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This could be the best guide to taking the Paris Metro you'll ever read

The Local France
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This could be the best guide to taking the Paris Metro you'll ever read
Photo: AFP

A guide to taking the Paris Metro is proving popular online, thanks in the main to its straight-talking tips for taking the Metro such as: searching for your ticket in front of the gate is not "f***ing ok".


There are many advice guides online for how to navigate the Paris Metro but a new one posted on the popular content sharing site Reddit could be one of the most useful.

The guide, written in English, which can be seen in full here was made by a user named "Celsius90", who has been taking the Paris Metro for "over 10 years".

It proved popular with readers and prompted a huge number of comments all offering further advice on taking the Paris Metro, which for newcomers and tourists, and let's face it even seasoned commuters, can often be challenging. 

The writer says: "Taking the Metro, or public transport in general, in Paris can be a really tough task.

"Paris public transport has one goal: take you from point A to point B, then point C, then take a bus to reach point D, and then... no f**k it let's walk the final 500 meters. You are now 30 minutes late."

Here are the most useful tips the writer points out. (Note, the article contains language you may find offensive)

  • First rule: don't stand in the way. This is true when you are inside the train, but also when walking in the stations, the platforms, etc...

  • Second rule: if you're not sure whether you're in the way or not, you're in the way. Please refer to first rule.

  • If a pregnant woman or an elderly person enters the train: let them sit. Don't try to look at your phone. We know you saw them.

  • It is NOT ok to read a newspaper when the train is crowded. You are taking space for 3 people with your arms wide open.

  • If you don't want to be swallowed in a human tsunami, avoid taking public transportation between 7:00 AM - 10:00 AM and 5:00 - 7:00 PM. People who are on their daily commute will not hesitate to walk on you.



Paris Metro map shows it may be quicker to walk

  • Searching for your ticket right in front of the gate is NOT F**KING OK. If your ticket does not work, refer to rule 1.

  • As in any other big city, there are pickpockets in Paris. This doesn't mean you should have a gun to protect yourself. But just a bit of common sense. Don't leave your bags open, keep a hand on your phone, etc.

  • Do not forget your bags or luggage in the train or on the platforms. They will stop the traffic and they will destroy your bag.

  • Take a shower, goddammit. If the train is crowded I could end up closer to your body than your girlfriend.

  • There are musicians on the Paris Metro! They are not sound terrorists, they're just trying to earn a few euros. If you don't have any money, just give them a smile! They will not kill you.

  • Same goes for homeless people begging. No need to be an asshole. 

  • RER A always has a problem. If it doesn't, it means the information system itself has a problem.

  • Metro 13 is always crowded. This line is hell. Think twice before getting on.

  • We drive on the right side. Please walk on the right side as well. People in a hurry can run on the left side. This is important on the stairs.

  • Yes, it's pee that you are smelling in the stairs. Watch where you put your feet. There could also be poo. 

  • Do not panic if the power goes out. Most of the time, the train will restart after a few seconds

  • Do not try to understand what the train driver just said in the speakers. No one is able to understand.

  • There could be a strike. If that is the case, avoid the train. Not only there will be less metros, but Parisians will also be really angry. Sometimes there are fights.

  • Mind the gap. You will not hear it as much as in London, but mind that f**king gap please.


  • Do not try to "surf" on the metro. Grab a handle and be safe. If the metro brakes suddenly, you will fly.

  • If you are lost, there are maps in every station. You can ask a Parisian for help, but please start with a "bonjour". We will feel bad about your accent and feel obliged to help you. Parisians are actually really nice and friendly people. Even if they can seem cold at first, most of them will be glad to help you if you're lost or need help. 

Below the guide on Reddit fellow metro users have added their own tips, which readers will no doubt recognize.

Here's a selection of the most useful.

  • If the train is crowded, only use your hand to hold the bar. You DO NOT need to hug it with your entire body or lie down on it.
  • There are automated lines like the Metro 1 and Metro 14. On these lines, the train speeds up and brakes like crazy. Grab a handle or sit down if you don't want to fly across the wagon.

  • Big train stations can be confusing to navigate into, like Gare de Lyon. Sometimes you'll have to validate your ticket more than once to change lines. Follow the signs closely if you don't want to get lost.

  • For our British friends (or others): at most stations, there is more than one exit. Refer to the maps inside the stations to choose the most convenient exit.

  • On some lines, you can have new high-tech trains as well as old rusty metal cans screeching at every turn. It can be surprising at first.

  • If you want to stay alive, just don't try to get in when the doors are about to close. While it's unlikely that they'll close on you, they could easily close onto a bag or a jacket, and if it does happen, use force, A LOT OF FORCE.
  • Do no sit on the fold-up seat when the wagon is overcrowded
  • When you enter the Metro, don't just stop there, go further to let people behind you come in as well.

  • Paris is smaller than you'd expect. Unless you're carrying heavy luggage or it's raining or whatever, just walk.

  • No one is friendly enough to start a conversation in Paris. If someone (not wearing any uniform) starts talking to you, he wants money.




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