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Getting around in Paris/France

Hello All,

I need some advice on getting around in Paris and France, specifically with the trains and metro. I've read about various passes and tickets for the metro in Paris, and am not sure which would best suit our itinerary and needs. We will be arriving in Paris on a Sunday morning and will likely just take a taxi from CDG to our Airbnb. Below is our schedule:

Sunday - Wednesday: In Paris (Zones 1-3) and RER to Versailles
Thursday - Sunday: TGV Trains from Paris down to Tours, then Tours up to Normandy, and then back to Paris.
Monday-Thursday: Paris (Zones 1-3), RER to Disneyland Paris, then train to CDG Airport

I've read about the Navigo Pass but I'm gathering those are only good starting on a Monday through Sunday, so it sounds like that wouldn't be the most convenient when we are in Paris. As you can see, our time in Paris will be split up so would getting a carnet of tickets each time be the best? Do those work for the RER trains? I live in Seattle where we use an "Orca' card that easily tracks metro transfers for you so I would love something similar in Paris where we don't have to worry too much about having physical tickets and figuring out where they are valid or losing them, etc. We also plan on walking a lot and possibly also using the Velib rentals across the city if they are easy to use and really accessible.

The trains we will be taking to/from Paris when traveling outside of the city look like they are TGV trains which I gather need to be reserved in advance?

Thank you in advance for your suggestions!

Posted by
6720 posts

If I were you I would get the ND and use it for the first M-W and the second M-TR and then to the airport that day. With trip to Versailles the first week for about 8 Euro and use otherwise it may come close to breaking even. On the second week with a trip to Disney (about 16 RT) and to the airport (10) you will come out ahead. If you only break even over the course of the two weeks, the convenience is worth it. It definitely is the best choice for the second week even if you stick with point to point tickets to Versailles and a carnet the first week.

For TGV trips, get tickets months out to get the best deals. Usually about 3 mos.

Posted by
4776 posts

I agree with Janet, we followed her recommendation and purchased the Navigo Decouverte Pass, which IMO was well worth it.

Paris is a great walking city, however, many of the mayor highlights are far from each other, and taking the extensive Metro or bus system will save you time.

Here is more information about the Paris Metro and tickets.

Have a wonderful trip!

Edit to add...
You may find this website helpful as it explains how to get to
Versailles by train.

There's a great advantage in booking your train tickets (TGV & Intercity), in advance, on the SNCF website, especially if you'd like to save money ;-)

Posted by
25 posts

Thank you Janet and Priscilla for the tips! After looking a bit more it does look like the Navigo pass will work well for both parts of the trip in Paris.

Since we first arrive on a Sunday morning, I think we could get a Ticket Mobilis for just that day since we will want to use the metro to get around in central Paris. Then use the Navigo Pass Mon-Wed which still seems worth it for the metro and RER to Versailles, even just for the convenience alone as you mentioned. Then it definitely seems worth it for the 2nd half of the trip Mon-Thurs with Disneyland and the airport included.

Posted by
4776 posts

I think getting the ND is a wise choice!
You can take the Metro, the bus or the RER trains.

You may want to download the RATP App on your phone to help you navigate around Paris.

We found the Next Stop Paris app invaluable, and it doesn't use cellular data! ;-)

Posted by
345 posts

We also found the Next Stop Paris app to be a tremendous help. For good information on lots of train-related topics, check out the website seat61.com

Posted by
4125 posts

A surprise (to us) bonus of ND was that we started taking buses. The bus system is great!

My rule of thumb for all kinds of passes (not just transit) is, if it looks close, spring for the pass. There are often advantages that are not obvious beforehand.