Public Transportation in Paris
On this page...
Paris public transport is operated by the RATP and includes the métro subway system, RER trains, buses, night buses, Montmartrobus, and the Montmartre funicular railway, all of which accept the same tickets and passes (but see also RER trains below). You can purchase individual tickets, booklets of ten tickets, or a Paris Visite Metro Pass designed expressly for visitors and offering unlimited travel.
The Paris métro system is a marvel of efficiency, providing safe and fast transportation for more than nine million passengers each day (more on safety). It comprises over 200 kilometers of track and 370 stations.
Métro lines are numbered from 1 to 15, while the direction of trains is indicated by the name of the last station on the line. For example, eastbound Line 1 trains are labeled Chateau de Vincennes, while westbound Line 1 trains are labeled La Défense. A map of the métro system is available on our Paris Visite Metro Pass page.
To enter the métro system, insert your ticket into a turnstile slot and go through the turnstile, taking the stamped ticket: During your journey you may be required to show it to a métro ticket inspector. Follow the signs to the platform for the train you need. You may change lines as needed to reach your destination, without using additional tickets.
Métro trains begin running at about 05h30, continuing until about 00h30 (half past midnight). Free maps of the métro system are available at each station.
Regional commuter trains extend the reach of public transport into the Paris suburbs. Called the RER, the five train lines are identified by the letters A, B, C, D, and E. There is an online map of the RER system available on our Paris Visite Metro Pass page. Like the métro, RER trains run from about 05h30 to about 00h30 (half past midnight).
Métro tickets may be used on RER trains while traveling within the métro system, that is, inside Paris. Outside the Paris area special RER fares and tickets apply, including while traveling to or from the airports, Versailles, and Disneyland© Paris. (See also Fare information below.)
Paris bus routes are numbered, and begin operation at 06h30. The last bus usually leaves the terminal between 20h30 and 21h30, but a few lines run until half past midnight, as indicated by signs at the bus stops. There are also night buses, called Noctambus, which operate hourly between Chatelet and the main gates of Paris from 01h to 05h. The night routes are labeled with letters rather than numbers.
Maps of the bus routes can be found in bus shelters and inside the buses. Most shelters display the name of the stop to help you keep track of where you are. If only a few people are waiting for the bus, signal the driver to stop.
A special bus called Montmartrobus, bus line number 64, circulates in the Montmartre district. Its fare is the same as other buses.
The Montmartre funicular railway travels up and down the hill to La Basilique du Sacre Coeur, each direction requiring one ticket.
Single tickets are 1.70 € and can be purchased from bus drivers, but a booklet of ten, called a carnet (kar-nay), offers a good savings at 13.30 €. They are available at subway stations, some bus terminals, and registered retailers, usually tobacconists and bookshops, displaying the RATP sign.
You need only one ticket to use the métro but you may need several tickets on buses depending on the number of fare stages you ride; one ticket will take you to the end of the bus line. Two tickets will take you anywhere inside the city.
Some special buses have higher fares: Orlybus is 7.00 €, while Roissybus is 10.00 €. Noctambus ticket prices vary, and can only be purchased on the buses.
RER trains can be accessed with métro tickets for travel inside Paris, but fares between Paris and the suburbs vary according to destination, requiring the purchase of a ticket for each trip.
By purchasing a special pass called Paris Visite, you can avoid waiting in lines to buy individual tickets, and not have to worry about carrying enough cash for them. A Paris Visite pass gives you an unlimited number of trips on all types of Parisian public transport, including métro trains, RER trains, buses, the Montmartre bus and funicular, and even Île-de-France SNCF trains.
Passes are available for 2, 3, or 5 consecutive days, and 3 or 5 zones. (A zone map of the Paris transportation system is available on our Paris Metro Pass page.) Passholders can also obtain special offers and discounts of up to 35% at a variety of attractions in the Paris area. You can purchase a Paris Metro Pass online and have it delivered to your Paris hotel or your home.