Newest Review: ... If you're a lone traveller, try and stay in carriages where there are plenty of people. Overall the Paris Metro struggles to handle the s... more
Paris Metro: an Insider's Guide!
Member Name: Drifter_2000
Advantages: Cheap, good network coverage
Disadvantages: Very crowded during rush hour
The Paris Métro is the most convenient method of transport in the city and has 16 lines totalling 133 miles in length. The lines are numbered 1 to 14 with 2 minor lines and each line has its own identifying colour. Trains run from 5.30am until 1.15am (2.15am on Fridays and Saturdays). If you're visiting Paris, the Metro gives you and relatively cheap and fast way to explore the city. However, it can also be real hassle if you're not adequately prepared! Here are my top 5 tips to master the Metro and make the most of your time in the city of lights:
1. Avoid rush hour. If at all possible, avoid travelling between 8am and 9.30am and between 5pm and 6.30pm. Line 4 in particular gets heavily congested. The same goes when planning your arrival time in the city, as you won't want to be negotiating crowded metro carriages with all of your luggage. The sight of a large American trying to squeeze a giant suitcase through a crowd of commuters makes me cringe every time...
2. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, don't always get off at the obvious stop for your destination, as some larger stations can take ages to get out of! Consider instead the smaller station nearby as it's a guaranteed timesaver, especially during busy times of day- here are some examples:
For Les Halles shopping centre: get off at Etienne Marcel instead of Les Halles
For the Arc de Triomphe: get off at George V instead of Charles de Gaulle Etoile
For the Eiffel Tower: get off at Dupleix instead of Bir-Hakeim
For Sacré Coeur: get off at Abesses instead of Anvers (saves you a long walk up the hill!)
Most importantly, where possible avoid getting off or changing at Chatelet-Les Halles station. Often it'll be a ten-minute walk through a warren of tunnels and escalators to change lines, when in a smaller station you could have just crossed platforms.
3. If you're on a whistle-stop trip, consider the Paris Visite travelcard, which gives you unlimited travel in central Paris for 1,2,3 or 5 consecutive days. A 5 day ticket costs Euro31.15 which works out just over Euro6 a day (about the same as a single journey on the London Underground!). If you're only going to be travelling intermittently, buy 'carnets' of 10 single tickets (Euro12.50) as it works out far cheaper.
4. As Metro stations in Paris can be as little as 50 metres apart, don't always assume it's the quickest option. As a general rule if you're travelling less that three stops, you're probably better off walking.
5. Use the RER (Réseau Express Régional) train for longer trips within Paris, as it's faster and Metro tickets are still valid. The RER is a faster system that serves the suburbs and has five lines signified by the letters A to E. For example use RER B to travel quickly from Gare du Nord to Notre Dame or RER D to travel from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon. Be careful on the RER though as it can be a mugger's paradise (enclosed carriages and larger distances between stations). If you're a lone traveller, try and stay in carriages where there are plenty of people.
Overall the Paris Metro struggles to handle the sheer volume of people that pass through it particularly during rush hour. However, if you're a tourist then the network will take you anywhere you'd ever need to go for a very low price. If you get lost in Paris then it's only a matter of time before you'll always stumble across a Metro station to help you get your bearings. Visitors can find the network's complexity quite daunting but with a little 'insider knowledge' the Metro can be a very fast and easy way to get around.
Summary: A cheap and convenient way to explore the city
More reviews in the field of Transport International
- Norfolk Lines now DFDS
- Eurotunnell: smooth quick and very well organised.
- Crazy Stagecoach Bus Driver Nearly Killed Me
- Moving to Canada
- done a trip in 2011 and what a wonderfull day
- EASYCAR: AVOID AT ALL COSTS
- Our taxi to Ipanema
- Plenty of money needed in your bank !!
- You'd be quicker to swim!
- How does DFDS remain solvent (it must be the telephone charges that keep them af ...