I took the Paris Metro today, and the gates were open at my entry station, with the ticket validator not accepting tickets. I walked through the gate with my ticket, and assumed that that would be sufficient explanation if I were to be challenged by a ticket inspector, but the net result is that I essentially had a free ride as my ticket remains valid for future use. Was this the correct procedure for the gates being open on the Metro, or was there something I should have done instead?

  • Was it today or yesterday (Monday)?
    – Vince
    Mar 25, 2015 at 23:43
  • The FAQ page has no English version :/ Mar 25, 2015 at 23:44
  • @Vince It was today, i.e. Wednesday, so I don't believe that Metro trips were meant to be free, especially since I took two other trips on the Metro today and both of those required a ticket.
    – waiwai933
    Mar 25, 2015 at 23:52
  • 5
    Maybe they just forgot to turn them back on since Monday, especially if it was a small station. (In case you are not aware, public transportation in Paris was free Monday, as is usual when air pollution reaches a certain level.) In any case, if the gates are open and not taking your ticket, there's not much else you can do.
    – fkraiem
    Mar 26, 2015 at 0:50

1 Answer 1


RATP Says: Broken Machines and Open Gates Are Not an Excuse

According to the RATP user guide (in PDF), crossing the validation points without a validated ticket or pass is an offence sanctioned by an administrative fine (Procès Verbal in French is the notice you get from the transport authority stating the offense). Moreover, a broken/malfunctioning validating machine or ticket/pass are not a valid justification if you get caught. Indeed carrying an unvalidated ticket or pass is considered equivalent to traveling without one, according to RATP regulations. Should you encounter any such problems you are obliged to either try a different machine or get in touch with a member of staff.

Quoting from the aforementioned user guide:

La validation des titres de transport

Vous devez obligatoirement et systématiquement valider un titre de transport valable lorsque vous entrez dans le Métro, le bus, le RER, le Tramway et le funiculaire.

  1. Un titre de transport chargé sur un passe se valide en approchant le passe du centre de la cible violette située sur l’appareil de contrôle sans le sortir de son étui ni l’appuyer sur la cible,
  2. Un titre de transport sur coupon magnétique se valide en introduisant le coupn dans la fente de l’appareil de contrôle prévue à cet effet.

Si l’appareil de contrôle refuse la validation, adressez-vous tout de suite à un guichet, à un comptoir d’information ou au conducteur du bus pour faire réaliser un diagnostic de votre passe ou de votre coupon magnétique. N’oubliez pas : en l’absence de validation, vous êtes considéré comme voyageant sans titre de transport, donc en infraction.

Vous devez être en possession du coupon magnétique en bon état (non altéré, non chiffonné) ou de votre passe validé en entrée jusqu’à la sortie effective de la zone contrôlée (après franchissement des portes de sortie ou des appareils de contrôle de sortie).

Certains titres sont utilisables une ou plusieurs journées consécutives. Une journée commence à 5h30 et se termine à 5h30 le lendemain.

For completeness sake, crossing a validation point without a ticket or pass is a level 3 offence, and is sanctioned with a 60€ up to 375€ fine.

This is all true in normal operation days. As others have mentioned. There are days in which the RATP transports are free for all travellers. These include parts of a few days a year (e.g. evening of 31 December to midday 1 January, and similar times for the Nuit Blanche) and days with exceptionally high levels of air pollution (see Autres cas de gratuité in the linked page).

  • 2
    (+1) Technically, a procès-verbal is neither a fine nor an offense, it's a document stating some facts (in this case, the fact that you have been found without a ticket and therefore that you committed an offense and must pay a fine).
    – Relaxed
    Mar 26, 2015 at 14:00
  • @Relaxed Thanks for the heads up. I translated procès verbal as administrative fine. I always thought that it was the actual fine, rather than just the "report" of a fine.
    – JoErNanO
    Mar 26, 2015 at 15:02
  • But in case of smog they sometimes make public transport free for anyone, hoping to reduce the number of cars on the roads. At this moment, gates would also be open.
    – Karlo
    Jan 6, 2017 at 0:20

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