Paris metro is an imperative component of the life-line public transport network in France. As one of the world’s grand subway system, Metro takes pride in some the most striking and distinctive metro stations of the world. It is used by most of people who travel across the country.
Operated by RATP, the Parisian Metro has 14 lines that intersect the city in all directions, making it convenient for travellers to reach their destinations swiftly. So, if you are just arriving in Paris or about to depart from the city, the Paris Metro is an expedient means of transport, even if you are carrying baggage.
The Paris metro operated by RATP has more than 300 stations all over the city. It will not take much effort to find one near the place where you want to go. These stations are discernible by different kinds of signs like M, Metropolitan and Metro that are generally found above the entrance of the metro stations.
Plans du Quartiers and Route Maps
Route maps can be found in every station. These pictorial maps are very detailed enabling you to understand precisely where you will be standing after emerging from a particular exit stairway. The Plans du Quartiers are found near the exit of the stations. They provide a map of the buildings and streets that surround each Métro station.
Riding the Metro
By the Paris Metro, you can easily traverse the city in quick time using either a single line or a combination of lines. For most part of the journeys, you may have to change lines at least once. Nevertheless, this is not an obstacle as trains arrive and depart from the station at frequent intervals of 3 minutes.
However, walking between the lines with luggage can take longer durations especially in a few large stations like Chatelet. The subway station of Chatelet is considered as the largest of its kind in entire Europe.
Guidelines for Riding with Luggage
Step 1 Check the Handicap-accessibility
Every metro station has a wheelchair accessibility map that is located outside the entrance. So before heading down the staircase, you can check the map to find out which station has elevator or escalator.
If you take a look at the metro map, you will find different stations marked with symbols of a wheelchair. Not all stations are handicap-accessible in France. In other words, all metro stations do not have escalators or moving stairways and elevators or lifts. In some metro stations you need to descend or ascend a flight of stairs with your bag and baggage. Perhaps, you must choose metro stations with elevators and escalators if the amount of your luggage is huge.
Step 2 Purchase Tickets Using the Ticket Machine
You can buy tickets in the metro station either from the person in the booth or from the automated ticket machines. In case you use the machines, you need to select your language from the menu. After selecting your destination you can pay for the ticket.
Step 3 Check the Turnstiles
In case of heavy luggage, you can opt for a wide turnstile in the station. A broad and spacious turnstile can give way for baggage. After placing your ticket, you can walk through the opened gates with your luggage. Do not forget to collect the ticket when it pops up on the other side of the gate.
Step 4 Line up on the Platform
You can wait on the platform for the subway trains. On arrival of the train, you can reach up to the knob on the train door, pushing it down. The doors in the subway trains of Paris Metro do not open automatically like those found in other subway trains in other countries.
Step 5 Board the Subway Train
After entering the subway train, you can place your luggage away from the entrance but a bit close to the door so that you can depart easily whenever you reach your station. Try to find an area on the floor where there is sufficient space to pile your belongings.
If you are sitting, ensure that your bags are either securely placed between your legs or kept right in front of you. In case you are standing, you can hold on to the bag throughout the journey. This is necessary to avoid theft of bags in metro stations.
Below mentioned are a few tips that are beneficial for riding the metro with luggage.
Avoid Rush Hours
Generally, the trains run from 5:30 in the morning to past midnight, completing their last runs after 01:00 am. They are much more crowded in the early morning hours when people are going for work and in the late afternoon hours when they return from work after 5 p.m.
Travelling with luggage during such rush hours can be difficult for any traveller. Though there are no restrictions in place related to carrying luggage, yet it is better to avoid riding with large baggage during rush hours.
Do not Haste
If you are carrying heavy luggage, do not hurry to board the subway train. It is better to let other passengers to enter the subway train first in order to avoid being knocked and bumped out of the way.
Enter the Extra Spacious Carriages
You can board the train car that is marked with a bicycle logo. The symbol reveals that the carriage has extra space for luggage and bikes. Such special carriages are also called luggage cars. Most of the subway trains in Paris Metro have only one or two special luggage cars.
However, if you are carrying a small piece of luggage that can fit between your legs, then you may board any segment of the train.
Travelling in a Parisian Metro is regarded safe and sound by most of the passengers. Yet, a few safety points must be kept in mind while using the public transport.
- Take off your back packs and carry them in front of you;
- Use travel locks to lock up your bags. Keep the keys handy;
- Keep your wallets, passports and personal documents in a pocket where you can feel them;
- In case you keep your wallet or cell phone inside an inner jacket pocket, be certain that your jacket is buttoned up;
- Avoid walking around brandishing valuable items like PDA, mobile phone and iPod. Keep your wallet and other expensive items like watches and pendants to yourself;
- In case you set your bag down on the floor, do not take off your hands from it. You can hold your bags, purses or luggage right in front of you even while passing through automatic door exits or turn-style exits.
Do not Panic
In any circumstances, you should not be scared while travelling in a subway train. It is necessary to be alert and vigilant of your surroundings.
If you feel uncomfortable, you can simply get off and wait for the next train. Prevention is better than cure. You can follow the safety guidelines and travel across the city even if you are carrying heavy luggage. Enjoy safe riding the metro in France!