Get to know public transportation in Paris

The iconic Paris subway sign.

The iconic Paris subway sign. Photo: Terrazo (Flickr, CC-licenced)

When you are the most beautiful and interesting city in the world, you have countless opportunities to do many splendid things. The choice is yours. But first you need to figure out how to get to all those places you want to visit. Fortunately, Paris has very extensive public transportation system that will take you to any point in the city. Figure out how the buses and several subway lines crisscross the city and you´ll be moving around like a local!

Walking in Paris

Walking in Paris all day you can feel like a real flâneur.
It´s a great way to really get to know the city and it´s details. But the city is vast and there´s no chance of getting everywhere on foot. Then you need to use the public transportation.


Metro in Paris

Paris subway station.

Paris subway station. Photo: Tilemahos Efthimiadis (Flickr, CC-licenced)

The Metro in Paris is the fourth oldest underground system in the world: It was opened on July 19th ,1900.

The metro in Paris is one of the largest underground networks in Europe. It has 14 lines and more than 300 stations. Learn to use it (stations, routes) and it will save a lot of your time! The subway will take you to virtually any point In the city.

There is another underground train network, too. RER trains, which traverse Paris from suburb to suburb. There are not many RER stations in Paris itself, but the RER trains are quite useful, when you travel to and from the airport or EuroDisney.

The most valuable history book and guide to the metro is the book named Discover Paris by Metro, which is published by RATP ( Office of Parisian Transportation sevices).

Paris by bus

A bus roaming the streets of Paris

A bus roaming the streets of Paris. Photo: Stephen Rees (Flickr, CC-licenced)

When you are not in a hurry, use a bus so you can see the lively streets with busy Parisians coming and going. You can see the whole world through the bus window! The bus network covers the whole city: there are 108 routes crisscrossing the metropolitan area.

Note that traffic is always quite heavy, so taking a bus is a lot slower than going by metro.

Parisian Tramway

A Paris tram. Photo: Enzo Jiang (Souce: Flickr, Creative Commons licenced)

A Paris tram. Photo: Enzo Jiang (Souce: Flickr, Creative Commons licenced)

Nowadays Paris has also a tram line. Tram goes around the city near, but inside the boulevard Pérferique (the ring road surrounding Paris).

Paying for public transportation in Paris: Navigo and Paris Visite travel cards are the easiest

If you arrive to Paris in the beginning of a week, you can buy the Navigo card. They´re sold from monday to wednesday and are valid for the rest of the week, until the next sunday. Bring your photo when you want one of these!

If arrive on thursday or later, the best buy is the Paris Visite card. It´s also the travel card pass enabling you to use all the public transport services. It is good for 1 to 5 days and you don´t need any photo for that.

Taxi cabs in Paris

In Paris taxis are easy to find and their fares are reasonable.

Only during the rush hours it might be difficult to find a free cab. The stations of taxis have been marked with a blue sign. You can find them big roads, crossroad and at railway stations.

Just keep one thing in mind: Usually cabs don´t take more than three people. But a family with 2 adults and 2 children should be fine.


Velib reant-a-bikes in Paris. Photo: Hicham Souilmi (Source: Flickr, creative commons licenced)

Velib reant-a-bikes in Paris. Photo: Hicham Souilmi (Source: Flickr, creative commons licenced)

Paris is known for it´s public rent-a-bike –system called Vélib. So, if you´re brave and sporty, go ahead and get on the saddle! It´s easy because there are “bike stations” scattered along many streets and boulevards. You only need a credit card to get going. When you´re done biking, you can leave your bike to any station you like.

Rent a car or an electric car

Autolib rental electric cars in Paris (Source: Flickr, creative commons licenced)

Autolib rental electric cars in Paris (Source: Flickr, creative commons licenced)

Traffic is really hectic in Paris, so renting a car might not be the best option to move around in the city. But if you need a car, you can find one at the office of any international rental car chain.

And if you are interested in driving around in an environmentally friendly fashion, you can try out an electric car in Paris. Just like bikes, there are stations for renting electric cars all around Paris. Electric rental cars are called Autolib Bluecars and there´s a subscription-based plan for getting behind the wheel of one when you need it.

Because there is an annual fee involved, the rental electric car might not be for short trips (we suggest the fast metro network), but if you´re staying for longer period of time and happen to need a car every once in a while, Autolib is definitely something to concider.

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