Carte Orange Paris: Buy advance?

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Mar 21st, 2004, 06:12 AM
  #1
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Carte Orange Paris: Buy advance?

I am aware the Carte Orange can be purchased when we get to Paris, but if we want to save some trouble - we don't know French at all - can we buy it in US in advance (we are in NYC)? People said some ticket booth insists "French people only". So if the operator asks us to show ticket on Metro and we show Carte Orange and we are obvious tourists, is there a trouble? Thanks!
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Mar 21st, 2004, 06:46 AM
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You can buy the "Paris Visite" pass from the USA but it is a high priced thing aimed at tourists who do not know about better alternatives available in Paris such as the Carte Orange, Mobilis etc.

You can not buy the "Carte Orange" from the USA. You can buy it at any Metro or RER station in Paris and you must have a small (apprx. 1 1/8") photo that will be attached to the pass. Despite what you will hear; anyone can buy a Carte Orange not just Parisennes. Use your French phrase book to learn how to say "I want one weekly Carte Orange zones 1-2 please". Remember validation is Monday through Sunday and current week can be bought until midnight Wednesday. After that you will be buying the next week's pass. For just a one day pass you can buy a "Mobilis" for 5.20 euros for zones 1-2. Carte Orange is now 14.50 euros for the zone 1-2 weekly pass. Zone 1-2 is all you need for all of Paris. Don't buy more zones just to go to the airports or Versailles as it is cheaper to buy a trip ticket for those locations.

I have had a Carte Orange since 1997 and renew it for current week each time I go to Paris. For any other questions refer to this site:

http://www.citefutee.com/informer/ta...p#ticket_jeune


Larry J
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Mar 21st, 2004, 06:53 AM
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You cannot purchase a Carte Orange until you get to Paris.

Technically, only residents are eligible (according to an e-mail an aquaintance received from RATP) because the reduced rates are in deference the taxes they pay.

In my observation, those tourists refused a Carte Orange simply weren't able to communicate to the clerk what they wanted. They are valid Monday thru Sunday, so, for example, if you are purchasing one ahead of time on a Sunday, the clerk may assume you plan to ride immediately and are attempting to purchase the "wrong" sort of ticket. Or, if you are asked in French "How many zones?" and you do not understand the question and cannot reply, the clerk will not know what to sell you.

Best bet is to write on a slip of paper "Carte Orange", the numbers of the Zones you want (generally 1&2), along with the days of the week and dates (in the dd/mm format).

Once you have your card and ticket, you show your card on the bus (and do NOT stick the ticket in the validation machine), and use your ticket to pass through the turnstiles in the metros and RER. The inspectors, should you be asked to show your ticket/pass anywhere, will be interested only in whether you have a valid ticket.
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Mar 21st, 2004, 07:01 AM
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no, you can't buy Parisian general-public metro tickets or passes outside of Paris metro area. If they sold them abroad, that would make them a tourist pass. I don't think you can even buy Paris tickets in other parts of France.

You can only buy the tourist passes outside of Paris and they would be marked up by an agent. There wouldn't be any point to buying the tourist pass ahead of time, if the reason is you are afraid they won't give you a Carte Orange.

I don't know if someone said a ticket booth insisted "French people only", but I think they might have said they were for Parisian residents only, although I suppose the ones who have had problems were obviously not local and probably didn't speak French.

Anyway, I've never heard of anyone getting in trouble by a ticket inspector because they were not a local resident and had a Carte Orange. Maybe you aren't aware of the way metro systems work -- there aren't operators or conductors that check your tickets or that you have to show them to. You go through a turnstile where you must insert the ticket. The only case you have to show one would be a check by a ticket inspector (I've never seen that happen, but I know it does, and I think that is on the quays, not in the train). For that reason, do not throw your ticket away until you completely leave the system.

If this is a concern for you, just buy a Paris Visite or buy single tickets or single day passes (Mobilis) instead of trying to get a Carte Orange photo pass. The Parisian metro is pretty low cost any way you buy tickets, I don't think it should be a big concern. The differences in cost will not be that great--for example, if you are there five days, the entire difference over those days will only be about 13 euro for the Paris Visite vs. Carte Orange. I've never had trouble getting a Carte Orange (but I do speak French), but I don't even buy one all the time when I visit Paris. It depends how long you are going to be there and what days as to whether it really matters that much.
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Mar 21st, 2004, 07:06 AM
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BTW, I have also had correspondance with RATP and they never told me that "technically" they are for residents only. I question that, and would ask them for a citation of the regulation that says that. I think that could have been a mistranslation, my correspondence was in French and would more correctly be interpreted that they would like only residents to buy them or that they are "intended" or "meant for" residents, but RATP never told me that there was any regulation and did not use any words that could be translated that way.
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Mar 21st, 2004, 07:58 AM
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Thanks a lot for all this information! Another question: is there a ticket machine like in NYC Metro in Paris? Or I have to go to see the clerk?
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Mar 21st, 2004, 08:08 AM
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Regarding the never ending claim that the Carte Orange is only for residents of Paris:

If you were to visit the French Government Tourist website and request tourist information on France you would get a large envelope sent to you containing among several other things a booklet entitled,"The Insider's Good Value Guide To France" (Travel Tips For the Smart Traveler). On page 17 which deals with Paris you would find a topic headed "Getting Around". Discussed here is the Paris Metro and the various discount passes available to tourists. One of them is the "Carte Orange". Obviously the Carte Orange is available to tourists, so says the French Government Tourist Office (Maison de la France).

I am in Paris several weeks per year but recently requested this tourist kit as I like to keep up with any new money saving deals what with the weak US dollar and strong euro.

Larry J
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Mar 21st, 2004, 08:53 AM
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I'll second LarryJ on the fact that the Carte Orange is for everyone.

Cheerful, in most places there is a ticket machine and you can select english. The machine accepts change or credit cards.

However, it has been a crapshoot for me in the past using a foreign credit card. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesnt. Foreign credit cards do work at the ticket window always.
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Mar 21st, 2004, 08:57 AM
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Remember that the C.O. is TWO parts - the orange I.D. card w/ your photo and the actual metro ticket. I believe it is only the ticket that is dispensed by machine. If you have never bought this pass, then you must buy both parts from a clerk to get you started. Then you can reuse the I.D. portion and just replace the little ticket next trip.
Don't forget to write in your pass I.D. number onto the little ticket.
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Mar 21st, 2004, 10:32 AM
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Travelnutt is correct. I didnt think of that. Unless you have the ID card and sleeve you will have to get that from the agent.
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Mar 21st, 2004, 10:34 AM
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I have done some research, but am still confused, in part because I don't understand the zones of the transportation system.

I will be arriving in Paris on a Tuesday afternoon, leaving the following Wednesday. I intend to do a lot of walking to get around, filling in with bus and metro when it makes sense and/or I get tired. I also intend to use public transport to get to/from the airport, assuming I'm not too tired to do so. Finally, I plan to go to Versaille by public transportation on the Sunday which falls in the middle of my trip.

What are my most economical purchase option of ticket(s)? Thank you.
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Mar 21st, 2004, 11:29 AM
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If you are a strong walker, and only want inner city transportation infrequently during the day, just buy a carnet of tickets. You can use the metro on one ticket as long as you don't come up out of the system at any time (ie you can transfer numerous times on one ticket). Each bus will require a new ticket. All major sights are in zones 1-2.
For Versailles, just go into the RER station and buy a ticket for that trip.
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Mar 21st, 2004, 11:39 AM
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Thanks, Travelnut, for your clear reply. Does your advice change if I am taking public transportation to/from CDG?
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Mar 21st, 2004, 12:06 PM
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C.O. weekly 1-5 28.90
C.O. weekly 1-4 24.10
Carnet 10.00
Versailles RER 5.00 r/t
CDG RER 7.70 one way

Now you're starting to rack up costs... You will need additional tickets for Mon-Wed. This is what is looks like:
Cheapest option:
CDG-Paris RER 7.70
Paris-CDG RER 7.70
RER Versailles r/t 5.00
1 carnet 10.00
2nd carnet (if needed) 10.00
Total 40.40

Reworking to include a C.O. for zones 1-5 + the gap for Mon-Wed raises it to 46.60.
Changing to to C.O. for zones 1-4 + the gap for Mon-Wed + the CDG trips raises it to 48.10 or more.
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Mar 21st, 2004, 01:14 PM
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Just a thought: You could also buy a Carte Orange for just zones 1-2, and buy your other tickets as needed. It can be confusing to compare initial costs because the Carte Orange allows for unlimited travel, and the Carnet is 10 rides. I really think you need to look at your itinerary and the zone map to decide what is best for you.
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Mar 21st, 2004, 01:31 PM
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Thank you, this is enormously helpful. One last question -- in what zones are CDG and Versaille?
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Mar 21st, 2004, 01:46 PM
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Versailles (& Orly)- Zone 4
CDG - Zone 5
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Mar 21st, 2004, 06:12 PM
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merci beaucoup.
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Mar 22nd, 2004, 06:28 AM
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I did that cost comparison, too (C.O. zones 1-2).
C.O. 1-2 (Tues-Sun)14.30
Cdg/Paris x2 15.40
Versailles r/t 5.00
carnet (Mon-Wed) 10.00
TOTAL 44.70

Basically, buy the combination that you find least confusing. It's a guess as to whether you'd benefit best from 1 carnet, 2 carnets or a C.O.
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Mar 22nd, 2004, 06:37 AM
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Thanks, Travelnut, for taking your time to do the calculations. Math has never been my strong suit! I'm leaning towards the carnet, but we'll see when we get there. Now, I must begin to calculate whether it pays to buy a museum pass...!
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