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How to Use Paris Public Transportation - Metro, Bus and RER

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Getting Oriented with the Metro: Lines, Routes, and Hours
Studying a good map can help you understand Paris metro lines and how they connect.

Studying a good Paris metro map can help you get a sense of Paris metro lines and how they connect.

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Metro Lines Explained

The Paris metro has a total of 16 lines identifiable by number, color, and end-of-line names. For instance, line 4 is magenta, currently has 27 stations, and is called "Porte de Cligancourt/Mairie de Montrouge" because it runs from the Mairie de Montrouge station south of the city to Porte de Clignancourt in the north.

Accordingly, you should always first figure out which direction you need to go relative to the line's endpoints. If you are at Chatelet and need to get to Odeon, you'd look at the map and see that Odeon is located south of Chatelet, toward Porte d'Orléans. This is important because once you take the metro in one direction, it's impossible to change directions without exiting the turnstile and going through again. This becomes a costly mistake if you have single tickets, rather than a weekly or monthly pass. In addition, certain lines (notably lines 7 and 13) fork in several different directions at key points, so make sure to check your destination carefully before getting on one of these trains, ensuring that the train you're boarding goes to your stop.

Hours

During normal operating times, the metro runs Mon.-Thurs. and Sun. from 5:30 a.m. to 1:15 a.m., and Fri.-Sat. from 5:30 a.m. to 2:15 a.m. The same late services also run the night before a public holiday.

To ensure you catch the last train, you should generally aim to arrive at the station approx. 30 minutes before closing, as final trains depart at different times depending on the station.

Major Metro Lines

  • Line 1 ( La Défense/Château de Vincennes): Stops include Louvre, Champs-Elysées, Chatelet, Bastille.
     
  • Line 2 (Porte Dauphine/Nation): Stops include Anvers (Sacre Coeur), Gare du Nord, Champs-Elysées, Père-Lachaise
     
  • Line 3 (Pont de Levallois – Bécon/Gallieni): Stops include St. Lazare, République, Père-Lachaise
     
  • Line 4 (Porte de Clignancourt/Mairie de Montrouge): Stops include Chatelet, St. Michel, Montparnasse.
     
  • Line 5 (Bobigny – Pablo Picasso/Place d'Italie): Stops include Gare d'Austerlitz, Bastille, Place d'Italie
     
  • Line 6 (Charles de Gaulle-Etoile/Nation): Stops include Eiffel Tower, Montparnasse, Champs-Elysees.
     
  • Line 7 (La Courneuve – 8 Mai 1945/Mairie d'Ivry and Villejuif – Louis Aragon): Stops include Place d'Italie, Louvre, Opera. Make sure to check your destination along the southern axis as this line forks off in two.
     
  • Line 8 (Balard/Creteil): Central stops include Invalides, Opéra, Bastille
     
  • Line 9 (Pont de Sèvres/Mairie de Montreuil): Stops include Republique and Grands Magasins
     
  • Line 10 (Gare d'Austerlitz/Boulogne–Pont de Saint-Cloud): Stops include the Sorbonne and the Gare d'Austerlitz train station.
     
  • Line 11 (Châtelet/Mairie des Lilas): Stops include Chatelet and Republique.
     
  • Line 12 (Aubervillers-Front Populaire/Mairie d'Issy): Stops include Abbesses (Montmartre), Grands Magasins, Montparnasse
     
  • Line 13 (Saint-Denis – Université/ Asnières–Gennevilliers-Les Courtilles/Châtillon–Montrouge:) Stops include Invalides, St. Lazare. Make sure to check your destination carefully as these trains fork off in several directions.
     
  • Line 14 (Saint-Lazare/Olympiades): Stops include Chatelet, Gare de Lyon, Bibliothèque Nationale and the Saint-Lazare train station.

Connecting to the RER (Commuter trains)

Many tourists find the RER, Paris' commuter train system that's technically separate from the metro but connects at several points, confusing. If you need to use it-- and it will generally only be necessary when traveling to and from Paris airports or taking day trips (such as to Disneyland Paris or the Versailles Palace), make sure to first get a sense of how these trains work in tandem with the metro by navigating to the next page.

Also see: Paris Metro Vocabulary and Useful Phrases

Next: RER Lines, Routes, and Hours

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