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According to google maps, the fastest way to transfer from Paris Nord to Paris Austerlitz is by catching metro 5 and ride for fourteen stops. It's a direct line that leaves every 4 minutes and only takes 15 minutes. As I've seen other pages recommending two metros and reserving at least an hour to travel this distance I would live to verify that this is correct.

Also If any Parisians could confirm recommend maybe any common mistakes not to make or any stations to stop off (I've got two hours to kill) then I would love to you hear from you.

(used the site search engine, no results).

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    The ratp website is much better than google for Paris public transport. ratp.fr/en/itineraires/… says 25 minutes on a sunday afternoon train station to train station. Once in Gare d'Austerlitz, if you have free time, a walk to the Jardin des Plantes might be a good idea. – audionuma Aug 2 at 15:13
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    The RATP website is notorious (or was, I haven’t checked recently) for recommending taking the bus, boasting short trip times and high frequencies which are very often far from reality, so make sure you ignore such suggestions or take them with a big pinch of salt. – jcaron Aug 2 at 15:36
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    The Man in Seat 61 seat61.com/Paris-metro.htm confirms Metro line 5 as you mention. You may also be interested in his page on Gare d'Austerlitz seat61.com/stations/paris-austerlitz.htm – mdewey Aug 2 at 15:37
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    If you have some spare time and a train to catch it is IMO better to go straight to the departure point, find a time-filler nearby, and not risk mis-judging it. – Weather Vane Aug 2 at 17:47
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    As you can read, getting from one station to another is quite easy in Paris. BUT getting a ticket is really random! If you arrive at the train station during rush hours, or the last 3 days of a month (when Parisian renew their tickets) you can queue for 40minutes easily. Tip is to buy your ticket inside your train (at the « Wagon Bar ») this could save you time to queue. – Begoodpy Aug 3 at 7:44
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The best place to look for information about public transportation in Paris is the local transport authority.

Metro line 5 takes you from Gare du Nord to Austerlitz. It's the fastest public transport option (unless the line isn't running normally). It's the most convenient (no change, not much walking) as long as you're ok with a few flights or stairs. The stairs will be mostly down because the metro is underground at Gare du Nord and overground at Austerlitz. The metro takes about 15 min, plus the time getting to and from the platform. The metro is well signposted, take line 5, and where you get a choice of direction there'll be a list of stations so pick the direction that includes Gare d'Austerlitz (the final stop is Place d'Italie).

The only case I'd take two metros for this trip is if there's some disruption on line 5. In this case you'd have to improvise or ask for advice based on what's happening.

If you can't handle stairs, take the bus. Line 91 starts from Gare du Nord (so you won't even risk taking it in the wrong direction) and goes past Austerlitz (after going past Gare de Lyon and before reaching its other end at Montparnasse). The stop for line 91 is to the left when you exit the train. In the bus, stops are normally indicated both vocally and on an electronic sign, but in case they aren't working (it happens), Austerlitz is easy to identify: it's the first stop after crossing the river. The bus stops right opposite the street from the station. The bus takes about 30min, plus waiting time and getting from and to the stop, plus traffic (which shouldn't be too bad on this route except for the first few and first last hundred meters).

Either option costs one metro/bus ticket (“ticket t+”). Buy them from a machine (or maybe Gare du Nord still has a manned option, I'm not sure about that). I think you can pay with coins, banknotes (only at major stations and tourist spots) and debit/credit cards. If you're going to be back in Paris, it's cheaper to buy 10 tickets at the same time. They come separately so you can share a batch of 10 and spread them around. They have no set expiration date (I presume that eventually paper tickets will be retired in favor of electronic tickets, but this is still in the distant future).

Both Gare du Nord and Austerlitz have plenty of eating options. If you aren't going to eat on the way or in a restaurant, the Austerlitz area has much nicer spots: the Jardin des plantes has benches under trees (no promises about them not being occupied), or you can take a short walk along the Seine.

While the pandemic protection measures are ongoing, masks are mandatory inside all public transport, including buses, trains, and stations. As a consequence, eating and drinking is forbidden.

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    (+1) Don't know if we should fully believe that but apparently paper tickets are slated to be phased out in 2021. – Relaxed Aug 2 at 20:52
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    Nitpick: RATP is not the local transport authority (IDF-Mobilités, formerly known as STIF, is) but a transport operator (the one operating the metro, bus lines inside Paris, most tram lines, and part of the RER network). SNCF is the other main operator, and there are more in the suburbs. – jcaron Aug 2 at 21:11
  • @jcaron Well, if you want to nitpick, the law allowing privatisation has been passed but privatisation hasn't started yet, so it's still both the operator an the authority (subject to governance by IDFM). – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Aug 2 at 23:13

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