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The Paris Metro
There is nothing like a World's Fair to get a a city to put its best foot forward. In 1900, for both the World's Fair and the summer Olympics, Paris opened its first metro line. The Metro quickly became a popular way to travel around Paris. It quickly begain serving millions of people within a year. Within 13 years there were 8 metro lines up and running. The Metro, which is run by RATP continued to expand during both world wars and beyond. There are now 16 Metro lines and serves over 4 million people each and every day.
As a tourist there are many options for Metro tickets. Paris's Metro is divided into different geographic zones and prices reflect this. Zones 1 through 3 encompass most of central Paris. If you want your ticket to include rides on the RER suburban train that goes to area airports you will need zones 1 through 5. Single ride tickets can be purchased at any of the hundreds of Metro stations throughout the city. Most stations have a booth operated by a person, as well as automated machines. For more riding options you may want to buy the T+ ticket booklet. This is a booklet of ten tickets that can be used on all transit within the city. Be sure to hold on to your ticket throughout the entire Metro journey because you may be stopped and ask to show your ticket. If you are caught without a ticket you will have to pay a fine.
Paris Visite Card
In order to have as much freedom as possible during your visit to Paris, you should consider buying the Paris Visite Card. You may purchase this card in advance online, therefore avoiding any confusing machines and lines. The Card allows for unlimited travel on Paris's public transportation system including the Metro. The Paris Visite Card can be purchased for 1, 2, 3, or 5 days. Children receive a reduced fair with this card. Along with unlimited Metro rides, the Paris Visite Card will get you discounts at some of Paris's most popular sights such as the Pantheon and the Arc de Triomphe. This way you can travel throughout the city without worrying about buying tickets.
Unlike New York City, the Paris Metro does not run all day everyday. The Metro stops running very late at night and starts up again early in the morning, but it is important to note that there are a few hours in which no trains will run. The Metro does run extra late night trains on Friday and Saturday nights, so you can go out and enjoy the nightlife, just be sure to note what time the last train is. If you miss the last Metro you can always take a Taxi, which run all night long. The Metro can be a very crowded place, particularly during rush hours as Parisian commuters are getting to and from work.
Some people may associate Paris with pickpockets and crime. While the crime may not be as prevalent as it is portrayed, it is important to exercise caution. When riding the Metro you should use common sense. Make sure that your purse is close to you and not easy for someone to grab. Some people like to put their valuables in a money pouch that they keep under their clothing. Most importantly, just be aware of your surroundings while traveling.