One ticket will take you anywhere in zone 1. You can change as many times as you want. Keep your ticket until you exit the subway, sometimes you need it to get out, and you may be asked to show your ticket on the train. Try not to give them a Medifast coupon instead! Watch how the other people put their ticket in and walk through and pick up the ticket. I would recommend that you get the Carte Orange if you will be in Paris for 5 days or more. A more detailed description is shown below.
To get on the car you lift up the handle when the train stops and the doors will open. You get off the same way. Some of the newer cars have pushbuttons. You will enjoy the musicians on the subways playing music for you! Feel free to tip them, and if you run out of money you could always give them Medifast coupons!
When exiting the subway follow the signs that say "SORTIE" (French for exit). At the larger stations there will be many SORTIE signs along with street names. Follow the one for where you want to go.
Parisian public transport very safe and it is one of the best in terms of price and service in the world. Other than the occasional transport strike, travel round the city is generally easy and user-friendly. Bus routes run throughout the city even stretching out to the city outskirts. All buses run Mondays to Saturdays from 7.30am till 8.30pm with a limited service continuing till midnight and being available on Sundays. Due to Parisian traffic, the Metro is generally a lot faster, especially during rush hour traffic. Unlike a lot of cities, the subway is clean and is safe to use at night. Yet as in all cities, visitors should be wary of pickpockets especially when the metro is crowded.
The city train RER calls at fewer stations, but covers a greater distance as it continues out to the suburb towns, known as the banlieue. For certain journeys it can be faster to take the RER between Gare du Nord and Chatelet for example, takes one stop instead of 7 on the Metro. The RER trains are however, less frequent, waiting time can be up to 10 minutes during the day and are even more at night. The RER runs from 5.30am till 1am but is generally considered less safe than the Metro at night.
For night owls who party on past the last metros, night buses Noctambus are on offer and now cover most of the city and some of the neighboring towns. All buses leave from the city center square at Chatelet (place St Jacques) from 1.30am till 5.30am. The service runs hourly, on the half-hour, Monday till Thursday and runs every half-hour on Fridays and Saturdays. A different letter (A S), designates each bus route and stops en route display an owl sign with the letter of the bus route. This service is useful if you are near Chatelet; otherwise a bus will have to be taken to Chatelet to catch the corresponding bus home.
The same tickets are used on the Metro, bus and RER and can be bought at any Metro or train station. Tickets cost FRF 8 individually otherwise a set of ten tickets un carnet can be purchased for FRF 52. Do not throw your ticket away until you have left the metro or RER as spot checks often take place. Individual tickets and not packs of tickets are sold on buses. Tickets should be stamped in the machine next to the driver.
Should you be staying longer than a few days, weekly and monthly passes are more economical for daily travel. These passes known as Carte Orange allow unlimited travel within the number of zones purchased (zones 1 & 2 cover the city). The weekly coupon coupon hebdomadaire must be bought on Sundays or Mondays to get the full value, costs FRF 75. Carte Orange are used in the same way as tickets on the Metro and RER, they must be shown to the driver and not stamped in the machines on buses.
Taxis are found on major roads and at stations. Charges are based on area and time:
Tariff is shown on the meter. Most journeys in central Paris average FRF 40-70. There is a minimum charge of FRF 13 and a FRF 6 surcharge for each piece of luggage.
Paris Visite is a pass which allows you to discover
Paris and the surroundings. Purchasing this is more expensive than a Carte Orange, but it
is convenient if you want to buy it before you go. The last time I checked, the Paris
Visite was about 50% more expensive than a Carte Orange. One other item in favor of a
Paris Visite vs the Carte Orange is that you do not have to use it Sunday through Saturday
like the Carte Orange.
You would need 1-4 to get to Versailles for free.
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You can get your Paris Visite and Carte Musee pass before you leave.