My 17yo daughter and I are going to France in February. We will be starting our trip in Amboise with a rental car to visit various chateaux in the Loire Valley. I've arranged to drop off the car at the Sixt agency in Versailles on a Tuesday. We will be in Paris for the remainder of our trip (5 days). I've searched online and it seems that it may be possible to buy Navigo passes at this RER station, but that passes can run out. I've read that there are greater supplies of the cards at places such as the airport, so I'm wondering if we should buy our passes when we first land even though we won't activate them until later when we return to Paris. If we do that, can we activate the passes at the Versailles station? Or can they only be activated at certain stations?
Navigo Pass Duration
A Navigo Week Pass is valid from Monday at 00:00 to Sunday 23:59:59.
You can buy Navigo cards / passes for the current week up until Thursday, midnight. Next week’s Navigo card is on sale from Friday morning onwards. (In the past, the Navigo weekly train pass for the current week stopped selling at Wednesday midnight, but this has been moved to Thursday midnight.)
Note that you cannot choose the start & end date of your weekly Navigo pass; it is strictly Monday morning to Sunday midnight, regardless of what day of the week you buy the pass
Above info from this site-- https://parisbytrain.com/paris-train-metro-week-pass-navigo-decouverte/
Yes, I saw that information, thanks. It doesn't answer my question about purchase/activation at an RER station such as Versailles. :-) We fly out the following Sunday morning, so we just need to cover transportation in Paris from Tuesday - Saturday, which fits within the Monday - Sunday timeframe of Navigo. We plan to take a taxi to the airport on Sunday.
My understanding is that Navigo cards are good for ten years, which makes me think we could buy them when we land at CDG, attach photos, and not add the week's fare until the Tuesday we go to Versailles, which is when we want to start using them. I'm just hoping someone can confirm that this would work. :-)
I suppose if that doesn't work, we would just pay regular fare from Versailles into Paris, which doesn't look to be very expensive.... Our hotel is served by the C-line.
You can buy the Navigo Découverte at the airport and not load it until you get to Versailles.. It’s possible but very unlikely that a ticket seller would run out of them.
The Navigo Découverte is a card, not a pass. You may purchase one (5€) at any Ile de France train station or any métro station with an attended information window. These cards are usable for at least 10 years. I have heard stories of sales locations temporarily selling out of cards but you have two places, CDG and Versailles, where you will be able to purchase one.
There are a number of fare options that can be loaded onto the card, valid from one day to one month. Fares are loaded at any kiosk at any station or at any vendor (tabac or magazine store) displaying the RATP sign.
You can do either — buy the card itself alone on one day and load it with a pass at a later time; or both buy the card and load the pass on it together.
It is very unlikely that an RER station would not have the card kits BUT stuff happens. If you are a major control freak (as I am) then you like to manage contingencies -- getting the card when you arrive at CDG at the RER station there would take that worry off the table. When you are at Versailles Rive Gauche RER station you then just put the pass on on a machine. It will take a US credit card and there are instructions in English. You select the pass, put the card on the pink swirly patch insert the credit card, press the button or screen tab and leave it in the machine and the machine will do its thing and tell you when the process is complete and you can retrieve card and pass. Always keep the receipt -- we once had a card not charge properly and just went to the information window where the clerk looked at our receipt and charged up the card with the pass.
Thank you! I am a bit of a control freak. I can roll with the unexpected, but I like to mitigate risks ahead of time if possible. :-)