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Getting around Paris by Métro
The Paris Métro System
The Métro system consists of 16 lines numbered from 1 to 14, with two minor lines, 3bis and 7bis, which are branch lines that split off from their respective original lines. Most of the Paris Métro was built from 1900 to 1939. Post-war development mainly focused on the RER, a metropolitan commuter express system which interlinks with the métro network.
- The métro network has 221.6 km (133.7 miles) of track, 380 stations (87 are interchanges connecting different lines). These figures don't include the RER network.
- In 2004, the annual traffic on Paris métro lines was 1.336 billion passengers.
- Average speed is 35 km/h, up to 60 km/h for some segments.
- Each line has its own stations (i.e., lines do not share platforms); interchange stations are really two linked stations.
- lines 1, 4, 6, 11, and 14 are rubber-tired.
- line 14 (Météor) is driverless (fully automatic).
Here's a Paris Métro Map PDF, and see our Using the Paris Métro page (next) for details on the different lines.
Trains run from 5.30 a.m. until 1.20 a.m. (this varies slightly at different stations) every day of the year. The times of the first and last trains per line and per station are displayed on the platforms, and the average frequency of trains varies between 2 and 8 minutes according to time of day. You'll know whether you caught the last train for the night if you see the two lights placed above the windshield on the front of the train flashing slowly (as opposed to just being on) when it pulls into the station.
Most tickets can be purchased from
- Ticket offices or automatic ticket dispensers in RER or métro stations;
- Booths located in certain bus stations;
- Shops indicated by an RATP sign or logo.
You can also buy tickets from a bus-driver, but not carnets (books of ten tickets), just single ones.
One single "t" ticket is good for any single journey and unlimited connections, but limited to a 2-hour ride. It also covers the RER but you cannot switch from trains to buses, that will need a second ticket.
Next page: Using the Paris Métro