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[] Paris Transport FAQ

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Archive-name: travel/europe/Paris-Transport
Posting-Frequency: fortnightly
Last-modified: 1999/06/30
Version: 3.0
URL: <>

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
		      Paris Transport FAQ v3.0

       Copyright © 1999 by Delphine Kensit <>.
		    Last Updated:  30 June 1999 

This FAQ [Frequently Asked Questions] document is posted fortnightly
to the usenet group

NOTE:The author shall accept no responsability for any inaccuracy,
errors or omissions or for any consequence arising from the use of the
FAQ.   If you have suggestions or questions about this FAQ, please
e-mail it to the author at <>.


The RATP restructured the fares for the bus, metro, 
and RER services effective July 1, 1999. Please 
check the RATP webpage <> 
or email them for specific details.

Briefly, RER carriages will no longer be divided in 
to classes. Prices for various passes and for the 
carnet will be raised. The cost of an individual ticket 
remains the same. I do not know how the Paris Visite 
pass will be restructured as these passes included 
access to first class carriages on the RER.


Table of Contents

  [1] 	Introduction

 *[2] 	RATP
 *[2.1] 	Basics
 *[2.1.1]	Hours of service
 *[2.1.2] Noctambus
 *[2.2)	Tickets
  [2.3]	Payment
 *[2.4]	Transport Passes
 *[2.4.1]	Mobilis Pass
 *[2.4.2]	Carte Orange
 *[2.4.3]	Paris Visite
  [2.5]	Other passes
  [2.6]	Which pass should I buy?
  [2.7]	Can I buy tickets or passes from an overseas agent?

  [3]	Charles de Gaulle (Roissy) and Orly airports
  [3.1]	Charles de Gaulle (Roissy) Airport
  [3.1.1]	Special Shuttle Services
  [3.1.2]	RATP Roissybus
  [3.1.3]	RER Line B
  [3.2]	Orly Airport
 *[3.2.1]	Special Shuttle Services
  [3.2.2]	RATP Orlybus
  [3.2.3]	RER - Orlyval and Orlyrail
  [3.3]	Transfer between Charles de Gaulle and Orly
 *[3.3.1]	Air France Shuttle Services
  [3.3.2]	RER Line B + Orlyval (connection at Antony)
  [3.3.3]	Taxis

 *[4]	Getting out of Paris
 *[4.1]	Rail service - SNCF
 *[4.2]	Bus service - Eurolines

  TBA	Taxi and Water transport

  [1]	Introduction

This is a brief, informal FAQ to orient visitors to the public
transportation services available in Paris. This is not meant to be an
exhaustive list, and simply aims to answer some of the basic questions
that everyone has. If you don't find what you need here, or need
further clarification, please post your queries to the newsgroup 

 *[2]	RATP

The public transport system in Paris is governed by the RATP. For
visitors to the city, the three main modes of transport you are likely
to deal with are the Metro (the subway/underground system), the RER
(commuter railway which also provides an express alternative to the
Metro), and the bus. In addition, the RATP runs buses from the two
airports Orly and Charles de Gaulle to various points in the city of

Some surburban lines for the Paris/Ile-de-France region are run by the
French railway company SNCF (see section 4.1). You will need separate
tickets for the SNCF trains.

For information and a detailed map of the metro and RER lines, please
refer to the RATP website at <> This site is
available in French and English. Please note that the range
information provided in English differs from the French version. Also,
you might find some difficulty in navigating the site, that is normal.

 *[2.1]	Basics

All three modes of transport use the same ticketing system. So the
ticket you buy is valid for the Metro, the RER, and the bus. The basic
RATP ticket covers the entire Metro system, including the small parts
extending beyond the city limits of Paris (such as La Defense). For
the RER, though, the fare is higher if you travel outside the city
limits. So from Nation to Etoile, you can take the Metro or the
parallel RER line for the same price, but if you continue to La
Defense, the RER costs more. One exception is the RER D1 to St. Denis
(Stade de France) which is outside the city limits but designated Zone

The RER is divided into five zones. Versailles in in Zone 4, and
DisneyLand Paris is in Zone 5. A zone map can be obtained from the
ticket agent. Zones are also clearly marked on maps found on the RER

Effective July 1, 1999, RER trains will no longer be divided into 1st
and 2nd class carriages. 

*[2.1.1]	Hours of service
The RER and Metro service starts at about 5h30 and ends between 00h45
and 1h15 depending on the station. Most buses run till 20h00, and some
lines run on a reduced curcuit between 20h00 and 22h00.

*[2.1.2] Noctambus

After the RATP services shut down, the Noctambus (night bus) service
runs from the city center to the outskirts.  Those with travel passes
can take the Noctambus at no additional cost. Otherwise a single
Noctambus trip costs 30FRF.

Note: The cost of the Noctambus for non-pass users will be reduced
effective 1 July, 1999.

 *(2.2]	Tickets

The basic RATP ticket is a 2 zone ticket, valid for the entire metro
system, as well as the relevant zones for the bus and the RER. RATP
tickets are valid indefinitely, so the tickets you have left over from
your trip 3 years ago are still valid today! Do remember to keep your
ticket with you at all times. Ticket inspectors are a common sight in
the metro and you will be fined 350fr (or 100fr if you pay on the
spot) - no excuses entertained. In addition, you will need your ticket
to exit the RER system - so keep it handy. All transfers within and
between the metro and RER are free. Transfers to and from the bus
require a new ticket.

Metro tickets can be purchased singly at 8FRF each, or in a set of ten
(un carnet de dix, or simply, un carnet) for 55FRF. Tickets can be
purchased at every metro station from the automated machines, or from
the ticket agent. These can also be purchased from Tabacs displaying
the green RATP sign. The RATP does not recommend that you buy tickets
from unlicensed vendors. You can typically see them loitering near
automated machines at the major train stations.

There are special priced tickets available for children 10 years and
under. These are referred to as "tarif réduit" and cost half the price
of an adult ticket. 

If you need to travel outside of the 2 zones, you will likely need to
purchase your ticket from the ticketing agent. Some stations have
automated machines that allow you to purchase tickets for more than 2
zones, but they are not very common. Specify the station that you need
to go to, and consider buying your return trip ticket also. This can
save you a lot of time and headache if you are travelling to
Versailles on a weekend. 

 *[2.3]	Payment

All major credit cards are accepted at ticket windows and automated
ticketing machines. The minimum charge is 45FRF. The RATP now accepts
electronic transactions in Euros at the ticketing window.

 *[2.4]	Transport Passes

There are three basic passes available to everyone. The Mobilis Pass,
the Carte Orange, and the Paris Visite Pass. These passes are
available at every station, although stations outside Zones 1-2
typically do not sell passes for the lesser zones. The Paris Visite
Pass is also available at the Paris Tourist Information office, and
over the Internet through certain agents. 

 *[2.4.1]	Mobilis Pass

The Mobilis Pass (formerly the Formula 1 pass) is a one day pass,
available for unlimited travel within the designated zones for the
bus, Metro and RER. No photos are required for this pass. The basic 2
zone pass costs 30fr, 40fr for 3 zones. 

 *[2.4.2]	Carte Orange

The Carte Orange is available as a weekly or a monthly pass. The
weekly pass (coupon hebdomadaire) is valid Monday to Sunday only, and
*not* for 7 days from date of purchase. The pass is available from the
Wednesday before to the Wednesday of the week of validity. The basic 2
zone pass is 82FRF. You need a passport size photo for the pass. In
addition to the ticket, you will be given an identification card on
which you affix your photo and fill in your name. You must write the
serial number of this card on your ticket and keep the two together.
The ticket is not valid without the accompanying card. This card does
not have a expiration date, so you can use one from a previous trip.

The monthly pass (coupon mensuel) functions in the same manner, valid
for the calender month, and costs 279FRF for the basic 2 zones. 

The Carte Orange passes are valid for unlimited rides on the RATP
system. Contrary to what some tour or ticket agents may tell you, the
Carte Orange is available to everyone. You should not have a problem
purchasing this from the RATP ticket agent. 

 *[2.4.3]	Paris Visite

This pass is designed to hook in the unsuspecting tourist. While a
small handful of tourists may be able to take advantage of the
discounts and offers that come with the pass, the large part of
visitors will not. These discounts and offers are limited to less
popular museums, and are usually for 50% off a second ticket. The
general consensus is to avoid the Paris Visite pass, and use carnets
or the Mobilis Pass instead. You should however, consult the list of
perks and see if you will be able to take advantage of them, refer to
the RATP website for up-to-date information. 

With the restructuring of the RATP, it is not known how the
elimination of first class carriages on the RER will affect the prices
and benefits of the Paris Visite Pass (which is a 1st class pass).
Please contact the Paris Tourist Office or the RATP for information.

 [2.5]	Other passes

In addition to the transport passes, you can purchase the one, three
and five day Carte Intermusée from the ticket agents at all metro
stations. The Carte Intermusée pass allows you unlimited entries into
museums and monuments for the duration of its validity. The pass can
be purchased on any day as it is validated at the first museum or
monument you visit. It also comes with a complete list of
participating sites, the major musuems are all included. 

The key benefit of the card is that you can enter museums through
special entrances, thus skipping the sometimes hour long lines at
museums such as the Louvre or Orsay. The cost of the pass is 80FRF
(one day), 160FRF (3 day), and 240FRF (5 day). 

 [2.6]	Which transport pass should I buy?

There is no one pass that suits every visitor. Which pass to use
depends on when you arrive in Paris, where your hotel is, what you
like to do, and how much walking you enjoy. 

 [2.7]	Can I buy tickets or passes from an overseas agent?

Yes you can. The RATP Website has a list of designated official
agents. The question is, should you? All tickets and passes are easily
availble in Paris, at metros, tourist information centers, etc. The
Carte Intermusée pass is also available at all participating museums.
There is usually no line. Passes purchased through agents usually have
a substantial handling charge added on. 

[3]	Charles de Gaulle (Roissy) and Orly airports

There are a couple of options available to visitors to Paris. The most
expensive is the taxi. This will cost you 200-250FRF from Charles de
Gaulle, 150-200FRF from Orly, depending on traffic. There is also a
6FRF charge for each piece of luggage. 

A cheaper option is to contact an airport shuttle service. The going
rate is approximately 180FRF for 2 persons for door to door service,
120FRF for one person. Some companies offer a slightly cheaper rate
for "pipe-line" service. Inquire about baggage limits. Some services
charge extra for more than 2 pieces. One popular service is the Paris
Airports Service, email:, The
Paris-Anglo website also has a listing of shuttle services you can
contact: You can also inquire at your
hotel for other shuttle services. 

[None of these services is endorsed by the author.]

The two airports are also linked to the RATP through the RER. If you
arrive during the morning or evening rush hours, this would be the
fastest and most reliable way of getting into the city. You can take
the RER into Paris and transfer onto the metro. A word of caution: the
RER may not be suited to those with a lot of luggage or who have
difficulties with steps. The main Metro/RER transfer stations are very
big and not always equipped with escalators. 

In addition, there are special buses from Orly and CDG airports to the
city center, run by the RATP, Air France, and KLM. 

 [3.1]	Charles de Gaulle (Roissy) Airport

English Information Line for CDG Airport: + 
Website: <>

 *[3.1.1]	Special Shuttle Services

Air France buses are also available from CDG Airport. Buses leave
every 12 minutes (5:40am-11pm) from both terminals to Etoile and Porte
Maillot. The journey costs 60fr and takes 35-50minutes. They also run
to Gare de Lyon and Gare Montparnasse. Departures are every 30 minutes
(7am-9.30pm) and the journey takes 45-60 minutes. (Recorded English
info: + 

KLM has recently started a new point to point service. Please contact
KLM offices or refer to their website for more information

 [3.1.2]	RATP Roissybus

The Roissybus runs daily between Charles de Gaulle Airport and Opera
in Paris. It departs from the airport every 15 minutes from 6h to 20h,
and every 20 minutes from 20h to 23h. Departure from Opera starts at
5h45 to 23h, and operates at the same frequency as the trip from the
airport. The 45FRF ticket can be purchased on the bus, and the trip to
the city takes about 45 minutes. From Opera, you can connect to Metro
lines 3, 7, 8, 14. 

 [3.1.3]	RER Line B3

You can also take the RER Line B3 to and from Charles de Gaulle
Airport. The journey from CDG airport runs southward to central Paris
where you can transfer to the Metro or other RER lines, and takes
about 45 minutes. Visitors arriving at Terminal 2 (Air France flights)
can access the RER station directly. From Terminal 1, take the free
shuttle bus. Trains run every 15-20 minutes, from 5:24am-12:09am. The
one-way fare is 48FRF. 

 [3.2]	Orly Airport

English Information line for Orly Airport: + 
Website: <>

 *[3.2.1]	Special Shuttle Services

The Air France bus from Orly Airport is also available for getting
into the city - stops at Invalides and Montparnasse. The buses leave
both terminals every 12 minutes (5.50am-11pm), the 40 minute journey
costs 45FRF. 

KLM has recently started a new point to point service. Please contact
KLM offices or refer to their website for more information

 [3.2.2]	RATP Orlybus

The RATP Orlybus runs daily between Orly Airport and Denfert-Rochereau
in Paris. The bus runs from the airport from 6h00 to 23h30, departing
every 13 minutes during the week, and every 15-20 minutes on the
weekends. In Paris, the bus departs at the same frequency from
Denfert-Rochereau between 5h35 and 23h00. The 35FRF ticket can be
purchased on the bus, and the trip into the city takes about 30
minutes. From the Denfert-Rochereau stop, you can connect to metro
lines 4 and 6, and RER B. 

 [3.2.3]	RER - Orlyval and Orlyrail

The Orlyval high speed shuttle train runs every 7 minutes to RER (Line
B4) Antony, where you transfer to the RER train to the city. The
journey takes about 30 minutes and costs 57fr. You can also take a
free shuttle bus to RER (Line C2) Pont de Rungis, and take the
Orlyrail train to central Paris (30FRF). RER B4 Anthony goes northward
through the city center, and RER C2 PdR loops outward and then runs
west along the Left (south) Bank. Trains run every 12 minutes and the
journey takes 50 minutes. Both trains bring you to central Paris where
you can transfer to the Metro or other RER lines. 

 [3.3]	Transfer between Charles de Gaulle and Orly

To transfer between the 2 main airports, you can choose from the Air
France Shuttle buses, RER line B, or the taxi. For Air France
passengers, the Air France Shuttle service is free.

 [3.3.1]	Air France Shuttle Services

From 0600 to 1500*, every 20 minutes
From 1500 to 2300*, every 30 minutes
Leaving from : CDG 2 (Halls A and C - Exit 2 Hall C) - CDG 2 (Halls B,
D and F - Exit 1 Hall B) - CDG 1 (Exit 34, arrivals level)

From 0600 to 2300*, every 20 minutes
Leaving from Orly Sud (Exit K, platform 5) - Orly Ouest (Exit D,
arrivals level)

Average journey time : 50 minutes - FRF 75 / EUR 11.43 

 [3.3.2]	RER Line B + Orlyval (connection at Antony)

Times : from 0600 to 2230
Sundays : 0700 to 2255
Every 4/8 minutes
Fare : FRF 104 / EUR 15.85 

 [3.3.3]	Taxis

Approximately FRF 300 / EUR 45.73 (day rate) 

 *[4]	Getting out of Paris

 *[4.1]	Rail service - SNCF

The governing body for the French national railways is the SNCF
(Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer).

In French: 	+
In German: 	+
In Spanish: 	+
In Italian: 	+
In English:	+
Website: <>

The site allows you to search and price tickets originating inside or
outside of France, and will show you a limited choice of reductions
you qualify for. You will not be able to check the prices of the
special 30 and 8 days advance purchase "Joker" fares. These special
reductions provide substantial savings on certain trains and routes,
please contact SNCF for more information. The site also provides a
contact list of overseas SNCF representatives, ticketing agents, or
affiliated rail operators. 

At the moment, purchasing a ticket or a supplement over the internet
is not possible. You can place your reservation via the web and
collect your tickets at the automated ticketing machines by a
specified date. In France, ticket and supplement purchases can be made
at all train stations, through SNCF agents, over the telephone, or via
the French Minitel.  If  you choose to purchase your ticket/supplement
at the train station before your departure, be aware that lines can be
very long during certain peak periods. The SNCF now accepts electronic
transactions in Euros.

In France, the Eurostar and Thalys high speed train services are
governed by the SNCF.

Some of the surbaban trains in the Paris/Ile-de-France region are run
by the SNCF. You cannot use a single ticket to cross from the SNCF
system to the RATP.

 *[4.2]	Bus service - Eurolines

The Eurolines website is <http://www.eurolinesfr>

TBA 	Taxi and Water Transport

Copyright 1999, Delphine Kensit <> 

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