RER Trains Paris - Prices, Ticketing, Maps & Using Explained

Explanation of the Paris RER for visitors including services to Versailles, Disneyland & Airports

RER Train At Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport

RER Train At Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport

The RER Paris suburban railway system will be mostly used by visitors for their airport transfer into Paris city centre to and from CDG and Orly airports or for independent excursions to Disneyland and Versailles.

There are five lines, simply numbered A to E. Unlike most city suburban lines there are no city centre terminals, all lines except E, go straight through Paris to a destination on the other side of the city

In Paris city centre the key stations are Chatelet and Gare du Nord. These are vast transport hubs, with metro lines as well as RER lines interchanging.

The Paris RER is run by RATP, (Regie Autonome des Transports Parisiens) who also run the buses and Metro system. As a result train, metro and bus are tightly integrated, sharing ticketing systems.

If you are travelling within central Paris you can use a single ticket which is also valid for Metro and buses. Within central Paris you can think of the RER as just another Metro line

There is a mix of single deck trains (like in the image right) and double deck trains predominantly operating on lines A and C

Trains will commonly run at 15-20 minute intervals and run from about 05:00 to around midnight.

RER Map, Travel Zones & Finding Your Way Around

Paris RER Map
Paris Metro & RER Map

Paris uses a zonal system with six circular zones radiating out from the centre. Zone 1 is where nearly all hotels are and where all the city centre sights are located. The Paris Metro system is largely confined to just zones 1 and 2.

The zones are clearly marked on the RER map, (see link right).

For most lines the first train is about 05:30 and the last well after midnight. Frequencies are very high, a few minutes between each train at most.

There is a strict non-smoking policy.

The most popular destinations that visitors will use the RER trains when in Paris have dedicated pages where we go into more detail:

- Charles de Gaulle Airport CDG - zone 5 - Full RER Details

- Orly Airport - zone 4 - Full RER Details

- Eurodisney - zone 5 - Full RER Details

- Versailles - zone 4 - Full RER Details

For most lines the first train is about 05:30 and the last well after midnight. Frequencies are very high, a few minutes between each train at most. There is a strict non-smoking policy.

Paris RER Tickets & Fares

To access the RER system you will need a ticket of one kind or another. Whatever ticket you have, (including travel passes ) you insert the ticket into an automatic barrier which after validating the ticket allows you through.

The first time, just position yourself behind a local and follow what they are doing - it really is simple and identical to many other systems like the London Underground.

Paris Ticket Barriers

Ticket Barriers At Station

You can buy tickets at Metro and RER Railway Station ticket offices which have manned ticket offices. The ticket offices at places like Charles de Gaulle Airport have helpful, competent English speaking attendants well used to overseas travellers not confident in what they need and are for the most part remarkably patient.

You will also find multi- lingual ticket machines like the one pictured below, and machines for topping up the Navigo Cards everywhere.

Purchasing Single Tickets For RER Trains

If you purchase a ticket for a single journey the cost will depend upon which zones your originating and destination stations are located in. You can find this out easily enough by looking at the RER map, (see link above).

If both stations are in zones 1 and 2 then the fare will be the same as the Paris Metro fare. See our Paris Metro page for current fares.

If you are travelling around Paris like most visitors do its worth studying the various travel passes available that cover all of the trains and buses in the Paris area.

Public Transport Passes

There is a wide range of passes and tickets available other than for a single journey.. We have a dedicated page for these so you can identify the right public transport for your needs in Paris.

Paris Public Transport Tickets & Passes - Full Details Of Range

Buying Your Tickets

Typical Paris Self Service Public Transport Ticket Machine

Typical Self Service Public Transport Ticket Machine

Once in Paris it is easy to buy tickets from manned ticket offices and automatic ticket machines. There are several variants of ticket machines, most have a choice of languages including English of course.

The ticket machines are reliable and sell a range of transport tickets, very few people will be buying the single T+ tickets.

We would recommend you take a few minutes to read the other ticket types available to you as they well be more economical and convenient than single tickets.

Buying Tickets In Advance Of Arriving In Paris

If you are beginning to get stressed about buying tickets in a strange city and worrying what happens if the person behind the ticket counter doesn't speak English or what happens if you have problems with a ticket machine, the extra price premium of having the tickets sent to you before travelling to Paris may be worthwhile.

Again there is a range of tickets available, most of them tailored to meet the needs of short term visitors and tourists. There are also many passes and combo tickets that combine public transport tickets with the most famous tourist attractions.

Paris Public Transport Passes & Tourist Bundles - Full Details Of Range

Below iare details of the most marketed product for short term visitors to Paris wanting transport tickets in their possession before they arrive in Paris.

Be aware that you are paying a small premium for this purchased in advance over buying the same product in Paris.

Paris Metro Pass (Paris Visite card) - Unlimited Travel On Public Transport For 1,2,3 & 5 Days

Using the Paris Visite travel card, you will be able to use all the public transport services in Paris. The metro pass consists of a simple ticket, no photo required.

It provides FREE travel rides in Paris (with no limit) on the transport system including Metro, RER (regional express trains), bus, tramway, suburban Transilien SNCF trains, Montmartre funicular, Noctambus, Optile bus system and Montmartrobus.

Delivery is available to your hotel in Paris or to your home worldwide.

Paris Visite Card

Public Transport Passes Marketed To Locals Available To Visitors

The Paris Visite /Paris Metro Pass is heavily marketed at tourists by both Paris authorities and the tourist sector, many visitors are unaware that there are alternatives. If you are using public transport a lot in Paris or are staying for more than the 2 or 3 days of the average visitor then these are worth evaluating.

Paris Public Transport Passes - Full Range Available To Visitors

Public Transport + Tourist Attraction Passes

There are quite a few options available combining public transport passes combined with tickets to some of the leading Paris attractions. For the visitor only in Paris a day or two these can make a lot of sense, offering a one stop solution to getting around Paris and visiting the main sights in one convenient package.

Paris Public Transport & Paris Visitor Attractions Passes/Bundles

Accor Hotels In Paris

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