Riding the Paris metro with kids is truly one of the easiest and fastest ways to get around the city to hit all of the sights you want to see. Paris is a very walkable city, so you could opt to walk most places, but with kids in tow you may want to save those little legs for the attraction and not the journey.
For city dwellers that are used to riding the subway, the Paris metro is easy to navigate like a pro after a few hours. Study the map, figure out where you want to go and just dive in. Even a novice rider shouldn’t feel intimidated. It really is much easier to figure out than the crazy colored and numbered map would lead you to believe.
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Grab a 10 pack of kid tickets (reduce fare) for under €10. You can also get a 10 pack of adult tickets for about €14. If you know you will be taking the metro quite a bit definitely grab a 10 pack for yourself. If you will be riding the metro multiple times per day, consider a day or week pass. Price it out first though. Single tickets may be more economical.
Most stations have many steps, few or no elevators, and some have several train lines that stop at the station. Keep an eye out for your train number. Also look at what direction the train will be going. There is normally a list of stations the train will stop at on the top of the steps. Make sure your station stop is on that list before you head to the platform.
Wait times, no matter the time of day (nights may be different) are virtually nonexistent for most train lines. If you just missed a train, don’t worry. Another one will be along in less than 5 minutes. Look up at the sign that tells you when the next train, and even the train after it, will arrive at the station.
Many times you will have to change trains in order to get to your destination. Don’t be afraid to change trains to make your trip shorter and more enjoyable. More often than not you will find yourself only using two or three train lines to navigate the city.
Do not bring your massive stroller. The lighter the stroller the better whenever it comes to a subway system. Most stations have a lot of stairs and it is easier to tuck your cheap umbrella stroller under your arm and carry a kid than it is to search around for an elevator, which you may never find. If you can ditch the stroller at your hotel and just carry the baby in a baby carrier you will move around much easier. That being said, carrying your baby all day can hurt your back, so don’t be afraid to bring your stroller. You can make it work, especially outside of rush hour times.
Parisians are very good about getting seats for kids and moms holding babies. Don’t be afraid to ask for a little help. Always say “merci” if someone gives up their seat for you too.
Paris Destination Guide
- Hotel Du Printemps: Gorgeous boutique hotel with free Wi-Fi, paid private parking, and a bar/lounge.
- B Montmartre Hotel: Close to the famous Moulin Rouge, this hotel features laundry service, airport transportation and free Wi-Fi.
- Novotel Paris Les Halles: Four star hotel in the center of Paris. This hotel features a children’s playground, nightclub (with DJ!), walking tours, and free Wi-Fi.
- Cozy Studio: Sleeps 2 guests in 1 bedroom + 1 bath.
- Luxury Apartment in Heart of Paris: 2 guests in 1 bedroom + 1 bath.
- Center of Paris Apartment: Sleeps 4 in 1 bedroom + 1 bath.
Paris Metro images via Flickr Dustin Gaffke and zoetnet
Eiffel Tower image by Keryn Means
7 thoughts on “Quick guide to riding the Paris Metro with Kids”
That’s a comprehensive guide. I’d just comment on 2 things: your picture shows a “RER” (train that goes far outside Paris, this is not a metro / rules about tickets / directions / waiting times are different that the “inner” Paris metro) (ok this stays a detail for your article, does not change the good tips it contains).
To my customers with stroller I rather recommend to avoid the metro but rather take the bus when in Paris : yes, understanding bus map and time table is slightly more complicated than the metro one but buses are much easier to take with a stroller (still this is a good tip to use a lightweight stroller in Paris – leave the bulky one home ;-)) You can have a look to Paris when driving from one point to another one that is a nice way to see the city as well. Moreover buses mostly drive in specific lanes, so are usually quicker than cars…
Thanks Camille! I realized the photos are of the RER. I thought I’d taken a few shots in the metro but can’t find them. Trying to find some stock photos to replace. We did take the bus a few times and it was so packed we couldn’t bring the stroller on. We had to fold it up just like on the subway. The metro was easier for us to figure out as well. Next time we will have to give the buses a bit more of a chance. I just always figure buses get hit with traffic, while the metro doesn’t. I’m all about getting from point A to point B with these little guys right now 🙂
Very true on the train. I have changed out the photo (Eek! I grabbed the wrong photo in my jet lag state! Thanks for the catch!) We used the bus and the metro and found both similar with a light stroller. They each have their challenges, but thankfully got us around town quickly.
Umbrella stroller is definitely a good idea – that’s what we did when we were in Paris in 2010. We recently travelled on the MRT in Singapore and got separated from our daughter (who is now seven) and my Dad who was travelling with us at the time. As they were together I knew everything would be ok, but it highlighted that I hadn’t spoken to my daughter about what to do if we did get separated, I hadn’t pointed out who the people were who worked at the stations and what to do. We had a big talk about that afterwards. Hopefully we will never need to put that plan into action, but I feel better knowing that she has a strategy should we get separated.
Thank goodness she was with your dad! Glad you now have a plan in place. Reminds me– I have to have the talk with my youngest now that he is 5!
A word of warning..children are only children up to the age of 10 on the Paris metro!! That means only those nine and under can use child’s tickets. We got caught out with this on our recent trip to Paris. My 12 and 10 year olds were fined for using a child’s ticket. It’s in very small print at the ticket office but I certainly didn’t see it and the person selling me the tickets did see them!! The metro police appear to be targeting tourist families, we were checked in tourist hotspots.
Thanks for the tip! This is very, VERY helpful!!!