I am planning to visit Paris in mid June with my parents and fiance. I wanted to know how are the metro stations in Paris. I head from someone that they are mostly underground and that there are not many equipped with escalators. And that one has to walk up and down the stair to reach the metro platform.
Please let me know if this is the case as this may be a big consideration for me to plan my travel in Paris. I may take a hop-on-hop-off tour instead of going for the public transport. Also please let me know how far are the major tourist destinations from the metro stations.
From what i remember the Metro in Paris is just brilliant. There are metro stations about every 500m and it is so easy once you get the hang of it. They are however mostly underground and the level is dictated by the line. I remember escalators though but maybe someone else can tell you for sure on that one. We were there for about 5 days and got a Carte Orange pass that allowed us to travel non-stop on the metro for a week.
Hope this helps
The Metro stations are everywhere in Paris--there's one right near every tourist attraction imaginable. The trains are frequent and pretty reliable and run quite late. That said, I remember some stations having escalators or even an elevator (Cité has an elevator--that's near Notre Dame), and others with lots of staircases connecting different lines or leading outside. here doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason to it--just depends on how deep the Metro station is and how they chose to build it, I suppose.
The Metro really is the best, most efficient way to get around.
This article might help, as it tells you what stations are fully accessible. Not surprisingly, line 14 is the only one with full coverage with elevators. They do say that "Roughly two-thirds of Paris metro stations have escalators," though I must admit that I think that could be over-estimating the number. Despite the stairs, though, Paris underground stations are not very deep underground, so it's usually only one or two flights down to the tracks, unlike the seemingly endless depths that one has to travel down in many of the deep lines in London.
Central Paris is small, and covered by a spider's web of metro lines (including the RER). My impression was that you were never more than a 10 minute walk from a metro station, often multiple stations on different lines, actually. Every major tourist attraction is accessible by Metro, even some of the out of Paris attractions are easy to get to by train. Check out this interactive map. It shows most of the major attractions, and you can zoom in to see the nearest metro stations. Unfortunately they don't show the lines, but you can figure out the lines from the Metro map from RATP. Also, if you use the RATP interactive map, you can get a small map of the local area around the metro stations, which also lists major tourist attractions.
I used to be a fan of the Carte Orange, but then I crunched the numbers and it turned out cheaper to just get tickets, or on a heavy travel day a Mobilis for daily unlimited travel. The Carte Orange is only good for a weekly period (Monday - Sunday), and to make it worthwhile you need to be travelling more than 14 metro trips during that time across 3 different days.
The Metro in Paris is just incredibly good and efficient. Get off at "Trocadero" and walk up the steps. One of the greatest views from any subway station - anywhere in the world.
I am asumming that stair ar a problem as someone in your party may not be able to manage them.
First, the bad news: Paris doesn't exactly have a stellar record where accessibility is concerned. Wheelchair-intolerant cobblestone streets; out-of-order or nonexistent metro elevators; cafe bathrooms in basements accessible only by narrow spiral staircases-- you name it. For visitors with disabilities or limited mobilility, Paris can seem like an obstacle course.
The good news? A series of recent measures has made it considerably easier for visitors with limited mobility or disabilities to get around. There's still a long way to go, but the city is continually improving its track record.
On the whole, the Paris metro offers poor accessibility to limited-mobility and disabled travelers. For the time being, only Metro line 14 is fully-equipped with elevators and ramps, with selected stations on other lines providing adequate accessibility. Roughly two-thirds of Paris metro stations have escalators.
Thanks to major efforts to create or renew existing surface transport networks, Paris buses and tramways are far more accessible to passengers with limited mobility and sight or hearing disabilities. http://goparis.about.com/od/gettingaround/f/Paris_accesible.htm
I was there recently. If the station is big, they have escalators and elevators. If its small or not as popular, its stairs. But if youre going to all the attractions, then you will have no problems. If there is stairs and chances it wont affect, you, its about 2 levels of stairs-45 steps). Dont worry, and its cheaper too!
[ Edit: Edited on 14-May-2009, at 11:37 by way2goeh ]