How To Use the Metro in Paris (+ Scenic Metro Rides & Tips!)

Metro in Paris

If you’re wondering how to use the metro in Paris, this guide will help you out.

Traveling by metro is the easiest way to get around Paris. You can find metro stations at many spots in the city and it’s a very reliable way to get from one place in Paris to another place. Especially if you want to see a lot of things in the city in a day, this is convenient, as it’s easy to get to another place very fast.

In this guide, I’ll explain how to use the Paris Métro. Besides that, you can find information about history and general information in this guide and I included beautiful metro rides and metro stations (including a ride with a great Eiffel Tower view) and tips.

History and General Information

Metro sign from below
Metro sign in Paris

The Paris Métro is one of the best ways to get around Paris. Riding by metro is a quick, easy, and reliable way to get almost anywhere in the city. It is the second busiest metro network on the continent of Europe.

The metro network consists of 16 lines that have a total length of more than 226 kilometers. The metro network also has more than 308 metro stations. Several of the lines work with driverless metro train cars.

A part of the Paris Métro is above ground, this is line 6 of the Metro. About 6 kilometers of this line is above ground.

The Paris Métro is one of the oldest metro networks in the world, and the first line opened in the year 1900 during the 1900 Paris Exposition, which was a world’s fair.

A fun fact to know about the name Métro is that it is an abbreviation of the company that operated the network when Paris’ metro system opened. The name of this company was “Compagnie du chemin de fer métropolitain de Paris”. Now, the word “metro” is used for underground rail networks all around the world.

At various stations, the metro network connects to RER and the train stations of Paris. I will provide information about the difference between RER and the metro network later in this article.

How To Use the Metro in Paris


Navigo card
View of a Navigo card

There are different types of tickets that you can use to ride the Paris Métro.

You can use paper tickets, a Navigo travel card, or your mobile phone for the metro.

The paper tickets, the t+ tickets, can be used for a single, one-way trip. You can transfer while staying within the checked-in area as many times as you like for a maximum of 90 minutes. The ticket can also be used for the RER within Paris, buses within Paris, trams, and the funicular in Montmartre.

Paper tickets can be bought at every metro station from a 1) ticketing machine, 2) from a ticket counter at a metro station, or 3) from a RATP sales point. You can recognize a RATP sales point by a blue RATP sign on the outside.

You can also buy a point-to-point ticket for a trip within the Île-de-France region.

Instead of paper tickets, you can use the Navigo Easy pass or your phone using the Bonjour RATP app. The digital options work the same as a paper ticket, you just load a t+ ticket on the Navigo Easy pass or in the app.

You can download the Bonjour RATP for free, or you can purchase the Navigo Easy pass for 2 euros at the same places as where you buy a paper ticket (except for a ticket machine).

If you want to load the Navigo Easy pass, you can do that also at the same places where you can buy the paper tickets.

Besides regular single, one-way trip tickets, you can also buy a one-day unlimited travel pass. You can load this to your Navigo pass or the Bonjour RATP app.

Another option is to buy a Paris Visite travel pass, which allows for unlimited travel for 1, 2, 3, or 5 consecutive days. This is a very easy way to use the metro in Paris during a trip of a few days.

Riding the Metro

Metro sign
Metro sign in Paris

Riding the metro is very easy to do. You can enter one of the stations, check in using your ticket (you insert a paper ticket and tap the Navigo pass or your phone), and then go to the platform.

Make sure to go to the correct platform. Most of the time, you can ride the metro both ways, so make sure you are waiting on the correct platform by looking at the signs next to the staircases or tunnel leading to the platform.

Keep in mind that the different lines of the Paris Métro differ. On most of the lines, when the metro train car arrives at the station, the doors automatically open, but on some lines, such as Metro Line 6, you have to manually open the doors by pushing up the lever of the doors.

When you are inside a metro car, there’s a map of the line that you are currently riding to see where you have to get out.

How to Navigate the Metro?

With so many lines, and so many metro stations, it may seem hard to navigate the metro in Paris. It is actually very easy!

The easiest way is to use Google Maps or the Bonjour RATP app. Both apps show you which metro lines you need to ride to get from one address to another in the city.

The second option is to use a map of the metro. You can see these maps at all metro stations, and you can trace the lines from the metro station that you are traveling from to the one where you are going to see which lines you need to ride and where you need to transfer lines.

Scenic Metro Rides and Metro Stations in Paris

Eiffel Tower view from line 6
The Eiffel Tower

The metro network of Paris has many stations and metro lines. Some parts of the metro network are very beautiful.

First of all, each metro station has a sign that reads “Métro” or “Metropolitain”. There are many different types of metro signs, depending on which line you are going to ride.

One of the most beautiful signs is the Art Nouveau sign designed by Hector Guimard. These were the first metro signs and were created at the start of the 20th century.

A beautiful station, from the outside, is the Lamarck–Caulaincourt station.

Some metro stations that have beautiful interiors are the Cité station, Arts et Metiers, and Louvre-Rivoli.

Also, one of the most beautiful metro lines to ride is Line 6 across the Pont de Bir-Hakeim. While riding this metro, you can enjoy an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower.

The Difference Between the Metro and RER

The RER and the Paris Métro are two different transportation networks.

RER is an abbreviation for Réseau Express Régional. This is a train network in both Paris and the suburbs of Paris.

The RER network consists of 5 lines: A, B, C, D, and E. There are some stations of the Paris Métro where you can transfer to RER.

When you are getting around Paris, you don’t need to use the RER network, although sometimes it is a bit faster. When you travel outside the city, you can make use of the RER network.

For example, when you travel from CDG airport to the city center of Paris, you can travel by RER B.

When To Travel by Metro Instead of Bus

Bus stop and metro station
Metro station and bus stop in Paris

If you’re wondering how to use the metro in Paris, you might also wonder when it might be better to travel by bus. In many cases, the metro is the most convenient method of getting around in Paris. The metro is quick, it runs frequently, and it is reliable.

So most of the time, I recommend using the metro instead of the bus.

However, there are three cases when you want to travel by bus.

First of all, if you don’t like to be underground, the metro is less of a fit for you.

Second, there are some routes for which there is a direct bus connection while there isn’t a metro route for which you don’t have to transfer. For example, when you want to travel from one spot along the Seine to another, it’s often more convenient to travel by bus 72.

Third, when you have to travel a short distance, it could take too much time to walk to the platform within the metro station, and simply waiting for the bus takes less time.

Other Paris Travel Guides

Beautiful covered passages in Paris

Famous streets in Paris

One day in Montmartre

Some Extra Tips About Riding the Metro in Paris

Sometimes when you transfer to another metro line at a metro station, you have to walk a very large distance within the metro station itself. Keep this in mind when planning your trip by metro.

Something else to know about traveling by the Paris Métro is that you can often encounter musicians underground in the tunnels of the metro. The artists that perform at the metro were chosen by a jury, and some of the most famous French artists started their career at the Paris Métro. So this can be great to see.

I hope you understand how to use the metro in Paris after reading this guide! As you see, it’s a great way to get around the city.