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When Paris Metro carnets save money

The choices seem to be:
Carnet
Navigo (or Navigo D)
Mobilis

Carnets are shareable, meaning out of 1 carnet of 10 tickets, you can give one to your spouse, one to your mother, etc.
But each passenger still needs 1 ticket.

The other choices are different.

What is your recommendation, which is better, and for which traveler?

Posted by
345 posts

In the past, we usually purchase one carnet of ten tickets and use those until we need more. We share the "package" but each have our own individual ticket to put in the machine. We have had no problems in doing this. In fact, on our last metro ride, we give away any left-over tickets to people sitting around us.

I would agree with your "I think ..."statement and your math.

Otherwise, what are we doing wrong except not buying one carnet for each person?

Posted by
10344 posts

Bev, thanks, what you say is what I thought. 2 people can't travel on 1 ticket.
All I can figure is, Rick must mean you don't have to buy a separate carnet for each person.

Posted by
6487 posts

A carnet is just a packet of 10 individual tickets that can be used by anybody in your group but only one person can use a ticket. Two people cannot travel on the same ticket. Your last sentence is exactly right. The only reason it confuses people is when they think a carnet is some kind of book of tickets or a card of some sort that allows 10 rides on the metro rather than 10 loose tickets.

Posted by
7614 posts

Kent - exactly.

you get 10 tickets -- you can keep 3, give one to your Aunt Martha, two to your wife, one to your kid, and so on and so on. Every one needs a ticket for each journey (but you can transfer between buses!).

Posted by
10344 posts

Thank you to each of you, you've confirmed what I remembered and it makes sense.
Rick's guidebook statement momentarily confused me, but with your help I now understand what he meant.

Posted by
2246 posts

Me thinks it's a Super Secret RS Coded Message telling you that you need to leave early for Paris ;-)

Posted by
31471 posts

I agree with the others. Since the Carnet tickets are just a small piece of paper, anyone can use them but each passenger needs their own. As you might remember from your previous visit, when you insert the ticket into the turnstile, the gates will open and the ticket will be "spit out" the other side. Don't forget to hang onto the ticket until you exit the system.

Posted by
6628 posts

A lot of people think a carnet is a book of tickets or some sort of pass and thus think they have to get one for each person -- the RS comment merely makes clear that these are just 10 tickets that can be shared any way you like. There are cities where a single travel card can be debited for several travelers and others where each person has to have their own.

Posted by
11450 posts

Well I would say Rick is not always correct.. a Navigo Decouverte Pass is great for people who take the metro several times a day for a whole week.. the only real problem with it is that it runs only from Sunday thru Sat.. so if you arrive after wed or thurs it would not be worth it. Its good for repeat visitors though too because they will pay the onetime 5 euro fee to obtain the pass.. then can load it each time they come.. and a week is only about 21 euros.. .. so for a start up of 26 euros ( about the price of two carnets) they can ride UNLIMITED amounts of times on BUS or METRO.. .
Two carnets is 10 return journeys.. I personally would not need that for a week.. I walk 80% of the time.. usually get by on one carnet.. but some folks cannot walk miles a day.. or they may be there in dismal weather etc.. and it would be easy to do more then 10 return trips on metro or bus in 7 days.

Yes.. you do need a tiny photo.. but it can be any small photo( like cut your face out a photo at home)..

The prices above are for a pass good for zones 1-2( I think 3 too) but for 35 euros you can get a pass good for zones 1-5 which is Excellent value if commuting from airport and / or Disneyland ( tickets on RER to Disney are 14 euros return )

As I said.. a Navigo pass is NOT good for everyone.. but it IS good for some.

Posted by
3933 posts

Yeah - I so so misunderstood what they were saying on the travel talk on youtube. I mean, if I think of it logically, if one ticket could be used between two people, then why not one ticket between 10 people...(I so hate being wrong...lol...for those who missed it, I really did a blunder on the Gen Europe thread 'are we confused by Eur trains'...apparently...yes I am!) I realize the error or my ways and hang my head in shame ;))

Posted by
11613 posts

About the photo if you get a pass that requires one: lots of metro stations have photo booths, for about 5euro you can get the photos you need.

Posted by
6628 posts

FWIW The Navigo D does NOT run from Sunday to Saturday, it runs from Monday through Sunday. And if you stay in the center, using carnet of tickets may be more economical but if you lodge further out then the ND is almost always a good deal. The difference is frankly a bit nickel dime in the context of an expensive trip and the ND has the advantage of being easy to use, easy to keep track of and it doesn't demagnetize easily as the tickets do.

Posted by
3685 posts

Now, Pat, you have me confused. You said, "Two carnets is 10 return journeys.. and it would be easy to do more then 10 return trips on metro or bus in 7 days."

I thought one ticket, one person, one trip -- whether you buy one individual ticket or the group of 10 that is called a carnet.

Am I right that you mean that 2 carnets adds up to 20 tickets for 20 trips no matter where you go by metro or bus? And that one trip is into the metro, through the turnstile, and out of the metro, at which point you can toss the ticket because you can no longer use it? Or onto the bus then off the bus at which point you can also toss it?

Posted by
6487 posts

I'm also not sure what pat means by 'return' trips. If by 'return' trip you mean out and back, that is not true unless you don't leave the metro between going out and back. One ticket is good for one 'single' trip on the metro, as soon as you leave the metro it's done.

EDIT: sorry I misread pat's post. I thought she said one carnet is 10 return trips. My bad. Thanks Kathy for bringing that to my attention. I will read more carefully in the future.

Posted by
13521 posts

Two carnets is 10 return journeys.

Just guessing but I think she means RT journeys: 10 one direction, 10 back the other direction.
Two carnets is 20 tickets. Someone staying at a hotel a little farther from center may be making this sort of journey daily.

Posted by
7614 posts

With the new question topping the thread, here's a new response: Carnets save money over buying individual tickets.

A Carnet is 14.10 euros -- so each ticket costs you 1.41.

If you buy each ticket as you need it on the bus from the driver, they cost you 2 euros each.

if you buy single tickets from the machine, they cost 1.80 a piece.

So you're saving nearly 40 cents a ticket by buying a carnet over buying individual tickets -- or saving .60 a ticket if you're buying one each time from the bus driver.

A carnet for children under 10 years old costs 7.05 euros.

http://www.ratp.fr/en/ratp/c_21158/ticket-t/

From that page:
"L'achat du ticket t+ en carnet (10 tickets) permet une économie d'environ 27% par rapport à l'achat de 10 tickets à l'unité."
i.e.,
You save about 27% by buying a carnet over 10 buying individual tickets.

Posted by
10344 posts

Thanks for the update, Kim.
Yes, I changed the topic heading, since the original question had been completely answered but it seemed that forum participants still had questions.

Big picture observation: Seems to me that $1.50 per trip, including transfers, is very reasonable.

Some things are expensive in Paris. But the Metro, bread, and wine (basic wine) costs in Paris seem like a deal!

Posted by
10344 posts

Something I've learned from this thread, thanks to our knowledgeable contributors, is that there are times, for certain travelers with certain itineraries, where the Navigo or Mobilus passes would make sense.
So I will no longer make the flat statement that "carnets are always the best deal."

Posted by
2349 posts

I'm going to push for the Navigo, if your travel days work out right. Like Janet said, it's good from Monday thru Sunday. It's so nice to hop on a bus for a few stops and save your feet. Or if the bus stops and the driver makes everyone get off, or you get on the wrong bus, you don't have to try to get a transfer ticket.

I bought my Navigo at the airport, at the same time I bought my RER ticket into the city. (Since I arrived on a Monday, but was leaving the following Monday, the pass would not cover my return RER ticket. The money worked out slightly better to buy the RER separately rather than a zone 5 Navigo. But I think soon the Navigo will automatically cover all 5 zones.) Anyway, I did have to stand in a line for about 15 minutes at CDG. Three years later, I bought my husband's pass at the Bastille metro. I was easily able to recharge mine, but buying his had me flummoxed. I ended up having to get help from a nice employee. I believe you have to pay for the plastic pass, take receipt to the employee, get the pass, take it back to the machine, and charge it. Total time was probably 15 minutes, same as standing in line at the airport. It was easier at the airport.

About the photo-they really don't fuss about the size or quality of it. Just make a photo copy of either your driver's license or passport. Maybe make a couple different sizes by shrinking it.

The best part of the Navigo-back home you have that reminder that you need to go back to Paris. No sense just letting that pass sit there. By golly, you paid 5 euro for that! Time to use it again. Get your money's worth.

Posted by
6628 posts

I shudder to add to confusion here but if you buy a zone 1-2 charged Navigo at the airport you can add a one time ticket into down at a discount and thus save a couple of Euros without having to charge it for 5 zones.

And re carnet -- a carnet is 10 of ANY particular ticket. Most of the time that is 10 t+bus/metro tickets like those used within Paris. But if there were 5 of you coming and going from the airport you could buy a carnet of those tickets and pay more like 7.50 each than 10. Or that same group of 10 could buy tickets Paris/Versailles Rive Gauche and have tickets to go to Versailles and back at a discount. So anytime 10 of the same kind of ticket makes sense for your group you can get a carnet of them.

Posted by
11450 posts

Kathy understood exactly what I meant.

Two carnets is twenty one way tickets.

That is ten return trips. One ticket to go some place. One ticket to go back.

I think the ND is a good deal for people who intend to use transport fairly often.

Between my partner and I we used two carnets in 8 days last summer, and I think we had a few tickets left over.

Almost any site a tourist wants to see is within zones 1-2.

Getting a zone 1-5 ticket does add a lot of value if planning on Versilles and Disneyland, And plan on airport commute.

Airport to Paris- 20 euros return
Paris to Disneyland- 14 euros return
Paris to Versailles- 8 euros return

Prices approx,, a few centimes more here and there, but I underestimated so you do get the picture.

And not for everyone. Dates must work out , and you should likely not be a rabid walker like me.

Posted by
70 posts

My recommendation for Paris is, use the buses, you see more. (Maybe not just during the Rush Hour.)
I always use "Navigo" but you need a passport photo. For the Advanced is this the right card.
Btw, with this card you will not immediately recognized as a tourist!

The "Mobilis" ticket I use when the Navigo card is not worthwhile. With this ticket you can use relaxed one day the Metro, Bus and RER.

If you use the Mobiles or a Single Ticket and you put dem in the access control, you should take care that no one else grap the ticket and thus disappears.

Otherwise everything is said on the subject

Posted by
2349 posts

Whether a typo or a language glitch, I absolutely love the term "rash hour".

Posted by
8293 posts

So funny, Karen! Brings to mind the No Tell Motel.

Posted by
697 posts

We have a Navigo card we used last year since we arrived on a Monday & left the following Monday so it made sense (and was so easy to use). This year we arrive in Paris on Wednesday afternoon (from Venice) and leave the following Wednesday afternoon. I'm still thinking the ND card would work for us again, however we'd need to add a carnet (or two) on the Monday before we leave Paris. We do use the Metro a lot, traveling to our destination in the morning, then back to our apartment for a little break and again in late afternoon for another destination. I tried counting how many times we might use the Metro from Wednesday to Sunday but I'm still unsure as to how many carnets we'd even need. It just seems like the ND is easier since you can ride all you want until Sunday evening. And since we already have ours, we'd just need to reload them when we arrive in Paris. Does this make sense? Merci bien !

Posted by
6487 posts

Diana, just reload the ND card. The most you could lose would be a few €'s and not worth anticipating how many trips and how many carnets (or individual tickets) you might need. That would be too much bother for me.

Posted by
12898 posts

I buy the carnet, that set of 10 tickets. Not only is the price the incentive over individual tickets as regards to the small savings but also the fact that the tickets in the carnet don't expire. If they are not used up by the end of the trip, I'll have them available for the next trip, ie, sort of like buying in advance and that you'll be armed with the Metro tickets instead of waiting in line upon arrival at Gare du Nord coming from CDG. Having the 14 Euro or so in coin is even better to operate that machine.

Posted by
227 posts

A "communication glitch" three years ago left my hubby and me with 43 left over metro tickets and 2 RER tickets from CDG to Paris! This year we will use them up. While the price of the tickets has gone up, the dollar to euro rate is much better. I'm hoping to break even and send the transaction(s) to their final resting place! Suggestion: While watching each other's bags during a restroom break, make sure you tell your partner you took advantage of no line at the ticket counter.....

Posted by
1896 posts

Speaking up briefly on behalf of the Mobilis one-day ticket: I am generally in favor of charging a card with a weekly pass and being done with financial transactions at the start, but if I'm feeling especially thrifty, and I know that in this visit there will be a day or two when I don't ride at all or just once (because I'm in meetings, or in one building all day) but there will also be a day or two when I will ride 8 or 9 times, then I get a Mobilis for those days and use up a carnet on the others. Total cost per ride is then as low as possible.

Posted by
6487 posts

After reading all the responses it appears that ND card vs.mobilis vs. carnet or individual tickets is much like the eternal debate of rail pass/s vs. p2p tickets. Which one makes more sense for you all depends on your itinerary and your frequency of use. It's good to save money, but must remember that sometimes convenience trumps frugality.

Posted by
10344 posts

Important words from Nancy: Sometimes convenience trumps frugality.

Posted by
10059 posts

Amen Kent and Nancy! We spent a week and bought 6 carnet over the course of it as we took so many Metro and bus rides in addition to walking 10K a day because we stayed in the 17th. Wish the pass situation had been clearer to us, but we took the general advice to buy a carnet. I will gladly sacrifice a few Euro for convenience. I must say, Rome has transportation passes that make more sense than Paris.

Posted by
3580 posts

I calculated that to break even I had to use my Navigo 17 or 18 times. Jumping on and off buses and Metro seems easier when I have a Navigo. I may have a day with 6 uses. Wednesday to Sunday use is practical if making lots of trips. When using carnets, try to keep one or two tickets for "when you come back." The Navigo is convenient. Once you have one, keep it and use it next time in Paris. Remember to use Navigo on the RER within Paris.

Posted by
12898 posts

How true it is..... when convenience is called upon to sacrifice frugality.

Posted by
2349 posts

The Navigo Decouverte is particularly French. They have something modern and convenient, but then throw in a bureaucratic glitch. It could be any random 7 day period, but no, it has to be Monday thru Sunday. No exceptions. Or it could be a loaded card like London's Oyster card. But it's not. Why? Don't ask why; that's just the way it is. Perhaps it will randomly go on strike.

Posted by
2018 posts

Like Diane above I am arriving on Wednesday and I leave the next Tuesday. I am probably going to recharge by Navigo for the first week and then just pay as I go on Monday (Tuesday is just the trip to CDG so that's a separate RER ticket.)

I am not sure it will save me any money but I know it's just easier!

Posted by
6628 posts

Karen -- they don't want tourists using it really. They have a much more expensive product like the ones you think they should have. This is designed for locals and for people working or studying for extended periods. If it worked any 7 days, they would never sell another Visite.

Posted by
4 posts

We just visited Paris for two weeks after many decades. We arrived on Friday, got our bearings on the L'Open hop-on hop-off bus, and purchased Navigos for the week beginning Monday. Getting the Navigo was best for us because we followed Rick's advice and used local buses to get around. My wife grew up in the suburbs of NYC and I grew up in Boston. We know what it is like to ride a train underground. We wanted to see where we were going and did not mind extra time stuck in traffic, which did not happen too often because of the exclusive, except for bicycles, bus lanes on Parisian boulevards. Getting on the bus with a Navigo is very convenient. the Navigo two-sided magnet is the first thing encountered when stepping aboard. Touch it with your Navigo and look for a seat. There is no need to wait for others to purchase tickets from the driver or use the single slot for tickets. We left on a Friday and lost a couple of days on the second week. Big deal! The convenience of the Navigo was worth it.

Posted by
489 posts

I believe that one is allowed transfers with buses within a time limit of 1 ½ hours.

Or did someone already said it?

Posted by
6628 posts

you can transfer on buses but only to buses going in the same direction and not the same number bus ie you cannot use them to hop on and off and shop and such or for quick round trips

Posted by
1 posts

Spent a week in Paris around Easter this year and 9 days the same time last year. I walked a LOT (at least 8-15 miles each day), but it was handy to have the tickets in my wallet when I got tired or it started to rain. Then I could just jump on the bus or duck into the metro and get on the next bus/train without having to wait to buy a ticket. Especially handy when you're fighting for space with hordes of tour groups. If you buy a carnet at a metro station (the ticket window), they take credit cards only (no cash).

Posted by
73 posts

Kent,

The type of tickets to buy really depends on your plans:

Navigo - if you plan to take metro and buses a lot and makes multiple stops and trip duration fits the Monday to Sunday for weekly pass, this is the best option. I personally always recharge my navigo with weekly use when I visit. I do like the freedom of making stops as I go and very convenient to just carry one card.

Carnets - good if you are in Paris less than 4 full days and or your trip happens to start mid week and ends mid week or you don't plan on riding metro or bus more than once a day. Sometimes it's a bit troublesome to hand on to the separate tickets.

Mobiles - unlimited rides for one day. I've occasionally used this for the one day extra after the weekly pass expires on Sunday. It's good for both metro and bus.

Because of my profession, I am sort of a spreadsheet modeling nerd. I actually have a simple model that helps determine what ticket type(s) I should get for my trips depending on the duration, number of trips , etc.

Posted by
6628 posts

lynda I have purchased carnets of tickets in Paris many times at ticket windows and have always used cash; I don't know where you get the idea that they don't.

Posted by
7614 posts

One important caveat about bus transfers: they are, ironically, NOT possible when you buy the 2 euro bus ticket directly from the bus driver. In that case, your ticket is only good for that bus that you just got on.

I've never understood why - you're paying MORE for that ticket -- but for whatever reason, that's the case.

Posted by
13521 posts

lynda I have purchased carnets of tickets in Paris many times at ticket windows and have always used cash;

Same here; we paid in euros and never used credit cards.

Posted by
697 posts

We recharged our Navigo Pass on our trip last month to Paris. Even though we didn't get there until Wednesday so therefore 'lost' two days of use, it was worth it for the convenience of not having to worry about tickets, just swipe the card & go. After Sunday night, we purchased carnets. Where we bought them, you couldn't get them at the ticket window you had to use the machines. Very easy if you have cash but the US cards don't work since they don't have the chips. We ended up buying two carnets for our last two days (we used the Metro a lot) so it all worked out well for us. Our Navigo passes are put away with our passports for next time, whenever that might be.

Posted by
10344 posts

Recently in 11 days in Paris, two of us used 4 carnets and still walked 64 miles (had a pedometer so I know the miles).

Posted by
10344 posts

Well, you're in Paris, so I don't know what guidance to give.
Here you can buy them for $20 at most drugstores or outdoor/recreation stores.
And probably online at REI or other outdoor/recreation stores.

I couldn't believe how many miles (64 miles) we did in Paris, AND the 2 of us used 4 carnets in 11 days, in addition to the 64 miles of walking.
Last year we did 50 miles of walking in London, plus extensive use of the London Underground.

As a result of London and Paris, my Europe leather walking shoes literally started coming apart (they go back a few more trips than just these two), but thankfully the shoes lasted long enough for me to make it onto the plane! Those shoes deserved much better than being tossed in the garage, and have been given a place of honor in my garage.

Posted by
11288 posts

"I wish I had a pedometer!!"

Your phone may have one. My Samsung has it, hidden under the "S-Health" app.