How to Buy Paris Metro Mobilis Card

Paris offers a lot of sighseeings, from the bronze coloured (official color name is brownish gray) Eiffel Tower, to magnificent Notre Dame Catedral, to the only Disneyland in Europe.

For tourists, the best and convenient way to explore Paris is by underground train, called as Metro and complemented by RER suburban train. 16 Metro lines, together with 5 lines of RER cover almost all part of Paris.

Paris Metro Map

You can download Paris Metro and RER map in PDF format. But for latest and official map and fare, you should consult Paris RATP website.

There are some options in paying this Metro RER fare. The common for tourists is to buy carnette (also known as T+ ticket). It is a small card (domino card size) with magnetic strip on the back. Valid for one journey in inner Paris zone 1, costs EUR 1.60 if you buy it single or a pack of 10 carnette for EUR 11.60 (EUR 5.80 for children). For moderate sighseeing in a day, we may only need 4-5 carnettes so a pack of 10 carnettes should be enough if you only have 2 days in Paris.

1 day Metro Pass, 2-3-5 day pass are also available and sold in the name of Paris Visite. This kind of travel pass is a highly published by Paris Tourism so for many people they only know this kind of pass.

Zones 1 day
adult pass
2 day 3 day 5 day
1-3 8.80 14.40 19.60 28.30
1-6 18.50 28.30 39.70 48.40

I can only say that Paris Visite is a bit expensive, although it has benefits and discounts (which we may not take advantage of).

For real saving, I suggest you to have Paris Mobilis Card. This card offers you unlimited travel in a day using Metro, RER, and Bus in a cheap way.
mobilis card
Mobilis Card size is exactly same with carnette, different is you have to write down your first name, last name, and date in the card face. Although it will never be revealed to train staff, better you follow the rule.

You can compare Mobilis with Paris Visite card, and in the end I bet that Mobilis fare beats it. For example, for traveling in central Paris alone in a day we only need to buy 5.90 Euro for Mobilis Card instead of 8.80 Euro for Paris Visite Card. Central Paris is huge and cover most of Paris tourist destinations, so who wants to go to zone 3?

Mobilis
Euros
zones 1 – 2 5,90
zones 1 – 3 7,90
zones 1 – 4 9,80
zones 1 – 5 13,20
zones 1 – 6 16,70

The other example is if you plan to visit Paris Disneyland (in zone 5). If you purely want to spend a day in Disneyland, better buy 2 carnette of zone 1-5 that costs 2 x EUR 6.55 (fare as of 1 July 2009). But if you plan to visit other places during that day, Mobilis card zone 1-5 will be the cheapest option (only EUR 13.20 for unlimited travel).

Where to buy Mobilis Card

The easies way to buy Mobilis is to queue at Metro or RER staff counter. Just ask staff on duty that you want to buy Mobilis Card (also specify which zone). But most of the time these counters have long queue and you don’t have the patience. Find an automatic ticket machine (green coloured) with sign “billetteries” inside any metro stations.

image from knol.com

You can use euro coins or credit card to buy t+ ticket or Mobilis card in these machines. The main screen is in French but you can change it to English or other languages by following these steps:
image from ParisByTrain

  1. Find available ticket machine
  2. below the screen you’ll find a roller (work just like a mouse scroll in computer)
  3. roll to menu “Acheter des tickets”, then press green button
  4. next screen will offer you to change language to English
  5. after language changed, now it is easier. There are 3 options: buy a single ticket, buy a carnette of 10 tickets, and buy the other tickets (such as ticket to Disneyland, and of course Mobilis card).
  6. Choose 3rd options: Billet ile-de-france, autres coupons
  7. Now choose Mobilis, then select which zone to cover (1 to 6 zones).
  8. Final step is to choose payment method, either coins or credit card (not all credit card works in this machine, you need to try to know. But credit card with chip is mandatory).
  9. After validating, your card will be available to pick at bottom of machine.

(more detail steps can be read from ParisbyTrain).

How to validate Mobilis Card

Before initial use, you need to write down your name and date of travel on card face. Then work just like t+ tickets, you need to validate Mobilis Card each time you enter and exit barrier gate in metro/RER stations. Save this card during your journey because it valid for the whole day.

  • Hieu

    Hello,

    We are going to visit Paris next weekend. Your sharing about different kinds of travel card is so so helpful. Can you please tell me what the difference of Mobilis card and carnette.

    Also we find some infor about card called Navigo Découverte.

    As we will be there on Sunday and back late at Tue night, would very appreciate if you can share more experience on which card to be used. Thanks much in advance. Cheers, P.Hieu

    • Alist

      @Hieu, Mobilis card works like a pass, you can have unlimited travel within a day in specified zone, while carnette is just a one-way ticket. If you plan to visit many places in a day, consider using Mobilis card.

      Navigo is like London’s Oyster card, we can store and top-up amount in the card. But for 2-3 days, I prefer Mobilis to Navigo, but you have to buy several Mobilis cards to cover your whole stay. It will be validated and activated on first use.

      Cheers.

  • George

    Hello

    Thanks for a great post. Our hotel concierge recommended the Mobilis card. We are a family of 2 adults and 2 children (9 and 7).
    I think we can do 2 days of central Paris and the rest of the time we’ll relax at the hotel here.

    We are staying in Bailly-Romainvilliers (no, not Disney – we escaped from there and moved to the much nicer Marriott Ile de France) and I think it is Zone 5 but not sure.

    Basically we are Australians suffering from a very different climate we are used to – the weather here is freezing, so we have limited sightseeing options. My plan was to do Eiffel Tower, Place de la Concorde, Arc de Triomphe, Montmartre, Versailles Palace, Louvre and find some hot Patisseries for food. We may have time for some more museums etc if the kids don’t get too bored.

    We intend to buy 2 x adult mobilis cards at the Marne La Vallee RER station early tomorrow morning and go into Paris. The problem is, I’m not sure what options there are for the children. Is there a children’s mobilis card?

    As for the museums, we were going to buy 2 x museum passes for myself and my wife, as I believe children get in free to most museums. The problem is tomorrow is Monday and the web says many of them are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. I don’t think that Versailles, Louvre and Arc de Triomphe should be closed on both days?

    Are we doing the right thing buying mobilis cards + museum passes for what we want? We looked at Paris Visite card but the discounts on there were not really very substantial and many attractions we didn’t want to see.

    Thanks again
    George

    • Alist

      @George, Children from 4-10 years old should also have their own tickets for metro. The fare is reduced 50%. You can also buy the ticket on machine, by choosing “Demi Tarif or Tarif Réduit” in the same menu you find Mobilis.

      Louvre and Arc De Triomphe open every day, and versailles .. it is a bit and might consume half your day. The palace is close every monday, but garden is open everyday. Just plan carefully of your museum visits, and compare if it is cheaper than buying entrance fee on every single museum.

      Cheers!

  • AmigoJack

    Hi :)

    I plan to buy a Mobilis ticket for zones 1-2 for one day, which will cover all of my planned visits. However – what should I do best with la Grande Arche? It’s in Zone 3 which I’m even allowed to travel to with my Mobilis (as I understood). But when I’m done there and return to the city (zones 1-2) I have to buy one single ticket, which should be slightly cheaper than initially buying a Mobilis for zones 1-3, right? Or are there any other options?

    Thx so far!

    • http://javamilk.com Alist

      @AmigoJack, Yes it will be cheaper to buy single ticket to zone 3 (even if you want to try, ask for single trip for zone 2 to zone 3), in addition to Mobilis 1-2 zones.

  • Tanya

    Your note is the most useful I ever found. I’coming to Paris for just 1 day (unfortunately) and Mobilis is the most suitable as I’m going to live in Zone 2 and visit just Zone 1.
    I’ve read Mobilis is available on MAJOR stations. So is it possible to fail my buying it on my station in Zone 2?

    • Alist

      As I know, most of the metro stations have automatic ticket machine, this includes zone 2 stations. What you should prepare is enough coins to purchase this Mobilis card.

      I think you would arrive in Paris by train (in Gare du Nord/Bercy) or plane (CDG Airport), in which also have staffed ticket counters. Cheers!

  • Ting

    Hi, Alist

    Thank you for your information. I m planning to visit Paris from 3rd June to 7th June. I will arrive Gare Du Nord and live in Zone 3, a place called Meudon. I did few research and found there is a special one-day Zone 1-3 pass for those aged under 26, valid ONLY on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays available and costs just €3.20. Do you have any idea how to purchase that and can I buy them in advance during weekday?

    In addition, I am planning a day trip to Disneyland from Meudon. Please advise me the cheapest way to do that.

    Many thanks
    Ting

  • Jacklyn

    Hi Alist,
    After days of scouting websites, my efforts have been rewarded by finding your post. This is the most helpful piece of information. I don’t want to buy the Visite card, as I know from experience that the likelihood of using multiple transport is very low in a walking city where all attractions are concentrated within the city centre. Thank you for your advice. I will opt for the Mobilis card. Did you say there is half price discount for children under 12?
    J

  • madeline

    Can I purchase a Mobilis Card at the CDG airport. I read somewhere that we can’t get to airport using this type of card, but can we use it to get into Paris from the airport.

  • Red

    Hi,

    Thanks for sharing your valuable experience!
    I just have an additional question about the valid duration of the mobile card: How is the 1-day valid duration counted? Is it counted as a 24-hour duration from the activated time OR as a working day of the transportation system?

    Thanks again!
    Red

    • Alist

      Hi, the system work for one day until end of network operations. So it ends around 12am-1am

  • Lindsay Chant

    Hi,
    I have just returned from a day trip to Paris, where I was advised by the person on the ticket booth at Gare du Nord to go for the mobilis ticket instead of the visite. However, when I attempted to travel from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe, the ticket was rejected, and I was forced into having to buy the Visite. Since I am returning to Paris next Month for a longer break, I would prefer to use the Mobilis but am now wary as I would not like to have that experience repeated. Do you know of any reason that the ticket would suddenly become invalid?

  • Sanjay

    I am 3 days in Paris & planned -

    1st day Paris
    2nd day Disney & Paris
    3rd day Versailles & Paris

    which card should i use & for which zones, where can i get the cards

    • Alist

      @Sanjay, you can queue once at ticket counter to buy Mobilis Card for these 3 day itinerary
      - buy 3 pcs mobilis card,
      one with zone 1-2 (for day 1, now EUR 6.10),
      second for zone 1-5 (disney+paris, EUR 13.65)
      third for zone 1-4 (versailles+paris, EUR 10.15)

      this is cheaper if you compare to Paris Visite Card, (1xZone 1-3 Eur 9, 2xZone 1-6 Eur 28.90)

      consult this page for tariff : http://www.ratp.info/informer/mobilis.php

  • Hana

    Hi,

    i will be in Paris for about 1 1/2 day before leaving for Amsterdam.
    i intend to go sight seeing Paris City on the 1st day and to spend 1/2 day in Versailles the next day. What ticket do u recommend for me to use? Can i use the RER train with these tickets?

    thank you.

    • Alist

      @Hana, Yes sure, Mobilis works in Metro as well as RER as long as it covers your travel zones.

      Versailles needs Mobilis zone 1-4 (Eur 10.15), while city sightseeing would only require Mobilis zone 1-2

  • Steve

    I will be travelling in to Paris for a day’s sightseeing soon, but I am staying on the outskirts of the city in Zone 5. All the attractions I want to see are either in Zones 1 or 2.

    I was planning just to buy a Mobilis Zone 1-5 ticket, but wondered if it would be cheaper to just buy a normal ticket between Zone 5 and Zone 1 (can you get a return or will this be two singles?) and then buy the Mobilis Zones 1-2 once I get into the city itself.

  • Nisa

    Hi,

    i’m planning to go to Paris with my family (2 adults, 2 kids age 2.5 yrs)shld be there ard 19 Dec 2010 to 25 Dec 2010..

    Need a comfortable and cheap hotel to stay .preferably with breakfast..any hotel recommendation near the city (eg:- eiffel tower) or can you advise where shld i stay since i’m bringing my twins.

    For the attraction and places of interests (disneyland, eiffel tower,river cruise, cheap shopping and etc), can you recommend what shld i cover and what tickets i shld buy to go ard and going to the places of interest.. Shld i buy the entrance tickets over the counter or there is a cheaper way i can the tickets.

    i really hope you can advise me and me some tips and this is my first time and am looking forward to go there.. you can email the deatils..

    thank you

    regards,

    nisa

    • Alist

      @Nisa, So many hotels in Paris to choose, but looking for cheap stay you can consider staying at hostels (browse hostelbookers.com). For 2 stars, Ibis is your best bet as the hotels spread in the city with rate around 60-80 Euro exclude breakfast.

      I recommend choosing hotel near station than near Eiffel, as you may not have any view if blocked by city buildings.

      For travel itinerary in Paris, please read my post : http://javamilk.com/my-europe-travel-guide/exploring-paris/

  • Harris

    Hi ,

    I am planing to go to paris , with my friend, on 20th dec till 23 dec. we will be arriving paris by 20th evening around 6:30 pm. i wnat to cover almost all the important places in paris except disney land. also wanted to got o versilles palace one day. we are staying in a hotel near to station Blanche. i am plannign to see places that are walkable from my hotel on 20th evening. and on 21 planning to see the places with in the city and on 22nd like to go to versilles palace.
    can you please tell me the best places to visit in paris in winter? and mode of travel for each day. plz help in planning the trip. both of us are 25 years old and so will have free entry in most of the places i think. please suggest. we will be returing back from paris on 23rd after noon.
    kindly help.. :)Thank you.

  • Norma Murphy

    I will be in Paris from 8th April to 11th. There will be two adults and children aged 11 and 15 years. Was wondering how much it would cost if I were to use a Mobils pass for zone 1-3 (three day pass )and a seperate one for Versailles (zone 4) for 1 day. Would you be able to tell me the best option?

    Thanking you
    Norma & family

    • http://Javamilk.com Alist

      @Norma Murphy, For the day you visit Versailes, there are option for ticket entrace plus train. If you want to buy separate, better buy another mobilis to cover to zone 3. From any zone 3 station, you could get out of ticket gate and purchase return ticket to Versailles. A bit hassle but may be a saver.

  • J.Westwood

    I am planning a visit to Paris for 3 days, Is it best to buy a Paris Visite? As i am flying into CDG and staying in Boulogne Billiancourt ( zone 5). Also with the discounts, are they included for the usual attractions?

  • ERICK

    Hi there!

    I will go to Paris next week for 4 nights and I will be staying at a hotel within Zone 5 (close to Torcy, RER A) and travelling each day to Disney only (also Zone 5).
    Is there any train tickets to travel within zone 5 only without need to buy tickets for zone 1-5?

    Thanks.

  • Ali

    Hi,

    I am planning to visit Paris with my family and friends from 8 to 11 August. We are a group of 5 adults and 2 children (totally 7). We will arrive to CDG airport at 8p.m. on 8th and following is our plan to visit Paris:
    8th Aug: Just moving to our hotel (near Issy val de seine station RERC)
    9th Aug: Visiting Paris attractions
    10th Aug: Disneyland
    11th Aug: Visiting Versay and other Paris attractions
    12th Aug: moving to gare de l’Est early in the morning to take our train to Germany
    would you please suggest me what is the best option for our transportation in Paris?

    • http://Javamilk.com Alist

      @Ali,
      - for the first day – better buy single journey ticket straight from CDG to your hotel
      - 9 Aug – if you don’t visit more than 3 different places in central Paris, also consider buying single journey tickets. (as you are 7 persons, buy 2-3 packs of carnette will be enough).
      - 10-11 Aug – buy ticket to Disneyland from vending machine or counter

      Please refer to this new website for ticketing options :
      http://www.transilien.com/web/site/accueil/guide-du-voyageur/billets-tarifs/billets-abonnements/lang/en