Guest Notes for Episode 223: Quick and Easy Guide to Public Transportation in France: Trains, Buses + Metros

Categories: Paris, Trains in France

Discussed in this Episode

  • Rome2Rio App
  • RATP App
  • Oui.SNCF App
  • Google Maps
  • CityMapper App
  • TrainLineApp
  • Loco2
  • OuiGo App
  • GoEuro App
  • Rome2Rio App
  • SNCF App (for realt-time traffic update)
  • Regional Bus System Around Nice (Provence)
  • Solo travel in France

Guest on today’s show: Lachlan Cooke 12/04/18

Getting around France by using public transit. Many of you in the USA are
not accustomed to using buses and trains, but in Europe and particularly
in France, it is often much more convenient than using a car, faster,
cheaper and generally less trouble.

Getting Around Paris with Metro and Buses

First let’s talk about getting around Paris and particularly using the
Metro and the city buses.

In the second part, we will discuss getting around the rest of France using Trains and to a lesser extent buses.

Smart Phone Apps

We will cover a number of smartphone apps so that you can find schedules
and buy tickets while you are traveling.

About Lachlan

Lachlan Cooke lived in Paris from 10-12 years old and commuted by RER
from Pl. St.Sulpice to a French school in Antony. Lachlan just returned
from a month in France and traveled to Lyon, Annecy, Chamonix, Avignon,
Arles, Nice, Monaco, Marseille and Paris all using buses and trains.

  • Background information on the metro
  • Options for paying your fare
  • How to navigate using an app you most likely already have on your phone

Facts About the Paris Metro and Bus Systems

Paris Metro and Bus:
History: “La companies du chemin de fer Metropolitain de Paris”

First mass transit it the world was in Paris: 1662 transit starts
1900 metro opens for World Fair

Unique gauge proposed to prevent national government from running
trains but eventually same gauge but tunnels made too small for national
trains. No suburb service. Metro trains run right, other trains run on the

2nd busiest in Europe (Moscow is first). 4.16 million passengers/day in

Number of Lines and Operating Hours

RATP= Regie autonomies des Transportes Parisien.
16 lines, 1-14 plus 2 “bis” lines, 302 stations of which 245 are within Paris.
Average 548M apart.

Hours: 5:30am-1:15am weekdays, 2:00am Friday and Saturday
Note on Zones 1-5
Versailles, Orly Zone 4
CDG, Fontainebleau, Disney Zone 5
Airport RER train, Roissy bus.
RER= Reseau Express Regional. 5 lines ABCDE

Different Fare Options for Metro and Bus

Individual, or carnet 1.90/14.90 for 10
Mobilis day pass: 7.50-17.50
Paris Visite pass 1,2,3,5 day passes 12-68 euro
Navigo Decouverte: 5.00/card + 22.80/week. 75.20/month
Mon-Sunday, buy until Thursday each week.

Where and How to Buy

Picture 3.0cmx2.5cm

Navigation: Know line end point
Get a Free map at station, Paris Poche or full size

Apps You Can Use in Paris

Google Maps directions
Moovit, City Mapper. RATP app

Plan du Quartier, pay attention to exit numbers!! On each platform and at
exits. Avoid changing at Les Halles if possible. Expect fare inspectors at

Keep Yourself Safe from Pickpockets

Pick pocket positioning. Back of car, distractions etc.


Within Paris, 63 lines, 4,000 buses

Night buses Noctilien. 12:30am to 5:30am. Aprox every 30 minutes.

Numbers 20-96

1st number is origin
2nd number is end point

No need to learn every bus line
Info at stops, electronic signs, route maps

A Few Bus Lines that Are Useful for Visitors

96. Montparnasse, 6th, to 4th to 3rd
69 from Eiffel Tower to Pere lachaise.

Long Distance Trains in France

Taking the trains in France across the country.

Run by SNCF. Societie National de Chemin de Fer Francais.
Strikes:  Some trains will run
Tickets available approximately 92 days in advance. Prems, (no changes
or refunds) Loisir and Pro. Eurail passes still require reservations.
Use, Loco2 or GoEuro apps and sites for full access. Also look
at OuiSNCF app. For traffic info, try the SNCF app.

  • Pay attention to ticket classes
  • Ouigo

Different Types of Trains in France

TER = local trains, no reservations, not sold out, no price difference
Intercity. Mostly no reservations, but sometimes cheaper advance
TGV reservations required, early purchase for cheaper tickets Ouigo
Eurostar: Reservations required
Bicycles and luggage: Notes about Ouigo and TGV
Boarding, voie or track announced 20 minutes before departure, check
Validation of tickets: Compostez billet
Man in Seat 61

Long Distances Buses

Cost, Route and strikes….

GoEuro app.

Home EN

Some Useful Resources

You can find these resources on Amazon or anywhere you get your books.

  • Streetwise Paris laminated map
  • Discover Paris by Metro
  • An Hour from Paris: 20 Secret day trips by Train
  • Paris to the Past: Traveling through French History by Train
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Categories: Paris, Trains in France