéo – looks like a great way to see the city from a different perspective on a nice day.
    Great information. Thanks!

  • You forgot the Mobilis one-day passes, cost €5.50 per day for zones 1-2 (you can get them for other zones as well, if you want to go to Versailles, for instance). We bought them every day while we were in Paris last month, as we were only there for 3 days. Well worth the money – valid on buses, Métro, Tramway, RER…..

    Thanks! I looked around the RATP site and didn’t see them, so figured they were discontinued. But I did more searching and found them. Will add. merci! x -dl

  • I understand that Paris Velib bike share/rent program is so successful that Boston Mayor Tom Menino has sent someone to Paris to look into the detail of the program to see about its feasibility for Boston. There was a recent article in the Boston Globe about that in the past week.

  • We were in Paris three weeks ago, for a week, and the Museum Pass was very much worth it for us. The only thing we went to do that the Pass DIDN’T cover was the tower at Sacre Coeur. We purchased the six-day pass, and we used it every day.

    Of course, it completely depends on your itinerary, but it was money well spent for us.

  • What an excellent summary! I think that the Velib kiosks accept Amex. I would also remind people to hang on to their metro ticket while riding on the off chance that the authorities come through — I think it’s a €50 fine on the spot if you’re caught without it. Ouch.

  • I first read the title of this post as “Paris Transit Onions.” Can you write that post next?

  • Great info. Thanks! We usually get the carnet—works for our family of four.

    No wonder my friend who just went there couldn’t rent a bike using her American credit card. I’ll let her know.

  • thanks for the info, david. very well timed, as i am coming to paris on thursday.

  • Wow. Things have changed more than a bit!
    Thanks for the update.

  • Check out the ticket jeunes week-end too if you’re under 26 – it’s cheaper than the Mobilis: http://www.ratp.info/informer/ticket_jeune.php. We got a bit confused with the Navigo pass last year, when I sadly relinquished my Carte Orange from 1981 – we bought the plastic pass but realized that we didn’t have the actual ticket to debit the fare – we were traveling almost exclusively on the bus and just thought that the error sign was the system working out its kinks! Good thing we had no controleurs around!
    ITA that the museum pass is key for cutting the line, especially at Orsay. It doesn’t cover Jacquemart-Andre or Marmottan, but it’s worth it, particularly if you structure your museum visits within particular neighborhoods (e.g., Picasso and the Jewish Museum, Rodin and Orangerie).

  • Thank you so much–I am visiting Paris in a month, and have tucked this very useful information away!

  • When I was a ninth grader in Germany (my dad was stationed there) my French class took a long weekend trip to Paris. We got Metro Passes and had a blast riding to all the typical touristy spots sans our chaperones. That was back in 1974 (!!!) and about the only French I remember is “une serviette, sil vous plait!”

  • The Navigo website says that it is only for people who reside or work in Paris.

  • For people who have an iphone, there is a very good metro plan app.

  • David, this is a great piece. I had been putting off a similar article for the better part of the year now, because it was too dry of a topic. Well done!

    I love that you included Roux Libre. That was my favorite form of transportation while in Paris, and if you are planning to use the bike for more than 1/2 hour at a time it is significantly more cost effective than Velib.

    Vogueo debuted a few weeks after my visit last May, so I didn’t get to try it out. I did notice that you left out the Batobus as a form of transportation. I was intrigued by the Batobus idea and traveling via the Seine, but I haven’t tried it yet. How do the two compare?

    Cheers,

    ~ Paula

  • Great post. Great useful information. The only thing I would add is if you buy a multi-use card, be sure to carry a couple of spare single tickets with you because the passes don’t always work. If you jump the turnstiles when it doesn’t work, and you are caught, there are no excuses accepted and there is a rather large fine (€40 – €50).

  • Lourdes: There are 2 Navigo cards. The ‘découverte’ card is available to anyone, regardless of where you live, so anyone can get one (with a €5 fee.)

    Paula: The Batobus used to be the price of a métro ticket (if I remember correctly) but they’ve spun it off into something more for visitors/tourists rather than an actual transit option….although it’s not a bad way of getting around. I believe a day pass costs €11.

    Sandra: In spite of their reputation, Parisians are actually pretty considerate of bicycles, treating them as regular vehicles. My experience in America was that cars felt that bikes were a nuisance, and I’m more afraid of riding in the states than I am in Paris.

    starman1695: I’ve not had my card refused but if you do get stopped and have a card that’s valid, the controllers should (theoretically!) let you off.

    Barbra & Sinda: Some US credit cards do have a puce, the microchip that allows you to rent a Vélib’ bike. There’s a rumor they’re fixing the system so it can accept US credit cards, but I don’t know for sure.

  • since I am completely hopeless at languages, afraid of the metro, i prefer to beat the streets using me feet!!

  • Great info David. I was in Paris in January for a week. Fortunately my dates matched up with the Monday to Sunday so I could use the Navigo Decouverte with the weekly pass. It was great and saved lots of time and money.

    I will caution all your readers that use this option to make sure they attach their passport photo. I hadn’t and then was stopped by a (somewhat) forgiving controlleur who reprimanded me for not doing it. Otherwise it was great.

    As for the Museum Pass, I got a 4 day one and it was great. It is worth checking the opening days of the attractions you want to visit though and ensure that you make sure that your start date is the one that gets you the best usage out of it.

  • David, some good info here.
    The whole credit-card-and-‘puce’ thing is a real issue…
    One thing I’ve realized is that if you’re planning on flying in to Paris/CDG and then getting on the RER to go into Paris, that it really really helps if you can bring enough Euro coins to buy your ticket. I don’t know if things have changed, but it used to be that, at CDG2, you had to get into a line w/people buying tickets for the TGV, which takes forever.
    The other thing I’ve found is that many trips that people take on the metro are actually very walkable.

  • I love your scooter picture. That’s how I park my Vespa lol.

  • This is useful information.Thankyou! Might be able to afford to do some travelling soon! :D

  • Another major puce issue is trying to buy gas in the countryside at night or on Sundays: many of the stations are completely automated, don’t have an attendant, and don’t accept puce-less cards. Can be a problem!

    I’ve never had an Amex card that had a puce.

  • It is unfortunate that the Carte Orange no longer exists. When we stayed in Paris December/Jan 07/08 it was the most useful thing in the world to us but I believe they were then in the process of phasing them out.

    Re: Paris Museum Pass. We calculated that we wouldn’t save anything buying passes to cover our stay (particularly since I have the unfortunately/fortunately ability to hear the words ‘enfant’ and ‘gratis’ at most ticketing booths). Although were were in Paris for 5 weeks and visited many places covered by the pass over that time, we only purchased a 4 day Pass during the peak week before christmas when the lines seemed to increase 10 fold over night so we could jump the lines.

    I wish I was a reader of your site before my trip. Now I want to go back and visit all these places you feature. You should be getting a commission from the french tourism authority!

  • David, I think a single t+ ticket costs 1,60 euro and not 1,40. As you mention justly, a carnet is 11,40.

  • Elsa: As mentioned in the post (above), prices and conditions are subject to change.

    So I’ve given links, wherever possible, to the sites which should list the current tarifs for tickets.

  • Great compilation of information!
    I’m sad to see that the Carte d’Orange option is gone as it was perfect for our students who go to Paris for a complete month in July and make use of the Metro on a daily basis.
    Now, we would like to purchase the month-long Navigo for them, however we ran into issues trying to get them for the students last year as the ticket sellers said they needed a Paris residence.

    Researching this now, I see this is not the case.
    Do you know of any way to purchase a large number (45 or so) of the passes prior to our students arriving if we have their photos (now that I know Paris address are not required?) If we can’t purchase them prior to leaving the US, do you think it would be possible to purchase a large number of the Navigo passes from an office there so we could distribute them to the students when they arrive and have them sign them…or do you think our request for 45 passes with no students present at the time of purchase will be met with raucous Parisian laughter?

  • I would go to one of the Navigo offices (there is one in the Bastille station) and buy them there. Go at off-hours, give yourself plenty of time, and bring all the required information. I don’t believe you need photos any longer.

  • David,
    Someone mentioned that Velib might take US issued Amex cards. Do you know if this is the case? I was there last year and the bikes looked like such a handy way to get around! I plan on returning this year and want to be able to rent them.
    Thanks,
    Xochitl

  • Hi David,

    I’m heading to Paris in September and want to get a Navigo Decouverte. I’m planning on bringing a photo with me as I can imagine it will be easier then trying to use the automated photo booth in the station. What I’m wondering is if I need to bring any tape to afix the photo to the card or if this is provided for in the offices?

    Thanks so much for you site!
    Emily

  • Emily: I believe there is a peel-off sticker that they use to affix the photo. I don’t have one, as my card is permanent, but I am pretty certain that’s the case. (Things have a way of changing around here without notice, though.)

    For more information you can visit the Carte Navigo website for details for the photo size, and more. Have a good trip!