|Paris Métro Guide|
|The best way to see Paris is on foot, but when you must ride, use the RATP Métro.|
For price and convenience, the Paris Métro operated by RATP can't be beat. It has some 300+ stations throughout the city, so there is bound to be a Métro station near where you want to go. Here's a map of the Paris Métro.
Métro stations are marked by a variety of signs, including "M," "Métro," and ones reading Metropolitain. The trains run from 5:30 am to past midnight (24:00), finishing up their final runs after 01:00 am.
Riding the Metro
On most journeys, you will have to change lines at least once. Even if you have to change twice, trains arrive and depart so frequently (about every 3 minutes), and operate so fast, that this is not a hindrance, although the walk between lines can be long—even five or ten minutes—in some large stations such as Châtelet, the largest subway station in Europe.
Handicapped & Reduced Mobility
Many Metro stations were constructed well before sensitivity to the needs of those with mobility challenges. Not all Metro stations have escalators/moving stairways, or elevators/lifts. In some, you must descend or ascend staircases, sometimes fairly long ones.
Also, passing through the fortress-like exit gates at some stations can be a minor challenge to those with full mobility, and a major challenge—or impossible—for those with reduced mobility.
Route Maps & Plans du Quartiers
Every Métro station has route maps of the system. Near the exit is a plan du quartier, a map of the streets and buildings surrounding each Métro station. The maps are pictorial and very detailed, so you can see exactly where you will be standing when you emerge from a particular Métro exit stairway. Consult the plan du quartier before you exit the station. You may want to use a different exit stairway so as to be on the other side of a busy street.
The Paris Métro is quite safe most of the time. Precautions are in order in the northern parts of the city, in deserted stations late at night, and in those long corridors between stations late at night.
As a tourist, you are a special mark.
You may feel safer riding in the front-most (head) car of the train, where the engineer is.
A special warning is in order against pickpockets(pickpockets in French) who operate in every public transport system in the world.
Especially in crowded buses and train cars, keep all your valuables in a neck pouch under your clothes, or another secure place, not in a pocket or open purse.
A master pickpocket, aided by an accomplice making some distraction (pushing, shouting, etc.) can extract valuables from a trouser pocket without your feeling a thing.
In Paris, pickpockets may include bands of children who jostle or surround you, distract you by rushing around or waving something in your face, pick your pockets clean, and disappear, all in only a few seconds.
Do not let them near you!
Be rude if you have to, but keep them at bay if you value your valuables.