Paris – Guide 4: Buses, Metro, RER

Buses, RER rail and Metro are a coordinated system in Paris, so I have grouped information about them together. Visitors will probably use variations of this system most of their time in Paris.

For buses:
If you can’t make out which line goes where, don’t worry – most Parisians can’t either. Route maps are available in metro stations and at the Tourist office, 127, Avenue des Champs Elysées,8th. Arrondissment.

Buses run from about 7a.m. to 8:30 p.m and use the same tickets as for the Metro and one per ride (no transfers – ” sans correspondance “- on ordinary tickets, if sold by the driver) (transfers are OK from tickets purchased at stations, and are only good for 1 ½ hours travel). You must punch the ticket in the machine as you get on (but NOT if you have a Pass ticket!).

On buses, there is no limit of distance (including suburbs), except on the Balabus, Noctilien (late-night) and routes 221, 297, 299, 350 and 351.

The bus driver can sell single tickets; be sure to have the correct change. You will need another ticket if you transfer onto a different bus route or connect with another form of public transport.

If you plan to travel around a lot, it would be better value to buy a pack of ten tickets (“carnet”) (pronounced “carnay”) or buy a travel Pass at the metro station.

This is an original and seasonal river transport option on the Seine (from April to November every year). It’s a way to discover Paris in six stopovers; most of the monuments, museums and prestigious sights are easily accessible from the river.

Fares: passengers pay 3.05 € at the 1st stop, then 1.52 € per additional stop, 9.15 € for the day. Batobus, Paris

Stopovers are available to go see:
— Tour Eiffel (disembark at Port de la Bourdonnais)
— Musée d’Orsay (use quai de Solférino)
— Saint-Germain-des-Pres (quai Malaquais)
— Notre-Dame (quai Montebello)
— Louvre (quai du Louvre)

The Metro:
It is the quick and easy way to travel around the city, as well as the best value. The Paris metro subway has about 300 stations underground. Their entrances are marked by a big yellow “M”, and 16 lines, numbered from 1 to 14, 3 bis and 7 bis are the system.

Each line has its own color, which you’ll find on signs in the stations and on all the maps. For an idea of your journey time, allow an average of 2 minutes per station and add 5 minutes for each connection between lines.

Obviously, each line has two directions, indicated by the name of the terminus station at each end (e.g. Balard / Créteil). The different directions and connections are displayed on blue and white signs on the platforms and in the tunnels.

Be sure you’re heading in the right direction, so check that your destination is on the list of stations, just before you go down onto the platform.

Illuminated signs above the platform indicate the length of time until the next train arrives. Inside the trains, you’ll see network maps and detail of the line you’re on, along with all available connections to other parts of the network.

Next time, onto Part B for more about navigating the Paris Metro

Paris travel article Archive

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