Travelling around French towns and cities

Public transport

Several French cities (Paris, of course, but also Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Lille, Nice, Rennes etc) have their own Métro or tram system, and every town around the country has a reasonably extensive bus network.

Information on the transport options available in major French cities can be obtained from the following operators:

  • Paris and the Ile-de-France region: RATP (Métro) & Transilien SNCF (suburban trains)
  • Lille: Transpole
  • Strasbourg: Compagnie des Transports Strasbourgeois (CTS)
  • Nantes: Transports en Commun de l'Agglomération Nantaise (TAN)
  • Rennes: Service de Transport en Commun Rennais (STAR)
  • Lyon: Transports en Commun Lyonnais (TCL)
  • Marseille: Régie des Transports de Marseille (RTM)
  • Bordeaux: Tram et Bus de la Communauté Urbaine de Bordeaux (TBC)
  • Toulouse: Transports en Commun de l'Agglomération Toulousaine (TISSEO)

Some of France’s larger cities also offer “city passes”, a type of travel passport providing special entry to cultural and historical sites, a range of services for tourists as well as additional public transport benefits.


Taxis are very popular in France, in particular in its major cities (as an example, there are close to 16 000 taxis operating in Paris).

These can be found at dedicated taxis ranks or can be hailed in the street 24 hours a day.

To work out whether a taxi is available or occupied, look at the illuminated white sign on the roof: if it’s red, the taxi is busy, if it is green it is available for hire.

If you are hailing a taxi from the street, the driver may not stop if the taxi:

  • is less than 50m from a rank where taxis are waiting to pick up passengers
  • is in a bus lane
  • has already been booked (the white light roof light is switched off)

You can also book a taxi by phone or via taxi company websites.

With regard to information on taxi fares in France, rates will depend on the place, distance in kilometres and number of passengers for each journey.

Cycling, Roller-skating and Segway®

Paris is a very user-friendly city when it comes to non-motorised modes of transport with special lanes reserved for cyclists and roller-skaters, including widened bus lanes (used by RATP network buses and taxis).

Vélib' and Vélos Bleus public bikes, and Autolib' and Autos Bleus electric cars: low-cost eco-friendly rental schemes

Our public transport networks are increasingly offering self-service public bike rental schemes, an eco-friendly transport option that has become hugely popular in the last few years and is available in over 40 towns and cities around France.

Electric vehicles have also appeared in a dozen or so cities, including Paris and Nice.

  • Vélib' and Autolib' schemes in Paris.
  • Vélos Bleus (from €1/day) and Autos Bleus in Nice.