Getting around Paris
Two companies run most of the public transport services in and around Paris: RATP (Paris and the suburbs) and SNCF (across France).
How to take the Metro
On the Metro Plan, find the line you have to take (e.g. Ligne (line) 12), what direction you have to take (e.g. to Mairie d’Issy station) and your station (e.g. Porte de Versailles).
Buying a Metro ticket
You can buy Metro tickets in Metro stations or from automatic ticketing machines.
Important: buying 10 tickets at once costs less than buying 10 tickets separately.
You can use the same ticket for any Metro ride in Paris or the near suburbs (within the Paris Section Urbaine), changing lines several times if necessary.
You can also take an RER commuter train (within the Paris Section Urbaine), a bus or a tram (but you need a new ticket every time you change buses or trams).
The RER (commuter train)
The RER is a fast commuter railway line network connecting Paris and its suburbs. These trains call at several stations in Paris.
Taking the RER
There are 5 RER lines (A, B, C, D and E).
Again, to take the RER, find your line you have to take (e.g. Ligne (line) A), what direction you have to head in (Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy or Torcy) and station (e.g. Noisy-Champs). While you are waiting for the train in the station, check the signs to make sure the train you take will be stopping at the station you are going to (not all trains stop at all stations).
Buying an RER ticket
You can buy RER tickets in Metro stations and RER stations. If you are travelling outside the Paris area, you have to tell the person selling you your ticket exactly where you are going (e.g. “A one-way ticket (un aller) from Saint-Michel* to Noisy-Champs” or “from Nation* to Noisy-le-Grand”).
* are Metro and RER stations in Paris.
Un aller (a one-way ticket or una ida): a ticket to a specific destination
Un aller/retour (a return ticket or una ida y vuelta): a ticket to a specific destination and back to the station you left from
Cards and passes
How much these cards and prices cost depends on how many areas they cover, from 2 (central Paris) to 6 (the suburbs near the end of the line).
The main SNCF train stations in Paris
There are six grandes lignes (main-line) train stations in Paris. The trains there can go to suburbs of Paris, the rest of France and other countries.
- Gare Saint-Lazare: Western France, Normandy
- Gare du Nord: Northern France and Northern Europe (The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany on the mainland, and the UK)
- Gare de l’Est: Eastern France and Eastern Europe (Germany and Luxembourg)
- Gare d’Austerlitz: Southwest France and Spain
- Gare de Lyon: South and Southeast France, Italy
- Gare Montparnasse: West and Southwest France
Tips from alumni
If you are going to travel long distance, an SNCF 12/25 card will cost you €49 and give you a 50% discount on train fares everywhere in France and on Paris-London trips.
These buses start their rounds when the Metro and RER finish. They serve the main lines across Paris and the suburbs. See www.noctilien.fr for more information about the lines, fares and service frequencies.