Taking the metro or RER...

Escalators to metro & RER at Paris Gare du Nord

 

1. When your Eurostar arrives at the Gare du Nord, walk forwards off the end of the platform onto the main concourse and veer left, going down this escalator into the metro...

  Metro ticket counter at the Gare du Nord
 

2. Go to the staffed counter a short distancer from the bottom of the escalator, on the right.

 

Navigo Easy card

 

3. Buy a €2 Navigo Easy card from the staffed counter asking for it to be loaded with one or more €1.90 t+ metro tickets.  Once you have a Navigo Easy card, you can reload it using machines or the RATP app as explained here.

  Sign at the entrance to metro line M5 at Paris Gare du Nord
 

4. Follow the signs.  Metro lines have numbers, RER lines are lettered.

From the Gare du Nord, you want RER D for the Gare de Lyon, Metro 4 for the Gare d'Austerlitz & Metro 5 for Gare Montparnasse, see the recommended metro routes on this page.

  Paris metro train
 

5. The metro runs every 2-3 minutes and calls at all stations.  Metro line M5 links the Gare du Nord with the Gare d'Austerlitz, metro line M4 links it with the Gare Montparnasse.  Metro map.

  RER (express metro) train in Paris
 

6. The RER (express metro) runs every 5-10 minutes on its own tracks from its own platforms, and consists of suburban trains running in tunnels under Paris.  They are usually double-deck as shown here, and have far fewer stops than the ordinary metro, so they're faster.  RER lines are identified with a letter, A B C or D.  RER line D links the Gare du Nord with the Gare de Lyon in just 2 stops.  Metro & RER map

An easy guide to crossing Paris...

Eurostar & Thalys trains arrive at the Gare du Nord in Paris, 7 minutes' walk from the Gare de l'Est but a metro or taxi ride from the Gare de Lyon, Gare Montparnasse and other Paris stations.  Journeys from London, Brussels or Amsterdam to the south of France, Switzerland, Italy & Spain often involve changing trains and stations in Paris by metro or taxi.  It's easy enough, I've done it so many times, even if it's a little daunting for first-timers.  Here's a quick guide to changing trains & stations in Paris by metro, taxi or RER (R้seau Express R้gional = express metro).

small bullet point  Option 1, by metro/RER

    How to change stations in Paris by metro/RER

    How long to allow between trains

    How much is a metro/RER ticket?

    How to buy metro/RER tickets

    Metro routes from the Gare du Nord

    Metro routes to the Gare du Nord

    Video guide: Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon by RER

    Video guide: Walking from Gare du Nord to Gare de l'Est

    Metro, RER & bus route maps (please let me know if this link stops working)

small bullet point  Option 2, by taxi or private transfer

    How to change stations by taxi

    How to change stations using a private transfer

small bullet point  Other useful information...

    Left luggage lockers in Paris

    Lunch in Paris between trains?

Metro or taxi?

The metro (or RER express metro) is cheapest and quickest.  On the other hand, a taxi is a painless way to cross Paris with luggage & kids, although it costs more and actually takes a bit longer.  If I'm travelling alone, I simply hop on the metro/RER.  If I'm with my wife, kids & lots of luggage, or if it's a special occasion with my wife, I splurge on a taxi.  The extra cost can be a sound investment.

Metro or RER, what's the difference?

The RER or R้seau Express R้gional is a network of cross-Paris suburban trains running underground like the metro, but faster, with fewer stops, just slightly less frequently, say every 4-8 minutes rather than every 2-4 minutes.  Some RER routes use double-deck trains, including Paris Nord to Paris Gare de Lyon.  Metro & RER are fully-integrated, they both appear on the Paris metro map, the same 't+' central Paris metro ticket is good for either metro, RER or bus.  Some journeys are best done by metro, others by RER.  Because metro & RER are integrated and both run underground, in practice the word metro is often used to cover both classic metro and RER express metro.


How to cross Paris by metro/RER

How long should you allow

Crossing Paris by metro or RER physically takes 30-35 minutes in total from mainline concourse to mainline concourse.  My own best time by RER from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de Lyon is 27 minutes.  But the Eurostar might be a few minutes late and you'll need some time in hand, so here's the rule of thumb:

How much is a metro ticket?

How to buy metro/RER tickets...

Option 1, using traditional card tickets with a magnetic strip.

Option 2, using a Navigo Easy smartcard...

Finding the right metro/RER platform...


Metro routes from Paris Nord...

Gare du Nord ► Gare de l'Est

Paris Nord, facing Paris Est   Steps from Gare du Nord down to Gare de l'Est

Walk out of the Gare du Nord, turn immediately left.  Then keep walking 300m in this direction until you can't go any further.  See map of walking route.

 

If you can cope with descending these decorative pedestrian steps, this is the shortest, most-pedestrianised route from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de l'Est.  That's the Gare de l'Est side entrance at the bottom.

Alternative route, avoiding the steps:  If you can't cope with those steps, here's a level-access route taking 9 minutes & 700m.  Walk out of the Gare du Nord, cross the road and walk down the Boulevard de Denain straight ahead of you.  Turn left into the Boulevard de Magenta, then left again into the Rue du 8 Mai 1945.  See map of this alternative walking route.

Gare du Nord ► Gare de Lyon  See video guide

Gare du Nord ► Gare de Bercy

Gare du Nord ► Gare d'Austerlitz

Gare du Nord ► Gare Montparnasse

Gare du Nord ► Gare Saint Lazare

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Metro routes to Paris Nord...

Gare de l'Est ► Gare du Nord

Rue d'Alsace side exit from Gare de l'Est   Steps from Gare de l'Est to Gare du Nord

Walk off the end of the platform, turn right and walk out of this side exit, marked Sortie rue d'Alsace, see map of walking route.

 

If you can cope with these decorative pedestrian steps, this is the shortest, nicest, most-pedestrianised route from the Gare de l'Est to the Gare du Nord.

Alternative route avoiding the flight of steps:  If you can't cope with those steps, here's a level-access route taking 9 minutes & 700m.  Walk out of the Gare de 'Est and turn right down the Rue du 8 Mai 1945.  Turn right into the Boulevard de Magenta then right again into the Boulevard de Denain.  The Gare du Nord is now straight ahead of you.  See map of this alternative walking route.

Gare de Lyon ► Gare du Nord

Gare de Bercy ► Gare du Nord

Gare d'Austerlitz ► Gare du Nord

Gare Montparnasse ► Gare du Nord

Gare Saint Lazare ► Gare du Nord

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Video guide:  How to go from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de Lyon

If you still find crossing Paris daunting, this short video will show you exactly what it's like, where to go and what to do, step-by-step.  The whole journey takes as little as 25 minutes concourse-to-concourse, but always allow at least an hour between trains, preferably more.

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Video guide:  How to walk from the Gare du Nord to Gare de l'Est

It's a 7-minute 500m walk from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de l'Est, with just a short flight of steps at the end.  If you'd prefer a level-access route avoiding these steps, see the alternative route explained above.

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How to cross Paris by taxi

How much does it cost? 

How long does it take?

Taxi tips...

Paris Gare du Nord taxi rank

The well-organised taxi rank at Paris Nord, outside the west side exit from the station, near platform 2.  The station exit is out of shot to the right.  Staff help organise the queue.  Travelling with small children, they've even directed us to the front of the queue!

How to pre-book a taxi...

Wheelchair-accessible taxis...

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Private transfers

Private transfers in Paris, between stations or station & hotel...

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Lunch in Paris between trains?

Why not book an earlier Eurostar and have a meal between trains in Paris?  Breakfast in London, Lunch in Paris, Dinner in Nice, Milan, Barcelona, Geneva...  It also means that if (heaven forbid) there's a delay to your Eurostar, you'll still make your onward connection.  Here are three good places to eat between trains:

Big Ben Bar, Paris Gare de Lyon   Train Bleu restaurant

The wonderful Train Bleu restaurant (above right) & Big Ben bar (above left) at Paris Gare de Lyon, see the Train Bleu page.


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