Tube in Paris- Travelling Paris with Kids
We visited Paris for the first time as a family in 2015 and we rode the tube in Paris countless times to take us from place to place. There’s nothing like the tube in Paris to be in amongst real Parisian life. There’s all kinds of people on their trains – mums and dads, business people, young people, old people, homeless people – in fact people of every colour, shape, size, and profession I’d bet. Plus, those retro station signs make me smile. They are a design-lover’s dream.
But we are often asked: Is it safe to travel on the Paris Metro Underground with the kids?
We’d say a big YES to that, but as always in a big city, keep an eye on your bags and possessions, do not flash money about at any time, and it’s probably safer to stay off the tube in Paris after dark.
Having said that, I took the boys on the Paris Metro from the hotel to the Eiffel Tower and back one evening without any issue and I felt safe the whole time. I think it’s just about keeping your wits about you, pay attention to those who might be potential pickpockets, and respecting others.
We LOVE catching the tube in Paris. The Paris Metro is the best way to get around Paris on the cheap with kids, although beware if you have a stroller. Those stairs can be a killer if there’s no ramp access.
Here are our top five tips for families using the Paris Metro system.
1. Travelling as a Family in Paris for the first time?
Download this PDF overview of the Tube in Paris. It gives you a simple and clear overview of how to plan your journey, where to enter and exit the Paris Metro system and what signs to look out for, how to buy your Paris Metro tickets, and how to determine which line you should be catching. It’s super helpful.
2. What to do in Paris with Kids via Metro
Visit our favourite Science Museum in the World, the Cites Des Science, and book into a session (or both) at the Cites Des Enfants at the Paris Science Museum. (Choose between the 2-7 year old exhibition, or the 5-12 year old exhibition).
We also recommend taking the kids to the Louvre Museum (use our tips), and exploring the Eiffel Tower and the fun stuff you can do there with kids. Hint: Glass Floor. Don’t look down!
Don’t forget these cool Paris playgrounds too – this one, and this one especially.
3. Visit Paris by Metro – using Paris Metro practicalities
There’s two types of tickets you can buy as a travelling family in Paris.
The first one, the T+ ticket, allows you to travel on Metro lines, RER (RAPT and SNCF) within Paris Zone 1, Ile-de-France bus lines (RATP and OPTILE), except Orlybus and Roissybus (see the specific conditions below for the Noctilien network and lines with special fares: 299, 350 and 351) , tramway lines (RATP and SNCF) and the Montmartre funicular.
The basic Métro ticket for a one-way journey is a small piece of cardboard (formerly mauve, now white) with a magnetic strip to buzz you in that costs €1,90. It’s issued by RATP, the transportation authority for the Paris region.
You can anywhere within the city of Paris on the Métro and RER networks, and you can transfer between lines, or between the Métro and the RER, on a single ticket. You can also use T+ tickets on buses and trams. Note that it’s not possible to go between the Métro and RER and buses or trams on the same ticket.
- Save money by purchasing a book of 10 tickets – a “carnet” (karn-ay) – for €14,50 from vending machines near the turnstiles in Métro stations.
- Métro ticket machines accept coins and credit cards, but not notes. If you pay by credit card, leave the card in the machine until you are told to take it out or it won’t process and you’ll have to start again.
- Children under age 4 travel FREE!
- Kids from ages 4-10 pay the full adult fare for single tickets, but a children’s book of 10 tickets – a “carnet” (karn-ay) – is half price. Do your research and see whether you’d use them all.
- The fineprint of the T+ ticket can be found here. A T+ ticket is designed for occasional travellers and visitors not wishing to use the Paris Visite travel card.
(See below for details about the Paris Visite Travel Card)
4. Paris Metro Tickets for Tourists
The Paris Visite travel card is valid for 1, 2, 3 or 5 consecutive days in zones 1-3 or 1-5. The validity period starts at midnight on the first day and ends at midnight on the last day.
Paris Visite is an unlimited tourist travel pass that you can buy for one, two, three, or five calendar days. The “Paris Centre” version covers transportation in zones 1-3. For travel to zones 4 and 5 (including Charles de Gaulle Airport, Orly Airport, and Versailles), you’ll need to buy the “Paris + suburb + airports” version which is more expensive.
Prices at the 1st August 2016. Subject to change at any time.
Price ranges from 11.65€ to 63.90€ depending on zones covered (1-3 or 1-5) and duration (1 to 5 days). Coverage of Central Paris (not including airports) for 5 days would be 37.25€ for adults and 18.60€ for children under 11. See all price configurations and book your tickets here through the Official Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau website here
- Children from 4 to 10 pay half-price (again, kids 4 and under are free), and Paris Visite offers discounts on boat cruises and certain other tourist attractions.
Paris Visite Card Discounts as of August 1, 2016
- Arc de Triomphe: 20% off
- Conciergerie: 20% off entrance
- Dali’s Universe Museum: 6€ instead of 11€
- Army Museum/Invalides: 20% off entrance to permanent collection
- Bateaux Parisiens: 25% off cruise of Seine river
- Open Tours: 25€ instead of 29€
- Chateau de Fontainebleau: 2€ off entrance
- France Miniature: 30% off entrance
- Grevin museum: 30% off entrance
- Provins: 7,50€ entry instead of 11,40€ on adult price to visit 4 monuments around the UNESCO world heritage site medieval city
- Tour Montparnasse: 30% off entrance
- Shopping at Galeries Lafayette: 10% off + 1 free bag with minimum 40€ purchase
5. Get yourself a Metro Map in Paris
Paris is huge, so it pays to know where you are going when you are in Paris for kids. There’s no fun in going the wrong way, or missing your spot at something because you’ve arrived late. Download your FREE Paris Metro Map here.
While we LOVE to walk around Paris, riding the tube in Paris is a much faster way to get from A to B, especially if you only have a few days in Paris to explore. Hope you have fun! Paris is one of our favourite cities yet.
Looking for MORE SUPER DOOPER FUN places to visit in Paris for Kids?
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