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I purchased a Navigo Découverte for 5 EUR (for the card) and 22.80 EUR for a week's worth of travel on Z1-5. Apparently, tho, this card requires a photo for it to be legally usable but none-the-less the card was sold to me.

My questions are:

  1. How can I get a photo for this card? In the US I'd go to Walgreens or a CVS and get a passport photo taken. Is that the same size of photo that I'd need for the Navigo Découverte? And if so then where would I go in Paris to get one? Walgreens / CVS's in the US are basically pharmacies - would a pharmacy in Paris be able to do passport photos as well?

  2. How would anyone know whether or not it had a photo ID anyway? I imagine it's supposed to work like the London Oyster card wherein you just tap it against the smart card reader on the "turnstyle"

  3. The Navigo Découverte comes in a plastic holder, which makes it several times thicker than a credit card / debit card. idk why it comes in this plastic holder but, none-the-less, it is unclear to me how to pull the Navigo Découverte out of the plastic holder or how I might put a passport photo into it.

  4. The Navigo Découverte that I got looks different than the one depicted on http://www.navigo.fr/faq-passe-navigo-decouverte/. I mean, I guess it looks similar to the one on the right with the caveat that it doesn't have a micro chip. The one on the left also has "Ile de France mobilities" in the dark blue section whereas mine does not. Maybe the one depicted on the website is a newer one that'd take up less space in my wallet?

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    I've noticed automated photo booths in large train stations in Paris - I think they are the usual solution for your #1. Nov 11, 2019 at 7:14
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    I had a navigo during a trip to Paris a few years ago, but the holder was like the one here, so removing the card was very simple. What does your holder look like?
    – Chris H
    Nov 11, 2019 at 7:16
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    Maybe you should post a photo of the card / holder that you got. Nov 11, 2019 at 7:16
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    As to #2, I assume Paris, like other transit systems, has random spot checks by human ticket inspectors. Nov 11, 2019 at 7:18
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    Bear in mind that unless it changed lately, the Navigo Decouverte is composed of two separate cards with matching numbers that must be kept together: the rfid card, and a paper card where you write your name and affix the photo. The plastic thingy helps with keeping them together.
    – justt
    Nov 22, 2019 at 1:16

1 Answer 1

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How can I get a photo for this card?

Train stations and some large metro stations will usually have a Photomaton machine (more details on this page). Google Maps lists a number of locations that have them. Go into the machine, pay 6€, and take your photo. It will print (the machine I used gave me two photos), you can cut (or rip, if you don't mind jagged edges) out the photo and attach it to your card.

Between the card fee, the photo fee, and the calendar week validity of the weekly pass, this makes the Navigo Découverte a not particularly economic choice for many visitors, but it will depend on your travel plans. And you've already bought the pass, so it probably makes sense to get the photo and use it at this point.

How would anyone know whether or not it had a photo ID anyway?

In normal operation, you just tap the card on the turnstyle, but an inspector could stop you and ask to see the photo. Various people on the internet say there's a 35€ penalty if you're caught with a photo-less pass.

it is unclear to me how to pull the Navigo Découverte out of the plastic holder or how I might put a passport photo into it.

If your holder like the one I have, the inner parts side out of the open side of the plastic holder. Mine has two parts inside the holder: the actual smartcard, and a "carte nominative transport" paper card. The paper card has an adhesive strip where you paste the photo, and a box to write your name. Both parts slide into the holder together, and they share a number, so they can't be swapped around.

The Navigo Découverte that I got looks different than the one depicted

It sounds to me like perhaps you're describing one of the two parts inside the holder, and the other part should have the microchip on it. But if that's not matching what you have, Nate Eldredge's suggestion of posting a picture here is a good one.

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  • It can be cost effective if you travel from CDG and back, as that is already over 20 euros. With the cost of the paper ticket having shot up earlier this month, the break even point is quite low.
    – jcaron
    Nov 12, 2019 at 2:08
  • @jcaron That's a good point. My understanding is that the paper tickets and carnets are being phased out, and the new Navigo Easy card is cheaper and doesn't require a photo, but doesn't permit Navigo week passes. The week pass can easily make sense with airport trips, especially if you do a round-trip to Versailles or something, though the Monday-Sunday validity is a limitation if your trip crosses the boundary (Paris Visite might make more sense in such cases, maybe). I've always found Paris's transit prices baffling anyway; a all zones day pass costs almost as much as a weekly one. Nov 12, 2019 at 2:49
  • @ZachLipton The price of all-zone commuter passes (weekly/monthly/yearly) was capped to a value only slightly larger than the old two-zone price in order to make them cheaper for residents of the suburbs who are already disadvantaged by long travel times and to encourage them not to drive on the crowded roads. Day passes don't benefit from this cap. Regarding inspections, I can confirm that they do happen, and you will get a fine if your pass doesn't have your photo on it. Nov 12, 2019 at 18:31

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