As an international visitor navigating Paris, learning how to pay bus fares in the local system can be confusing. With multiple ticket options and payment methods, it’s important to understand how and where to purchase tickets.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer:
Purchase single journey or booklets of bus tickets at metro stations, newsstands, or on board the bus with coins. Or use a contactless credit card or Navigo travel card to validate on buses.
This comprehensive guide will outline all your bus ticket and payment options in Paris, including prices, where to purchase, validating tickets and passes, and using manual vs electronic methods.
Bus Ticket Options in Paris
If you’re just planning to take a few bus rides during your stay in Paris, single tickets are a convenient option.
These tickets can be purchased directly from the bus driver and are valid for a single journey on any bus within the city.
The cost of a single ticket is €2.50, and it allows you to transfer between different bus lines within 90 minutes of your initial validation.
It’s important to have the exact change ready when purchasing a ticket from the driver, as they may not have change for larger bills.
Booklets of 10 tickets (carnets)
If you’re planning to use the bus more frequently, purchasing a booklet of 10 tickets, known as a “carnet,” can save you both time and money.
These booklets can be purchased at ticket counters in metro stations or from authorized retailers.
Each ticket in the booklet costs €1.49, providing a significant discount compared to single tickets.
The booklet is easy to carry around, and you can use the tickets whenever you need them without worrying about expiration dates.
It’s a great option for those who want to explore different parts of the city using the bus network.
All-day bus passes
If you’re planning to use the bus extensively throughout the day, an all-day bus pass might be the most cost-effective option for you.
With this pass, you can enjoy unlimited travel on buses within the city for the entire day.
These passes can be purchased at ticket counters in metro stations or from authorized retailers.
It’s worth noting that bus tickets and passes in Paris are also valid for travel on the metro and tramway networks, providing you with even more flexibility in getting around the city.
Additionally, if you’re planning to use public transportation extensively during your stay, it might be worth considering the Paris Visite Pass, which offers unlimited travel on buses, metro, and tramways for a specified number of days.
Where to Purchase Bus Tickets
Ticket machines at metro stations
If you’re looking to purchase bus tickets in Paris, one convenient option is to use the ticket machines located at metro stations.
These machines are easy to use and accept both cash and card payments. Simply follow the instructions on the screen to select your ticket type and quantity.
The machines offer a variety of options, including single tickets, day passes, and multi-day passes, allowing you to choose the option that best suits your needs.
Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the French language – the machines have an option to display the instructions in English.
Newsstands and tobacco shops
Another popular option for purchasing bus tickets in Paris is to visit one of the many newsstands and tobacco shops scattered throughout the city.
These shops often have a sign displaying “Tickets” or “Billets” on their storefront.
Inside, you’ll find a selection of different ticket types, including single tickets, carnets (books of 10 tickets), and day passes.
The advantage of purchasing from these shops is that they are usually open for longer hours, allowing you to buy tickets even outside of regular business hours.
On board the bus (coins only)
If you find yourself without a ticket and need to board a bus in a hurry, you can purchase a ticket directly from the driver.
However, it’s important to note that on-board ticket purchases are limited to cash only and must be made with coins.
The driver will not be able to provide change, so be sure to have the exact fare ready.
This option is best used as a last resort, as it can cause delays and inconvenience both you and other passengers.
Validating Paper and Electronic Tickets
When using the bus system in Paris, it’s important to know how to properly validate your tickets. This ensures that your ticket is valid and prevents any penalties or fines.
There are different methods for validating both paper and electronic tickets.
Validating single or carnet tickets on board
If you have purchased a single ticket or a carnet (a pack of 10 single tickets), you will need to validate them on board the bus.
Look for the yellow ticket validators located near the doors.
Simply insert your ticket into the validator, and it will be stamped with the date and time.
Make sure to keep your ticket with you until the end of your journey, as ticket inspectors may check for validation.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to validate each ticket individually if you are traveling with a group or using multiple tickets. Each ticket needs to be validated separately.
Tapping Navigo and contactless cards on bus validators
If you are using an electronic ticket such as a Navigo card or a contactless card, the validation process is slightly different.
Instead of inserting your ticket into a validator, you simply need to tap your card on the yellow validator.
The validator will emit a beep sound to indicate that your ticket has been validated.
Pro Tip: Make sure to tap your card on the validator near the driver’s cabin, as this is where the contactless card readers are located.
It’s important to remember to tap your card each time you board a bus to ensure your ticket is valid.
Choosing Your Payment Method
When it comes to paying for the bus in Paris, there are several payment methods that you can choose from.
Whether you prefer to use cash, a chip and PIN card, a contactless credit card, or a Navigo transit card, there is an option that will suit your needs.
If you prefer to pay with cash, you can do so on most buses in Paris. Simply board the bus and let the driver know that you would like to pay with cash.
It’s important to note that the driver may not have change for large bills, so it’s best to have smaller denominations on hand.
Additionally, keep in mind that cash payments are not accepted on some express buses or during certain times of the day.
Chip and PIN Cards
Another popular payment method for the bus in Paris is using a chip and PIN card.
Many buses are equipped with card readers that allow you to insert your card and enter your PIN to complete the payment.
This method is convenient and widely accepted throughout the city.
Just make sure that your card is enabled for international use and has a chip for compatibility with the card readers.
Contactless Credit Cards
If you have a contactless credit card, you can simply tap it on the card reader when boarding the bus to make your payment.
Contactless payments are quick and easy, and they are becoming increasingly popular in Paris.
This method eliminates the need to carry cash or worry about having the correct change. Just ensure that your card is contactless-enabled, and you’re good to go!
Navigo Transit Cards
The Navigo transit card is a smart card that allows you to load it with credit and use it for multiple trips on buses, trains, and other public transportation in Paris.
This card offers convenience and cost savings, especially if you plan on using public transportation frequently during your stay.
You can easily top up your Navigo card at metro stations or online, and it can be used on buses by simply tapping it on the card reader.
With a variety of ticket and payment options for buses in Paris, it’s good to understand the bus fare system before your trip.
Knowing where to find tickets, how to validate them, and the best methods for payment will ensure smooth travels around the city.
Follow this guide to choose the right tickets and payment types to board buses affordably and easily during your time in Paris.