How to buy transit tickets and ride public buses in Paris,
ABOVE: RATP buses stop at a passenger island on a
a city where Métro
stations are never more than 500 meters apart, buses may seem like an
anachronism. Still, there are times when a bus line may be the shortest distance
between two points in Paris, and some travelers would rather look out a bus window
(assuming that they can find a seat) than feel cooped up in a subway tunnel.
Paris transit buses are operated by RATP, the
regional public-transportation network. Bus lines within the city have two-digit
route numbers (such as 63 or 82), while suburban lines have three-digit numbers.
can obtain free bus maps from tourist offices and Métro stations, or you can
download maps and
apps from the RATP Web site.
In this article, we'll tell you about fares and tickets, how to
ride the buses, and where to find more Paris bus and transit information on the
Paris bus fares and tickets
ABOVE: An electric
BELOW: A single-journey T+ ticket for use on the bus or Métro.
A single journey costs €2,--
if you buy your ticket on the bus. However, you'll save money by using
Métro tickets (now called
T+ tickets), which are slightly cheaper and don't
require dealing with the driver. (Just be sure to validate your ticket once
you're on board.)
Important: T+ tickets allow transfers between
buses and trams, but not between buses or trams and Métro or
RER lines. Tickets sold by bus drivers (which are marked "sans
correspondences") can be used only on surface transportation (i.e.,
buses and trams).
For current information on tickets and transfers, see the RATP's
T+ Tickets page.
Several money-saving options are
A carnet is a stack of
10 T+ tickets that you can buy at any Métro station and from most tabacs
(shops and other locations that sell cigarettes). It costs
means you'll save quite a bit of money on every ride.
pass gives unlimited access to RATP buses, the Métro, RER and SNCF suburban
trains, the Montmartre Funicular, trams, and the Optile bus network for 1,
2, 3, or 5 days. Adult fares depend on the
number of days and zones. (Children's Paris Visite tickets are half price.)
Paris Visite also entitles you to discounts of 20 cent or more on
some Parisian tours and attractions. You can buy Paris Visite online
and pick it up at one of several redemption points in Paris, or--more
conveniently--you can purchase it at a Métro, RER, or SNCF railway station
or at the airport upon your arrival.
Please note that only the higher-priced "Paris + suburb + airports" version of Paris Visite
covers airport transportation.
Which offers the best value, a carnet or Paris Visite?
That's something you'll have to calculate for yourself, based on how frequently
you'll use public transportation and where you plan to go in the Paris region.
Traveling with children:
Children under age 4 travel free on buses, trams, or the Métro Kids from ages 4
through 9 pay the
full adult fare for single tickets, but a children's carnet of 10
tickets is half price, so it pays to plan ahead.
How to ride Paris buses
ABOVE: A No. 82 bus
stop at the Eiffel Tower.
Wait at the bus stop, which will have either a shelter or a
signpost. (Some stops have electronic signs that display bus numbers and
When the bus arrives, board at the front.
Validate your white cardboard T+ ticket immediately in the stamping
machine, or buy a ticket from the driver if you don't have one.
When you're ready to get off the bus, press the nearest red
button to activate the "stop requested" sign. (You'll see red buttons
scattered throughout the bus.)
Leave the bus through the rear doors.
If you're traveling with the Paris Visite pass, follow the validation and usage instructions in the accompanying
booklet. Do not insert the pass's ticket in the stamping machine on the bus;
show it to the driver instead.
The "how to" instructions on this page apply to standard Paris city
buses, which can be identified by their route numbers.
Paris bus and transit links
ABOVE: A bus enters the Avenue Friedland from
the Place Charles de Gaule (a.ka. the Étoile). The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is
on the right.
The official site of the Paris and suburban transit network has maps,
timetables, current fares, etc. in French, with some
in English and five other languages.
If you want to buy a 1-, 2-, 3-, or 5-day transit pass before you leave home,
this site will make the process easy--though not as easy as buying the pass
after you arrive. (Please note that the cheapest Paris Visite pass is good for
only Zones 1-3 and does not cover airport transportation.)
Today's RATP buses aren't nearly as distinctive as the vintage buses that you
may have seen in classic movies--and which are shown in glorious black-and-white
on Dewi Williams's Web site.
Articles - Index parisforvisitors.com
This page has links to our articles on the Paris Métro, RER, Montmartre
funicular, sightseeing buses, airport ground transportation, Vélib' city bike
rentals, Seine sightseeing boats and water buses, St-Martin canal boats, and
Eurostar trains between London and Paris.
Inset photos copyright © iStockphoto/Patrick Breig.