Travel passes in Paris

Old Aug 28th, 2003, 03:18 PM
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Travel passes in Paris

Is there a difference between the Paris Visite card and the Carte Orange card? We will be in Paris Monday morning through Saturday morning and plan to use the buses and metro a lot.
luvtotravel is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2003, 03:22 PM
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We always buy a "carnet," for the metro, which is a sequence of tickets that can be used any time, in any station, for point to point rides within the city (RER excluded). I think it's seven tickets, but I can't be certain.
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Old Aug 28th, 2003, 03:41 PM
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a carnet is 10 tickets..We've always done just fine using those..but this year we'll be there for a full week and are exploring a little more widely than I'm going for the carte orange!
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Old Aug 28th, 2003, 07:10 PM
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The Carte Orange is intended for local commuters, and is actually the free holder for the coupon that covers the metro for a week or a month. Coupons can be bought for various zones. As a tourist, the practical choice is the weekly ticket for Paris zones only. It runs Monday to Sunday only. You will need a small passport style photo for the Carte (I just cut out my face from a snapshot of the right size.)

Paris Visite is designed for tourists and is more expensive, covers a broader area than the minimum weekly coupon for a Carte Orange, and includes discounted admissions to some tourist sites.

A carnet is a discounted pack of 10 metro tickets. Where a Carte Orange with coupon or Paris Visite card can be used only by a single person, any number can share the tickets from a carnet, and they don't seem to expire. They are best if you need fewer rides than the break-even value from one of the cards, as can happen if your days in Paris don't match up exactly to the usable days on a card.
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Old Aug 29th, 2003, 12:08 AM
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The information above is pretty good. One strong advantage to the Carte Orange (or Paris Visite) compared to using carnets is that you won't have to worry about catching the Metro/Bus for only a stop or two. This can be nice after walking around Paris for several days.

It's been reported that tourists will sometimes be told that they are not eligible for the CO, but we bought 4 at Gare de l'Est last May with no problems. (I speak about 10 words of French.)

There's info on the Paris Visite at:
and on the Carte Orange at (only in French, there's no English info on the CO on the RATP site, likely as they want tourists to buy the more expensive PV).

Enjoy your trip,
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Old Aug 29th, 2003, 02:49 AM
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I differ from the other posters in that I believe that the paris viste is the best way to go. Why?

1)The carte orange is only good monday thru sunday and if you are like most of us, you will be arriving mid week.

2)I am on vacation, I do not want to have to worry about constantly buying carnets or having change etc. I want to buy a pass once.

3)if you wait to buy the viste when you get there, it is much cheaper.

To me, the paris viste is a great deal. I buy the 5 day, 1-3 zone at any major metro station for about 26 euros for adults and it covers the metro and the buses, and the RER.

the official paris metro site:

gives you all the details about the pass and explains the discounts.

why do some buy the the carte orange. it is cheaper and it does cover 7 days, but if you arrive midweek that does not help.

what made me decide the paris visite was the better deal for tourists? the fact that you can activate it on any day and it was good for 5 days.

there will always be many to disagree on this, but personally, I do not like having to worry about the carnets all the time or having the money to buy them. when I am in paris I am on and off the metro 3 and 4 times a day, and within neighborhoods, on an off the buses. yes I walk also, but because of my back, if it's is possible to ride rather than walk from place to place, I choose to ride.

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Old Aug 29th, 2003, 04:23 AM
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The poster says plainly they are arriving on Monday so the Carte Orange is a great buy for them. The Paris Visite is rarely a good deal.
Do as the post says--bring a small about 1" square picture of your face--you can cut it out of any picture.
Go to the Metro clerk and ask for the CO--you can pay with a credit card. They will give you a folder and a small ticket that looks like the ticket you get in a carnet. Put your picture in the folder and your ticket in the other side. Also write the number of your CO (I think it is under your picture) on the ticket. When you go through a Metro turnstile you put the ticket in the slot and it is returned to you (just like regular tickets). Put it back in the folder. When you ride the bus (and this is a GREAT way to get around) just hold up the CO folder as you get on--do NOT put in the "meter"--it will ruin it. As the other poster said, you can use the buses unlimitedly--with regular tickets you cannot transfer lines.
Another transportation device IF you are going to be using the Metro or buses a lot in one day (and don't have the CO) is the Mobilis card. It is about $5 for one day pass and can be a good value.
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Old Aug 29th, 2003, 04:51 AM
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I agree that the Paris Visite is not the horrible expense that people say it is, but in this case, the Carte Orange does seem to be the way to go.
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Old Aug 29th, 2003, 05:15 AM
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Count me as another "nay" to Paris Visite. Since your days match up, go with the Carte Orange. It's as easy to purchase as Gretchen says.

Something else Gretchen says is so true: the Visite is rarely a good deal--and that's true even with very heavy use. My parents insisted on getting a Paris Visite the first time they visited (we arrived Thursday, so a Carte Orange was out of the question). It was inclement weather, so they figured they would be using the Metro quite a bit, and where we were staying (in Guam!) was heavily Metro-dependent. I could not talk them out of it. Heck, the only thing I could talk them out of was buying the passes ahead of time!

Well, they didn't break even. They thought those discounts to tourist sites were actually worth something (Montparnasse tower? Come on).

I did just dandy with the handful of Metro tickets. It takes the same amount of time to buy a carnet in a machine as it does a candy bar; the tickets can be used on buses, too, so if someone tries to tell you that's the value of a pass, nope, not true.

Old Aug 29th, 2003, 07:42 AM
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That was informative -- thank you all. It looks as if we will go with Carte Orange. Does anyone know if we can buy them at CDG?
luvtotravel is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2003, 09:01 AM
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You probably can but would need to find a Metro?RER station (I think). In any case you would probably have to go out of your way to find a place to buy it and it isn't necessary. I hope you are taking a taxi to your hotel. Just wait until you are ready to go out on the town--first Metro use. Do it then--it takes all of a minute. Our first time the Metro clerk EVEN put ours together for us, trimming the picture to fit. I guess we just looked too clueless to take care of it. Just a word of caution however. After you buy it you might step over to the side far out of the line of regular traffic so as not to call attention to yourselves--it will be new to you and just be safe.
You might also buy your museum pass at the same time and have one more thing out of the way--it is a good way to get "housekeeping" done while you are still a bit jet lagged and not ready to plunge into sightseeing. Then find a nice place for lunch and enjoy the moments.
By the way, you only want the CO for the areas 1 and 2--that is all you will use.
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Old Aug 29th, 2003, 11:51 AM
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I also wouldn't bother trying to buy those passes at CDG unless you plan to take the RER in as it will take too much time and trouble. I think the Paris Visite can be a good option if you don't happen to have a photo handy or forget one, and might use the discounts (the one for museum shops looks most appealing to me).

On the other hand, it doesn't bother me at all to buy carnets or Mobilis when I want, if that suits my plans best. In fact, if you're the kind of person to mislay or lose things, that can work best (I have been sorry a couple times when I left my pass in a pants pocket or something and then forgot it when going out again).

I will make one addendum to some notes above, in case it isn't clear -- a carnet is just the name for a discount for buying 10 metro tickets at once (same term in London), and they can be used on the RER within the center of Paris (zone 1). the ticket has symbols on it which indicate it can be used on the metro, bus, tramway or "RER dans Paris".
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Old Aug 30th, 2003, 08:18 PM
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I would recommend the Visite pass. It is affordable. It was well worth the money. Very convientent.
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