The RAPT Group (Autonomous Operator of Parisian Transportation in English) is in charge of running the Paris public transport system. This transportation network consists of the Métro (subway,) Tram, RER suburban express train that interconnects with the subway inside Paris, bus and Noctilien (night bus).
Although a holiday in Paris is best enjoyed on foot with long strolls in the park, by the river, or down the boulevards, Paris is also a huge metropolis and that is why it is divided into 6 zones, with zones 1 and 2 covering downtown Paris and all the subway lines.
This article will give you an idea of what it means to get around Paris on foot, by cab, and by public transport. And thanks to the soon-to-be-introduced ETIAS travel authorization and the ability to travel visa-free, there’s never been a better time for Canadian citizens to explore Paris.
How to get from the airport to central Paris?
The first challenge most travellers face is getting from Charles de Gaulle International Airport to the Paris city center. Charles de Gaulle airport is the largest in France and the second largest in Europe. It’s located about 25 km northeast of Paris but there are several transportation options for tourists who want to reach the city.
The most popular public transport option is the RER B regional train. It takes about 35 minutes to reach Paris Gare du Nord and the earliest train leaves at 4:56 am from Terminal 2.
There are also plenty of buses and coaches available. They vary greatly in fares and routes — from 30 to 90 minutes and from € 6 to € 15.
Taxis can be found at all terminals — just take the nearest exit from the baggage claim area of your terminal. The ride to the city center will cost between € 50-60.
Travelling around Paris by Taxi
It is not hard to find a cab in Paris. In fact, there are about 17,000 taxis and cars for hire in Paris right now. The Taxi Parisien sign on top of the car can be used to help you recognize official taxis.
Fares are calculated by kilometre, plus standard or special charges (night charges are more expensive). The meter starts at € 2.60. Although finding one is easy, successfully hailing a taxi in Paris can take time — and practice. Traffic in Paris can become quite overwhelming, even outside rush hours.
How do I use the subway in Paris?
The Parisian subway is known as Le Métro, and because of its affordability and efficiency. It may be the best way to get around Paris when the weather is too cold or the distance too great to walk.
On the Métro, one ticket is good for any destination, even if the station is beyond Paris city limits. Transfers are permitted, including connecting train lines (RER).
There are 16 subway lines in Paris. Single tickets are € 1.90 but you can easily save by purchasing a 10-journey ticket or a daily pass. Smoking is not permitted.
How to use the Paris Bus System
Buses are not as reliable as the subway but their service is still good.
Paris buses operate on 59 routes throughout metropolitan Paris and its suburbs. You can use the same tickets and passes valid on the subway. Buses may be slower — yet many tourists prefer to enjoy the city view by the window rather than travelling underground.
Visitors can also transfer buses or from bus to tram for up to one hour and thirty minutes from first to the last check-in. While the subway is closed (between 1 and 5.30 in the morning), Noctambus lines are in service and a special fare applies. Just like in the métro, smoking is not allowed.
Taking the train in Paris: Things to know
PER trains are probably the most efficient way to explore villages and towns close to Paris and the areas surrounding the city center.
They won’t only take you to the airport. You can also use them to get to Versailles and Disneyland Paris, although you will need to buy a special ticket for your chosen destination when you go beyond the city limits.
You can buy your ticket directly at the train station or stop by any métro station. As it’s often the case, there are fewer railway trains than subway trains but they are just as fast. Outside of zone 1, your ticket’s fare will depend on your destination.
Is the Paris tram worth it?
It wasn’t until the end of the 20th century that the RAPT Group decided to reintroduce trams in Paris after the previous service had been removed in 1957. These lines only run in the city’s outskirts and therefore may not serve the needs of tourists well.
Nevertheless, for those visitors wanting to jump on a Paris tram, the best line is probably Line 1 which connects Saint-Denis with Noisy-le-Sec in the north of the city as its final destination Basilica of Saint-Denis
Is Paris easy to walk around?
Paris is a highly walkable city, especially if your accommodation is in the city center. That’s the case for most travellers, as downtown Paris hosts the vast majority of tourist attractions.
You will not only get to your favourite gallery or museum easily but you’ll also be able to take in all that the world-famous Parisian architecture and general atmosphere have to offer. From stunning palaces to picturesque cafes, from breath-taking river views to farmers’ markets and book stands, every step can turn into your favourite travel photo.