Meet Your New Friend, Mo.
The subway in Paris is known as “Le Metro” or “Mo” for short. The Metro is an invaluable tool in a city as large as Paris. Walking from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame Cathedral? That’s a nearly 3 mile walk crossing many, many intersections. It will take you at least one hour.
Doing it on the Metro? Smart move. Try about 15 minutes or less and you won’t have sore feet. Not bad for just about 2 bucks.
The Metro here is generally very clean, well lit, and overall feels much safer than subways here in Boston or New York. Using the Mois very easy; there are 13 different Metro lines that zig-zag their way under the city. You can grab a map of the lines at just about any hotel before starting your journey. At most every point in the city, you are just a few hundred yards from a station. Trains move in two directions along the line indicating their direction by posting their last stop as a guide. Hence, you need a map that shows the subway system. With hundreds of stations, there is no shame in using a map. I suspect plenty of locals carry them around in their purses, man-purses and satchels. Tickets can be purchased at all stations – always from machines and most of the time from people as well.
Keep your ticket after you run it through the turnstile. The Metro Police will fine you nearly $50 on the spot if you don’t hang on to the ticket.
Some notes on etiquette:
- Don’t sit in the hinged, folding seats if the trains are busy. You’ll catch grief from local riders who think you are taking up too much space. Stand up!
- In Paris, male riders ALWAYS offer their seats to women. Period. End of story.
- Parisian etiquette dictates muffled whisper like-conversations, you’ll be amazed – but you almost never will hear anyone speak on the Metro.