How To Navigate Paris Public Transport in Style

Navigating Paris métro and public transport, in style

Last updated on September 5th, 2017

Moving Around Paris

After helping yet another haggard-looking lost tourist in the Paris métro today (this Scandinavian gentleman nearly hugged me out of relief when I indicated which corridor he should follow!!), I feel I must post a few tips on the public transport in Paris.

To move around Paris, you can take the métro (underground train system or subway), the bus, the RER (Réseau Express Régional (Regional Express Network) which links the suburbs to Paris and has a few stops within Paris itself), and the trams (especially those that circle Paris just inside the Périphérique, the circular highway). Suburban trains departing from one of Paris’ six railway stations also have a few stops within the city boundaries, or just outside.

Between midnight and 5:30 am, move around on the Noctilien (night buses). When there are strikes (it happens…), there usually is a minimal transport service (and a maxi human squash). Learn to recognize the word grève (strike) and cultivate patience…

 

 

Commuting Parisian Style

Like many Parisians, I complain about the transport system, the smell of the métro, the crazy people, and huff and puff about métro-boulot-dodo (métro – work – sleep lifestyle) each time a métro takes more than 3 minutes to arrive. However I have to admit I find the Paris transport system, and in particular the métro, easy to get around, and convenient compared to other big cities where I have lived. But this might be a matter of culture and cultural “logic”!

Master the art of opening métro doors, and now you are ready to look like you have been taking Paris public transport your entire life! Don’t rush onboard métro and RER trains like country bumpkins, do let people off first. Make sure you also look like you are pressé (in a hurry), but do still greet the bus driver and give your seat up to Mamie (Grandma).

Happy travels!