Follow this Parisian native tips about the Paris subway “le métro” to get the most of your trip to Paris.
The Paris subway is the fastest and easiest way to travel around Paris and in the nearby suburbs.
Le métro runs every day from 5:30 A.M.. until around 12:30 A.M. It is an underground train that stops automatically at each of its 300+ stations.
In most trains, it is necessary, however, to press the button on the door in order for it to open!
1 – Where to get a métro ticket?
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In order to ride the subway, you must begin by obtaining a ticket. You can buy tickets at the newspaper stand, in tobacco stores (which are part of coffee shops, and they sell cigarettes, cigars, and tobacco, as well as candy, stamps, and subway tickets – and are marked by a red illuminated panel that reads “Tabac” located on the side of the coffee shop).
You can also buy tickets in the subway itself, where there is generally (but not at every station) a window, and thus a real person, who can give you information and a map.
You can buy several kinds of tickets and passes: according to the distance you are traveling (Paris and its suburbs are divided into zones), your age, and the frequency of your trips.
You have full rate tickets, reduced rate tickets for children between the ages of four and ten (children under the age of four ride free), for people over 60, for the handicapped, and large families (one must have a special large family card), and many different kinds of passes.
For more information, and in particular, for the prices – which change all the time – go to the RATP web site: www.ratp.com.
2 – The Paris’ subway is very big! Connections might take a long time…
While the subway network is fast and easy, it is also very big, full of stairs and long hallways, and is, therefore, painful if you have your hands full, if you have young children and strollers, or several suitcases.
Sometimes, you must change several times before arriving at your destination; know that the connections can be long and that it is often necessary to walk a lot and to go up and down stairs.
Thus, the shortest route on the map is not always the fastest. It is better to limit the number of connections.
For example, the connection at Montparnasse Bienvenüe, between line 13 and line 14, takes 15 minutes when walking quickly, and there are five staircases…