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Paris train/metro/rer/etc...

It's me again. I know I over plan. :D Thank you for putting up with me. :) I was just wondering are these all different lines with different tickets? I am trying to figure out my way around and in the city. Just trying to understand. I will need to go from CDG to Vincennes. Vincennes into the city each day and to Bercy station. And from Vincennes out to Versailles.
Any tips about the subway/metro/train/rer/etc. would be helpful. Thank you!

Posted by
263 posts

The RER is a separate ticket. Metro and bus lines use the same ticket. If you buy a carnet of 10 metro tickets, it is cheaper than buing individual tickets for 10 trips. You might check the Paris by Train website. There is a planning your trip section where you can enter a beginning destination and an end destination. The site will tell you what metro and buses you can take along with RER trains, and where the transfer points are. After you validate your ticket in the little turnstile thing, keep it! Do not toss it away!! You may need it to exit the station. Know which line you are going to take. Lines have end points as part of the name, so you have to find you stop and then determine which end point you need to head toward. The trains all have maps as do the cars and people will generally help you find the right stop.
I hope that helps....

Posted by
263 posts

As a follow up, I went the the Paris by Train site and then to the Paris Metro and Train Route Planner. I typed in Vincennes for beginning, Sacre Couer for ending. The site showed the map, gave directions, estimated the trip at 38 minutes. The trains, stops, transfers were all outlined. If you know a few trips, you can enter these ahead of time and get an idea for the routes.

Posted by
8700 posts

Take the RER B from CDG to Chatelet-Les Halles and the RER A from there to Vincennes. You will pay €9.10 for the first leg and €2.45 for the second leg. If you take metro line 1 from Chatelet to Chateau de Vincennes rather than the RER A from Chatelet-Les Halles to Vincennes, you will pay €9.10 for the entire ride. Vincennes and Chateau de Vincennes are in zone 2. A single t+ ticket is good anywhere the metro goes so it would be good from Chateau de Vincennes to anywhere in central Paris. A t+ ticket is good on the RER, but only in zone 1. A single t+ ticket allows unlimited transfers, including metro to RER or vice versa, until you exit the system. You would pay more if you go into Paris from the Vincennes RER A station.
You will need to take the RER C to Versailles-Rive Gauche. There are several ways to connect to it from Vincennes or Chateau de Vincennes. Be aware that the RER C line divides on the west side of Paris so be sure to get on a train that is going to Versailles-Rive Gauche. Take the RER A from Vincennes to Nation or metro line 1 from Chateau de Vincennes to Nation. Take metro line 6 from Nation to Bercy. For detailed instructions, including photos, on getting from CDG to Paris see the Paris by Train site.

Posted by
14773 posts

RER and Metro are the same system in Paris, same stations, you can transfer from one to the other. The metro is only within the city, the RER runs to the suburbs.

Posted by
104 posts

I would like to have one of the maps. Even if it is big, I may not use it much, but I would like one if for no other reason than my Dad loves maps. I will be visiting Paris Wed-Sun and staying around the Vincennes (zone 2) area. Going each day into the city. Which do you think would be/work best, Passe Navigo OR buying a Paris Visite Pass for 5 days?

Posted by
104 posts

So Metro and RER are the same but require different tickets? They have different trains or trams I assume? Are they labeled? (I assume they are.) Where? Meaning how will I know which is a Metro and which is RER? Sorry you guys this stuff has really got me stumped because all the really helpful info is in French, or so that I found.
Oh, I have gone to the Paris by Train site and it is pretty good but I'm still lost. Maybe I'm just over thinking it. IDK,. Thank you for all the help!! :)

Posted by
4674 posts

Metro is local city travel, RER is suburban rail but some routes are useful for local city centre travel as well. Within the central area both tickets are the same but you will need to get specific tickets to go to further suburban destinations (from a tourist point of view: CDG airport, Versailles, St Denis, Disneyland Paris). It doesn't really matter which is which in the centre, but you can tell easily by the fact that Metro routes have numbers and RER routes letters. Also, RER lines have overhead wires.

Posted by
104 posts

I remember one thing I wanted to ask...Maps. Does RATP give free maps? Or if they cost, how much? I found this one on their website that is perfect. It is a street map laced with the RER and Metro. I was hoping to pick one up when I land (at CDG).
Thank you!

Posted by
9110 posts

A metro map is just one more piece of junk to worry about. Once you head into a station, you'll find maps and diagrams (in large format) all over the place on the walls.

Posted by
33 posts

You can download a Paris RER/Metro map here: http://parisbytrain.com/files/2008/05/metro120x84.pdf I've saved a copy onto my phone and will be consulting it as I need it. Here is a link to a route planner as well: http://www.ratp.fr/itineraires/en/ratp/recherche-avancee/ I've written a blog posting that discusses the advantages of familiarizing yourself with local public transportation options before you leave. It has links to several major city's route planners and metro maps: http://engineeringatravelplan.blogspot.com/2011/04/european-transportation-know-before-you.html Brent

Posted by
524 posts

Stacy Oh, dear. I am asking a question that is not related to which Paris transportation pass to buy. Wanted to know why you chose to stay in Vincennes area in Zone 2? Then we can respond better to your transportation questions. Bobbie

Posted by
14773 posts

You can get the free metro maps in the metro stations. They are small. Tickets are the same for metro and RER, but you have to have a ticket that covers your entire trip from starting zone to ending zone. The more zones, the higher the price. The metro maps also show the zones.

Posted by
8700 posts

5-day zone 1-3 Paris Visite: €29.90. Zone 1-2 Navigo Semaine: €18.95 plus €5.00 for the rechargeable card. You must provide a small photo to attach to the card. Neither pass will get you from Vincennes to Versailles which is in zone 4. You would need to buy separate tickets for that trip (€5.20 each way). If you buy a zone 1-5 Navigo Semaine for €33.40, it will cover all your rides, including the one from CDG to Vincennes. That's probably your best deal. If you're flying out of CDG on Sunday, it will definitely be your best deal. A five-day zone 1-5 Paris Visite pass would set you back €51.20. Definitely not a good deal.

Posted by
104 posts

Bobbie - I have a friend who is letting me stay at their place in that area, otherwise I would have stayed in town. :) I still don't get the two passes Passe Navigo & Paris Visite Pass. Because the website says the Navigo is only good Sun-Sat. SO I couldn't buy it on Wed and use it thru Sun? I don't know why I'm still confused on this one. Sorry, Tim. I feel bad because you are doing a good job and I'm still lost. I do appreciate the info and help. :)

Posted by
8700 posts

Hang in there, Stacy! After you study a map of the metro and RER systems, you will see which stations have both RER and metro lines passing through them which allows you to transfer from one system to the other. The Navigo Semaine is good Monday-Sunday, not Sunday-Saturday, so it will work for all the days you are in Paris.

Posted by
1035 posts

"Oh, dear. I am asking a question that is not related to which Paris transportation pass to buy. Wanted to know why you chose to stay in Vincennes area in Zone 2? Then we can respond better to your transportation questions." I can't imagine how knowing this is relevant to the OPs question.

Posted by
104 posts

Tim thank you for the bode of confidence. I think I'm gonna need it. Lol :) I have looked at the maps online and PDF in my PC and that is not confusing. So I am hopeful. I was just hoping to not over spend on my travels. :) Thank you all!

Posted by
14773 posts

You can buy the Navigo pass on any day. You need a very small photo - smaller than passport size. You buy the kit for €5, put it together, and then go back to charge it for a week, or what's left of a week.

Posted by
917 posts

I agree with Tim and Chani. The Navigo Semaine for zones 1-5 is your best bet for both price and ease of use. We bought them last summer when we stayed in a Paris suburb and loved the convenience of just waving them at the turnstile reader and never worrying about which zone we were traveling to or through. If you want museum admission discounts, buy the Paris Museum Pass as well. The bundled price for admission and transportation on the Paris Visite card was less cost-effective and didn't have all the attractions we wanted.

Posted by
4370 posts

Stacy, you may be feeling a lot more comfortable now, but I know that many people cry, 'It just looks like a bunch of spaghetti!'. IF you're one of them...first of all the Paris Metro IS the subway. Think of each those colored lines as a single shoelace; the end of each one will have a number at each end (the SAME number). That's the metro 'line number'. At each place they intersect With A Square or Round Spot you can transfer to that other line. Now, think of the RER system as a bus line - buses share the regular streets, but go to fewer places, don't stop as often, and (often) go further out into the suburbs as a commuter line. They are marked in the same way as the metro lines, except they use Letters. Many of them use Letters AND Numbers like B4. That's because many RER lines branch off at the ends. Just look at RER line B. Be sure the metro or RER you use has the name of the last stop of that line - Don't just get on line 14, because it's 50/50 going in the opposite direction you want! You'd want to take line 8 - Balard, or line 1 - Chateau de Vincennes, for instance. I really don't like the idea of just popping into a metro station to look at the wall map - that could mean at least one flight of stairs, only to discover that another line's metro station 3 blocks away was the much better route. I'd much rather have a map to consult above ground. The free ones are fine, but small. How's your eyesight?!? Never use a map that's old; the stops are constantly changing, being added-on to, closed, etc. The central district is pretty stable, though. There are tram lines that basically connect the dots on the far outer edges of the metro/RER lines, like connecting the ends of the spokes so that you don't have to go to the center then back out to get anywhere.

Posted by
1711 posts

Stacy - another obvious resource would be the RS Paris book. It saved me more than once when I looked something up and it said "take this bus" or "at this metro station". I hope you have a great time in Paris!

Posted by
104 posts

Again, thank you for the reposes. I was wondering tho, and maybe I missed it in a post (sorry).... Can I use the same ticket for the Metro and RER? Say I buy the Navigo, will it work for both? If not is there anything that will? Thank you!! :)