How To Save Money And Ride The Paris Metro Like A Local..

By Posted in - Big Trip & Budget Travel & Europe & Featured & Featured Posts 2 & France & Paris & Travel Resources on November 17th, 2010

Slipping from one place to the next on the Paris subway system known as the Metro or Metropolitan is an excellent way to explore the city on the cheap. And like many popular destinations, Paris offers a tourist card called Paris Visite Carte, but as we found out that may not be the most budget friendly way to ride the city’s rails.

When you arrive in Paris the easiest way to start using the city’s excellent Metro system is to buy the Paris Visite Carte from a ticket window or self-service machine; however, depending on your timing and length of stay, a cheaper option maybe to purchase a weekly or monthly pass called Passe Navigo Decouverte, which can only be bought through RATP/SNCF ticket windows at Metro and train stations. Keep in mind, though, that the weekly and monthly passes take effect at the beginning of each week or month, not from the date that you first use the pass, whereas the Paris Visite Carte is valid from the day of its first use. Both passes are valid for the RER (regional express trains), Metro and buses.

In an effort to help our readers better understand the price options for the Paris Metro, we have laid out the fare charts below. Aside from Disneyland and Versailles, all of Paris’ famous attractions are inside zones 1 and 2. For the Metropolitan zone map, click here.

Individual Tickets
1 ticket (t+)                                                                    € 1.70
Book of 10 t+ tickets                                                 € 12.00
Single-use ticket purchased on board a bus    € 1.80

Paris Visite Carte
Zones    1 Day      2 Day       3 Day        5 Day
1-3       € 9.30      €15.20     €20.70       €29.90
1-6       € 19.60    € 29.90    €41.90       €51.20
*One perk to the Paris Visite Card is that the pass can be used for discounts for various attractions and sightseeing tours in the city, such as 20 to 40 percent admission discounts to Arc de Triomphe, the Opera house and the Pantheon.

Pass Navigo Decouverte
Zones    Week    Month
1 – 2    € 17.20    € 56.60
1 – 3    € 22.70    € 74.40
1 – 4    € 27.90    € 91.70
1 – 5    € 33.40    € 109.90
1 – 6    € 37.60    € 123.60
*There is an additional one-time €5 fee to obtain your Navigo pass. A passport size photo, which you can supply or purchase from a photo booth near the ticket window for €4 , is also required for your weekly or monthly pass; the photo can then be transferred to another Navigo pass.

Whatever pass you fancy, rest assured you will be treated to one of the most efficient transit systems in the world.

Note from Beth:

When we initially arrived in Paris we grabbed the visitor’s card for 3 days. It seemed like a great deal and we were only planning on staying three days in the city. Of course neither one of us had even been to the city before and had no idea how AWESOME Paris is. We extended our stay to over a week and therefore we were faced with buying another tourist pass for 4 days. We would’ve spent another €30 each. This is when we discovered the local, weekly pass was a much better deal. We bought the week pass and saved a bundle. Plus we got to feel all cool and Parisian-like by taking our passport photos in the subway system and using a real metro pass instead of the tiny tourist pass. Then we made a vow to put this info up on BeersandBeans so that if anyone else was headed to Paris they would know about this ahead of time. Like Randy said, they don’t sell the local pass at the train station where we first arrived so there was no way to know about it since we did very little research before arriving in Paris. But again, it only works well if you buy the pass at the beginning of the week. If you arrive on Saturday, you’re best off getting a pass for just one day and then buying the week pass on Sunday.

The metro was amazing! It was by far the best and most attractive subway system I have ever seen. All the tiles are shiny and clean (mostly) and even the ads are nice! The subway is so fast, there is hardly any time spent waiting around for a train. One thing I did note however is that it isn’t very handicap friendly. For the most part you have to take stairs up and down. For us this was not a problem but for anyone that has a hard time walking or has a stroller it could be tough. Only a few of the stops are handicap accessible. Really though, the subway is great and very easy to navigate. I loved it!

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*Please remember all photos on this website are copyrighted and property of BeersandBeans.com, NarikosNest.com & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you want to use one of them please contact me to ask first because I do love to share and I would be flattered. Thanks!

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(7) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Kirsty -

    November 18, 2010 at 3:09 am

    I always preferred using Oyster cards in London than a day pass, it makes you feel like you live there and you errr… know what you are doing (which I did, most of the time) 🙂

  • Bridgette -

    November 18, 2010 at 9:45 am

    This is so great! Superb information and writing Randy! Beth, the last photo is my fave, love the yellow and blue together, very striking! What a team! 🙂

  • Nico C -

    November 23, 2010 at 9:44 am

    They say that you’re never more than 100 meters away from a Metro stop in the first 11 arrondissements in Paris and 200 meters away in all 20 of them. That means no matter where you are in the city you can get to any point in under 45 minutes on the Metro and on foot.

    The accessibility factor of of Paris is amazing.

    • Bethany -

      November 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm

      That’s an amazing statistic and I’m sure it’s true. Getting around is so easy there – I wish all cities could be like that! @Nico C,

  • DonnyBoo -

    April 15, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Thank you for some great information which otherwise I think I would never have know about….I am heading off to Paris in the middle of June as the start of my travels. I want to really explore Paris over a couple of weeks as I feel that I have only every just driven through when going through France. I also think that it is a good way to test my travelling skills and also my Frency as I speak very very basic French. Have just found out your website whilst trawling through travel blogs and it has a lovely feel to it. The photos are superb. Well done….

    • Bethany -

      April 15, 2011 at 8:37 pm

      Hi Donny, Thanks for commenting! Glad this article will help you out – Have fun in Paris – i’m quite jealous 😉@DonnyBoo,