When you are sure you want to use a bus in Paris, France, you can buy a ticket in advance, they use the same tickets as the Metro.
As I will only be in Paris for this one cross city connection and not likely to return in quite a while and I prefer to walk the distance, I would like to avoid buying that ticket as I expect not to need it.

But if you are in Paris and caught by unexpected rain, can you hop on a bus and pay with cash or cards (credit, debit or contactless)?

(This will also be helpful to know if you still hold an old ticket which turns out not to work after entering the bus, and I have a bad record with metro tickets in the metro.)

  • 1
    It seems possible to buy a ticket and load a ticket directly on Android phone with NFC (haven't tried it myself, only used the feature to load tickets on a Navigo pass using an iPhone so I won't submit it as an answer).
    – Relaxed
    Oct 26, 2022 at 10:02

2 Answers 2


Parisian local here

Since the start of the COVID pandemic you can't buy tickets from the driver anymore (all have their separation shield out and ticket sales are not possible even though that's still a theoretical possibility as mentioned by Willeke).

Nor can you use contact-less card (this will be supported eventually but only on the RoissyBus and OrlyBus specific airport lines, the authority is not keen on implementing that and prefers a confusing system)

If you have a French phone plan, you may use the facility of buying tickets by SMS

If you have a NFC-capable Android phone (this will not work on an iPhone), since a few weeks, you can buy and store tickets with the official IDF Mobilités app, note that you an also load day, week and months passes to it.

You validate then by tapping your phone on the Navigo purple or blue pads, here is the ones for buses and trams :


Source : By Greenski - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

In case you're running empty on your card, you can also reload a physical Navigo Easy (or Navigo Découverte) with tickets (for the Easy only) and passes, using the aforementioned app

If you have an iPhone and can't avail from the SMS facility, you can't get on that bus.

  • Thanks I will hope for nice weather. Do you know if you can buy a single ticket from a machine in a metro station and use that for a bus? (There are several metro lines crossing my route even when walking over the streets is faster than going underground in this case.)
    – Willeke
    Oct 26, 2022 at 11:11
  • 2
    @Willeke Even though you can't buy a carnet (10 cardboard tickets for cheaper than 10 singles) anymore (you need a Navigo Easy), they still exists and are the same for the whole network, you can for sure buy a single ticket at a ticket machine and get on a bus Oct 26, 2022 at 11:15

Recent experience, travelling from Paris Orly airport to Four Peary. The bus didn't had any option to pay cash. You have to take a ticket from a ticketing machine, or use a way to purchase online, or to use the mobile phone SMS (I think it will work only for French postpaid connections).

So, unfortunately, you may need to purchase a ticket before entering.

  • That wouldn't be a RATP bus though, correct? I think buying a ticket on board with cash is still possible for regular RATP busses within Paris (not necessarily OrlyBus or RoissyBus).
    – Relaxed
    Oct 26, 2022 at 10:04
  • @Relaxed Not sure. It was bus 182 from Orly Terminal 4. I stayed in orly area only. Oct 26, 2022 at 10:08
  • 183 maybe? This is a RATP bus so my comment was wrong, it should be the same than busses within Paris.
    – Relaxed
    Oct 26, 2022 at 10:28
  • Yes. It was bus 183, 12 stops from Orly terminal 4. Oct 26, 2022 at 10:40

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