Subway in Paris

Subway in Paris (Métro de Paris) is the city’s most popular public transportation system, also widely known for having stations with beautiful Art Nouveau architecture.

The Paris metro has 16 lines, with most of them traveling underground.

Total length of the subway system in Paris is 214 km (133 miles), serviced by 300 subway stations.

Average subway station density in Paris, in fact, is the world’s densest — the average length between stations being just 548 meters (600 yards).

In terms of public transportation, Paris metro is very popular, the second most used subway system in Europe (after the subway system in Moscow), with 4.5 million daily passengers.

Among the stations in the network is the world’s largest subway station, “Châtelet-Les Halles“, with departure areas for 5 metrolines and 3 RER (, Réseau Express Régional) trainlines.

Subway in Paris France

PHOTO: Paris metro station at Pont de Sèvres, with the platforms for line 9 in picture.

Paris France metro sign

PHOTO: Many of the Paris metro stations are marked with Art Nouveau style signs, such as the one pictured, at “Tolbiac” station, for line 7.

Metrolines in Paris are numbered from 1 to 14. There are also two “minilines” — 3bis and 7bis — which were originally part of lines 3 and 7.

In addition to numbering, each of the lines is also identified in maps withcolors, with the travel direction shown in terms of end station for the line.

The Paris metro system opened its doors in 1900, during the events of the Exposition Universelle de Paris (Paris World Exposition).

From then on, the subway system kept expanding until 1930s, with mostParis suburbs getting their own lines.

However, as the metro system popularity grew, there was a need for further expansion by Second World War. To resolve these needs, the city started to build, since 1960s, an alternative light railway system, the RER.

Name for the Paris subway system, “Metro“, comes from the first operator of the metro line, “Compagnie du chemin de fer métropolitain de Paris”, or “Métropolitain”…which quickly turned among Parisians into “Métro”.

The current operator of the metro system is “Régie autonome des transports parisiens (RATP)”, also responsible for RER trains and bus services in Paris.

Subway trains travel in the network from 5am to 1am, Sunday to Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, the stations are open an hour later.

To purchase a subway ticket in Paris, you can either…

  • use the automated ticket machines, or alternatively,
  • the manned service kiosks.

Entrance to the subway in Paris departure areas goes through automated gates, which you open either with your single journey ticket, or with a multi-ticket pass (smartcard).

The subway in Paris lines are (line number – terminus stations):

  • M1 – La Défense – Château de Vincennes
  • M2 – Porte Dauphine – Nation
  • M3 – Pont de Levallois – Gallieni
  • M3bis – Porte des Lilas – Gambetta
  • M4 – Porte de Clignancourt – Porte d’Orléans
  • M5 – Bobigny – Place d’Italie
  • M6 – Charles de Gaulle – Étoile Nation
  • M7 – La Courneuve – Villejuif – Mairie d’Ivry
  • M7bis – Louis Blanc – Pré Saint-Gervais
  • M8 – Balard – Créteil
  • M9 – Pont de Sèvres – Mairie de Montreuil
  • M10 – Boulogne – Gare d’Austerlitz
  • M11 – Châtelet – Mairie des Lilas
  • M12 – Porte de la Chapelle – Mairie d’Issy
  • M13 – Châtillon – Montrouge – Saint-Denis – Les Courtilles
  • M14 – Saint-Lazare – Olympiades