Using The Paris Metro

Buying Tickets For The Paris Metro

There are 303 stations and because you will likely be walking a lot during your stay, you might not use the Paris Metro enough to buy a weekly pass.

One ticket (one use) is 1.9 Euros or buy a carnet of 10 tickets for 16.9 Euros.  These tickets will cover you in zones 1 and 2. If you go outside these zones, it will cost you more. You can purchase the tickets at a machine with cash or credit or from an official ticket seller who is in a booth. DO NOT buy from people lingering in the area. You don’t know if these tickets are fakes.

An unlimited day pass costs approximately 9.75 Euros. You can buy 1, 2, 3 and 5 day passes.

The Metro ticket will be gradually phased out so that riders will use re-chargeable passes.

Paris Metro Ticket
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Buying Passes For the Paris Metro

(A) Paris Visite

There are 1,2,3, and 5 day passes, called Paris Visite. It covers unlimited travel in zones  1-3 and costs 13.20 €-72.40 € .

(B) Paris Navigo

Goodbye single paper tickets! There is now the weekly and monthly Navigo pass which is a pay-as-you-go pass and is much easier to use than fumbling with those paper tickets. You simply load the pass and you’re off. 

1. Navigo Easy

With the Navigo Easy, your cost is 16.90 € and it includes the initial 2 € cost and 10 “tickets”, much like the carnet of tickets you would buy. You’re actually getting a discount by adding the 10 tickets. Guess it’s a way to get people to switch from paper tickets to the pass.

From then on you can load more fare onto the card. A carnet of 10 tickets is still cheaper than buying 1 ticket at a time. You can also load other “fares” onto the Navigo Easy card, such as the Roissybus, Orlybus, and Navigo Day Pass fares.

Note: you can share the Navigo Easy Pass with a family member or friend but NOT on the same trip.

As of October 17, 2022, your Android and iPhone smartphones can now hold your Metro tickets. No more Navigo pass card is needed. This means that you can buy your Metro tickets, recharge your Navigo pass, and validate your tickets using your smartphone.

The website has more detailed information:

2. Navigo Decourverte Weekly Pass (22.80 €)

If you’re going to be in Paris for a least a week, you should consider the Navigo Decouverte Weekly Pass. The Metro subway, busses, RER system, and trams are all included. 

What I especially like about the Navigo Decouverte card is that it covers central Paris and Zones 1-5 (the suburbs) and there are unlimited rides. So it’s so easy to make trips to:

  • Disneyland zone 5)
  • Versailles (zone 4)
  • Fontainebleau (zone 5) 
  • Paris from Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports. 
  • 2 Notes: the Orlyval train is not included. If you just need certain zones and not all 5, there are reduced prices.

I purchased the card when I was in Paris in 2019 and I know I got my money’s worth AND saved a ton of money because my friend and I took the train into Paris, visited Fontainebleau and Versailles twice in that one week.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • you need two passport size photos—they say passport size, but to be honest, the size is smaller…3 cm (H) X 2.5cm (W)
  • be sure to sign your pass
  • you can buy the pass at any subway station, RER ticket window; however, I purchased mine at the Billets Paris et Ile-de-France ticket window at Charles de Gaulle airport because they are very familiar with the process. My friend was able to get photos of herself from the nearby photobooth (I brought very small photocopies that I had printed at home). Plus, the ticket office had scissors AND the salesperson put everything together for me which was really nice. Often you have to do the cutting and sticking yourself.
  • there is a 5 € fee (non-refundable) for the Navigo card + cost of the pass (22.80 €) means that the total cost is 27.80 €.
  • the weekly pass is on sale from Friday morning onwards but is only valid starting Monday morning to Sunday midnight, so it’s best to buy it before Monday morning. You can buy the pass up to Thursday of the week you want to use it, but it might not be worth it. Making lots of trips outside of zone 1? It still might be worth it.  That’s why timing your use of the pass is important. 
  • to use the pass, tap the pass on the purple reader that is located on the turnstile and the gate will open for you.

3. Navigo Monthly Pass (75.20 €)

If you’re going to be in Paris for at least a month, starting near the beginning of the month, the monthly pass is something you might consider. It is 75.2 € (plus a 5 € fee for the card) and like the Navigo Decourverte Weekly Pass, it covers all zones.

What’s important about this pass is that you can buy it after the 20th of the month before it starts until the 19th of that month.  So, let’s say your purchase on June 21 means that you have the pass for all of July. Not sure why anyone would purchase it on the 19th of the current month. It would be a waste of money.

Using The Metro

Paris Metro

After you put your ticket through the machine. The door at the gate will automatically open and your ticket will be stamped. Be sure to retrieve the ticket in case you are asked to show it on the train to a Metro official.

Be forewarned that there are a lot of stairs and long hallways, particularly if you are transferring trains.

To get to your destination, find the line that you need to be on, determine the END station and that is the direction you need to go and the train that you need to take.

Metro Paris Subway App
Metro Paris Subway App

There is a great app where you input your current Metro station and where you want to go. The app will determine the most direct route and indicate the stations to transfer and the lines to take. It even will tell you if there are delays or closures. Well worth the $1.49 (Cdn) investment. It is called “Metro Paris Subway”.

Note: there is a different price to use the Metro to go between Paris and Charles de Gaulle airport. Check out this post about your options: Charles de Gaulle Airport To Paris-Cheaper Isn’t Better.

*Prices subject to change.

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