Cities Transportation

Paris Public Transport + Passe Navigo

This article is about the Passe Navigo in Paris, click here for Marseille and Lyon

The RATP was created on 1 January 1949 by combining the assets of the Compagnie du Chemin de Fer Métropolitain de Paris (CMP), which operated the Paris Métro, and the Société des Transports en Commun de la Région Parisienne (STCRP), which operated the city’s bus system.

By the time the STCRP was merged into the RATP, all of its streetcars had been replaced by bus routes.

RATP’s services in the Greater Paris area include 16 metro lines, 5 RER lines, 11 tramway lines, 351 bus lines2 BRT lines, and one Orlyval connecting the airport to the RER B, and last but not least, the Montmartre funicular which helps you avoid climbing 270 steps to the top of the hill.

What is the Passe Navigo?

The Passe Navigo is a contactless smart card which gives access to the Parisian public transport. 

How do I get a Passe Navigo? 

The good thing is that there is a website in English making it a bit easier to navigate. You have three options to choose from:

  1. Single Tickets
  2. Daily Tickets
  3. Travel Cards and Passes

If you’re moving here permanently and will be using the metro/bus/RER regularly, the Navigo Annual is the way to go, if you don’t want to commit to an annual subscription you can choose Navigo Monthly which costs the same. There are more options, check them out here.

The Navigo covers all of the Île-de-France. You can use it to get to the Marais, but you can also use it to go to Versailles or Disneyland. It includes all metros, RERs, buses, you can even turn your Navigo card into a key for the Velib’ bikes. It’s a mighty tool, and as of January 2022 even includes free entry and reductions on Paris museums, cinemas and events, to quote from their page: 

147 cinemas await you, as well as major museums such as the Quai Branly, Orsay, the Centre Pompidou, the Jeu de Paume and the Centquatre. Theatres and concert halls will welcome your applause: the Opéra Comique, the Théâtre Jean Vilar, the Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers, the Bouffes du Nord or the Théâtre du Châtelet… Festivals and cultural fairs have also joined the list of partners: Peacock Society, Rock en Seine, We Love Green, Mama Festival, Salon du Livre Jeunesse… Finally, cultural and heritage sites open their doors to you for an exciting visit: the Institut du Monde Arabe, the Château de Maisons, the Opéra Garnier, France Miniature, the Ballon de Paris, the Basilique de Saint-Denis, the Maison de la culture du Japon, the Cité de la Musique…” Find out more here.

Note: By law, your employer has to pay 50% of your public transport costs. This usually is automatically reimbursed in your paycheck.

How much does a Passe Navigo cost?

Navigo Annual costs €84,10 per month (half of which is reimbursed by your employer) and to get it you need to register online or in person, but online is easier. You can pay with a single payment at the beginning of the year or by automatic monthly bank transfer with no time limit. It can be modified, suspended or terminated at any time without charge.

Where can I buy a Passe Navigo?

Click here and select “Navigo Annual Ticket”. Here is where the website switches to French, but we got you 😉

  1. Click on this link, scroll to the bottom and click “Continuer”
  2. Create a login with your email address and a password
  3. Before confirming you have the choice to select between “J’ai un passe Navigo ou je finance le passe Navigo d’une tierce personne” meaning you already have a Navigo and are buying an additional one, or “Je n’ai pas de passe Navigo” which means you do not have a Navigo yet. Choose the appropriate option and continue?
  4. Choose your plan, click “continuer”
  5. Add your personal information
  6. Choose how you want to get your Navigo, you have the option “Recevoir à l’adresse ci-dessus” meaning they will post it to the address you have given, this takes less than 10 days after your application is validated or “Retirer dans un point de vente” meaning you can pick it up at a station, this takes less than 72h after your application is validated.
  7. Upload a picture of yourself: your face, no hats, in colour, no larger than 10MB and in the format JPEG, GIF or PNG. If you have a webcam you can take the picture directly on the page.
  8. Now it’s time to pay – add your BIC and IBAN for monthly payments or pay the whole ride in one go with a card payment.
  9. Last thing to do is to sign electronically, and then your application is sent for validation and in around a week you should have your Navigo!
Cities Transportation

Lyon Public Transport + Carte Técély

(Scroll to the bottom for step-by-step instructions on how to buy your card)

The Lyon public transport is the second largest in France after Paris. It covers 62 communes, including all 57 communes of the Urban Community of Lyon, spread over 606 km2. Having a pass will give you access to the 4 metro lines, 2 funiculars, 8 tramway lines, and likewise 126 bus lines.. It will not give you access to the Rhônexpress tram.

TCL has a website in English making it a bit easier to navigate. You have many options to choose from:

  1. Hourly tickets
  2. Daily tickets
  3. Neighbourhood tickets
  4. Group tickets
  5. Lyon City Card (for tourists)
  6. Weekly tickets
  7. Travel Cards and Passes (“Carte Técély”)

If you’re moving here permanently and will be using the public transport regularly, you need a Carte Técély. 

What is the Carte Técely? 

The Técély card is the main pass for all TCL networks, season tickets and books of 10 tickets (Full Fare, Under 26 and Large Family). It is a personal, nominative card that allows you to load tickets for the TCL network and to validate journeys. If you lose yours or it’s stolen, head to one of the TCL branches as they can recover all unused tickets or your season ticket. They can equally transfer it to a new card. A Carte Técély is valid for 5 years.

Who is it for?

For everyone who uses the TCL network (metro, tram, bus, funicular, park-and-ride facilities) occasionally and regularly.

How much does a Carte Técély cost?

The card costs €5.

You can buy it 3 different ways:

  1. On the online agency You will receive your Técély card by post with the transport ticket of your choice (scroll down and we’ll guide you in English)
  2. With the Click and Collect service you can order a card online here and collect it from the TCL Bellecour branch from Monday to Friday.
  3. In one of the 5 TCL branches

Note: By law, your employer has to pay 50% of your public transport costs. This usually is automatically reimbursed in your paycheck.

Documents to provide :

  1. Identity document (passport or ID card)
  2. 5 € for the creation or renewal of your Técély card
  3. Recent photo of the face, framed on the face, bare head and on a plain and clear background. It is possible to have your photo taken in the agency.
  4. Other supporting documents may be required depending on the ticket you wish to purchase: go to the tickets and fares page to consult all the descriptions of the tickets.

How do I get a Carte Técély? 

As in most French cities, having access to the monthly or annual subscriptions is only available on the French website, but we got you covered!

First – find your subscription

  1. Click here and select the subscription you want (Mois / Année is the monthly / annual one)
  2. Select your age
  3. Choose your profile. Most Urban Index users are either “Tout Public” (normal person) or “Étudiants de 26 ou 27 ans” (students between 26 – 27 years old)
  4. Scroll down to “Abonnements” and select the card and how you want to pay (monthly automatic payment “unlimited” or manual monthly payments

Second – buy your card

  1. Click here and select “J’achète une carte Técély”
  2. “Ajouter” your card (the only option on this page)
  3. Fill in the information, click next
  4. Upload the front and back of your identity document, then upload a photo of your face
  5. One this is confirmed, the last steps are to add your address where you wish to receive your card, and payment details – you’re good to go! If you have any issues, you can head to one of the 5 branches and get your card in person immediately.
Cities Transportation

Marseille Public Transport + Pass Permanent

(Scroll to the bottom for step-by-step instructions on how to buy your card)

The Marseille Metro is a rapid transit system, comprising two metro lines, partly underground, serving 31 stations, with an overall route length of 22.7 km. Two stations, Saint-Charles and Castellane, each provide interchange between lines. RTM covers not only a metro and bus system, but also ferry boats, bikes, parking, ride-sharing, tramway lines, and scooters (click here for transportation apps) which are all accessible with the Pass Permanent. 

RTM does not have a website in English, making it a bit trickier to navigate. We will display some options here based on the notion that you are settling in Marseille, if you are a tourist we advise you to visit the website of the Marseille tourist information!

The Marseille transport card is called Pass Permanent, and you can find the right one to use on their website. Click here and on the left of the page, first enter your age and then your status.

  • Étudiant / Apprenti / Stagiaire / Service civique = Student / Apprentice / Trainee / Civic Service
  • Demandeur d’emploi = Jobseeker
  • Pour tous (autres) = Everyone else
Select the subscription you need

What is the Marseille Metro Card?

It’s called Pass Permanent and is the main pass for all RTM networks and season tickets. It is a personal, nominative card that allows you to load tickets for the RTM network and to validate journeys.

There are several options for the Pass Permanent that cover different modes of transport. Double-check before selecting your subscription! Luckily they use symbols for their offers, so you don’t need to translate any French words.

How do I get a Pass Permanent? 

As in most French cities, having access to the monthly or annual subscriptions is only available on the French website, but we got you covered!

First – buy your card

  1. Go to a point of sale and buy your card there – if you don’t want to get your subscription online, don’t forget your ID card and a picture of your face 
  2. You can buy your card at any of the following locations:
    1. Métro : Castellane / St Charles* / Vieux-Port / Noailles : Monday through Sunday, 6h50 to 19h40
    2. Métro : Gèze / La Rose / Ste Marguerite :  Monday through Saturday (closed on Sunday), 6h50 to 19h40
    3. Bourse (6 rue des Fabres, 13001) : Monday through Friday (closed on weekends), 8h30 to 18h

Second – buy your subscription online (if you haven’t yet during the purchase of your card)

  1. Register
  2. Click here and on the left of the page, first enter your age and then your status.
  3. Select the coverage you need and click through to the next page
  4. Click “acheter”
  5. Upload a picture of your identity card and a picture of your face
  6. Select the start date for your Pass Permanent
  7. Register the number of your card 
  8. Complete transaction – you should be good to go now!

Tip: It’s easier to do it in person than online, so if you have the chance, move this to the top of your list when moving to Marseille.

Essential Transportation Traveling in France

Navigational Apps

With this article we will try to shed some light onto the very dense world of navigation across France. It feels that every week there is a new method of transport available, which is then taken up by three different startups, and then a week later, has completely disappeared. Worry not, with the below we should have you covered!

What is the best app for


Google Maps 

The one-stop shop. You can use it to walk, bike, drive, even most public transport is integrated into Google Maps. 

The Trainline

While France is mainly represented by SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer) there are other options such as Deutsche Bahn who collaborate frequently with the SNCF, the Thalys that goes to Belgium and the Netherlands, or the Eurostar that is expanding rapidly. The Trainline gathers all rail options in one place, not only showing you all options in France, but even across all of Europe. It’s easy to navigate and you can compare ease and pricing. 


A must-have for drivers. Owned by Google it pretty much does everything for you except for driving. Calculating the fastest routes by avoiding traffic, giving you a heads up if there is police in the area or even allowing you to collect little prizes along the way, I haven’t yet met a French driver who does not use it. 


Fantastic for urban transport, not only does it cover public transport but also has all of the private companies represented such as Uber, Bird, Kaptn, etc (more below). It has the real-time departures as well as “rain safe” options or changes without steps for easier mobility – we highly recommend this one. For the pandemic they even added a feature to find the nearest Covid test station. 

In France, Citymapper covers Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Lille, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, and Nantes. More to come!

Private Transport Apps 

Disclaimer: most of these are startups and are growing quickly, please check each individually to see if it’s available in your city and/or if the company still operates, these tend to “eat” each other up. Jump for example was bought by Uber, and has now been bought by Lime. 



Trottinettes (Kick Scooters)