How to Use Public Transit in Paris: Metro, Bus, RER, Taxi
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The quickest way to find a taxi is to find taxi stands, which are located on most major roads and in front of train and metro stations. The white light on a taxi’s roof indicates that it is free, whereas an orange light indicates that it’s busy. The meter starts at 2.00 €; and the rate varies with area and time. After 7pm and on Sundays the charge per km is 1.00; before 7pm the rate is only .60 € per km.
Be aware that each piece of luggage or bag weighing over 5 kg is an additional .90 € and most taxis will not take more than 3 passengers. They are also forbidden to refuse service because a ride is to short, but don’t think they don’t do it! Most people round up and leave the change as a tip.
To order a taxi call:
Alpha Taxi: Accepts credit cards. 01-45-85-85-85
Taxis Bleus: 01-49-36-10-10
The Paris métro is an easy and inexpensive way to get around the city. Free maps are available for the métro, RER (the rail system that links Paris to the Suburbs), and bus at all métro stations.
Tickets can be bought at each station and in the tourist office. You may purchase a carnet (pronounced kar-nay) of ten (10.50 €), single tickets (1.40 €), or an unlimited weekly/monthly pass called a carte orange(passport photo required). There is also a three-day and five-day tourist pass, Paris Visite, but they’re considerably more expensive.
The métro runs from 5:30-12:40 am daily. Individual lines are numbered and the each direction is named after the last stop. So, Line 1 westbound is named La Defense, while the eastbound Line 1 train is named Chateau de Vincennes. Look for the word Correspondance to change lines. To exit find the blue sign marked Sortie.
The métro can be very crowded during rush hour and is most pleasant from 10am-4pm and then again after 8pm .
***Please look out for pickpockets, who are quite clever. Keep your wallet and valuable safely tucked away and out of reach!
Always keep your métro ticket until you have left the station, as you may be asked for it at any time and risk a hefty fine.
The bus is unfortunately not as easy to use as the métro because the lines are not as clearly marked, but it’s a great way to see the city (line 24 lets you see a lot of the major tourist attractions). Each bus stop has a chart that shows the stops on a particular line. You may either use a metro ticket, or buy one from the driver. Tickets must be validated in the little box located in the front and middle of the bus.
Getting to and from the Airport
Charles de Gaulle
The easiest way to get from the airport to your hotel is to take a taxi, but it is of course also the most expensive. Count on 30 to 60 minutes or more depending on traffic and anywhere from 30-45 €.
Shuttles are another option. They are cheaper than a taxi, but since you’ll be traveling with other passengers they take a lot longer. The more passengers you travel with, the cheaper it is. The Bonjour Paris Shuttle can be reserved from home.
Air France busses leave from both terminals daily and go to Porte Maillot, Charles de Gaulle, Gare Montparnasse and Gare de Lyon for about 10 €.
The cheapest and quickest way to travel is by the RER B. A one-way ticket costs 8 € and trains run every 15 minutes. Travel from the airport to Paris is no problem, but be warned that when traveling from Paris to the airport, the train is often extremely crowded and may not be the most comfortable ride. If you have a lot of luggage you may want to think twice about the RER.
Orly Airport , located 18km south of the city, serves French domestic and some International flights. There are two terminals: Orly-Sud and Orly-Ouest. Air France buses leave both terminals every 6 minutes from 6am-11:30pm daily and stop at Invalides and Montparnasse . Travel time is approximately 30-40 minutes. Tickets cost about 6 €.
You can also take the Orlyval, a shuttle that runs every 7 minutes, to RER B station Antony and then catch the RER to Paris . Total trip time is about 40 minutes and will cost you 8.75 €.
A taxi to downtown Paris takes between 20- 40 minutes and will cost 16 €- 26 €.