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The strange rules of the Paris Metro you probably should know about

A closer look at the unusual rules of taking the Metro in Paris that you should know about.

The strange rules of the Paris Metro you probably should know about
Photo: AFP

There is a (very) long list of official rules for riding the Metro in Paris that cover everything from dogs and bikes to beeps and music. There is even a strict rule that bars you from walking the wrong way down certain one-way passages, as a pregnant woman found out to her cost recently.

The vast majority of passengers probably don’t even know about these rules, which might explain why so many people ignore them.

With this in mind, we’ve gone through the whole rule book to find some of the more unusual ones. 

You must have a ticket to ride 

Did you know that you need to buy a ticket to ride the Paris Metro?! Might sound pretty obvious, but if you've ever ridden the Metro you'll know that not everyone plays by the rules. Yes, many passengers will either “ghost” you and follow through directly after you, while countless others prefer to just jump the barriers.

Do not enter or exit the train after the “beep”

Yep, it’s a rule. Once the long and drawn out signal sounds, you’re meant to wait. But, in truth, the signal sounding marks the moment when the fun really begins. It’s almost as if some people are waiting for the sound to go off before jumping on the rain. 

The priority seats have a pecking order

There are nine levels of priority passengers, and this is the order of importance.

1. War and military disabled

2. Blind civilians

3. Disabled workers

4. Disabled civilians who have trouble standing

5. Pregnant women

6. Persons with children under age 4

7. Disabled civilians who do not have trouble standing

8. Persons with a card stipulating that they have trouble standing

9. Seniors aged 75 and over

Different dogs, different rules

The rules for taking dogs on the Metro are long and complicated. Dogs are basically allowed to ride free if they fit comfortably in a carrier that's less than 45 centimetres in length. And if “they cannot disturb other passengers or get them dirty”.

If they’re too big for the 45 centimetre carrier, then they’re going to need to be muzzled and leashed, and they will need to travel with a (reduced fare) ticket, unless of course they’re a guide dog, in which case it’s free.

If they’re not a guide dog, but they’re over 45 centimetres, but they belong to the emergency services, then they can ride for free, but they still need to be leashed and muzzled. Got it?

No hands? No fee

In one of the more unique rules, the network specifies that those who have been amputated at both hands are allowed to ride free, provided they are not accompanied by a carer.

No music!

It’s strictly forbidden to play an instrument, to sing, or to play any kind of music for money, the rules read. Of course, many people ignore these rules – but it's worth knowing that there is one other option: to sign up Metro Musicians audition, essentially a buskers license. The network offers 600 spots each year.

No bikes allowed

Except on Line 1 on Sundays and public holidays up until 430pm.  And don’t take them on the escalators, that's forbidden too.

On the RER, you may transport your bicycle and make transfers only between RER lines A, B, C, D and E, and only during the following hours:

  • All day long on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays,
  • Before 6:30 a.m., between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and after 7 p.m. on all other days.

No roller skates either!

It's not just bikes that are banned. The use of “roller skates, skateboards, scooters, bicycles or any other type of cycle” are also on the list. If something goes wrong while you're trying to ride one of these on the train or on the network, you're going to be held responsible for even third party injuries. 

Children under four cannot take a seat

Sure, it's free to take a small child on the Metro, but don't give them a seat. Otherwise they have to have a ticket like everyone else. 






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