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Transportation

Inside Paris

Paris boasts of one of most developed and complete system of public transportation that encompasses Metro, Sub-urban trains (RER), Buses and Tram. In Paris, the Metro has been around since 1900. The first Metro started between 'Porte de Vincennes' and 'Porte de Maillot' (Line 1, not surprisingly!). Now there are 14 Lignes (Line) of Metro that connect different parts of Paris and suburban areas. The stations are renovated from time to time.

A note for caution for pedestrians though. Crossing the road other than at the Zebra crossing/ pedestrian way and when the traffic signal is red can attract a symbolic fine for 4€. 

Tips:

  • Tickets can be obtained as a single ticket, a Billet (pronounced 'beeay') or a bunch of 10 tickets, a Carnet (karnay). If you are going to be using Public transport for a few days, it is advisable to buy the Carnet because the per ticket cost is less.

  • The same ticket can be used for Metro, Tram, Bus and RER network within Paris.
  • If you are going to stay for a week, you could buy a Weekly pass, une Carte Hebdomadaire (oon kakht abdo.maa.dehr) which is valid from Monday to Sunday. The cost is around 14 Euros and the usage on all public transport is unlimited within the Paris Zone.

  • For a month long use, a monthly pass, une Carte Orange (oon kakht oraanze) is more suited. For this, you would need a passport size photo.

  • For those who may not have used a Metro before, look for the direction in which to travel before embarking on the Metro even if it is the right Line. eg Line 1 is from La Défense to Chateau de Vincennes. If you are at the Champs Elysees (Station: Franklin de Roosevelt) and you wish to travel to Gare de Lyon, you will have to take the direction Chateau de Vincennes

  • On Saturdays, the Metro is available till 2AM on certain lines. But it is always recommended to check from any station before deciding on a late night out to be certain to catch the last metro.

  • A free Metro/ RER/ Bus plan can be obtained from the counters at the Railway stations.where you could buy the tickets. Ask for un Plan de Metro, s'il vous plait (un plon de Metro seelvooplay) or un Grand Plan de Metro, s'il vous plait (un gron plon de Metro, seelvooplay)


Using Public transport only a couple of times:

If you are in Paris for a limited duration and are likely to use public transport only a couple of times, you could buy a ticket t+. This ticket allows you access to all transport network within Paris- be it Metro, Tram, Bus or RER.


  • Cost €1.60/ ticket

  • Except on certain circuits, it is possible to use the same ticket when taking a corresponding bus or tram within 1 hour 30 minutes of the first validation of the ticket.

  • It can not be used for a return trip on the same line of bus.

  • It is not valid for use on buses like Roissy Bus, Orly Bus, Orlywal, Jetbus, Air France shuttle services as well as other tourist buses within Paris.

  • Ticket t+ is valid on Noctilien (Night time buses) as well except correspondence/ transfers.

  • It can be purchased at all Metro stations, Bus terminus, SNCF/ RATP stations, Tramway terminus and authorized agents.

  • This ticket can not be purchased in the bus. However, one can buy a ticket in the bus, valid only for that particular trajectory. It can be bought from the driver for €1.60. This ticket can not be used for correspondence/ transfer to another bus/ tram.


Using the public transport often:

If you foresee the use of public transport more number of times (or have company), then it is recommended to buy a 'Carnet'- a set of 10 tickets t+

  • A carnet costs €11.60

  • It can be purchased from the Metro stations- counters or vending machines, RER stations, Bus Terminus, SNCF stations.

  • A carnet can not be purchased on board a bus.


Arriving in Paris from the sub-urban area:

If you are coming to Paris from any airport (all airports are located in sub-urban area, outside of Paris) using public transport system, you could buy a called Billet Origine-Destination (ticket origin-destination). Although it looks similar, this tickets is different from ticket t+.


  • Cost varies as per the distance. eg. a ticket between Paris- Château de Versailles costs €2.90 whereas between Paris- Airport Charles de Gaulle, it costs €8.40.

  • It can only be bought from the counters or vending machines installed at the airports/ certain stations/ bus terminals. This ticket can not be purchased on board the train.

  • If one end of your journey is in Paris, this ticket can be used for corresponding Metro/ RER for onward journey.

  • It is valid on RER and SNCF trains.

 

From Paris to another city or country

Travelling from Paris to another country or city is fast, easy and accessible. Using the high speed trains, once can cross Fresh border and be in another country in less than one hour and a half!

TGVs

Train à Grande Vitesse or TGVs, as they are commonly called, is a the cornerstone of French high speed trains that connect more than 200 cities and town within France and in Western Europe ( Brussels, Zurich, Geneva, Lausanne, Milan, Torino, London etc). The cruise speed of the TGV is 270 km/h to 320 km/h in commercial use (and up to 574.8 km/h on test runs).

The average TGV time between

Paris-Geneva:
      3 hours 45 minutes
Paris-Zurich:
      4 hours 36 minutes by direct train, 6 hours 10 minutes with a change at Lausanne
Paris-Lausanne:      4 hours
Paris-Brussels:      1 hour 22 minutes

Eurostar connects Paris to UK (London, Ashford & Ebbsfleet) and Belgium (Brussels). London can be reached in 2 hours 15 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes.
A trip to Brussels takes 1 hours 22 minutes approximately.

Tips:

  • The earlier you book your ticket, the higher the chances of getting a cheaper price. Try and book the tickets one or two months in advance, if possible. The closer you are to the travel date, the costlier becomes the travel, not to mention the risk of the tickets not being available to a desired destination on a particular date or time.
  • In most of the TGVs, a pantry is available for snacks/ drinks.
  • Almost without exception, one can book all the train tickets directly at the concerned Railway's website.

 

 

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