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67thAve

Paris - Transit advice?

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So there's a decent chance that I'll be going to Paris in June 2018 for about 7-8 days. I plan to try to not just cover parts of Paris, but also explore the Ile-De-France as a whole. If anyone is familiar with the Paris public transit network (Metro/Tram/RER/Bus/Transillien), I have a few questions:

1) Are buses and trains air-conditioned?

2) Are there certain lines/stations that should be avoided for safety reasons?

3) Are there certain lines/stations (except the most famous ones, such as Gare du Nord - no one can miss those!) that are worth a journey without exception?

4) Are paper maps/schedules obtainable?

5) How crowded are rush hours?

 

Those are the most pressing questions I have in my mind right now. If anyone has answers, that would be great!

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As to question 5 crowding is a huge issue in Paris. Most metro lines run at 2 minute headways during rush hour and Lines 13 and 14 are among the most frequent subway lines on earth. The former sees 36 TPH during rush hour and the latter sees 38. The RER A is the most utilized commuter rail service outside of Japan with trains on that line (well set of lines listed under one route) carrying over 1 million per weekday and double decker trains run on 2 minute headways when all route patterns are combined. Bus routes tend to carry similar numbers to NYC so on the busiest ones you'll see overcrowding. The kind of headways you'll see in Paris would not be run if the services aren't being packed to the rafters so prepare for crowding. However, off-peak frequencies are also great on many routes and because of that crowding can be easily avoided if you're trying just to visit major attractions.

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