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passionfruitdrink37 Oct 7th, 2012 07:12 AM

Transportation in Paris. Any advice?
This December, I will finally be fulfilling my lifelong dream of visiting Paris!
I've never really travelled, my parents never had enough money. But I've been saving up and I'm going in December with my cousin.

We'll be arriving in Paris on the 27th of December, which is a Thursday, and we'll be leaving Friday, the 4th of January. I''m nervous about transportation, and I was hoping someone could give me some advice. Sould we get the 10 ticket carnet? The Navigo destination pass? Or the Paris visit pass?

We plan on going into zones 1 through 5 (Versailles is a place we will be visiting.) but the Paris Pass we will be purchasing, which lasts four days, will allow us travel on the first three lines of the metro. I'm not too sure what that mean, but I feel like we will be travelling on all kinds of metro lines, but also the other forms of transpo Paris has to offer( RER, bus, etc)

With the carnet, I'm not too sure if the tickets allow us to transfer from metro to bus, or how long they last. Will I have to use a ticket for each ride? Like from one metro line to the next? Or are they good for an entire trip? Will it be enough for the 8 days?

The Navigo weekly pass, only work from Monday to Sunday, but if we get it for the Monday, we will only use it for 4 days. What should we do for the days before?

The Paris Visite pass lasts five days, but it's more expensive than the Navigo pass and we would have to buy tickets for the three other days.

Are there other options I'm not aware of? Any advice would be appreciated.

Also, what are some fun things to do in Paris for New Year's Eve?


suze Oct 7th, 2012 07:26 AM

I'm no expert but my one trip to Paris mostly we walked to everything. We just used a city map (all the museums, monuments etc. were marked) that we got free at the hotel. We were only on Metro a couple times so just paid as we went.

Christina Oct 7th, 2012 07:33 AM

You misunderstand what you are reading about a pass saying you are allowed ¨three lines¨¨ of the metro. That is impossible, it would be three zones, I´d have to guess. Why are you buying that product, anyway, I´d suggest you don´t. If it really only allows you to use 3 particular lines of the metro, that is totally bizarre and you shouldn´t get it. You only need 2 zones for normal use within the city, although there are a few odd RER destinations in zone 3, where you probably won´t go. The regular tickets are good for the entire metro line wherever it goes (zones 1 to 3 are the only ones with metro stops as far as I know and most are in zone 1) and the RER within zones 1 to 2.

You can use a regular ticket to transfer buses or bus to tram and vice versa but you cannot use it to transfer between the bus and the metro/RER.

A ticket has no time limit unlike some cities, it is good for your entire trip and as many metro changes you make as long as you dont leave the station, so you only need one ticket per trip even if you transferred to several different lines during that trip.

You´ll have to figure out for yourself your likely cost differences, hard to say. A Navigo pass could be useful for four days but you´d have to be using it a lot those days (it runs around 20 euro now). But if you took at least 4 trips it would be about break even over buying the carnet of 10 tickets. If you need other days, youd have to buy a carnet or if you really wanted to use transporation a lot, there is an all day pass called the Mobilis which is convenient. Unlimited travel all day on the bus/metro/RER for 6.4 euro. No worry about transfers. That is for zones 1 to 2 (the price). You have to specifiy the zones you want when you buy it, that is the most limited one.

Where do you plan to go in zone 5 anyway? Versailles is zone 4 unless they moved it. (they have moved zone 5-6 I believe or zone 6 doesnt exist any more) You cannot use the Mobilis to go to the airport even if you bought one for zone 5, though.

I wouldn´t buy something called a Paris Pass.

mamcalice Oct 7th, 2012 07:41 AM

Buy carnets. One book of carnets contains 10 tickets, good for 10 rides. If you go to Versailles, go on the RER.

If you go further, say to Chartres, buy a train ticker.

We always use carnets but buy only one book at a time - we walk so much that we normally don't have to buy a second book.

passionfruitdrink37 Oct 7th, 2012 07:43 AM

@ Christina

Sorry, I wasn't clear. The Paris pass allows you to go on lines 1, 2 and 3 of the metro, but it's mostly a pass that allows you to go over 60 monuments and museums. I'm not buying it for the use of the metro lines, but for entry into monuments and museums.

I put zone 5 down, because I though I could take the metro to the airport, but you've told me that this is not possible. So, I guess that I will not necessarily need zone 5. I'm planning on travelling mostly because I feel like the hotel we booked is too far out of the city center, so transportation is a must.

suze Oct 7th, 2012 08:20 AM

Oh the hotel location is definitely important to the decision. When I say I walked most places, we were staying on St Mich in the heart of the Latin Quarter.

AMYWISS Oct 7th, 2012 08:24 AM

We bought our tickets as needed. You need to buy at the airport to the city and at the station to go to Versailles -all simple. Paris otherwise is an easy walking city and use the Metro if you need to go across the city. Otherwise you can walk easily and won't be missing what might be just around the corner. It was really fun that way for us.

kerouac Oct 7th, 2012 09:16 AM

There is no pass that allows you to go on lines 1, 2 and 3 of the metro. Any ticket will allow you to use all 14 lines of the metro and any RER station inside the city limits once you have entered the system.

If you have misunderstood something so basic (or if the document that you read is so hopelessly incorrect!), I suggest that you read all of the documentation carefully again.

kerouac Oct 7th, 2012 09:19 AM

Oh, and while having a pass that allows you to visit 60 museums and monuments might sound appealing in the abstract, I very much doubt that you will be visiting all 60 of them. Many of these passes charge a high fee because they include things that you don't want or need. If your only fear is not knowing how to buy a ticket in a museum, let me assure you that there are machines in the big museums and the smaller ones have a ticket desk with a price sign. And the municipal museums of Paris are all free anyway.

suze Oct 7th, 2012 09:39 AM

I say this gently and kindly, I think maybe because you are 1st time traveler you are being over-enthusiastic about purchasing tickets, passes, etc. in advance and in large quantity.

Truly you could land at the airport with nothing planned and be OK.

Since it sounds like your hotel may be quite aways outlying the center of the city(?) I do think it's smart to figure out how you'll get into the central area where most sights/sites are you'll want to be visiting. But as far as just getting around Paris, going to the gardens, museums, momuments, that's easy and can mostly be done on foot.

julia_t Oct 7th, 2012 09:55 AM

If you think you will be using metro and buses a lot (and the Paris bus system is really easy to use and really good) then I am a huge fan of the Mobilis pass. You can buy several at a time and just validate them each day by writing your name and the date on them.

Now I have an idea which perhaps Kerouac can confirm or not, that if you have a Mobilis Zone 1-5 you can also use this on the Roissy Bus which takes your from Opera to CDG. In fact I think I have done this a few years ago.

Judy Oct 7th, 2012 09:59 AM

In December, it is more likely that you'll use public transportation than if you were traveling in the spring or summer. Even if it is only for 4 days, the Navigo pass may be worthwhile.

kerouac Oct 7th, 2012 10:10 AM

Anything for zone 5 works to and from CDG. The only thing on which the passes are not valid is the Orlyval at Orly.

nytraveler Oct 7th, 2012 10:12 AM

Do you care to share where your hotel is. A central hotel is very important - esp in winter - so you can walk to some sights and are close to the Metro. (On a post perhaps a year ago a new traveler had booked a hotel not even IN Paris and had to change at the last moment.)

We just buy a carnet of 10 tickets - each one of which lets you ride the entire Metro system - changing from one line to another at the transfer points. As for other types of passes - we never use them - since they rarely pay for themselves - and often push you to visiting places you're not that interested in since they're on the list. IMHO - better to just go see what YOU want.

StCirq Oct 7th, 2012 10:18 AM

Do NOT buy "the Paris Pass." It is a complete waste of time and money, giving you entry into a thousand things you won't want to go to or will never have time to make it to.

The museum pass may be worth it, depending on how many museums you will visit. Do NOT confuse the museum pass with the useless Paris Pass.

Just get a carnet of tickets. You haven't understood what the Paris Pass offers in terms of transportation, but since it's an utter waste of money anyway, I wouldn't bother reading the fine print at this point. Just don't buy it.

adrienne Oct 7th, 2012 10:23 AM

I agree that a central hotel is very important. Are you on the outskirts to save money or because some travel agent booked you there. There are all prices ranges for hotels within central Paris - you do not have to spend a lot of money.

Some of the benefits of being centrally located are to return to your hotel and relax after a day of sight seeing and before dinner. You'll be able to walk around after dinner, perhaps stop in a cafe for a late night coffee or wine, and easily return to your hotel. You'll have the vibrancy of Paris at your front door.

<< The Paris pass allows you to go on lines 1, 2 and 3 of the metro, >>

It's zones 1,2,3, not lines 1,2,3. There's a huge difference. You need to look at a metro map and see that there are many lines. Lines 1,2,3 would not get you very far.

A better idea than the Paris Pass is to buy a Museum Pass (much less expensive) and then metro tickets or metro pass. You need to compare costs on these.

mamcalice Oct 7th, 2012 10:30 AM

I have a non-transportation suggestion. You have plenty of time. Cancel the booking at your current hotel and book in the center of Paris. You will save time, money and hassle. There are many on this board that can recommend a nice, safe, clean hotel in the center from which you can walk to many sights.

denisea Oct 7th, 2012 12:34 PM

No need for Paris Pass. Just buy carnet of tickets at a station, although you will likely need Euros or buy at a tabac. Use the same tickets on the Metro or buses...very easy. Make sure you hang onto to your ticket on the Metro until you leave the train (throw it away as you exit the station)

You can print out individual bus routes/stops before you leave. It's great to have those as a refernce while you are there.. The bus is a great way to get around and it allows you to see the city while you go. It helps me learn my way miss that in the Metro.

I do love the Paris Museum Pass for the convenience of not buying tickets at every place you want to go. It allows you to skip long ticket lines at many places. Just know it must be used on consecutive days (2,4 or 6 day options).

Dukey1 Oct 7th, 2012 01:35 PM

Long lines in December???

passionfruitdrink37 Oct 7th, 2012 05:12 PM

I am now aware that I misread the details of the Paris pass. It's Zones 1 to 3, not line 1 to 3. However, since most of you are suggesting not purchasing it, it hardly matters.
Many of you have suggested walking. Walking is very economical, but I'm nervous about the weather. Does it get very very cold in the winter? Too cold to stay outside too long?
Any suggestions on good, cheap, centrally located hotels?
I appreciate all your responses!

Leely2 Oct 7th, 2012 05:23 PM

How outside the center is your current hotel?

I've been to Paris during Christmas/New Year's and it was not too cold to be outside (except for hours one night), but of course every year is different. I think you will probably use public transportation more than you would if you were visiting in June. Re-read some of the tips above about passes/carnets. I have always only bought carnets, so the nuances of the various transport passes are beyond me.

I have bought a museum pass more than once; getting it only makes money-sense if you plan to visit several of the museums within a few days' span. And yes, Dukey, there can be mighty long lines in Paris during the Christmas/New Year's break.

In terms of hotels, what is your budget? You might do a search for two long-running threads here: Paris Left Bank Hotels and Paris Right Bank Hotels. I usually rent apartments so don't have much inexpensive hotel advice.

You are going to have a great trip! It's a beautiful, beautiful time to be in Paris--how exciting for you.

mamcalice Oct 7th, 2012 05:34 PM

Two hotels that have been recommended regularly on this board in response to requests for inexpensive hotels are the Hotel Familia and the Hotel Grandes Ecoles, both in the 5th.

passionfruitdrink37 Oct 7th, 2012 05:41 PM

The hotel I've booked is near CDG airport, and about 25 km awway from the city center. I will definetly check out the Hotel Familia and Grandes Ecoles. Thanks so much!

Leely2 Oct 7th, 2012 06:04 PM

Check for hotels. And search here for budget hotels Paris. I'll see if I can dig any old threads up.

CDG really seems far to me, especially for two young women who will probably want to enjoy some nightlife. (I saw your NYE post.)

janisj Oct 7th, 2012 06:13 PM

"<i>The hotel I've booked is near CDG airport</i>"

Oh - that is a really <B><red>REALLY</B></red> terrible idea. You aren't staying for one night w/ an early morning flight. You are staying seven nights. Why ever did you book at CDG? It is an hour from the center and the travel is expensive.

In case you didn't realize it - the Metro does not go to CDG.

Leely2 Oct 7th, 2012 06:17 PM

janis, maybe you could try to be helpful and post some alternative hotels?

janisj Oct 7th, 2012 06:24 PM

Since I don't yet know the OPs budget - that is pretty difficult at this point . . .

(What is w/ all the lectures lately? I've given thousands of useful/helpful recommendations/suggestions. So shoot me if I didn't <i>this</i> time)

Leely2 Oct 7th, 2012 07:17 PM

passionfruit, here are the Left Bank/Right Bank hotel threads.

cynthia_booker Oct 7th, 2012 07:40 PM

You and your friend could buy one carnet and share the 10 tickets. If all 10 are used and you just have a day or two left, buy single tickets as needed.

FrenchMystiqueTours Oct 8th, 2012 03:11 AM

I've never stayed in a Paris hotel but I pass by this hotel on occasion and it is about as centrally located as you can get. The cheapest double is 85€ a night:

mamcalice Oct 8th, 2012 05:21 AM

The Hotel Beaugrenelle Saint-Charles in the 15th not to far from the Eiffel Tower is 81 Euro a night for a twin room.

While it is not the most central location, it is near a metro station and an easy trip to most sights.

suze Oct 8th, 2012 05:57 AM

<The hotel I've booked is near CDG airport>

You need to change hotels. Truly. Besides learning about the various transportation options, this is the very best piece of advice you can take from this thread.

Move somewhere anywhere closer into the heart of Paris. Take a look at a map. There are "arrondisements" (neighborhoods) which are numbered. 1 is in the center of Paris then it goes out like a spiral/snail. Most people try for 1, 4, 5, 6 to be most central. 7 is by the Eiffle Tower. You can even be a bit further out in some of the teen-numbered arrondisements and use metro to get around. But NOT at the airport. Cancel the booking and find something actually *in* Paris.

suze Oct 8th, 2012 06:03 AM

Oh and I do agree about the comments about walking and weather. I was there in August when we toured around mostly on foot. But in December I'd bring comfortable boots, coat, scarf, hat, gloves and still plan to walk a good bit.

passionfruitdrink37 Oct 8th, 2012 06:57 AM

Thanks so much for the advice everyone! I really appreciate it and am taking steps towards improving my trip. I'm not getting the Paris pass anymore, and I am instead getting the museum pass and a carneet. I've also cancelled my booking and I am looking at hotels in the city center. Hopefully, I will be able to find something within my (meager)budget that's not too far out.

StCirq Oct 8th, 2012 08:09 AM

Tell us what your budget is and we can get specific about hotels. You do NOT want to stay at the airport - that would be a total waste of a trip to Paris. You're young and need to be in the city, not in some hotel wasteland 25 miles away. There are plenty of options, but we need to know what you've got in the way of a budget for accommodations.

janisj Oct 8th, 2012 08:51 AM

"<i>Hopefully, I will be able to find something within my (meager)budget that's not too far out.</i>"

You still haven't told us what your budget actually is --'meager' doesn't tell us anything. Once we knew how much you and your cousin want to spend per night, we can make specific recommendations.

suze Oct 8th, 2012 09:04 AM

Much better plan!! There are plenty of 2-star hotels in central Paris where you can get a simple room that doesn't cost a fortune. If you state your nightly budget people can make some specific recommendations of favorites.

passionfruitdrink37 Oct 8th, 2012 10:26 AM

Might be unrealistic, but we're trying to go for something under 100 dollars a night. (CAD) is that an unrealistic expectation?

suze Oct 8th, 2012 10:36 AM

OK so 79 euro/night. People above have suggested a couple in the 80-85 euro range. Won't be easy and won't be all that nice but if you are willing to take a very very modest place at least you can improve your location.

There's no price for which I would stay out at the airport when trying to see Paris is the goal.

kerouac Oct 8th, 2012 10:37 AM

It is very easy to find hotels for less than CAD 100 a night -- but not next to the Seine. You might have to ride the metro a whole extra 10 minutes!

Here is an old link with a lot of suggestions:

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