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How To Use The Paris “Metro” Subway

The Paris subway system (le métro) is the fastest and easiest way to travel around Paris and the nearby suburbs…and to get to other trains that travel the rest of the country. It runs everyday from 5:30 A.M. until (and this is key) “around” 12:30 A.M. Like most subways, it is an underground train that stops automatically at ~300 stations. It’s also important to note that on most trains, you must press a certain button (near the door) in order to exit.

Where To Get A Métro Ticket

In order to ride the subway, you must first get a ticket. You can buy tickets at a newspaper stand, in tobacco stores (which can be part of coffee shops) – and are marked by a red illuminated panel that reads “Tabac” located on the side. You can also buy tickets in the subway itself, where there is generally (but not always) a window. Usually there will be a real person who can give you information and a map.

You can buy several kinds of tickets and passes: according to the distance you are travelling (Paris and its suburbs are divided into zones), your age, and the frequency of your trips. You have full rate tickets, reduced rate tickets for children between the ages of four and ten (children under the age of four ride free), for people over 60, for the handicapped, and large families (one must have a large family card), and many different kind of passes. For more information, and in particular, for the prices – which change all the time – go to the RATP web site:( www.ratp.com)

Wait Time

The Paris’ subway is very big! While the subway network is fast and easy, it is also very big, full of stairs and long hallways, and is, therefore, painful if you have your hands full, if you have young children and strollers, or several suitcases.

Sometimes, you must change several times before arriving at your destination; know that the connections can be long and that it is often necessary to walk a lot and to go up and down stairs. Thus, the shortest route on the map is not always the fastest. It is better to limit the number of connections. For example, the connection at Montparnasse Bienvenüe, between line 13 and line 14, takes 15 minutes when walking quickly, and there are five staircases!

Learn How To Pronounce the Paris Subway Station Names

Yes, I know I look like a terrorist here.
Yes, I know I look like a terrorist here.

If you want to hear how to pronounce the Paris subway station names, just copy/paste the station name into the Google Translate tool and click the “Listen” button. It’s the one that looks like a speaker on the right side.

Marseille, je t’aime

I fell in love with Marseille about a minute after I stepped out of the Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles. The “gare” (train station), perched atop a hill, looks down on the old city. From there you can see not only a large part of the city but also the protectress of the city, Notre Dame de la Garde basilica—a Neo-Byzantine church situated at the highest natural point in Marseille.

Marseille is a short 3 hour “bullet” ride from Paris Read more