Transport in ParisA Guide to the Choice of Tickets
Which Ticket Should I Buy ?
The Île de France region with Paris at it’s center is a magnet for tourists. The compelling attractions of the City of Light are complemented by the cultural highlights of the Palace of Versaille and the sheer fun of Disneyland Paris. What connects them is an integrated transport system of railways, subway (the Paris Metro), tramways and buses but choosing the best Paris Metro ticket can be a challenging.
Choosing a Ticket
The transport system in the Paris region is provided by a range of tranport operators who provide specific transport services, some in Paris and some in the wider Île de France region.
Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) operate the Paris Metro, some of the RER light railway lines across Paris, buses, trams, the Montmartre Funicular railway and Orlyval link from Orly Airport to the nearest RER rail line.
Transilien is the SNCF rail service which connects the whole of the Île de France region with Paris
If you need more detail on all the different rail services in France we have a post on just that subject.
With multiple transport choices and several transport operators you might think that getting tickets would be complicated. The great news is that the different systems are properly integrated and have a common ticketing system. You just need to think about where you want to go and how many days you want to use the transport system.
So let’s have a look at the various ticket options.
The Metro is the best way to see Paris and an essential part of any trip to the City of Light
Railway stations in Paris provide links to the Metro, RER lines and SNCF Transilien rail network
The T+ Ticket and Carnet
The T+ ticket is the simplest ticket to buy in Paris. You can buy one from ticket machines in all Metro, bus, tram and RER stations. They are valid for one journey on the Metro, the RER lines in Zone 1, the Île de France region’s bus services, trams and even the Montmartre Funicular. You can’t use T+ tickets on the airport bus connections Orlybus or Roissybus and (top tip) you can’t get to La Défence on the RER either as I discovered myself as it’s in Zone 2.
T+ Ticket Validity ?
On the Metro T+ tickets are good for 2hrs once validated at the entry ticket machine. This would be quite the tour of the Metro network in Paris but remember it is only valid for one journey however long.
If your journey involves transferring between a Metro line and a Zone 1 RER line it’s the same time period. Just remember you won’t be able to leave the station and travel on the Metro again using the same ticket.
With the bus and tram network you only have 90 minutes to complete your journey once the ticket has been validated.
You can switch between services on the same ticket for some but not all of the transport services. You can transfer between Metro and Zone 1 RER lines but you can’t get off a bus or tram and get on a Metro or RER train with the same ticket.
If you expect to be doing a number of journeys in Paris or are travelling as a group it makes sense to buy a Carnet which is simply a set of ten T+ tickets which look the same and work the same. For many visitors this is the best Paris Metro ticket with the advantages of convenience and you save money.
A single T+ ticket costs €1.90. A carnet of 10 tickets is €14.90. There is a reduced price Carnet for €7.45 for children 4-10yrs, children younger than this travel free.
Île de France (IDF) Point to Point Tickets
The T+ ticket is the simplest ticket to buy in Paris and it’s the one everyone knows best. What if you want to travel further afield ? Perhaps you want to go to Disneyland Paris or perhaps The Palace at Versailles ? An IDF Point to Point ticket is as simple as it sounds. A one way ticket from your location which can be the nearest Metro, RER or SNCF (Transilien) station to any destination within the Île de France.
Unlike the T+ tickets the IDF Point to Point tickets are based on distance so price will vary. Tickets can be purchased from the ticket desks and vending machines in all Metro and RER stations
The Transilien rail service is a key transport network for Paris and Île de France region
The standard T+ ticket might be the best ticket if you’re on a quick trip to Paris or you’re really focussed on the central Paris area. It’s the most straightforward way to use the Metro and if you feel the urge try the bus or tram system – it’s still available to you.
If however you’d like to use the whole transport system across the Île de France and want access to the full range of services then perhaps the Paris Visite travel pass is the one you should be thinking about. You can use all the networks – Metro, tramways, buses RER lines and the SNCF Transilien local railway network.
You can choose an option to cover the central Paris area (Zones 1-3) or if you want go further afield, perhaps to Disneyland Paris then there is also an option for the entire Île de France region (Zones 1-5). The latter option would also include Versailles and the main airports.
The Paris Visite pass is valid for an unlimited number of journeys within the chosen zones. You can also choose how many days you want the pass for with a choice of 1, 2, 3 or 5 days.
The Paris Visite pass is available at a range of prices based on duration and transport zones
Center of Paris
Greater Paris Area
Prices in October 2017 – See the most current prices on the RATP website
Buying a Paris Visite Pass
You can buy a Paris Visite from all ticket desks and ticket vending machines at Metro and Paris RER stations. If you are traveling to France you can also buy them in advance from a number of online locations.
Please note these links will take you to 3rd party sites and are not connected in any way to Inspired by France
If you order your Paris Visite card in advance it will come in a handy little folder
The Metro transports millions of people every day across a network serving the whole of the Paris area
You can use your Paris Visite pass to travel on the extensive bus network serving the Paris area
How Can I Use a Mobilis Ticket ?
Mobilis is a one day pass for unlimited travel on all the transport networks in the Paris and Île de France region. So you can travel on the Metro, RER, buses, tramways and Transilien trains. It can’t be used on the airport connection (Orlybus,Orlyval, Roissybus and Roissy CDG by RER) but you can still use the 183 and 285 buses to Orly and the 350/351 to Roissy Charles de Gaulle.
Mobilis tickets are valid until Midnight on the day of issue
Buying a Mobilis Ticket
When buying a Mobilis ticket you specify which zones you want to travel on. This is coded into a magnetic stripe on the ticket but you still need to write your first and last name and the day’s date on the ticket ! Tickets are available from all Metro, RER stations and bus points of sale.
The only choice with the Mobilis ticket is which zones you want to travel in.
Prices in October 2017 – see the most current prices on the RATP website
The Mobilis daily pass can be used on all the transport networks in Paris
“The world is a book, and those who don’t travel only read one page.
Navigo Travel Pass
What is Navigo ?
If you plan on staying longer in Paris or the Ile de France region you might need to get yourself a Navigo card. This is a weekly or monthly travel pass for the all the transport networks available in Paris and the IÎle de France including the Metro, RER lines, buses, tramways and Transilien railways. If you are living and working in Paris chances are this is the ticket you will be buying on a regular basis.
You select your Navigo pass based on the zones you expect to travel in and if you need to travel outside your chosen zones you can pay for a Top Up Ticket which are only available to Navigo pass holders so you only pay for the extra distance covered.
Buying a Navigo Travel Pass
Sales of the Navigo pass begin on the Friday preceding the week of use (it’s not a rolling seven day pass!) and sale end the following Thursday. For monthly passes sales begin on the 20th of the preceding month and end on the 19th of the following month. You can purchase the weekly and monthly passes from the usual ticket offices, ticket machines and some retailers and ATMs. You can even buy them online at the Navigo website if your French is good enough. Please note that first time you buy a Navigo pass you will need to supply a photo and buy at a ticket office.
Ticket prices are based on which zones you want to travel.
Prices in October 2017 – see the most current prices on the RATP web site
Youth Travel – Special Ticket Prices
There are a number of options for young children and young people traveling on the Paris travel networks. Children under 4 travel free as long as they’re not occupying a seat. Children up to 10 get a 50% reduction on T+ tickets and Carnets.
Weekend Youth Pass
The Weekend Youth Pass is available for anyone under age 26. The pass offers unlimited travel in Paris and the Île de France on the Metro, RER, bus, rail and tram network with the usual exclusion of airport transports. It is valid on Saturday, Sunday and French bank holidays. It is valid from 12am on the first day until Midnight on the last day.
Buying a Youth Pass
The Weekend Youth Pass can be purchased from ticket offices, ticket machine and bus point of sales locations. It is sold as a magnetic ticket with the zones selected encoded. Before first use you must write your name and date on the ticket. Be prepared with proof of age during ticket inspections.
Ticket prices are based on which zones you want to travel in.
Prices in October 2017 – see the most current prices on the RATP website
Unlimited journeys throughout Paris for the whole weekend if you are young enough!
Airport Transfer Tickets
If you want to go to one of the airports – Roissy Charles de Gaulle or Orly and you don’t want to pay the inevitable premium for a taxi ride from the center of Paris then you have choices. Be aware though that a T+ ticket won’t get you all the way to the airports. You will need to plan your route and the tickets needed.
Roissy Charles de Gaulle (CDG)
This airport north east of Paris is well served with options to get you back to the airport.
- The Roissybus is an air-conditioned shuttle bus from Paris (Opéra) and drops off at all the airport terminals. Price is currently €12.00 and tickets can be bought at Metro/RER stations in Paris or you can pay on boarding.
- You can take the RER Line B which runs from the south west of Paris across Paris via the Gare du Nord and terminates at the airport. Price is currently €10.30 and tickets can be bought at Metro/RER stations in Paris.
- There are two bus services (350 and 351) which take passengers from the Gare de L’Est in Paris (350) or Place de Nation (351) to the airport. Price is currently €6.00 for both services and tickets can be bought at Metro/RER stations in Paris.
There is a free shuttle rail service at the airport – CDGVAL which links the terminals.
Aéroport d’Orly (ORY)
This airport south east of Paris is well served with options to get you back to the airport.
- The Orlybus is an air-conditioned shuttle bus from Paris (Place Denfert-Rochereau) and drops off at all the airport terminals. Price is currently €8.30 and tickets can be bought at Metro/RER stations in Paris or you can pay on boarding.
- You can take the RER Line B which runs from the north east of Paris via the Gare du Nord to the south east of Paris. Change at the Anthony station on the RER line and take the ORLYVAL light rail shuttle to Orly Airport. Ticket price from Antony on the Orlyval is €8.30 or you can buy an integrated ticket for €12.05 from any Zone 1 Metro station.
- One route originating from the south east of Paris but close to the Metro (Line 7) is the tram Service from Villejuif-Louis Aragon which being a tram service means you can use a T+ ticket but you will need two – one for the tram and one for the Metro. It’s not the fastest route but a bit of a bargain for an airport transfer at €1.90
- There is a bus service (183) from Porte de Choisy and Orly . Tickets are €6.00 and can be purchased from Metro/RER stations in Paris
- The Navette GO C Service is a bus shuttle service between Orly Airport and the Pont de Rungis station on the RER C. You have a choice of ways to buy a ticket. The shuttle bus is €1.90 or €2.00 if you buy it on the bus.You can also buy a combined ticket and the total price will depend on the zone you are travelling from. You can also use Paris Visite and Navigo passes if they are valid for Zone 4.
There are a range of transport options to get you back to the main airports in Paris
The Roissybus is a direct bus service from Opéra to Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport
Which is the Best Ticket Option ?
Paris and the Île de France has a really good transport system linking both Paris and the region surrounding it. Good rail, subway and bus networks make it easy to get just about anywhere at a reasonable cost. It’s always been my view that you don’t get to know a city and it’s people until you use the public transport system.
If you’re only in Paris for a short time there is so much to see you probably won’t have time to get further out so the Metro is a great way to get around – for most it’s the best way. In that case it’s simple maths. How many journeys do you think you’ll make ? Chance are the T+ tickets and almost certainly a Carnet of 10 tickets is the way to go and that could be the best Paris Metro ticket for many visitors. Couldn’t be simpler. You may also want to think about the Mobilis one day pass which for Zone 1 and 2 is currently €7.50 and good value if you’re going to try and see a lot of Paris in a day.
If you are staying longer or have some specific destinations outside the center of Paris in mind then you should consider the Paris Visite card but weigh up the destinations and costs as a few days of a Paris Visite card for all zones for all the family can get pricey. Unless you plan on travelling across the Ile de France region a few times you may find it cheaper to just pay for travel in central Paris and then buy Point to Point tickets if you plan a trip to Versailles or Disneyland. When you are considering the Paris Visite card make sure you check on the current offers available to tickets holders. There are often two for one admission to many museums and other attractions which may save you some money too.
When we visit Paris for a quick trip with the boys we do tend to just buy a couple of Carnets. It’s simple and if you lose one ticket you don’t lose them all but if we were staying longer and wanted to get out and about more we’d do the math. I suggest you do the same when deciding which is the best ticket for you, your traveling companions and your plans while in Paris. It’s great having the choice !
Inspired by France is a small family run business/blog . We have lived and worked in France at various times in our life and hope to spend a lot more time there in the future.
We love all things French ranging from film, music and literature to the simple pleasures of French cooking and the odd glass of wine. We want to share our love of France with other France fanatics !