Hop on the RER: Explore Paris Like a Pro with This Easy Guide

Scris de Harshitha Paderu

mai 22, 2024

Asistență | Călătorie

Parisians rely on the RER train network to navigate the city and its suburbs. Mastering the RER unlocks a more authentic travel experience, especially during events like the Olympics. Let’s navigate the RER like Parisians!

The Paris RER or Réseau Express Régional is a regional train network that links the Parisian city center with its surrounding suburbs. In addition to the Paris Metro, the RER provides Parisians and tourists with a faster and more extensive transportation network, connecting the city centre to Charles de Gaulle Airport, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Disneyland Paris, and Versailles. 

The Paris RER, operated by RATP (Regie Autonome des Transports Parisiens), is integrated with the city’s Metro and bus systems, sharing a unified ticketing system. A single ticket is valid for travel within central Paris on the RER, Metro, and buses. These trains run from around 05:00 hours (local time), until 30 minutes past midnight, that is; 00:30 hours. 

Paris RER Guide

Choosing the Right RER Line: Colors, Branches, and Destinations

The RER Paris has 5 train lines – RER A, RER B, RER C, RER D and RER E, that run across over 250 stations. The most popular lines for tourists are A, B and C. For example, RER A connects Disneyland Paris with the city centre, while RER B connects to the Charles de Gaulle Airport and RER C’s destinations are Orly Airport and the Palace of Versailles.

These train lines also have many branch lines. The letter (A-E) designates the line and the number (A1, A2, A3, etc.) designates the branch of the line. Travellers are advised to check the number relevant to their destination before boarding a train. 

The RER’s five lines are also colour-coded to make life easier for tourists. 

  • RER A: Color – Red, Branches – A1, A2, A3, A4, A5

The main stations/stops on this line in central Paris are Chatelet-les-Halles and Gare de Lyon. It runs west to La Défense and then onto suburbs and east to Marne la Vallée. 

  • RER B: Color – Blue, Branches – B2, B3, B4, B5

This line runs north to Charles de Gaulle Airport and south to Orly Airport (via the Orlyval train from ‘Antony’ station) then on to Saint Remy sur Chevreuse. The main stations/stops on this line in central Paris are Gare du Nord, Chatelet-les-Halles and St.Miche-Notre Damel. 

How to Transport in Paris RER
  • RER C: Color – Yellow, Branches – C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7, C8

 The main tourist stations/stops in central Paris on this line are St. Michel-Notre Dame, Musee d’Orsay, Invalides and Eiffel Tower. This line is also for the chateau at Versailles and for Gare d’Austerlitz.

  • RER D: Color – Green, Branches – D1, D2, D3, D4

The main stations/stops on this line in central Paris are Gare du Nord, Chatelet-les-Halles and Gare de Lyon. This line serves the northern and southern suburbs of the city.

  •  RER E: Color – Purple, Branches – E1, E2, E4

The main stations/stops on this line in central Paris are Haussmann-Saint-Lazare​ which is connected to Gare Saint-Lazare via walkways, and Magenta which is connected to Gare du Nord via walkway station links. This line serves the eastern suburbs of the city.

Travel Smart, Save Money: Understanding RER Ticket Options

Paris RER trains use different tickets based on the travel zone (See Map Here). Within central Paris Zone 1, basic Paris Metro tickets are valid. For travel beyond Zone 1, a special ticket called a Billet Ile-de-France is required. 

An RER ticket in Paris, known as a Billet Origine-Destination, is a small paper ticket priced based on the distance travelled from the departure station to the arrival station within Paris and the surrounding Île-de-France region. Since March 2022, RER train tickets are capped at a maximum price of €5 for adults and €2.50 for children ages 4-9, except for airport trains which are not included in this price cap.

In addition to RER train tickets, there are several travel cards for getting around Paris. These include the t+ticket for single journeys and weekly or monthly travel cards like Paris Visite and Passe Navigo. 

  • T+Ticket

The t+ticket allows for multiple transfers within 90 minutes across various transportation modes. The t+ ticket allows travel on the Metro and RER express train within Zone 1, and transfers between buses or buses and trams. However, it does not permit transfers from the Metro to buses or using the same bus line twice. T+ tickets are available for individual purchase or in books of 10 from ticket vending machines in Metro and RER stations, buses, and trams. They can also be bought directly from bus drivers but at a €0.20 surcharge, and this ticket doesn’t allow transfers between different modes of transport.

  • Passe Navigo or Navigo Daily/Weekly/Monthly Pass

The Passe Navigo is a travel card used by Paris residents and is cost-effective for travel within the city. It offers daily, weekly or monthly passes and can be used on various transport modes including the metro, bus, RER, tram, Montmartrobus, Noctilien, and Montmartre funicular. The pass’s validity zones must be chosen at purchase, such as zones 1-2 for central Paris or zones 1-5 for destinations like airports or Disneyland. It operates from Monday to Sunday and requires a passport photo for issuance. The cost is €5 (US$5.40) and is non-refundable, without special rates for children. The Passe Navigo Découverte can be bought at Metro stations, RER stations, and airports.

  • Paris Visite

The Paris Visite travel card offers unlimited use of Paris’ transport system, including Metro, Bus, RER, Tramway, Orlyval, Montmartrobus, Noctilien, and Montmartre funicular. It provides discounts for attractions like the Opera, Seine cruises, and bus tours, and is available for 1, 2, 3, or 5 days. Validity starts at midnight on the first day and ends at midnight on the last. It has two zone options: 1-3 for central Paris and 1-5 for airports and Disneyland. Paris Visite is costly but suitable for short stays, Disneyland trips, or airport transfers; otherwise, the Passe Navigo is more economical for longer stays. Paris Visite can be bought at Metro/RER stations, airports, and tourist info points.

Plan Your Parisian Olympics Trip: Essential Public Transport Tips

  • The Paris 2024 Pass is a special public transport pass for the Paris Summer Olympics from July 20 to September 8, 2024. It can be used on specific mobile phones and will replace the Navigo Week Pass and Navigo Day Pass during this period. The Navigo Week Pass will not be available for purchase during the Paris Olympics.
  • The Paris 2024 Pass is priced at €16 for a single day, with decreasing daily costs for longer durations. It drops to €10 per day for 7-day or 14-day passes (€70 per week). The 1-day pass is a paper ticket, while 2-day to 7-day passes are loaded onto a Navigo Easy card or an Android phone with Paris transport apps. Multiple Navigo Easy cards are needed for passes over 7 days but less than 14 days, with each card costing €2, unless using a Paris Transport app to hold the pass and avoid this fee.
Travel Paris in RER
  • A new multilingual app, Paris 2024 Transport Public, launched for iOS and Android in April to assist public transport users during the Olympic Games. It helps users find the best routes in real time, integrating crowd data and platform waiting times. The app allows input of visited venues for specific notifications and offers alternative routes, including walking and cycling options. It also provides wheelchair accessibility information. Starting mid-June, the app will allow purchasing Paris Pass tickets for the Games. It’s useful for both event attendees and general users to navigate Paris
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