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Word of caution/info re: Paris Navigo and Carte Orange

Today in Paris I attempted to purchase a Navigo Decouverte pass at St Sulpice Metro stop and the guy was very nice but said they didn't take cash (euros) for the passes (only credit cards). So of course my regular VISA that works at shops, etc, did not work and therefore no Navigo for me. HOWEVER, he did tell me that I could still buy the Carte Orange week pass (hebdomadaire) in the kiosk machine (with cash). He offered me the identity card thingie (the actual Carte Orange) but I already have one so didn't need it. I then bought the weekly C.O. pass in the machine and all went swimmingly after that. I just wanted to pass this info along for folks coming here soon b/c the experience was a bit frustrating (esp when I thought I wouldn't be able to buy my weekly pass). I guess my advice is this: a) don't assume your credit cards will work and b) at least for the moment you can buy the C.O. pass at the kiosk. Perhaps the larger stations can take cash for the Navigo...don't know.

Posted by
1455 posts

Rebecca, I'm surprised they still had the Carte Orange. We were told they were phasing them out 2 weeks ago. Oh well, glad you got one.

We passed on the Carte Orange because it wasn't cost efficient for us. It was 26 euros, right?
We bought the 10 pack carnets for 11.10 and for our 10 days there had to purchase twice more (so 30 carnets) for the 3 of us.

To those who are heading to Paris, really consider if you'll be using the transportation a lot. If you plan on walking more, then use the carnets instead.

Also if you want to bike, all over Paris are kiosks you can rent bikes for 30 minutes free, then a rental rate of a few euros after that. There's kiosks about every 300 metres.

Posted by
8293 posts

The problem with the bike rental kiosques is that you cannot use a credit card without the chip that the French ones have. I think the tourist bureau in Paris can offer a way around this, but I don't know for sure.

Also the Carte Orange is NOT 26 euros, it's about 16.50.

Posted by
32 posts

Yes, Norma, you're right: the weekly Orange pass is 16.50. We had zero trouble using it. Personally, I like the pass b/c I don't have to feel bad about taking a bus 4 blocks if I want...

With the carnet, it's a ticket EVERY time you enter a bus or Metro unless you're making a transfer. The carnet is 11 or so euros. I did buy a carnet "tarif reduit" for the kids (it's 1/2 price). I swear, though, I was tempted to get them a Carte Orange pass, too, just to avoid the carnet hassle!

Remember: those kiosks only take French c.c. and some only take coins. Just be prepared everyone!

Posted by
1170 posts

We bought COs twice while in Paris for two weeks, and had no problems. Got them at the train stations, starting out at CDG.

Posted by
506 posts

Just a few points of clarification

Carte Orange is phasing out rapidly - and will only be available in some stations until the supply runs out (meaning ticket stock).

Part of the new modernization project for the Metro includes a change in services at smaller stations - such as Saint Sulpice. What this means is that only kiosks are typically available - and no cash is accepted at the information booth. They also are having limited hours. The larger stations still have full service - such as Chatelet, Montparnasse, Franklin Roosevelt etc.

Credit Cards accepted are European cards - rather than "just French" - it is actually an issue with "smart chips" that the American credit cards are missing. THere have been several posts discussing this - apparently there are several companies such as American Express and Chase that offer such cards.

Prices have shifted as of July 1st.
Carte Orange - 1 week for zones 1/2 is 16,80 for specifics details

Posted by
264 posts


Chers amis,

Having just returned from 2 weeks in Paris I learned this: The convenience alone of being able to pass the plastic Navigo card (anywhere in the vacinity of the purple circle) on the Metro turnstiles compared to fumbling to feed a 3/4 inch paper ticket into it's proper slot is worth a fortune! You don't even have to remove the card from your day-bag.

Also these days one can purchase the card and fill/refill it at any Tabac (and hundreds of other businesses) all over Paris. You can do this using your (American) credit card. (Sans puce). Major metro stations still take (American) credit cards, also. I purchased the card and first week at the Tabac at 21 Boulevard St. Michel with my American credit card; I had no trouble refilling my pass for the second week at Cluny-La Sorbonne station with my American credit card.

The time you save with this pass is enough for an extra day trip out of the city!

Bonne Chance!

Posted by
632 posts

so first the English (with the Oyster Card) and now the French with the Navigo...when will we join the 21st century? I'm speaking specifically of BART here in the bay area...but I could be talking about any of our big city mass transit systems.

Posted by
32 posts

Everyone...I so wish this thread had been operational when I arrived last week; you all are a treasure trove of information!!! I only wish they'd offer a Navigo ( or C.O. for that matter) at 1/2 price for kids. Using the kid carnets is tiresome, esp if I could otherwise just wave my magic Navigo.