From Christine H. in Darwin, Australia: “On October 23, I am travelling to Paris from London on the Eurostar arriving at Gare du Nord. I have been researching but I cannot seem to find anything definitive about the best options to engage a taxi to get to my accommodation. I am staying in the Latin Quarter. Is it worth arranging a private hire? If so where would you meet the driver? Is there an arrivals area similar to an airport?”
In all my years of traveling around Paris, I’ve set foot in taxis exactly twice. There’s just no need. Taxis in Paris are expensive and slow; traffic can be awful, especially when trying to cross town in the afternoon like you are doing.
That said, taxis prowl all of Paris’ train stations. Technically, you should queue up at the taxi stand — at Gare du Nord, it’s right by the Eurostar arrivals. Head to the concourse at the front of the train, then take the exit on the right where you’ll see the line of taxis. You can’t miss it.
You will have to wait. Probably for a long time. While waiting, you will be approached by unregulated taxi drivers who hover like vultures tempting unsuspecting arrivals with promises of cheap transport and no waiting. They may be legit, but I recommend getting a proper taxi from the stand, no matter how long the line.
And, yes, you can definitely arrange an Uber, bypassing the taxi line and vultures.
But there’s a much better way… How do I and millions of Parisians get around the city every day?
Just kidding. I ride the Metro. The famous, the incomparable, the steady old Paris Metro.
Paris’ subway is easy to use, and Gare du Nord has ample Metro access. To reach the Latin Quarter, the best option is Line 4 (purple). It goes from Gare du Nord (after a short walk through the pedestrian underpass) to Saint-Michel, Odeon and Saint Germain des Pres. Of course, if your hotel is closer to another stop, work your way backwards from that stop to Gare du Nord. You’ll probably need to make at least one connection.
Tips for the Paris Metro
- Buy tickets from automated machines. They all offer English.
- Don’t accept help from touts who linger by these machines. They will try scamming you. You don’t need their help.
- Buy one ticket per ride, no matter how many connections or how long it takes.
- For one journey within the city center, you want a “T+” ticket for Zones 1-3. These cost just €2.10. Discounted 10-ticket packs, known as “carnets,” are available from these same machines for €19.10.
- Paris is slowly phasing out paper tickets for a reloadable, reusable travel card, à la London’s Oyster Card. However, single-journey paper tickets should still be issued through 2025.
- Hold onto your ticket for the entire trip. Ticket-checkers are exceedingly rare, but do exist. (Or so I’m told.) You may also need to scan your used ticket at the exit turnstile. Technically, you should keep your used ticket until you’re free and clear of the Metro station.
The Paris Metro, at first, can seem overwhelming. There are just so many lines and stops! I find this cool new “flat map” makes understanding the system so much easier: https://metromap.fr/en.