The Paris Metro system (Metro de Paris or Metropolitain) is an underground railway that consists of sixteen different lines, covering a total distance of 214km. Within the network are over 300 stations, part of one of the most dense underground systems in the world.
The first metro trains leave each end of each line at 05.30, with some trains starting at intermediate stations on certain lines. The last train arrives at its final destination at 01.15 (Sunday - Thursday), and 02.15 on Fridays, Saturdays and special days.
Changing trains in Paris will often require a cross-city Metro ride. The precise route will vary depending on the stations involved.
The metro system operates a number of different train types and styles. During rush hour, the network gets extremely busy (as is the case in most cities).
There is no first class on-board, but a large number of seats and standing space. Some trains are a little rough round the edges, but are perfectly comfortable.
Luggage & Facilities
While there is no limit on the amount of luggage you may carry on the metro, conditions tend to be on the crowded side, and you won't be too popular with fellow passengers. Metro trains tend not to stay too long in each station as well, so if you do travel with luggage, make sure you get it all on/off the train as quickly as possible.
Using Metro Maps
When travelling on the Metro system, lines are identified by colour and number on metro maps. You can tell which direction a train is headed by the end destination.
Only Metro Line 14 is fully accessible, with lifts and ramps available for disabled passengers. On other routes, only certain stations are wheelchair accessible. There tends also to be a large gap between the platform edge and metro carriage, so assistance may be required.
There are a large variety of ticketing options valid for metro use. These include single tickets, as well as 'carnets' of multiple journeys (at discounted prices), as well as daily, weekly, monthly and yearly passes.
Single tickets are known as 'Ticket t+', which are valid for a single journey of any length within Zone 1 (including trips on the RER).
These, as well as other forms of ticket can be bought from ticket windows or automated machines, which accept Euro coins and credit cards.
At the Station
Most metro platforms have an overhead sign displaying the length of time until the next train arrives. The signs also indicate which metro route the train is running on, and its destination/direction.
Travelling with Pets
Strictly speaking, only small dogs carried in baskets/bags may be carried on the metro and bus systems in Paris. However, a blind eye is generally turned for larger dogs as long as they are on a lead and muzzled. Bear in mind however, that you could be fined for travelling with a dog not being carried in a suitable container (at the metro officials' discretion).