Paris Travel Planner   Riding RER Trains in Paris, France
Paris's RER trains take a bit of learning. Read this page before you ride an RER train in Paris, and you'll save yourself lots of confusion and time.

Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, Paris, France
Basilique du Sacré-


Riding the RER trains in Paris is different from the Paris Métro. Here's how to ride the RER:

Buying Your Ticket

Enter a station that serves the RER line you want: A, B, C, D or E. For a short hop of a few stations in central Paris, a Paris Visite ticket or Navigo transit pass will work. A Métro ticket may work, but to be sure, you should buy an RER ticket for your journey. RER fares are based on a zone system:

RER Zones, Paris, France
RER fares are based on zones.

Tell the ticket agent your destination and say "EHR-uh-EHR" (RER). "One-way/single" is Aller simple (AH-ley SAM-pluh); round-trip/return is Aller-retour (AH-leh ruh-TOOR).

Keep your ticket, as you will need it to exit the station at the end of your journey. Also, if you're traveling from central Paris to an airport (Orly or Charles de Gaulle), buy your RER ticket before beginning your journey. Read this warning about difficulty passing from the Métro to the RER at some stations!

Finding Your Platform

Follow signs such as this to your RER train platform:

RER Line Signs, Paris, France

Reading the Train Schedules

Each RER train has a cryptic, seemingly nonsensical 4-letter code (PIER, KARI, SORI, EFLA, EKLI, etc.) based on the stations it serves. The first letter of the code indicates the train's destination. (For example, all trains with codes beginning in "E" go from central Paris to Aérogare 2 at Charles de Gaulle Airport.)

On the Train Platform

The 4-letter train codes (see photo to the right—>) are used on the printed train schedules posted in each station, and monitors and electronic signs show the code of the train that will be departing from that platform.

RER B Monitor, Paris, France

This older sort of electronic sign (below) shows the stations served (Gares desservies) by that particular train:

RER Signs, Paris, France

On the sign above, illuminated squares to the left of each station name show that this train stops at GARE DU NORD and six other stations before reaching MITRY-CLAYE, but it does not stop at AEROPORT CH. DE GAULLE 1 or 2 or six other stations.

Note also (lower right corner of the sign) that this is a Train Long, meaning that it will extend the full length of the platform. A Train Court (Short Train) will only extend along part of the platform, up to the Arrière des Trains Courts sign:

RER Trains Courts Sign, Paris, France

Remember to keep your RER ticket until you are outside your arrival station—you will need your ticket to exit the station!

RER Trains in Paris

Paris Métro

Paris Train Stations (SNCF)

Paris City Buses

Paris Airports

CDG Airport Transport

Orly Airport Transport

Paris Transport


Paris Girls Secret Society, a novel by Tom Brosnahan


Detail of RER B train schedule, Paris, France

Above, portion of an RER train schedule. Note the 4-letter codes (PIER, KARI, etc.), and how each train serves a different list of stations. If the train code begins with K (as in KARI), the train is an express from CDG Airport to central Paris. KARI trains depart CDG seven minutes after PIER trains, but arrive at Châtelet- Les-Halles, in the center of Paris, only 3 minutes after PIER because they stop less.

RER Code Sign, Paris, France
Above, cryptic 4-letter train code sign. The "E" means its destination is Aérogare 2 at Charles de Gaulle Airport.


RER Monitor, Paris, France

Monitors on the platform display information on delays and cancellations (in French only).

Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan

FTP on Facebook    
Pinterest    Twitter