Update: February 2016
If you don't have a Metro map current as of February or March 2013, you need to get a new map. Many of the maps in guidebooks are now incorrect because four of the Metro lines have been extended. After you read the following directions, you will know you need the name of the last station on the line to find the train. The last station has changed for four lines. You can download a new Metro map at: Paris Metro Map and click on download the guide.
Don't be shy about using the subway (Metro) in Paris. It is incredibly easy to navigate. If I can do it; anyone can do it. They have set it up so you can go anyplace and not get lost.
Get a free Metro map at any ticket window. They are usually sitting on a shelf and you don't even have to ask. That said, I much prefer my map booklet "Paris Pratique par Arrondissement" that has each district (arrondissement) of Paris on a separate page with the Metro stops marked. There is a full Metro map at the beginning of the book so you can put it all together. Buy at a news stand, tabac or bookstore.
You know the Metro station where you are. You know which Metro station you want. The other information you need is the name of the station at the end of the line in the direction you want to go. Example: You are Jussieu Metro station in the Latin Quarter and you want to visit the Louvre. You look at your map and find Jussieu and notice lines #10 and #7 go through there. You want to go to the Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre stop and that is line #7 (pink on most maps). Follow line #7 to the end and you will see the last stop is La Courneuve. That is your magic key.
Go into the Metro and follow signs pointing to La Courneuve until you get to the tracks. The rest is easy. When the train arrives, hop on and relax. The line is on a map above the doors so you can watch where you are and see where you are going. Each station is very well marked so you can tick them off in your mind. Make a note of the station right before your Louvre station and start to get ready to get off. (Pont Neuf is right before Louvre). When you see the signs for Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre, get off and follow exit signs (and all the other people) to the Louvre. You can go into the museum right from the station and skip most of the lines!
It gets more complicated if you have to change trains, but as long as you remember to look for the last station on your line, you are okay. Change (Correspondence) example: Let's say you are at La Tour Maubourg station and you want to go to the Louvre. You will take line #8 (the only one available at Maubourg) and go in the direction of Creteil-Prefecture but will get off at the Concorde station to change trains. (That is the 2nd stop for you) You stay underground and simply follow signs to Chateau de Vincennes (line #1) to get to your next train. You will go up and down stairs and have lots of company but every time there is a turn or stair, you will see signs. Keep following Chateau de Vincennes until you come to the train tracks. Wait for your train, get on and go to the Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre stop (the stop before is Tuileries) and get off and you are at the Louvre.
As long as you know the last station in the direction you are going, you can't get lost. If you go the wrong direction, simply get off at the next station and follow signs to that last station again and you'll be fine.
You may want to download an Interactive Metro map at the website below. Print it out and practice a few trips before you go. You will be addicted to the fast, easy train system in Paris.
Here is a web site for trip planning that is in English. Interactive Paris Metro Map in English They have "improved" this web site and it's only about half in English and not nearly as easy to use as it used to be. If you just keep searching on the Metro web offerings, you eventually work it out. The Metro is easy to use; the web site is not.
Keep in mind there are often several ways to get from one place to another. You can use your Metro tickets on the Metro, RER within the Peripherique, trams, buses and the Montmartre funicular. We buy a carnet of 10 Metro tickets for 14.10 euros and share the tickets. BTW, you can buy tickets on the bus, but they cost more and you cannot use them to transfer. You also cannot buy carnets of 10 tickets on the bus. Much better to get your tickets at a local tabac, news stand or in the Metro station.
Here’s a Blast from the Past for you: an electric “Indicator of Itineraries” such as used to be found in about half of the Paris Métro stations.
I came across this one – not hooked up and not functioning, but still – in the station Porte d’Auteuil on line 10.
Porte d’Auteuil is an unusual station in that only outbound trains stop here. I got off the train here when I was coming from the Gare de l’Est (East Station) and going to my hotel on Rue Poussin. For this journey I first had to take the Métro 4 to Odéon and change there (which as usual involved walking through some tunnels and up and down stairs) for line 10 to Porte d’Auteuil. Altogether this took about 40 minutes.
(On my way back a few days later I took the number 52 bus and changed at Haussmann-Courcelles to the 43 bus, which was just as fast as the Métro.)
As for the Indicateurs d'Itineriares, I later looked them up and found that they were introduced in 1937 and were an immediate success. In the first year eighty of them were installed in various Métro stations. They were in use for well over half a century, with 184 being the record number that were operational at any one time.
The indicator consisted of a large map of the Paris Métro system with a tiny colored light bulb for each station, with a different color for each line. Below the map was a console listing all the Métro stations (about 360 of them) in alphabetical order, so if you knew where you wanted to go you just found your destination and pressed the button next to the name, and immediately the lights would light up for all the stations you had to pass through, so you could see which line to take and where you had to change trains.
By pressing the button you completed an electrical circuit, so when you let go the lights went out again. If you wanted to take notes you had to do it with one hand, or have a friend do it for you, or write down the route from memory and then push the button again to make sure.
You could only find a route starting at the station you were in, and since the routes were essentially hard-wired only one route (the quickest) was offered to each destination. So you couldn’t choose between the quickest route, the one with the fewest changes or the one with the least walking, as on today’s websites.
Since the indicators were designed in the 1930s they had not the slightest bit of computer technology in them, but apparently lots of wires at the back.
We all used to love these old indicateurs, and I hope they have preserved one or two of them in some museum somewhere.
Second and third photos: In earlier times, from the 1850s to the 1930s, Auteuil was served by a steam railway called La Petite Ceinture (the Little Belt Line), which went all the way around the outskirts of Paris. It was originally built to move freight and rolling stock among the various railway stations in Paris, but was also served by passenger trains for many years. There was a station at Porte d’Auteuil. Part of the old Belt Line in Auteuil went through a cut below ground level. Now the old tracks have been replaced by a Nature Path which is also used for jogging.
Fourth and fifth photos: When you come up out of the Métro at Porte d’Auteuil, one of the first things you see is this large and attractive flower shop.
Next: Auteuil, Neuilly, Passy (rap BCBG)
The Paris Métro entrances are one of the best-known architectural secrets of the city.
The oldest are identified with a sign with the word 'Métropolitain' in green art nouveau letters.
The later ones have a red lantern with in white the word 'Métro' or a big yellow 'M' in a circle.
lines of metro stations in Paris for easier reading try this site,
you can print and study from home. Hope it helps your directions. All is well posted. I have descriptions on what is around each metro stop in my favorites pages here lines 1-14.
To expand on the metro of Paris, established in 1900 , has about 220 kms of lines most underground, about 220 km. You have bits of above ground sections in Paris proper on lines 1, 2, 5 ,and 6, and on lines just by the beltway sections in lines 1, 5, 8, and 13. 383 stations and is managed by the Régie autonome des transports parisiens (RATP). It is an ongoing project always enlarging going further and costing more ! Still in French but what is coming is here
The hours of operation of each one you can just write in the name of the station here "nom de la station"
You can use the T+ tickets in Paris proper ,in métro, bus or RER. anything outside you purchase the ticket origine-destination. Different prices and tickets can be found in the official site. Each train has maps Inside to help you direct to yours stop,once out of train you have panels directing you to exit or next line connection. Hold your ticket until completely out of the station as you can be ask at any time by train agents.
You have the lines beginning and ending and numbers of stations stops
Line 1 La Défense ↔ Château de Vincennes, 25 stations
Line 2 Porte Dauphine ↔ Nation, 25 stations
Line 3 Pont de Levallois ↔ Gallieni, 25 stations
Line 3bis Gambetta ↔ Porte des Lilas, 4 stations
Line 4 Porte de Clignancourt ↔ Mairie de Montrouge, 27 stations
Line 5 Bobigny - Pablo Picasso ↔ Place d’Italie, 22 stations
Line 6 Charles de Gaulle - Étoile ↔ Nation, 28 stations
Line 7 La Courneuve - 8 mai 1945 ↔Villejuif - Louis Aragon / Mairie d’Ivry, 38 stations
Line 7bis Louis Blanc ↔ Pré Saint-Gervais, 8 stations
Line 8 Balard ↔ (Créteil) Pointe du Lac, 38 stations
Line 9 Pont de Sèvres ↔ Mairie de Montreuil, 37 stations
Line 10 Boulogne - Pont de Saint-Cloud ↔Gare d’Austerlitz, 23 stations
Line 11 Châtelet ↔ Mairie des Lilas, 13 stations
Line 12 Front Populaire ↔ Mairie d’Issy, 29 stations
Line 13 Asnières Gennevilliers Les Courtilles / Saint-Denis - Université ↔Châtillon - Montrouge, 32 stations
Line 14 Saint-Lazare ↔ Olympiades, 9 stations
Just after writing this tip the local French TV FR5 had a program on the Paris metro. Some additional tips.
above ground lines are 2 and 6, nice indeed. with line 2 you can take a peek of the Sacre Cœur Church. Oldest lane is line 1, and began in 1900 . the stations are on average 10 meters deep,and many have Art Nouveau entrance architecture.The St Michel station is 22 meters deep.. The nerve center is by Bastille from 22h all workers begain their night duty and about 20 kms of rails are change each year, the metro stops by 1h10 and be ready by 5h opening and closing a few minutes afterward.There is an ongoing plan to renovate about 85% of all stations; the old trains are keep in a military hangar in Versailles where there is a group trying to bring them back for tourist runs, ADEMAS
Every night the stone quarries of the metro are inspected as much as 15 meters deep to check for water dripping, discharges etc. There is the Grand Paris Express program to expand the lines for another 200 kms and dig as much as 50 meters deep. New lines 15-18 on the works to 2030. The RATP is 5,2 billions euros strong with 2,1B on State subventions (that is our taxes), 2,2b is ticket revenue and 0,9B is Ads ,stores, etc. The latter is handle by PromoMetro
By 2022 line 4 will be the next becoming automated. Grand Paris Express site in French
I moved around Paris essentially with Metro and Rer and that is the reason why I took a transportation pass.
If for museum pass I said that it is very conveniet, with transport pass I am not sure of it. I took one for 1-3 zones for 5 days and it was 33€. After all I think in all my journay I save one of two euros not more and I took metro and rer as much as I could. So if you intend to walk a litte bit,I think it's not convenient, even because Versailles is not included as it is zone 4 and so airports are not included. The rer website www.ratp.fr is very good to find itineraries you.
I find that a Day ticket at 6-60 Euro is good value . Can be used on Metro, RER. Buses.and funiculare. Also you dont have to buy a ticket each time saving time.Use the maps on station walls to get around.
Use the Metro. It's cheap, easy and fast.
Very easy to use, so cheap and so convenient.
It is a sure way of getting round Paris very easily :)
It is also very well connected to the train stations, AND to the major airports.
So all in all it's a great way of getting round Paris, and sooo easy :)
The Metro is easy to use and serves every part of the city. We'd get off some place we were interested and then just wander around after and find another Metro stop to get back on. Once you know the one or two nearest stations to your hotel, everything becomes easy to get too.
it's been a while since i have ued the metro,
but in being always ready for another trip
discovered an Interactive Metro Map
The metro is a great way to get around Paris. Sure, you miss a lot in between stops that you could have seen above ground if you were walking, but for covering the sheer distances around the city, the metro is far more extensive than the bus. In fact this time in Paris I don't remember seeing any bus in the city apart from the city tour organised buses and tour buses.
As a tourist, I still found in 2014 that the best ticket to get for our 5 days were packets of 10 (carnet) of T+ tickets, which are single use (also good for transfers) and can be used on any day after purchase.
After we walked around a bit at Gare du Nord we worked out the metro. Finding the metro stations on the other hand is not so easy. They are not very well lit and there are basically no signs pointing to the stations. A few steps suddenly going down the sidewalk is about the only indication you get.
A a cyclist I seldom use the Métro in Paris, but recently I had occasion to take line # 4 for the first time in several years. The trains on this line now run on rubber tires, for a smoother and quieter ride, but they still have human drivers and do not (yet) have glass walls between the tracks and the platforms, as on lines 1 and 14.
Line # 4 is the one that runs from Porte de Clignancourt in the north to Mairie de Montrouge in the south, by way of the North and East railway stations, Châtelet-Les Halles, Saint Michel, Montparnasse-Bienvenüe and Porte d’Orléans. I used to take this line sometimes when I was a student in Paris half a century ago, but now I more often use the Vélib’ bikes or the number 38 bus.
In addition to the rubber tires, they now have very clear station announcements on the trains. The clarity is enhance by the fact that each station is named twice, first with an upward intonation on the last syllable and second with a downward intonation, indicating that the announcement is finished.
On the new tramways the announcements are even clearer because there are two voices, first a man’s voice with an upward intonation on the last syllable and then a woman’s voice with a downward intonation, or visa versa.
Five or six reasons not to take the Métro
Next Paris review from March 2014: Hotel Liège-Strasbourg
All the information about the metro in Paris you may want to know is already mentioned here by all the others VT members.
Of course, the latest news could be found on http://www.parismetro.com/
What I want to tell you about the Metro in Paris is intending to be different.
Part of the special feeling of being in Paris is the Metro, especially at the rush hours. I love to go inside for a ride, shoulder to shoulder with all the others, the lost tourists trying to understand the coloured maps or the locals bored of doing this few times per day.
I'm always enjoying that Parisian Metro safari with all the faces, all the races, poor and rich, young and old, shy or scandalous...
There the personalities are melted into a common soul, the Parisian one. You'll feel there as one of them, with good and bad..
Jump from a metro to another one, take the connections, move down on the bad smelling RER stations, follow the hundreds of homeless people living below, look at everybody's indifference, be stuck in the guillotines-gates at the entrances to the metro and you'll have something to tell to your friends.
I feel there helpless and useless, I'm just a part of that flow on hearts beating together for a short time.
I'm one of the people studying your faces, your rictuses, the titles of the books you're reading and the way you're trying to be invisible to the others.
The show of the Parisian metro is always new and always unique.
Try to see your trip with the Metro as I see it. Look at the tired faces and think like me.
This is the World, this is the best capture of what that globalisation mean, this is the future of our World, even if you like it or not.
A World of lonely people, mixed cultures, mixed races, mixed interests, a World without intimacy, a World where you'll feel human only mixed with the others and trying to be invisible between them. A World of unsaid stories... I love the Metro in Paris for giving me these experiences every time I'm going down there...
In the Metro in Paris you'll feel as belonging to something big, an ant in a huge mound.
I found the Paris metro to be so well laid out, despite it's age. It surpassed my expectations. Granted, some of the stations were less that desirable in appearance and even in smell ICK, but trains were efficient. See my review about safety on the train with your belongings. Everyone was quite helpful when we were attempting to purchase tickets, we had bought the cards to cover our travel gut we needed to know what to do with them. I suggest you buy the travel cards that cover trains and buses. We didn't take the bus because the trains were efficient. Be careful of the beggars, . Study the metro rail map and you will be able to visit almost everywhere in the city. In fact, one train brings you straight in under the L"ouvre! We did not attempt to drive and most thankful for that, our apartment lessors scheduled us a private driver and he is a seasoned driver and it was crazy, congested and very dirty and gritty in parts. We flew in on Air France out of London. VALUABLE LESSON If you are traveling from a city in Europe to another city in Europe, its easier HOWEVER the allowed luggage is substantially smaller, we had 4 large suitcases going from London to there and 5 coming back. And we had to pay 350 euros for our extra weight. So be very aware. If you don't want the train or the bus, hire a car, a nice car not a taxi if you can help it. A few extra dollars for a well qualified driver with a nice luxury car. Worth every dime.
My suggestion for people visiting Paris, is to avoid metro if all possible. Especially in summer times when it is hot using the metro can be tiring and unpleasant experience. First none of the metro almost has air conditioning. It is very crowded especially late nights. Can be very difficult with children. You will not be able to enjoy the city itself due to time and energy spent in metros. I agree metro can take you almost anywhere, however, between metro line changes, there is quite a bit walk like in airports. Plus you will have the ugly smell of metros due to homeless people using the platforms as restrooms. There is urine smell everywhere. When we think of metro and Paris, this is the first thing we remember.
My suggestion is of course not using the taxi due to its high cost, but rather select a hotel nearby to attractions, it will worth your extra money