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Transportation Tips

 

Local transportation in Paris comes in many forms, with an efficient network of subways and commuter rail lines, abundant city buses and reasonably affordable taxi service.

  • A single ride on any subway, city bus or commuter train within the city limits costs 1.40 €, though it's better to pick up a book of 10 tickets (carnet de dix) at any station for 10.50 €. Depending on how much you plan to use local trains and buses during your stay, you might want to invest in one of the following multi-use transit pass available from RATP, the regional transit authority for the Paris.
  • The Paris Visite pass (www.parisvisite.com), geared primarily for tourists, comes in increments of one, two, three or five days. The price for travel within the three central zones of Paris ranges from 8.35 € for one day to 26.65 € for five days. More expensive passes covering peripheral zones as well are not really necessary unless you're staying outside of the three central zones.
  •  If you're staying in Paris more than three days, a different RATP pass called the Carte Orange will probably be a better deal. A one-week Carte Orange for zones 1-3 (valid any Monday through Sunday) costs 20.80 €, significantly less than the five-day Paris Visite pass. For even longer stays, the Carte Orange comes in a monthly version as well.
  • Transit passes are sold at major metro stations, commuter and intercity rail stations and at both Paris airports. A passport-sized photo is required to use a Carte Orange.

Finally, a few caveats are in order for passengers in the Paris transit system:

  • Pickpockets and bag snatchers are an unfortunate annoyance, particularly in crowded trains and rail stations and around major tourist attractions. Keep a tight grip on your valuables, never carry a wallet in your back pocket, and try not to let yourself get distracted by diversionary tactics used by some petty thieves.
  •  Trains and stations can get impossibly crowded during commute hours, so try to avoid peak travel times whenever possible.
  • Always hold on to your ticket for the duration of any ride. Ticket-checkers known as controleurs stalk the buses and trains at random, ready to humiliate and fine any passenger without a valid ticket or transit pass.
  • Although the subway is often the fastest way to get from one place to another, central Paris is compact enough that walking is often a viable option. Traveling on foot is a good way to experience city life, and it can be preferable to enduring the jammed trains and traffic snarls that plague the city during commute hours.


 


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