|Navigo Transit Pass, Paris, France|
By the summer of 2020, Navigo passes will supplant the numerous paper tickets now in use, so your best bet for paying fares in Paris and the Île-de-France is Navigo.
Navigo Makes It Easy
With your Navigo (NAH-vee-goh) RFID pass, you walk into any RER or Métro station, or to enter a funicular, touch the card to the Navigo target on the turnstile, and breeze right through. On a city bus or tram, you touch it to a machine at the door where you board.
Public transit in Paris and the Île-de-France is divided into concentric Zones, with Zone 1 being the historic city center and Zone 5 the most distant ring, including destinations such as La Défense, St-Denis to the north, Versailles to the southeast, and even Charles-de-Gaulle and Orly airports.
The least expensive passes allow you unlimited travel in one or two zones. The most expensive—but still discounted compared to tickets—allow travel anywhere in all five zones. Here are maps/plans of the entire system, with zones, on the RATP website.)
Day, Month, Year
You can buy a Navigo pass for a day's worth of unlimited travel, or a week, month or year. There's also the Navigo Easy, a plastic RFID card that can be loaded with credit and used in place of the traditional paper tickets on any day, for any length of time.
Unless you plan to use public transport only one or two times, you should get a Navigo pass. It's far more convenient, and will probably save you money.
If you plan to use the RER trains or city buses to travel between central Paris and a Paris airport, the Navigo is obviously a money-saver. More...
The Navigo Easy is the plastic RFID card replacement for the traditional paper ticket t+. It works just like the tickets, but with less hassle: you pay 2€ for the card itself, then load the Navigo Easy with as many standard fares as you like (including with a discounted carnet of 10 tickets), and use the card as many days as you like, reloading it with credit whenever you like.
The traditional paper tickets will be phased out by mid-2020, so the Navigo Easy is the future of anytime, anywhere occasional transit in Paris!
If you plan to use public transport at least four times in one day, you should buy a Navigo Jour. A Zone 1 pass (7.50€) gives you the run of central Paris for less than the cost of four fares. A Zones 1-to-5 pass (17.80€) allows you to come and go to CDG or ORY airports for less than the round-trip/return train fare plus to use Métro, buses, trams and RER anywhere else in Paris!
By the way, these fares are the same as the traditional Mobilis paper ticket.
You can use a Navigo Jour on the date of purchase, or for use on any of the six days following the date of purchase. It is valid for the complete day you choose, from 12 midnight (00:00 to the next 12 midnight (24:00).
For short-term foreign visitors, the Navigo Découverte pass is available by the calendar week (Monday to Sunday).
You can buy your Navigo Découverte at most Métro ticket windows and some RER and Transilien ticket windows, or at the train station ticket windows at Paris's airports. You pay a one-time charge of 5€ for your Navigo Découverte card, including your Carte Nominative Transport and the transparent plastic frame that holds both cards together.
You Need a Photo!
You must attach a full-face, no-hat photograph of your face to your Navigo pass (maximum photo size: 2.5 x 3 cm/1 x 1.25 inches).
Options for the photo:
1. Bring a small full-face photo from home.
2. The agent in the ticket booth may have facilities to shoot the photo for you.
You can start your Navigo pass with money on any day of the week, but because its week of validity always begins on Monday, if you recharge it in the middle of the week you may not get full value: you'll pay full price, but it will still expire at midnight on the following Sunday.
Starting on Friday, you can recharge your Navigo pass good for the following week, and it becomes valid at 00:01 (12:01 am) on Monday morning.
Use it to/from the Airport!
A round-trip ticket between Aéroport Charles de Gaulle and central Paris costs 20.60€, more than a Navigo Jour Zones 1-to-5 pass (17.80€), and almost as much as a weekly Navigo Zones 1-to-5 pass (22.80€), so if you're traveling from/to CDG or ORY, and also using the Métro and city buses in central Paris, you may save money with a Navigo even if you use it for a one-way trip to or from the airport, and/or for less than a full week, and it's much more convenient than conventional paper tickets.
Navigo: Reusable, but not Transferrable!
The Navigo Easy and Navigo Découverte passes belong to you and can be recharged for transport repeatedly, for years. If your Navigo pass is lost or stolen, you cannot reclaim its value. You must buy a new one.
Navigo passes are not transferrable. Only the person whose name and/or photo are on the pass can use it.
Navigo on Your Smartphone
Navigo LAB is an experimental program that allows you to buy titres de transport (tickets and passes) through a mobile phone app and use your phone as your ticket/pass via NFC (Near Field Communication—it's like RFID): you simply hold your phone near the target on the turnstile and enter the transit system.
At this writing (October 2019), Navigo LAB is available only for certain mobile phone models using the Android operating system. More...