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From: Paris Métro
After you've bought your ticket, carnet, or pass, you're ready to enter the Métro via the turnstiles. Here's what to do:
Step up to the turnstile and insert your cardboard ticket into the slot with the magnetic side down. Continue through the turnstile, taking your ticket as it emerges from the slot on top of the machine. Keep the ticket with you. You'll need it if an inspector asks to see your ticket, and you may also need it to change Métro lines, to transfer from the Métro to the RER, or (less commonly) to exit via the turnstiles at your destination.
If you're using a pass instead of a ticket, the same procedure applies. Insert the plastic ticket that comes with your pass (called the "coupon") into the ticket slot, retrieve it, and keep it with you. (Important: If you use the pass on a bus, don't punch it in the validation machine--just show it to the driver.)
Once you're past the turnstiles, follow the signs to the platform for the direction in which you want to travel. Stations have large wall maps of the Métro network, and free maps are available from ticket windows in Métro stations.
On the platform, you'll see monitors that tell when the next train will arrive. Normally you won't have to wait more than a few minutes.
If the doors of the arriving train don't open, flip the metal door lever (on older trains) or press the door button (on newer trains). Let passengers get off before you board the train.
When a train is crowded, it's good form to avoid using the jumpseats near the doors and the seats that are reserved for disabled war veterans, the handicapped, and the elderly. (Parisians don't always follow the rules, but you aren't a local yokel.)
After reaching your destination, follow the Sortie sign to the exit. At many stations, you'll need your ticket again to exit through the turnstiles.
Tickets sometimes don't work in the turnstiles. If your ticket doesn't work, try another turnstile--and if you're still out of luck, go to the information window in the station.
Keep old tickets separate from new tickets and the ticket that you're currently using, or you'll find yourself playing ticket roulette at the entrance and exit turnstiles.
When transferring between Métro lines, or between the Métro and the RER, you'll sometimes need to exit through one set of turnstiles and re-enter through another with your existing ticket.
If you're transferring to the RER for a trip to the suburbs (e.g., to Versailles on RER Line C or to Charles de Gaulle Airport on RER Line B), you'll need to pay more than the basic Métro fare. Look for menu options on the ticket machines, which have choices and instructions in several languages (including English).
Next page: Métro Web links
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Copyright © 1996-2017 Durant and Cheryl Imboden. All rights reserved.
Top photo: Copyright © Paris Tourist Office.
Photographer: Catherine Balet.
Inset photo: Copyright © Jan Kronendonk.