Ride the Paris metro like a local with our excellent top tips – it’s easy when you know how!
The Paris Metro consists of 300 stations on 14 numbered lines covering a 10 km square area of central Paris.
The Paris Metro operates from around 05:30 until 00:40 (5:30am – 12:40am) Sunday to Thursday and from 05:30 until 01:40 on Fridays, Saturdays and on days before a national holiday.
The trains run frequently, every few minutes in rush hour, up to 10 minutes apart on holidays and Sundays.
1. Route planning: Use a metro map to plan your journey. The more changes you make, the longer the journey will take especially if you are changing at the big stations like Gare du Nord where you may have a bit of a hike to change platforms. Check the RER route (the regional rail network for Paris) to see if there is a more direct route.
2. Don’t wear your backpack on the train if it’s packed – it will irritate other travellers and it is potentially vulnerable to pick pockets when you’re crammed into a carriage and can’t turn round. Keep bags where you can see them.
3. Don’t stand right on the edge of the platform at peak times. The trains can be incredibly packed and if you’re right at the front and the carriage that stops immediately in front of you is too packed to enter – you won’t be able to manoeuvre yourself to another carriage easily. Stay back a bit and watch the train’s progress along the platform for potential space in the carriages.
4. Buy a carnet of tickets – a book of tickets or weekly pass if you’re intending to use the metro for a few days – it will save you money and queuing time. Monday morning is the worst time to buy a ticket because the queues for machines and ticket offices are always longer as people go back to work after the weekend.
5. When it’s time to get off the train, if it is very crowded and you are not near the door, get prepared to disembark ahead of your stop. Try to make your way towards the door or sign that you want to get out so that you don’t miss your stop and you alight nimbly and are not caught out by others pushing onto the train.
Clearly there are times when the metro is busier than others so do try to time your use for off-peak if possible. For many using the Metro is part of the fun of being in Paris but when you’re in a rush or you have a lot of luggage it’s not always entertaining.
We hope these tips help you to have an easier trip when using the Paris Metro journey.