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3 days in Paris-- what metro pass?

Hey everyone,

I've been living in Paris for about a month studying at the Sorbonne. A friend of mine is coming to visit from Saturday morning until Monday evening. She's flying in and out from CDG. What type of metro pass is best for her to purchase?
I know it costs 10 euro to go to and from CDG, so I'm hoping there's some sort of package that includes CDG and unlimited metro for a few days. I've heard of the Viste pass, but I'm not sure if that's really the best deal. We're both students on a budget so we're trying to do this on the cheap. I don't need the pass to include any museum deals as we both get free entry.

Thank you!

Posted by
6823 posts

I would just get a 10 ticket carnet from the machine. And walk a lot to conserve them.

Posted by
400 posts

What do you plan to do over this long weekend? I'm assuming you will be staying mostly in central Paris, zones 1-2, where the majority of the major tourist attractions, and that's what my answer is based on. If however you plan to be doing some farther-flung day trips (like Versailles, Fontainebleau, Disneyland Paris, etc.) let us know, because the answer may change.

So with that being said, I think the most economical option in this situation would honestly just be to buy everything point-to-point. In other words, no pass. The CDG tickets will cost €20.60 in total, and then métro tickets are €1.90 a pop or €1.49 a ride if you commit to buying a carnet of 10 tickets at €14.90 total.

Otherwise, here are the pass options, and why I don't think they really any of them make much sense in this situation unless you will be doing tons of transit trips:

  • A 3-day Paris Visite pass covers unlimited travel in zones 1-3 and is €26.65, but that doesn't cover the trip to/from CDG. You'd have to buy 2 point-to-point tickets to CDG at €20.60 total, which would mean the total = €47.25. For this to be cheaper than buying everything individually, you would have to be taking more than 14 to 17 métro rides ("14 to 17" depending on whether you buy individual t+ or carnet tickets). Think about it, will you really be taking the métro that many times over just 3 days?

  • There is a 3-day Paris Visite pass for zones 1-5, which does cover the airport, but that is €65.80. Given that that's more expensive than the €47.25 option above, I don't think this makes sense unless you plan to do lots of traveling in zones 4 and 5 aside from the airport, which seems unlikely for a first visit to Paris.

  • This board's favorite option (and my favorite option), the weekly Navigo Découverte pass, is probably not ideal either. It's only €22.80 for a week's worth of travel, and includes the airport. But it's strictly valid only Monday through Sunday and there is a €5 charge for a card. Even if your friend got one for Saturday and Sunday (which, incidentally, you'd have to buy for her ahead of time from the Friday prior to the Thursday before) that would be €5 for the card + €22.80 for those two days + €10.30 for the Monday trip back to CDG = €38.10. For this to be economical, you'd have to be taking more than 9 to 11 métro trips on Saturday and Sunday, and any métro trips on Monday would be extra. Again, do you think you'll be doing this?

All that being said, sometimes I do the math, find it's more expensive to buy a pass, and then buy some kind of pass anyway, because it frees me from doing the mental math of "is this trip worth it/should I pay for it" and it means I can just get on whenever and wherever I want. But if you're really on a pretty strict budget and don't want to spend that much, individual tickets are the way to go.

Posted by
400 posts

One more option I forgot to mention, which might actually work well for your friend if she is under age 26: the RATP does offer pretty inexpensive weekend day passes. It's only €4.10 for 1 day of unlimited travel in zones 1-3 on Saturdays, Sundays, and bank holidays.

The limitations are obviously the age, that it doesn't cover the airport, so you'd still need two point-to-point tickets to CDG at €10.30 each, and you couldn't get one for Monday.

If your friend is 26 or older, then see my answer above.

Posted by
4570 posts

Wow, andrewesque, thanks for the detailed answer. We'll be in Paris for a few days before a RS tour, and were wondering if we should buy a pass or just get a carnet. We do have Navigo cards from about 7 years ago; it may be worth refilling them. Maybe. Probably not, since we'll be arriving on a Saturday or Sunday for a tour that begins Tuesday. I think the tour (Paris and Heart of France) provides metro passes for the days they're in Paris, but I'm not sure.

Thanks, jdlowndes88 for posting the question.

Posted by
400 posts

Hi Jane -- yes unfortunately one of the biggest drawbacks of the Navigo weekly pass is its strict Monday-through-Sunday timetable.

In your case I really don't think it makes sense, because by the time you arrive on Sat/Sun you'll only be able to buy a Navigo pass starting that Monday, and it sounds like you leave the following day (Tuesday). So unless you plan to spend that Monday/Tuesday riding the rails endlessly I can't see that it would make financial sense.

For the OP I mentioned a Navigo pass since the OP is already in Paris and could charge up a Navigo pass before her friend arrives. Unfortunately for you that's not an option!

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you everyone!
For anyone who might have a similar question in the future, we went with individual tickets. The price added up fast, but it was definitely cheaper than a Viste pass.