Two passes are available.
They give you access to trains, the underground, and buses.
Imagine R pass – la carte Imagine R
To apply for this pass, you need to be less than 26 years old on September 1st of the academic year you are applying for. You subscribe for a year, but you can end it early. You will need your student card or your certificate of school enrolment (called certificat de scolarité) which you will get after your administrative registration.
Make sure you have:
- a copy of your student card or of your certificat de scolarité
- a formal picture of yourself
- your bank card
- a copy of your French bank information (RIB – relevé d’identité bancaire), although your IBAN may work (unless you decide to pay for the whole year at once)
For the year 2020-2021, the price is 350€ for a year, or 38€ a month (+8€ of administrative fees in either case, once).
Navigo pass – la carte Navigo
You will need the pass if you are 26 years old or older. You will use the forfait Navigo Mois, which is not a subscription but a payment you do at a machine once a month. You have different prices depending on which areas (zones) of Paris you are planning to go to (see map below) but it is generally between 65€ and 75€ per month (+ 7.60€ the first month for administrative fees). Your classes will take place in zone 1. Over the weekends, all zones are accessible.
Getting your Navigo pass online
First, you will need to get a Navigo pass, which you can do online: https://www.jegeremacartenavigo.fr/souscription/commande_de_carte/presentation You will need a formal picture of yourself. It will take about three weeks to receive it. Here is a link to a step by step guide in English.
Getting your pass at a station
If you need your pass immediately, you can try going with all the documents mentioned above to the Paris Est train station or Saint Lazare (St Lazare) train station and look for an agence (office/branch). Please note we cannot guarantee someone will be able to talk to you in English.
Once you have your Navigo pass
As written above, this is not a subscription. Every month, you will have to go to a machine in a station to pay (by card) for the upcoming month. It is convenient for you since you are staying in Paris for a few months only. Examples of the machines below.
To pay, bring your pass and your bank card. You can start paying for the following month when you reach the 20th of the current month. For example: I want to pay for September. I will be able to from August 20th onwards.
What is a ‘formal picture’?
Keep a neutral face and a blank background. You can go to a photomaton (automatic machine in big stations such as Paris Gare de Lyon or Gare Montparnasse) to get your photo taken (usually 5€), or go to a photographer and ask for identity pictures (photos d’identité) (more expensive).
Paris by bike
If you prefer using bikes, you have the rental service Vélib, available everywhere in the city. You can rent for a day or a week with a foreign bank card, but if you want a one-year pass you need a French bank account. Details here: https://www.velib-metropole.fr/en_GB
If you would like to find a cheap bike to buy, you can go on https://www.leboncoin.fr/ (French only) and search for one there: type « vélo » in « que recherchez-vous ? » and « Paris (toute la ville) » in « saisissez une ville et un rayon » and click on “valider”.