To Navigo or No-vigo?


This question comes up quite frequently in the au pair community… is it worth it to buy a Navigo pass?

A Navigo Pass is the the transit card for all modes of public transportation within Paris. It is valid on the bus, metro, RER, and tram, pretty much everything you need to travel throughout the city. Some host families pay for your Navigo Pass, in which case, lucky you! However, if you are like me and conflicted about whether or not it is worth it to spend your limited au pair funds on a Navigo Pass, read on…

Paris, like most big cities, has a vast and relatively reliable public transportation system. It is made up of the metro, bus, RER, tram and even some trains, and can get you pretty much anywhere at anytime within Paris and the surrounding areas. When deciding whether a Navigo Pass is right for you, you should first consider your other transit pass options:

Basic Ticket €1,90

One-way fare valid on any form of public transit. You can also buy various bundles of tickets for a slight discount, but this gives you a rough idea of pricing.

Navigo Pass Monthly Pass: €75,00 | Annual Pass: €827,00 

The Navigo Pass looks like a credit card, and you scan it to get on any form of public transit. The card itself is about €8,00 after which you are able to load/reload money via the ticketing machines at metro and train stations. You can choose the duration of the pass as well as the zones it is valid in. I highly recommend extending your pass for all zones to enable airport travel if you plan on taking trips while living in France. More information can be found here.

Imagine R Card €342,00 annually

The Imagine R card is a real blessing for any student residing in Paris under the age of 26. It gives you the same benefits as a Navigo Annual Pass (valid in all zones) for a fraction of the cost. Even though I am only in Paris for 10 months, the card still ended up saving me a lot of money. You must order it online and it will arrive in about 2-3 weeks. You can find more information on the Imagine R card here.

Be advised that the Imagine R cards can only start on the first of September-January, so be careful before ordering!

My Opinion: I think getting any form of metro card is definitely worth it. If you take the metro more than 3 times a week, the card will end up paying for itself, and you won’t have to worry about buying or keeping track of individual metro tickets. It will encourage you to explore more of Paris, as new arrondissements, cafes, and parks become so much more accessible.

I know when I first moved to Paris, I romanticized walking everywhere during my 10 month stay. Nice, long strolls along the Seine, baguette in hand…. but then came winter, bad weather, or days where I was simply running late and needed to be across town in 20 minutes. While I will always love strolling the streets of Paris, the perks of public transit soon become apparent. If I have yet to convince you of getting a transit card, here are a few added perks:

Airport Travel: Getting to the airport can be a costly journey. A taxi is about €50, and while public transportation is much more affordable, it still adds up if you plan on taking several trips during your stay abroad. There are various public transportation options to get to either airport (RER, bus, tram), but all of them average around €15 one-way. So if you plan on taking about 1-2 trips a month while you are in Paris, on top of regular transit, the Navigo Pass will definitely be a worth while investment.

Weekend Day Trips: The Navigo Pass is also eligible on a variety of local trains that travel to several fun (and free) day trip destinations. Some include: Versailles, Fontainebleau and Provins, which provide a calm escape from Paris for a day. Check out this link for more Navigo-Pass friendly destinations

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