If you’re thinking about traveling to Paris, you’ve got to know how to read maps and work the Metro system. I’ve ridden plenty of trams, trains, and taxis in my days of travel, but the Metro was something else entirely. Now that I’ve been here a week and a half and feel like I can maneuver it fairly well, I thought I’d share a few tips on how to make your way through if you’ve never done it before. The first thing you’re going to do is head down into the Metro and buy your tickets at the little stand there. You can get tickets for up to I think 10 trips, but we’ve been getting them in twos. It’s only 3.40 euro for a round trip, two way ticket set. Not bad. Pop it into the machine and it lets you through, but make sure you take your ticket after it feeds back out because you may be stopped by authorities to show that you’re not a Metro hopper trying to hitch a free ride. But anyways…on to the tips!
Tip number 1: Buy a Metro map. These things come in so handy. Luckily my roommate Amber has one, and so do the girls on my team, so I didn’t necessarily have to get one since we are sharing. But boy do these things come in handy. The routes are all listed by color and number, and you can easily spot which line will take you where. It can be confusing, however, if you’re not used to using a map or familiar with the city. Which leads me to my next tip….
Tip number 2: Use Google maps! Seriously. Almost everywhere we’ve went I’ve typed in the address from our apartment to the destination, hit the Metro button in the options above, and bam. It’s always exact. I just snap a photo of it with my phone and am able to follow it to a T. It doesn’t really tell you exactly how to get to your destination once you hop off the Metro, but it at least keeps you from getting lost in the system. Love Google maps. Use it and you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration and getting lost!
Tip number 3: Learn some basic French directions. Words like “Sortie” (which means Exit) can be confusing if you don’t know what it means at first. You’ll likely figure it out pretty quickly though. There are maps all over the Metro that direct you to which line goes where, but if you can’t understand basic phrases like this you’ll get lost quickly.
Tip number 4: Know your starting point. The last thing you want is to arrive at your destination, finish whatever activity you’ve come to do, and then not remember which way you’re supposed to go to get home. Learn your closest station and what line number it’s on. This way, if you do happen to get lost, you can easily find your way back to your hotel or apartment.
And finally, tip number 5: For the love of God, wear deodorant. This isn’t really a directional tip, but a necessary one. I’ve smelled more body odor in the Paris Metro than I think I can ever stand to smell in my entire life. Seriously. I don’t get it. I’ll be sitting down and someone will come up next to me, every single time, and stick their arm up on the pole beside my head. It’s the worst. You don’t want to be that person.
Nearly everywhere you need to go in Paris you can use the Metro to get there in under 30-45 minutes. It’s convenient and not to mention fairly easy to naviagte. And when you exit the Metro, the doors open automatically for you…so putting your palm out like you’re a Jedi will actually make you feel pretty cool. We’ll be using it tomorrow morning when we leave to go film. We’ve got an early start, so hopefully I can get in some free time to go to the Luxembourg gardens if it stops raining in the afternoon! Au revior until next time!