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15 Big Mistakes To Avoid on The Paris Metro

This article will show you the biggest mistakes to avoid on the Paris metro if you don’t want to get fined!

In previous article, I showed you exactly how to use the Paris metro.

And while it’s easy to navigate, several first time Paris visitors always end up making mistakes that some times even land them fines.

me holding the Navigo easy pass

So help you avoid those faux pas and not be “THAT TOURIST”, I’ve put together this article on the common mistakes to avoid while using the Paris Metro.

Mistakes to Avoid On The Paris Metro

And without further ado, let’s look at the biggest Paris metro mistakes you need to avoid!

1. Entering the train when people are moving out

The first mistake to avoid when using the Paris metro is entering the when people are still exiting.

It’s rude to force your way inside when others are getting off. Instead, wait on the sides, and when they’re done, you can board smoothly.

2. Trashing Your metro ticket before your final destination

One of the biggest mistakes you’ll make when using the Paris metro is trashing your ticket before you fully exit the metro station. If you get controlled and you don’t have it, you’ll get an expensive fine. 

I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard of people being fined because they didn’t have the ticket but swear they had it a few minutes before. 

Unfortunately, the controllers won’t listen to this because their job is to see if you have a validated ticket for that ride, and if you don’t, you get fined. 

And guess what, they get a commission every time they fine someone so it will be very hard to talk yourself out of this situation. 

T+ ticket for the Paris metro

3. Not Paying Attention to Your Stuff

Most of the pickpockets in Paris happen in the metro so it will be a mistake not to pay attention to your stuff. 

Reason number one being that it’s always crowded, and 2, because people tend to let their guard down, so it’s easy to find targets.

If you’re in a metro or anywhere really, don’t put your phone in the back pocket of your pants. Also, if someone tries to distract you, chances are high that someone else is trying to pickpocket you. 

So before you entertain any kind of distraction, make sure you know where your stuff is and that no one is getting too close to you. 

In the same way, be mindful when buying metro tickets at the vending machines not to show that you have a lot of cash on you as that can make you a target.

Also, ignore strangers who walk up to you to offer help. If you need any kind of assistance, go to the RATP counters in the metro stations.

However, don’t let this stop you from coming to Paris. The city is generally safe so long as you’re mindful of your surroundings, you’ll definitely be fine. 

4. Not Buying Tickets in Bulk

If you plan to spend several days in Paris, it is cheaper and more convenient to buy tickets in bulk than one every time you need to take the metro. 

To get the bundle of 10 T+ tickets known as a carnet, you’ll need to buy a Navigo Easy Pass for 2 € at the counters in metro stations and then load the tickets.

I explained how to buy this pass, use it, and reload it in this article so you can check it out afterward.

touch screen paris metro ticket machine

5. Buying The Wrong Ticket 

While still on the topic of tickets, make sure that you buy the correct ticket for your trip. If you’re going to Disneyland Paris or Versailles, don’t use the T+ ticket we’ve looked at above. 

Instead, buy specific tickets for each journey or a pass that covers that particular zone. I have an article that explains in detail the different types of tickets and passes plus the zones they work in so you can check it out.

6. Buying Tickets At Popular Metro Stops

If you can, don’t buy tickets at Metro stops near popular attractions. They are usually crowded which means wasting time in queues if you need to buy new tickets. 

Instead of buying tickets at Trocadero, Montparnasse, or even Chatelet stations, opt for less crowded stations, or better yet, buy them directly from your phone using the Bonjour RATP or IDF Mobilites apps.

Paris visite pass
Source: RATP

7. Not Signing Your Ticket or Pass

If you have a metro ticket or a pass that requires putting your name and signing in it, this could be the Paris Visite Pass or the Navigo Découverte, make sure you do it. 

Those kinds of tickets are only valid if signed so if you get controlled and they’re not, you could be fined.

8. Standing on The Left Side of the Escalator

Another mistake some tourists make is standing on the left side of the escalator.

The left side is meant for people who are in a hurry and prefer to walk up or down. If you’re not moving, always stay on the right.

9. Speaking too Loud 

The next mistake you’ll want to avoid is speaking too loud. Locals usually keep to themselves in the metro and maintain a low volume when talking amongst themselves.

If you don’t want to be “that tourist” or even get some weird looks, try to always keep your voice down. 

sortie sign in a metro station

10. Taking The Wrong Exit 

It might not be a big deal in smaller metro stations but in big ones like Chatelet or Republic, you can easily waste 15 minutes once you’re out of the metro if you took the wrong exit.

If you’re visiting famous places like the Louvre museum or the Eiffel Tower, this won’t be an issue as the exits are clearly marked but for other places, always check the best exit on apps like Bonjour RATP, City Mapper, Google Maps, or IDF Mobilites.

11. Putting your feet on the seats of the train

You may think that this doesn’t happen but believe me, I’ve seen it a couple of times!

It’s not only inconsiderate to put your dirty shoes on a seat someone else will use later, but you’ll also get fined if controllers find you. 

12. Sitting on the Fold-Up Seat When the Train Is Crowded

One thing that will get you angry looks is remaining seated on the fold-up seats when the metro is crowded. 

These seats are meant to create more room for people standing and remaining seated will mean that others have to squeeze themselves while you stay comfortably seated.

inside the metro

13. Leaning on the Pole of The Metro

Another common faux pas to avoid when riding the Paris Metro is leaning on the grab poles, especially during busy times. 

These poles are meant to be held onto by people not seated so leaning on them means leaving no space for others. 

14. Listening to Music Without Headphones

The next mistake some tourists make is listening to loud music without headphones. This is simply unfair and believe me, you’ll get angry stares from people.

Always use earphones whether you’re on a phone call, watching a movie, or listening to music. 

RATP counter in a metro station

15. Taking The Metro All the Time

Finally, you don’t always have to take the metro. Even though it’s the cheapest and fastest way to get around, sometimes walking just makes more sense, especially for short trips.

So always check your City Mapper app to see the walking time, which could be as quick as taking the metro. And you’ll save you money for that trip.

Plus, Paris is a very walkable city and you’ll discover lots of hidden gems by simply walking. Just remember to carry comfortable walking shoes. 

Final Thought on the Mistakes to Avoid on the Paris Metro

And that’s it guys! I hope you found this article helpful. If you did, please share it with your friends so that they don’t make these Paris metro mistakes.

Check out these posts to help you plan your trip to Paris

Was this post on things not to do on a metro in Paris helpful? Then please consider sharing it with others.

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