The RER consists of five express commuter trains that travel within Paris and the greater region (contrary to the metro, which stops just outside the city limits).
Like the metro, RER lines are identifiable by letters and end-of-line names. However, the RER is more complicated than the metro because each line breaks into different directions at a certain point, making it easy to get lost if you hop on the wrong train. To avoid surprises, check your direction carefully before boarding, and use the train itineraries located in RER stations to help you get oriented.
Another tricky point in riding the RER is getting the fares straight. The RER covers 8 zones within the Paris region, and if you travel further than your ticket or pass allows for, you can be fined. Make sure your metro ticket or pass covers the zones you need for the destination, and double-check your destination's zone with a ticket agent if need be before boarding.
Remember that you'll need to conserve your ticket in order to exit most RER stations.
RER hours vary, but on average trains run from 5:15 a.m. to midnight or 12:30 a.m. For itineraries and hours, consult the RATP itinerary-finder page
Breakdown of RER Lines
- Line A: Paris hubs are Chatelet-les-Halles and Gare de Lyon. Runs west to La Défense and St. Germain en Laye; east to Marne la Vallée (Disneyland Paris)
- Line B: Hubs at Gare du Nord, Chatelet, and St. Michel. Runs north to Charles de Gaulle airport and south to Orly Airport (via the Orlyval train).
- Line C: Hubs at St. Michel and the Eiffel Tower. Goes to Versailles southwest and also services northwest Paris suburbs .
- Line D: Hubs at Chatelet, Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyon. Services north and south suburbs.
- Line E: Hub at Gare du Nord. Services east suburbs.