We all know how much Paris has to offer in terms of sightseeing, and thanks to the Métro—the underground subway system throughout Paris proper—it’s easy to get from one amazing sight to the next. The second busiest metro station in Europe, the Paris Métro carries some 4 million passengers each day. The first line opened in 1900, during the World’s Fair, and the name originates from the Le Métropolitain, a shortened name for the company that originally operated the system.
Know your Métro
It’s everywhere: With close to 300 stations all over the city, you’re never more than a 10-minute walk from a Métro station, making the system the go-to form of transportation for Parisians and tourists alike. Not sure which station is closest to you? Carry around a good old fashioned map, use the app Paris ci la sortie du Métro or, if you feel like indulging in the Parisian’s relaxed way of life, just wander the charming streets until you stumble upon one.
Practical payment: To save money while you’re in Paris, buy a carnet (pronounced “kar-ney”). These tickets are not only sharable between travelers, but you can use them on the bus and express trains (RER) as well. One single-fare carnet is €1.70 and is valid for an entire continuous trip (including connections) for up to 90 minutes after it’s activated. Make sure to hang on to your carnet until you leave the system at your destination.
Time and distance: The Métro gets very busy during rush hours (8:00-10:00am and 5:00-8:00pm). Line 1 is the busiest, while Line 10 is the least busy. At 13.67 miles long, Line 8 is the longest.
Make your exit: If you’re ever unsure which way to go once you get off the train, look for the blue-and-white signs that announce the “sortie” (exit) in each station.
Take in the views: While the majority of the system is below ground, Lines 2 and 6 do run above ground for part of their routes. You can see Sacré Coeur from Line 2, and Line 6 offers striking views of the Eiffel Tower near the Bir-Hakeim station.
Appreciate the arts: Much of the Métro’s architecture is Art Nouveau-inspired, and many stations are sights in their own rights. The Louvre stop on Line 1 boasts pristine marble walls lined with exhibits, art replicas and sculptures on display in glass cases, giving you the feeling you’ve already entered the world-famous museum.