Anyone travelling to paris for the first time would probably benefit from these info below..
First thing to learn: Merci….. pronounced as “maer-see”…. is Thank U…..
Use this.. and use it often… They do it for every small favor u do them…
One more: “Ou est la Gare?” means “Where is the railway station?” or u could use “Ou est la metro?” (Le and la are pronounced almost same. So, dont worry about gender.. )
The metro is absolutely the most comfortable mode of travel (for one who does not own a car). And fastest too (for all)..
So, use it well and u could manage to visit almost any place in paris without asking much from people there. Just to caution you, there is one down point to this. We found it pretty late. When we go by metro, we know where we get in and where we get out n nearby places to the station. We miss out on many other places which r not close to the metro stations… So, if you get time, travel by bus too. You would probably find many more things..
Firstly the DOORS… Dont worry. They operate automatically but are safe… I have even seen a guy put his foot in between the doors at the last moment before they closed, to an RER train and “The door opened up fully again” to let him in. But a word of caution. “It would be dangerous to put ur fingers in between doors before it closes.” . Any train stops for a minute or so at each station. And just before the doors close, it gives out a warning sound…. about 5 seconds.. then the doors close. Not bang.. They are already designed to slow down when coming close. Then with a jerk, it closes up.
There are 14 lines of metro criss-crossing paris… In addition, there are some 5-6 lines of RER (fast longer distance trains). Anywhere that the metro goes, u can travel one way in just 1.5 euro. The whole area of paris and ourskirts though is separated out into 6 zones, placed radially outer n outer. Most of places you would visit would come within zone 3. If u need to go by RER (say for Versailles, or to disney land), you would need to pay more.. That would work to about 6.8 euro or so to zone 6 ends… one way…. The city centre could be taken as the Notre damme or Musee de louvre…
The metro lines are named M1 to M14 and the RER lines as A,B, C … to G . But beware of one thing. Metro lines go exactly the same route always. But each RER line typically has three branches. like say C1, C2 & C3. Only one of these goes to Chateau de Versailles (just for example).
At many stations, multiple lines of metro / RER cross. Hence, to reach any point from one, u need to find which metro to catch, reach where n then move to which other line to reach ur destination. U can keep going in one metro line n another n another with the same single ticket until u come out. When u punch out once, that ticket does not work again to get in… Also, moving between metro and RER lines would need punches. But if that’s an entry punch to a metro line or an RER line, then fine. U can still get out fine at ur destination. N dont worry anyway even if u punch wrongly or miss ur ticket. Exit is not a problem. There r free to exit doors in most stations. Or even otherwise, u will find someone to help u get out…
The main stations have “Gare” in their names. Like Gare du Nord, Gare de la Est, Gare St. Lazare, Gare de Austrelitz etc… These r places where outstation trains start / stop. The TGV trains for going out of paris… N these stations will be linked by RER also.
Mind one more thing… There r many many exits to most metro stations. It would help to know which exit to take. Else, u would end up going round the station on road to reach where u need to.. One more point. While switching lines, do take care of the direction within the line that u take (check end point)..
U wont even need a map since maps r very generously displayed in all stations. But having one would help in little planning. One more point. Finding a ticket counter (Billet for ticket ) is not easy. Near one of the entry points, you would find one. But out of four or five exits, u may end up wasting lot of time searching. So, taking 2 / 3 tickets in advance if u know u r going to visit 2 /3 places would help. Unless you do multiple trips in a day, taking a day pass or even a weekend pass (14 euro) would not help.
It runs on Rubber wheels. Would you believe it? Dont… It looks like rubber wheels from outside.. But it probably has steel inside.. There are also vertical wheels and horizontal wheels.. (as you would have seen on the pic at the top..)
Some important stations:
Trocadero : Right opposite the Eiffel Tower
Palais Royal Musee de louvre : The Louvre Museum
St. Michele : Right next to Notre Damme
Charles de Gaulle Etoile : Right next to Arch de Troimphe. (one end of Champs Eleysee)
Anvers : Very near Sacred Hearts Basillic (Dont miss this one…)
Gare du Nord : Indian market is here…
Versailles is in south west corner of city.
The Charles de gaule airport is on the north east corner…
Marne le Valee : Disney land is to the east.
Enjoy touring Paris….. 🙂