Learn how to get around in Paris and its area. France's extensive transport network consists of a wide range of metro, air, rail and bus services. The Paris-Saclay campus is well served by the public transportation system with the RER B and C lines and 74 bus routes.

With its 16 lines and over 300 stations, the Paris Metro is the most practical form of transport to get around with in Paris and its inner suburbs as well as one of the most extensive underground transportation systems in the world. The Régie autonome des transports parisiens (RATP) is the transport operator responsible for most public transport in Paris and its surrounding Île-de-France region. 

 

How to use the Paris Metro

Each Metro line is labeled by a number and a colour. Metro stations have metro maps at the entrance and at the platform. This map allows you to locate your station and to figure out which Metro line will take you to your destination. You can also ask for a map from the desk or check it online. The neighborhood map shows where each exit (sortie) is located. On the platforms, the name of the terminal station will indicate the direction of the metro. Sortie (exit) and correspondance (connection) are marked by blue and white signs.

Please note:

  • A Metro line can have two branches with the same direction. In such cases, check for the next Metro’s terminal station on the panel just above your head, which will also indicate the waiting time. For example, the line 13 splits at La Fourche station into two northern branches. Their terminal stations are Saint-Denis – Université and Asnières – Gennevilliers.
  • The Metro doors close quickly and automatically. Make sure that you are not preventing them from closing.
  • The Metro stations have a lot of stairs and often don’t have elevators nor escalators.

 

Metro schedule

The Metro runs from Monday to Thursday from 5:30 a.m. to 1:15 a.m and on Fridays, Saturdays and the eve of public holidays from 5:30 a.m. to 2:15 a.m. During special events, such as New Year’s Eve and Fête de la musique (street music festival), the Metro, RER and bus services are open all night.

During rush hours (8:00-10:00 a.m.; 5:00-8:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday), the Metro is very congested.

Visit the RATP website for further information on schedule.

 

Travel passes

T+ Tickets (single metro tickets) can be purchased individually or as a book of 10 (carnet) at the Metro or RER station’s ticket desk or vending machines. Local retailers authorised by RATP also sell them as a carnet of 10. You need to insert your ticket into a turnstile in order to access the platform. One ticket allows you to make connections but is only valid in zone 1 for two hours on the RER and Metro network and 1h30 on the bus and tramway network.

Please note:

  • Always keep your ticket in hand until you exit the station.
  • It is not possible to make metro/bus, metro/tram, RER/bus and RER/tram connections using the same T+ ticket.

Paris Visite unlimited travel pass allows you to use all the public transport networks for 1, 2, 3 or 5 consecutive days anywhere in Paris (zones 1 to 3) or in Paris and the Île-de-France region (zones 1 to 5, including airport connections, Orlyval, Disneyland Paris and Château de Versailles).

The Navigo Monthly and Weekly pass is an electronic pass that allows you to make unlimited journeys on the bus, metro, RER and Transiliens across the entire Ile-de-France network. It exists in two versions: you can travel with the “all zones” pass or with the “two zones” pass only in the selected zones. You can also purchase an annual pass that is valid for 12 months from the date of the purchase.

The Carte Imagine R is an annual pass for elementary, secondary and high school as well as university students under the age of 26 that offers exactly the same benefits as a Navigo pass, but at a reduced price. To subscribe, you must fill out an application form and send it with the required documents and a picture to the RATP agency. You can find an application form at any Metro station’s information desk.

Visit our Cost of Living section for further information on prices.

Check the Guide du Parisien website for further information. 

RER

The Réseau Express Régional is a commuter train system serving Paris and its suburbs. It consists of five lines: A, B, C, D and E. Each line breaks into different directions and the train does not always serve all the stations. To avoid surprises, check your direction carefully and that it serves your station before boarding.

Please note:

  • The panels above your head indicate the waiting time, stations and direction of the next train. Some RER lines can have intermediary terminal stations. For example, some RER trains of the line B runs only to Massy-Palaiseau instead of going all the way to the final station Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse.

RER B and C lines serve many stations of the Paris-Saclay campus, such as Massy-Palaiseau. From Massy-Palaiseau, many bus lines also provide transportation to all parts of the Paris-Saclay campus.

Île-de-France tickets (“Origine-destination”) allow you to travel in the Île-de-France region. The price is calculated based on the departing station and arriving station.  

Visit our Cost of Living section for further information on prices.

 

Long-distance trains

France’s geographical position and its excellent rail network give France the advantage of being a crossroads at the heart of the European Union and providing a comfortable way to see the country.

TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) is a high-speed train that runs all over France and beyond. It is operated by SNCF (France's state-owned railway company). TGV offers attractive train journeys and connections, such as a three-hour train ride between Paris and Marseille. Eurostar connects Paris to London in just two hours. Thanks to Thalys, the rail journey between Paris and Amsterdam can be as short as 1 hour and 22 minutes and between Paris and Brussels only 3 hours and 18 minutes.

The travel time between bus stops is approximately 5 minutes depending on traffic. From Monday to Saturday, buses run typically between 7 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., and around half of the buses also run on Sundays and public holidays. The night bus (Noctilien) allows you to travel in Paris by night from 0:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m.

The number and terminal station of the bus are displayed at the front and on the sides of each bus. The terminal station indicates its direction. The bus stops (typically in glass-covered shelters) display the itinerary of each bus.

As the bus approaches, you must indicate to the driver that you wish him to stop. Get on the bus at the front and get off by the back doors. When your stop is approaching, press one of the red buttons to light up the sign "arrêt demandé" (stop requested).

You can purchase on board bus tickets directly (please note that transfers do not apply) from the driver, or buy T+ Tickets at the Metro and RER vending machines or ticket desks.

Long-distance bus travel is not very common in France. However, long-distance coach services are now expanding.

You can reach the Paris-Saclay campus by taking the following buses from three RER B stations (Massy-Palaiseau, Lozère and Le Guichet): 91.06B, 91.06C and 9.

Visit the STIF website for further information on these bus schedules.

Visit our Cost of Living section for further information on prices.

Visit the RATP website for further information on bus schedules in Paris.

Paris has two airports, Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) to the north and Orly Airport (ORY) to the south. Charles de Gaulle Airport is one of the largest international airports in Europe.

Charles de Gaulle Airport

Also known as Roissy Airport, CDG has three terminals: Terminal 1, Terminal 2 (2A to 2G) and Terminal 3. The free CDGVAL shuttle connects the three terminals.

Getting to or leaving the airport

RER B: Charles de Gaulle airport is connected to central Paris and the Paris-Saclay campus by the RER B Regional-express services (€10 one-way as of 2017). The journey from Paris-Gare du Nord to Roissy-CDG takes approximately 35-40 minutes. The Navigo travel pass and the Paris Visite travel pass (zones 1-5) are also accepted.

Shuttle line 2 and 4: The Air France transportation service offers journeys between Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport and Paris. The bus stops at strategic locations in Paris, such as Porte Maillot, Etoile / Champs-Elysées, Trocadéro and Eiffel Tower. The line 4 serves Gare Montparnasse and Gare de Lyon. The buses arrive and depart from all terminals: terminal 2E-2F, terminal 2B-2D, terminal 2A-2C and terminal 1. You can get to or leave the terminal 3 by the CDGVAL shuttle. The buses run in both directions between 5:15 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., 7 days a week. The full one-way journey takes approximately one hour and costs €17. You can purchase the tickets online.  

Roissybus: Charles de Gaulle airport provides transportation services between all the airport's terminals and the Opéra district in Paris. The journey costs €11,50 and the Navigo pass is accepted. You can purchase the tickets online.

Bus 350 and 351:  The RATP connects Charles de Gaulle airport to Paris with two bus routes: bus 350 serves Paris Gare de l'Est and bus 351 serves Place de la Nation. The journey takes between 60 and 80 minutes and costs €6.

Taxi: You will find taxis located at the gates outside your arrival terminal. A journey to Paris costs around €50. Click here for further information on taxi fares.

 

Orly Airport

Orly Airport is located near the Paris-Saclay campus and has two terminals: Terminal S (South - Sud) and Terminal W (West - Ouest). 

Getting to or leaving the airport

RER B: The airport is connected to the RER B train line at Antony train station by the Orlyval shuttle train. To get to both terminals, take the Orlyval shuttle from Antony. 

Orlybus shuttle: RATP provides a shuttle service that links Paris Denfert-Rochereau station (South of Paris) and Orly airport. It departs every 10 to 20 minutes more or less. The journey takes approximately 35 minutes and costs €8. The Navigo travel pass is accepted (zones 1-4). Visit the Paris Aéroport website for further information on the Orlybus shuttle.

Shuttle line 1: The Air France transportation service offers journeys between Orly airport and Paris. The bus stops at strategic locations in Paris, such as Etoile / Champs-Elysées, Trocadéro, Eiffel Tower and Gare Montparnasse. The bus arrives and departs from both terminals: Orly Sud and Orly Ouest. The buses run in both directions between 5:15 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., 7 days a week. The full one-way journey takes approximately 50 minutes and costs €12. You can purchase the tickets online.  

Bus 183: The bus of the RATP runs between Paris Porte de Choisy and Paris-Orly airport from 5:00 a.m. until midnight. The journey takes 40 minutes and the "on board bus ticket" costs €2. 

Tramway: The tram line 7 connects the Villejuif-Louis Aragon, terminus of the 7 Metro line, to Orly airport. The journey takes 45 minutes and the tram runs every 8 to 15 minutes approximately. The T+ ticket costs €1,90.

Taxi: You will find taxis located at the gates outside your arrival terminal. A journey to Paris costs around €35.

Taxis offer a variety of transportation services and can be easy to find in Paris. Taxis are equipped with meters and fares cannot be negotiated. 

Check the map of Paris Taxi ranks (station de taxi). 

An electric car sharing service (Autolib) and a large-scale bicycle sharing system (Vélib') allow you to get around Paris and its suburbs.

Autolib

To suscribe, you will need your driving licence, identity card and a bank card. You are required to have a bank account in any bank located on the French territory. The Autolib service has three stations in Verrières-le-Buisson and one station near HEC (Ecole des hautes études commerciales de Paris) in the Saclay commune. To find out which stations are nearest your current location, click here

Visit the Autolib website for further information on the service.

Vélib'

To access the Vélib' self-service bicycle system, you must be suscribed and at least 14 years old. There are many hire options and offers available. Each suscription allows unlimited travel. To find out which stations are nearest your current location, click here.

Visit the Vélib' website for further information on the service.

Carpooling

In France, there are many carpooling services connecting drivers to people wishing to share car journeys. Carpooling divides travel expenses and reduces travel costs, traffic and air pollution. Therefore, it contributes to clean air. There are numerous websites on the Internet that are dedicated to connecting car owners and co-travellers, such as Blablacar.

OuiHop' is an instant ride-hailing app for short distances allowing users to book a ride and get instantly served. This application was created with the Paris-Saclay Development Authority.

 

Driving Licence

If you are planning on driving in France, you must have a driving licence that is valid in France and respect the common traffic laws.

Driving license from a EEA member state

If your driving license has been issued by a European Economic Area (E.E.A.) member state, you can use it in France, under certain conditions, for an unrestricted period of time or exchange it to obtain a French licence.

You must meet the following requirements:

  • your license must be valid,
  • you must be above the French minimum age for driving the vehicle category (e.g. 18 for cars),
  • you must be in compliance with any legal medical restrictions (such as wearing prescription glasses),
  • if the license was issued by a state not belonging to the EEA with which France has not concluded a reciprocity agreement, it is recognised only up to one year following the date of establishment of normal residence in France and cannot be exchanged,
  • Your driving licence does not have any endorsements, restrictions, suspensions, etc.

Driving licence from a state not belonging to the EEA

If your driving license was issued outside the EEA, its exchange in France is compulsory if you want to keep driving. The exchange measures that apply to you vary depending on your nationality.

Exceptions:

If your stay in France lasts less than 180 days or you are a student holding a residence permit (carte de séjour), you can drive with your foreign driving licence under the following conditions:

  • your driving licence is valid,
  • your driving licence is written in French or accompanied by an official French translation made by a sworn translator,
  • your driving licence was issued by the country of previous residence.

You must meet the following requirements:

  • You obtained your driving licence before the date of initial validity of your student residence permit (carte de séjour étudiant) or before OFII validated your VLS-TS,
  • You can only drive the vehicles for which you have a licence and you must be above the minimum age prescribed for each category of vehicle in France,
  • you must be in compliance with any legal medical restrictions (such as wearing glasses),
  • Your driving licence does not have any endorsements, restrictions, suspensions, etc.

If you are a student, you will have to exchange your driving licence to obtain a French licence at the end of your studies if you want to keep driving.

Exchanging a foreign driving licence in France

The application process to exchange your driving licence to obtain a French licence requires you to:

  • Hold a driving licence that has been issued by a country that has signed a reciprocal agreement with France,
  • Meet the requirements for the recognition of your foreign driving licence in France,
  • Meet the compulsory deadline for the exchange process. Deadlines vary depending on your situation.

You must go to the Prefecture of your place of residence to apply. The measures vary depending on the Prefecture, so get the information you need directly from the Prefecture or check their website.

You can also visit the website Service Public.

Road rules

Road rules apply to all public highway users, i.e. pedestrians, cyclists, powered two-wheeler riders and motorists. Each and every one has to comply with road rules. Should you fail in complying with them, you may be fined or prosecuted and sentenced to jail.

What you must remember when you are driving in France

  • Drive on the right-hand side of the road.
  • Speed limit for private cars (km/h) are the following: 50 km/h on urban roads, 90 km/h on rural roads, 130 km/h on motorways (110 km/h if it is raining). Please note that some urban roads have 30 km/h speed limits ("zones 30").
  • Drink-drive limits are strict: 50mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. The limit was reduced in 2015 to 0.02 percent for novice drivers with less than three years of driving experience.
  • Using a mobile phone while driving is strictly forbidden.
  • Using a hands-free mobile phone while driving is allowed.
  • It is mandatory to fasten your seat belt, in the front seat and in the back seat.
  • Children under 10 years old are not allowed in the front seat.
  • It is mandatory to wear a helmet on mopeds and motorcycles.
  • Compulsory equipment required in all vehicles (including motorbikes) includes reflective jackets, a warning triangle, as well as two breathalyzers or alcohol-level tests.