The Paris public transportation system can be confusing. The system comprises several different methods of transportation, including buses, trains, and subways. Getting around isn’t cheap, but you can make it more affordable with metro passes. Figure out which metro pass is best for you and save your money for souvenirs, food, and attractions!
A single ride on the bus, train, or subway will cost €1.70, and the subway is the most popular transportation option within the city. If you’re planning on taking public transportation three or more times in one day, a pass will save you money. For unlimited travel on the bus, metro, RER, and Ile-de-France lines, three different passes are available: the Visite, the Mobilis, and the Navigo Découverte. The first two options have zone options, so to figure out which one is best for you, decide which zones you want to visit.
Paris is split into five zones. Most of the Paris city proper is within zones 1 and 2. The only major attraction in zone 3 is La Défense, which most tourists skip. Zone 4 includes Versailles, Saint Germain en Laye, and the Charles de Gaulle airport. Zone 5 includes Disneyland Paris and the Orly airport.
The adult Visite pass offers two zone options and four length options. You can buy passes for zones 1-3 or zones 1-5, for a length of one, two, three, or five days. There is no four-day pass. The pass for zones 1-3 costs about €11 for a one-day ticket, €18 for a two-day, €24 for a three-day, or €35 for a five-day ticket. The pass for zones 1-5 costs about €23 for a one-day ticket, €35 for a two-day, €49 for a three-day, or €60 for a five-day ticket. The Visite pass also offers discounts to many attractions.
The Mobilis pass is cheaper for single-day passes, but does not offer multi-day passes. This pass offers more zone options. A pass for zones 1-2 is about €7. A pass for zones 1-3 costs €9, for zones 1-4 costs €11, and a full pass for zones 1-5 costs €16. The Mobilis pass does not offer any discounts to attractions, and if you are planning to use the metro for more than three days, the Visite pass is a better deal.
The last option, the Navigo Découverte, is even cheaper but has special restrictions. This pass also allows unlimited access to the bus, metro, RER, and Ile-de-France lines. The card itself costs €5, and once you have the card you can ‘fill’ it with the type of pass you want. The passes are cheaper per day than the Visite or Mobilis pass, but there’s a major catch: the pass is only valid from Monday morning to midnight the following Sunday, and days do not roll-over or transfer. A week-long pass will cost about €20 for a center-only pass (zones 1 and 2), while an all-areas pass (zones 1-5) will cost about €35. A month-long pass is also available for €67 and €114 respectively. This pass is the cheapest option, but only if you are planning to be in Paris exactly Monday through Sunday.