The Paris transport card is the key to a hassle-free trip around Paris. From what it includes to what it doesn’t, find everything you need to know about this card. Also, head here, for Pickyourtrail’s tailormade itinerary to best use your card in 24 hours.
For a starter, the card allows unlimited free rides on a number of public transports including metro, RER, tram, bus in three different zones of Paris. The card is valid for 1,2,3,4 or 5 consecutive days starting from the day you activate it.
How to activate?
Write your name and surname on the card and also the number of days you have availed it for. It gets activated the first time you take a ride. Note that the card works on a daily basis i.e., starting at 5 PM till the next day. So if you activate it at 5 PM on your first day, the validity for day 1 is over.
Types of cards:
There are two types, depending on which zone you want to travel around. If you have a zone 1-3 card but travelling to any of the regions in zone 1-5, get down at the last station and buy a ticket to continue your journey. (Note that you can not extend your access without paying extra or buying a new ticket.)
Zones 1-3: This card lets you travel around central France, the Ile-de-France region, which covers iconic attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum.
Zones 1-5: With this card, you can access the suburbs of Paris, including the Versailles and the CDG & Orly international airports. But almost 84% of Paris’s popular attractions are in zone 1-3 and even the one or two attractions that lie in zone 4,5 offer shuttle rides from common meeting points. Hence, a zone 1-3 card is preferable if most of your itinerary is based in Central Paris.
List of transports you have free access to:
➤ Take Metro for quick transfers within Central Paris. It depends on where you plan on spending most of your time.
The Metro consists of 16 lines operating through Central Paris from 6 AM to 12:45 AM during weekdays and 1:45 AM on Fridays, Saturdays and bank holidays. Metro services are very frequent during peak times(~ 2 minutes) and relatively lesser the rest of the time(~5 minutes in the evening and ~13 minutes during the midnight). Another important point is that bicycles are not allowed aboard the Metro, except on Sundays and bank holidays.
➤ Take RER for quick transfers from city to the surrounding suburbs, or for day trips outside of Central Paris.
The RER is a commuter train network that runs through Paris and the Ile-de-France region including the CDG, Orly airport and Disneyland. The RER network operates from 5:30 AM to 1:20 AM on all days, including the public holidays.
➤ All the bus lines operate from Monday to Saturday from 7 AM – 8:30 PM. Some lines extend till 12:30 AM to serve major interchanging lines of Metro and RER stations. Almost half of the lines operate on Sundays and public holidays.
Paris has an effective bus network connecting the attractions to various parts of the city. They also supplement the major interchanges and disconnects in the Metro and RER lines. There are 2 types of bus lines — two-digit lines serving the centre and three-digit lines serving the outskirts of the city.
➤ Tramway is designed in a wheelchair friendly manner. As a tourist, the odds of you taking a tram is less considering tramways operate mostly in the outskirts of the city — except the T3 line that operates in the city from Pont du Garigliano to Porte d’Ivry Station.
There are 4 tramway lines running through Paris well into the midnight. The common wait time is around 5-7 minutes during day time. It is also the best way to catch glimpses of the nooks and corners of Paris while you commute — something you will miss in the underground trains.
Where to collect?
Your card will be delivered at your hotel 24 hours before your arrival and you can collect it from there once you check in.
Getting around Paris has never been easier and probably this is the best time to book your vacation with Pickyourtrail.
Updated as of August 2019. The information is subject to change.
Image & Info credits: Parisinfo.official