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Paris Metro Getting Around

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The Paris métro (M°) lines are numbered (1 14) and run from 5.30am 12.30am. You are never very far away from a métro station in central Paris, but the underground passages from one line to another often involve quite a few staircases and escalators (Châtelet is notorious for this).

The RER trains (réseau express régional) have fewer stops in central Paris but run right into the suburbs. The lines are given letters (A E) and run from 5am 12.30am. Maps (plans) of the métro and RER network are available from stations, and are also displayed outside stations. Inside the station you will find a network map and a plan du quartier to help you choose which exit to take. If you want a map with bus, métro and RER lines marked on it, ask for un Grand Plan de Paris at the station counter.

When you take the métro it is the terminus station and line number that tell you in which direction you are headed. The terminus name appears on the sign posts and overhead direction boards. For example, if you want to get to Abesses station, you need to take the M°12 train towards Porte de la Chapelle (Direction Porte de la Chapelle) and get off at Abesses. Each line has a different colour to help you read the maps (line 12, for example, is dark green).

Taking an RER train is also simple, once you know the drill. Above the platform are large black boards with all the stations marked in order. When your station has a yellow light illuminated next to the name it means that the train will stop at that station. The lines have different colours (line A is bright red).

Inside both RER and métro trains there are maps above the doors so that you can keep track of where you are and which station you need to get off at. The maps also tell you where you can change lines so for Châtelet, for example, there are a number of coloured circles with the line numbers or letters to indicate which lines cross at Châtelet.