Detailed instructions for the Paris metro

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Paris metro

Many tourists, even those who live in metropolitan cities, are afraid of the Paris metro. They worry about getting lost, missing their stop, or just getting completely consumed by the transport machine. We have some advice to help you navigate the metro system and get to where you’re going easily.

You can find a useful map of Paris public transport here.

Step 1. Go into the metro

Paris has many different signs above metro entrances. But it’s hard to confuse them for something else, because they’ll always have the letter M or the word Metro.

Once you go in, you’ll need to buy a ticket, unless you’ve purchased them in advance.

» See moreHow can I buy a metro ticket in Paris?

Buy a ticket

Now go through the turnstile. We’ve tried to show this clearly in pictures.


There’s a door with a gate a bit to the left. It’s for handicapped people, people with children or those with large bags. If you meet this description, ask someone who works there to open it for you. Show the worker your ticket, they’ll press a button and the door will open.

Place ticket

Place your ticket (either side) down, go through the turnstile, close the door (if there is one) and go into the metro.

Take ticket

Don’t forget to take the ticket back! Keep it until the end of your ride in case you meet ticket control. Some stations have turnstiles at the exit, just like the ones at the entrance, and you’ll have to show your ticket again.

Step 2. Finding where to go

Don’t forget you can pick up a free metro map at the information kiosk or when you buy a ticket. It’s small and convenient. You can download the map in advance on our site.

Besides that, before you go into the station, there are maps that you can check if you need to, and there are maps in the trains as well.


Look at the map. Identify what line are you on, where are you going, and where you need to transfer. Then head into the station.

The lines don’t have names, just numbers. They’re written on signs that you need to follow. Before going to the platform you’ll see a sign like this.

Changing the line

It has all the stations the train will go to. Find your station and continue on.

Step 3. Getting on a train

Paris has a few automized metro lines (like 1 and 14), but most of them have drivers who have to open the doors manually. There are buttons or handles that they push or pull.

Open the door

They still don’t announce the station names on some lines, so pay attention to the platform name when you pass it.

Before the doors close there will be a short horn. Pay attention.

Step 4. If you have to transfer lines

Changing the line

Leave the train and find the sign for the line you need. About like this. And then follow that path.

Step 5. Leaving the Paris metro


Press the button or pull the handle and you’re at the station. Look for the signs that say “Sortie” and follow them to the exit. If you know where you’re going, look for explanations on the signs.


Usually there are doors at metro exits. Many of them are automatic, but some have to be pushed. Push the door where indicated.

And that’s it!


Don’t be afraid of the Paris metro. Paris isn’t that large compared to many cities, and you can walk around it if you want. But sometimes you need to save time and energy. You won’t get lost if you make sure you have the map you need and pay attention to the signs at the stations. We promise. Our audio guides make your routes easier as well: we’ll tell you exactly what you’re looking for.

Enjoy your vacation! 

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