|10 Steps to a Perfect Paris Métro Trip|
|With 14 lines and over 300 stations, the Paris Métro can take you almost anywhere in the sprawling French capital, but...it can be complicated. Follow this 10-step procedure and you will have a fast, easy Métro trip.|
Everybody knows how to use a city underground train (Metro, subway) system, right? Buy a ticket, choose a train, board, ride, arrive.
Sure, you'll get there, but how many times will you stop, look around, wonder, walk the wrong way, walk back, go up and down stairs, feel perplexed, and be late for the rendez-vous you've arranged at the other end of the trip?
Riding the train is the easy part. Walking to and from the train is where you get lost and confused. Here's exactly how the Paris Métro is designed to be used most efficiently:
To the Métro Station
This can be the easiest part: finding your way from where you are to the nearest Métro station.
1. Street & Métro System Maps
2. Plan Your Route
Find your present location on the map, then your destination, then follow the Métro lines on the Métro system plan to find the Métro lines that will take you there. Most trips require a change from one line to another at an interchange station.
Taking the Train(s)
3. Note Your Itinerary
Make a note (mental or written) of these details:
—First Métro line to take, and the Destination (terminus, end of the line) toward which you want to travel. (For example, Line 4 from Gare du Nord toward the Destination of Mairie d'Issy, getting out at the Odéon station.)
—Interchange station, if any. (For example, Odéon.)
—Next Métro line to take from the interchange station, and the Destination toward which you want to travel. (For example, Line 10 from Odéon, Destination Gare d'Austerlitz, getting out at the Cardinal Lemoine station.)
4. Your Ticket or Pass
Assure that you have at least one valid Métro titre de transport (ticket or pass), or that you are prepared, with Euro coins, bills, and/or chip-and-pin debit/credit card, to buy a ticket at the station you enter—if that station entrance sells tickets. (Read about tickets, passes, and how to buy them before you begin your trip! More...)
5. Route to Departure Station
Determine exactly the walking route to your departure Métro station. As you enter the station, confirm that the station (or at least this entrance) serves the Métro line you want: look for the line number (usually in a colored circle):
Then, follow the signs to that line, passing through the entrance turnstiles with your ticket or pass.
6. Find Your Line & Destination
Continue to follow the signs to the line, which will now include the names of the Destinations (terminus stations). At some point the signs will indicate different walking routes to the different platforms for each Destination. Be sure you're following signs to the train toward the Destination you want or you'll end up going the wrong way on the train.
7. On the Platform
Every train platform should have a wall map of the Métro system, a plan du quartier map of the neighborhood above ground, and in many stations electronic indicators display the minutes left until the arrival of the next train.
This is when to start being wary of pickpockets, especially when trains and cars are particularly crowded. You think you will feel it when a pickpocket swipes your valuables? Trust me: you won't. Keep them safe!
8. On the Train
Board the train. If the doors do not open, note that doors on some cars have buttons or latches you must work for the door to open. Route plans and electronic indicators and public-address announcements in the traincar tell you which station is next.
9. Which Platform Exit?
Leave the train at your interchange or desired station, but don't just follow the crowd! Instead, look for the Plan du Quartier (neighborhood street map) on the platform to plan your next move. This is particularly important at the large Métro stations such as Châtelet, which has 19 sorties (exits)!
10. The Wonderful