How to use the Paris metro - detailed instructions

It seems strange, but lots of tourists are afraid of using the Paris metro. They are afraid of losing their way, missing their stop, being absorbed by this transport giant. We’ll give you several practical tips and help you to understand the map of the Paris metro.

Getting into the metro

There are lots of different signs at the “tube” entrances, but it’s really hard to mix them up, you’ll definitely find the letter “M” or “Metro” sign. Ok, you are in.

Now you have to buy a ticket. You can find all the details of this process in the article “how to buy a metro ticket”.

Let’s get in through the turnstiles. Have a look at the photos, we have tried to show all the details of the process.

You can see a turnstile in the photo and a door with bars on the left of it. This door is for disabled people, passengers with children and baggage. If that’s you, ask a member of staff (for example, someone at the information desk) to open the door for you.

Punch your ticket in any turnstile, show it to a member of staff, he (or she) will press the button and the door will open. Insert your ticket (It doesn’t matter which way up), go through the turnstile, take your ticket back, push the door (if there is one), and enter the underground station.

Keep your ticket until the end of your journey in case there is a ticket inspector.

Deciding where to go and how to get there

Keep in mind, you can always ask for a free map of the Paris Metro at an information desk or at the ticket-office. It’s small, convenient and very helpful. And, you can download the map in advance here, from our site.

You can also find these maps at the entrances to the underground, at the stations, and on the trains, so if you need to you can always check one out.

Right, you’ve decided where to go, found where you are on the map, found the line, your destination, and worked out any station you need to change at. Now let’s go down to the station.

The lines in the Paris Metro have no names, only numbers. You can find them on the signs, which you should follow. At the platform gate you’ll see something like the following panel.

It shows all the stops of your chosen train. Find the one you need and go ahead!

Getting on the train

Some of the lines of the Paris Metro (for example, number 1 and 14) are automitic, but most of the lines are still operated manually. In those trains you have to open the doors yourself. There is a button on the door (press it) or a lever (pull it). 

Sometimes the names of the stations are not announced, so be aware and take note of the stops you are passing on your way. 

A short signal warns passengers that the doors are about to close.

If you need to change trains

Get off the train at the station you need to change at and look for signs showing the next line you need. Then just get to your new platform and everything will be all right.


Getting out of the Paris Metro

Again, press the button or pull the lever and here you go - you are already at the station!

Look for signs saying “Sortie” (which means, “Way out”) and follow them.

If you know where you want to come out, look for the right numbers and underlining on the signs. Usually you come across doors at the exit like these.

Most of them are automatic, but some you’ll have to push. Put your hand on the place with the picture of a hand – and push!

That’s it! Easy, isn’t it?

Finally. Don’t be afraid of the Paris Metro. Yes, Paris is a comparatively small city, you can even tramp it, if you want. But sometimes you just have to save your time and energy. Try using the Metro, it is no way more difficult than the Moscow one or any other. You’ll never get lost there. We are confident enough of that to bet on it.

P.S. The Paris metro has never devoured a single person. Everyone has survived ;)


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