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Getting around Paris by Métro

Using the Paris Métro

Street entrances to the Métro always have a pole with a sign reading "METRO", "METROPOLITAIN" or simply "M". Approximately thirty stations on the métro network still have entrances with the original Art Nouveau-style signs from the early part of the last century. There are entrances to the Métro approximately every 500 metres, with a local area map at the entrance to each station and also a network map there and on each platform.

The various Paris Métro Lines are numbered and colour-coded, and are also named according to the porte (city gate) at the end of the line in the direction they are going. So, Line 1 running east will be indicated as going in the direction of La Défense, while westbound it's Château de Vincennes.

Where there's more than one station named in a direction, that means the line forks at some stage (check your intended station is listed!). Each line is identified by its colour, its number and its directions as follows:

La Défense
Château de Vincennes
Louis Blanc
Porte Dauphine
Pont de Levallois-Bécon
Pont de Sèvres
Mairie de Montreuil
Porte des Lilas
Boulogne-Pont de Saint-Cloud
Gare d'Austerlitz
Porte de Clignancourt
Porte d'Orléans
Mairie des Lilas
Bobigny - Pablo Picasso
Place d'Italie
Porte de la Chapelle
Mairie d'Issy
Charles de Gaulle-Etoile
Gabriel Péri-Asnières-Gennevilliers
La Courneuve-8 mai 1945
Mairie d'Ivry / Villejuif - Louis Aragon
Bibliothèque François Mitterrand

You can get a free Métro map at most stations, which provides basic navigation.

Paris Métro Map PDF

If you're into hi-tech, some stations have computerized routefinders: select your destination, press the button and get four alternative routes to get there by public transport and on foot.

To get to the platforms, insert your ticket or coupon into the slot on the the turnstile or automatic gate. Don't forget to recover it, because you'll need it to get out at the other end. On the Métro network tickets are inspected both at entry and at exit.

If you've got a season ticket you validate it using the purple target area on the ticket processor. They're working towards having all tickets operate this way.

When you reach the platform (read all the direction signs and you won't have any trouble), check out the destination of the next train on the screens. Within a minute (at rush hour) or up to 15 minutes (at really slow periods) a train will come along from your left.

Door opening is not automatic (except on lines 1 and 14). The mechanism differs according to the different carriages: it may be a button to press or a lever to lift. The doors close automatically with a beep.

Once you're on board, you can follow your journey on the line map above the doors. To get out, you have to open the doors by pressing the button or lifting the lever.

There are all the usual signs on platforms and in corridors indicating travel connections and exits to the city. As mentioned above, a local district map is available on the platform and near exits to help you orientate yourself when you leave.


You can use the following tickets to travel on the Métro; details about what they entitle you to and buying them can be found on our Paris Transport Tickets page

Paris Visite ticket Paris VisiteDetails here

Ticket TTicket T Details here

With the ordinary "t" ticket, you can travel on:

  • The whole Métro network
  • The RER (RATP and SNCF) within Paris
  • The RATP buses in Paris its suburbs
  • The Optile network, which gathers together private bus companies located in the greater suburbs area

Mobilis ticket Mobilis Details here

Carte OrangeCarte Orange Details here

NB: Interconnections to the airport

To get to Orlyval, you need a special ticket to travel from Paris to Antony on the the Métro and RER network. This special Orlyval ticket is sold separately in Métro and RER stations, on the SNCF Ile de France network and at RATP-Orlyval salesdesks at the Orlyval airport.

The Montmartre Funiculaire

You can use the Montmarte Funiculaire with a "t" ticket "Métro, bus, Tram, RER-Paris". This allows you to take a one-way trip (up or down).

Next page: Paris Métro links

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