Results tagged RER from David Lebovitz

Paris Safety Tips

Leave Us Alone!

Paris is a relatively safe city, as cities go, and recently, I was having a discussion with someone about places to be wary about traveling to and was told that the only place in the world that they felt unsafe was in….San Francisco. (And they were from Naples!) So anything can happen anywhere in the world and petty crime sometimes occurs in places where you don’t expect it, like museums, hotel dining rooms, and restaurants.

Sometimes it’s just bad luck. Other times, it’s a lapse of common sense. For example, if you wear fancy jewels or tote a pricey handbag on the métro, there is probably someone on there that loves your gold Rolex as much as you do. On public transit, it’s especially easy to “grab and go” things because once the doors shut and the train pulls away, the damage is done. (If that does happen to you, notify the driver at the next station; sometimes they will call security for you and alert others on the train to be careful.) In cases where your wallet is stolen, they will sometimes remove the cash right away and toss everything else in the trash, or even on the ground, as it’s hard to prove that a wad of cash is stolen. So sometimes you do get your wallet back. (A friend had the wallet lifted from her purse, which was next to her in a restaurant. After the diner next to her quickly left before eating, when she realized what had happened, the waitress found her wallet on the ground just outside.)

Wily pickpockets blend in well. It’s easy to categorize people by how they dress or look, or their nationality, but pros know how to mix in. Someone who leads tours in Italy pointed out the pickpockets at her outdoor market, some posing as young couples on their honeymoon and I never would have suspected a thing. I’ve shooed away a few young women “tourists”, looking lost as they tried to read their maps in Barcelona, using the maps to cover up their hands as they rifled through people’s belonging. I’ve seen the same ruse in Paris and it’s a shame that we have to be careful when helping someone who is ostensibly lost.

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Paris Apps

I am accro (hooked) on my smartphone and when friends told me right before I got it, about how it would change my life, I was skeptical. But the moment I started figuring out all the features and downloading apps, it became an integral part of my life. And like many things, the rest of the world has adapted to the phones and enterprising folks have created a myriad of applications for them.

Here are some of the apps that I have on my smartphone. Because they rely on a relatively new technology, in some you might encounter bugs and glitches. Some are free and others cost. But I’ve come to realize that with “free”, you sometimes get what you pay for – some of the free ones are ad-supported – (I have no commercial affiliation with any of these apps) and am happy to pay a few bucks for an application that I’ll use – like a good French dictionary. Which I am sure the rest of the people in France appreciate me having as well.

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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.

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Paris Transit Tickets: Navigo Decouverte

Métro Sign

(Please note that fares may increase. These were updated in 2013. Check the RATP website for the most up-to-date fare information.)

For passes, you will just need zone 1 and 2 tickets if you are staying in Paris.

Carte Navigo

For Paris transit, visitors who are non-residents can buy weekly Navigo Découverte passes, which presently costs €19,80, plus a one-time fee of €5; for the cost of the pass, which is reusable for future visits.

You must bring a photo. There are photo machines in some of the métro stations, but I strongly urge guests to bring a stamp-sized photo from home where you’re less-stressed, since the machines require correct change, may be confusing, and sometimes don’t work. (If you press the wrong button, you might get a 10-inch close up of your nostrils.) It doesn’t need to be passport-quality, so any snapshot will do.

Carnets of Tickets and The New Ticket t+

Carnets of 10 tickets, as always, are also available at métro stations for €13,30; and in Tabacs. Bravo to the new Ticket t+ that allows you 1½ hours to transfer between buses, trams, or métros…although not between the bus and métro systems for some reason. Tickets sold onboard buses can’t be used for transfers, which are marked sans correspondance.

Individual tickets are available as well for €1,70, but the carnet is a better deal and any unused tickets can be saved for your next trip. Or given to a friendly American fellow who lives there.

Where To Buy

Weekly Navigo cards are available at SNCF train stations and métro stations manned by cashiers, as well as métro stations with an actual RATP office.

(Most of the regular métro stations have gone to electronic machines which take cash and some credit cards if they have a puce, or microchip, which replaced human cashiers. Larger métro stations, for the most part, still have cashiers to buy tickets and Navigo Découverte cards.)

What About a Paris Visite Card?

You can also buy a Paris Visite card which costs substantially more but can start or begin on any day. They’re available in 1 (8.5€), 2 (14€), 3 (19€), and 5 (27.5€) denominations. The Paris Visite card offers discounts on various monuments, museums, and other attractions, plus 25% off the Bateaux Parisiens boat, so they’re not necessarily a bad deal. You can buy them online, in advance from a third-party, or during your stay.

(All prices listed are subject to change.)

UPDATE: You can find more information at my post: Paris Transit Options.

More Paris Travel Links and Tips

Official Navigo website

Transilien French Train Information (in English)

Navigo Decouverte Information

Which Paris airport transfers to use

Some of my favorite Paris Travel and Dining Guides

Navigo to Carte Orange details on the RATP site. (The site is in French, although some information is available in English by clicking on the British flag.)

List and links for Paris Cooking Classes

Confused about how much to tip in France?

10 Insanely Delicious Things You Shouldn’t Miss in Paris, according to me

More of my Paris Travel Tips

Paris Airport Transfers: Charles de Gaulle/Roissy

Paris airport transportation options

Here’s a list of the various ways for visitors to get to and from the city of Paris from Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), where a majority of international flights arrive and depart from. (Note that this post was updated in 2015.) Some modes of transit listed also go to Orly airport, where many domestic flights leave and arrive from.

Charles de Gaulle airport (also called Roissy) is undergoing an envigorating renovation, so give yourself extra time to catch public transit and find your way around. Even though they’ve made the airport a bit easier to navigate, it’s still confusing and things aren’t always where you might think they’d logically be. On one trip, a group of us lugging our bags with followed the signs to the airport from the RER station—which led us to a solid brick wall. Ouch! And another time, leaving Paris three hours before our flight via the RER, the shuttle from the RER station near the airport, to the airport terminal, was closed and we were told to wait upstairs at street level for a bus – which never came. By the time we figured a shuttle wasn’t ever coming, we found alternative transport – but ended up missing our flight. However taxis and surface transportation can get stuck in traffic, so nothing is absolutely certain.

Depending on traffic or where you are going or coming from in Paris, the trip can take anywhere from an absolute minimum of 30 minutes – to 1 hour or more. Because schedules, fares, and hours of service change frequently, I suggest you check the website of the mode of transit you prefer for the most up-to-date information. And give yourself plenty of extra time so you don’t miss your flight.

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