Paris - Transportation
Getting Around Paris
Paris is a very accessible city. There are a number of coach companies that link the French capital with destinations throughout France as well as further afield. France also has a good rail network with frequent TGV (high-speed trains) running to all corners. In addition, the Eurostar links Paris with London, Brussels and Lille.
Paris' compactness makes walking around it a pleasure, though cyclists can be hampered by heavy city centre traffic. Public transport, run by RATP (Regie Autonome de Transports Parisians), is cost-effective and efficient and includes Métro trains, buses, trams and RER trains.
It's much easier to navigate the city with a map, the very best of which is Paris Pratique par Arrondissement, available from any news stand for about €2-4.
Car Rental and Driving
With limited parking spaces and a high volume of traffic, driving a car in Paris is challenging and ill-advised for anyone without previous experience of doing so. Renting a car is useful for visiting the charming, quieter outlying regions and towns near the capital.
To find great deals on car rentals in Paris, visit our Car Rental page
Public Transport in Paris
Fast and inexpensive, travel on the Metro is one of the best ways to get around Paris. Trains on the 15 lines run from 5.30am to midnight. RATP provides a Paris metro map plus a journey planner tool.
There are four RER suburban train lines which are best used for longer distance journeys across Paris.
Many of the 60 bus routes go through the tourist areas of Paris. Buses operate from Monday to Saturday from 7am to around 8.30pm. Stamp your ticket onboard. Night buses (Noctambus) operate across 18 lines from 1am to 5.30am, running into the suburbs. The Balabus circuits along major Paris tourist attractions including the Bastille, Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, Champs-Elysées and Charles de Gaulle-Etoile on Sundays and national holidays through summer months.
Taxis can be hailed in the street, though there are plentiful taxi ranks. Rates are measured in the city centre by kilometre, with higher rates after 7pm and on Sundays. A fee is charged for each piece of baggage.
The Paris Visite Pass allows unlimited use of all public transport in zones 1 to 5 for around 16 euros a day. A number of passes that combine attractions and transport are available including the RATP-Disneyland Paris, RATP-Louvre pass, the L'Open Tour and Batobus (waterbus) combo. The Carte Orange is a weekly travel pass available from metro and RER stations (valid from Monday to Sunday only). Card Mobilis is another one-day travel card for use on buses, metro and RER lines.
Trains From Paris
The French national rail authority SNCF operates most rail services within France, with high-speed TGV trains linking Paris to London in just two hours 35 minutes; Thalys runs services to and from Belgium and the Netherlands; Eurostar serves 100 destinations including Disneyland Paris, Lille, Brussels and London. TER trains also serves most French cities. Tickets can be bought at railway stations, travel agencies and city offices, with early booking discounts available.
These principal Paris rail stations broadly serve the following domestic and international cities and regions:
Gare du Nord (10th arrondissement): Belgium, the Netherlands, UK and Northern Europe. (Eurostar, TGV, Thalys and regular trains)
Gare Austerlitz (13th): Central and Southwest France, Spain and Portugal.
Gare de l'Est (10th): Eastern Europe
Gare de Lyon (12th): Eastern and Southern France, Switzerland and Italy
Gare St Lazare (8th): Basse-Normandie and Haute-Normandie
Gare Montparnasse (15th): West and South-West France including Brest, Nantes, Bordeaux and Spain (TGV and regular trains).