Paris Transit Tips

Tips for getting around Paris on public transport trouble free

  • Paris can have it's share of rainy weather, so check the forecast and wear or bring along appropriate clothing. While train stations are underground or sheltered and many bus stops have some shelter, travelling on public transport always involves some walking and waiting.

  • Always double check where you sat just before exiting any public transport vehicle to ensure you've left nothing behind. People are always loosing their wallets, purses, cellphones, umbrellas, jewellery, or bus passes on the seats of buses and trains. Loosing something like this can really spoil your day if not your vacation, so always double check to make sure that you have all your belongings with you before getting off. If you do loose or forget something on a transit vehicle, try to remember the route, direction of travel and approximate time it was lost. For your convenience we have included information about the various Lost and Found Offices for Paris Transport services below.

    The Lost Property Office for the Metro: Convention Station(line 12)
    Open from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday and Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm.
    
    Each train station also has a lost and found office as indicated below.
    
    Gare du Nord
    Level -1 near car rental and taxi station exit
    Hours are 8 am to 1 pm and from  2 pm to 8pm
    
    
    Gare du Lyon
    Level -1 near car rental and taxi station exit
    Hours are Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm
    
    
    Gare Austerlitz
    Tel: 01/53601284
    Access by the Cour Museum side
    Hours are 9:15 am to 12:00 pm, 12:30 pm to 4:40 pm
    
    Gare de l’Est
    Tel: 01/40188873
    See the reception office
    Hours are 11:30 am to 6:00 pm
    
    
    Montparnasse
    Tel: 01/40481424
    Level 1
    Hours are 7:00 am to 8:00 pm
    
  • Quick Fare Tips: Keep your validated fare with you for the duration of your trip. You may be asked to present it to fare inspectors at any time. You may also need it to pass through the exit at some stations and you surely don't want to be stuck in the station. When boarding a bus, insert your ticket into the fare validator located next to the driver. If you don't have a ticket you can purchase one from the driver for the cash price but it will not permit any transfers.

  • Quick Train Tips: If possible, avoid the busiest part of the weekday rush hour from 8 to 9am and 5 to 6pm. Always stand well behind the yellow line on train platforms and be careful of the gap between the platform and the train when boarding.

  • Bus Tips: Be sure you are standing at the correct bus stop. Not all buses stop at all stops as they may be express. Bus stop signs have the route numbers and names listed on them. Do not remain sitting on the bus shelter bench as your bus approaches, rather signal the driver that you want the bus otherwise he/she may pass by. During rush hour buses sometimes fill up, but service is very frequent and another bus will be along within a few minutes. Always board by the front doors and exit from the rear doors.

  • Make sure you catch your bus (or train) going in the right direction. Don't just go by the route number. People often catch buses going in the wrong direction when travelling in unfamiliar surroundings. To avoid going out on a bus ask the driver as soon as you board if the bus goes to your destination or transfer point. Route signs list the last stop for the train or bus.

  • Some bus routes are express, having limited stops through all or a portion of their route. This is good for getting you somewhere quickly, but not so good if the bus doesn't stop where you are going. It's always a good idea to confirm with the driver that the bus stops at or near your intended destination.

  • Late Night Travel: When travelling later at night remember that service frequency is significantly reduced so you may have much longer waits. The Metro, RER and most buses are usually running their last trips by approximately 12:30 am. After that time you will be dependent on the Noctilien or NIght Buses which have the letter N in front of the route number.

  • Personal Safety: Paris is a very safe city and violent crime is rare. Pickpockets and thieves do however look for opportunities on public transport just as they will in most cities. Always keep that in mind when you travel. Avoid keeping anything valuable in your back pocket or the outside pockets of outer garments like jackets. Preferably carry your wallet and phones in a front pant pocket, a concealed front pocket or a moneybelt. Also, do not pull your wallet out where everyone can see it while on public transport. Avoid standing near doors with a purse or shoulder bag hanging on your shoulder. Thieves may try to snatch it just as the doors are closing and then it's too late. Avoid wearing flashy or expensive jewellery that will draw attention to you. To avoid being scammed, do not purchase trinkets or anything from people that approach you around tourist attractions. In fact you should avoid anyone who acts aggressively and tries to manipulate you into doing something that is not part of your plans. Areas to avoid include the neighbourhood of Seine Saint-Denis and at night, the 18th and 19th arrondissement.

  • You can also use the RATP Route Planner to help plan your trip.

  • Study the route maps and plan ahead. A little time spent doing this ahead of your days outing will help you save a lot of time and frustration. If in doubt ask questions at the start of your trip, not later when you may have to backtrack.

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