My kids and I were in Paris last week and I had decided to get Navigo Decouverte metro pass cards (Monday through Sunday). I speak and read French, and I still had to ask the waoman working in the booth at least 4 times to help me figure out the machine. So here's how it works:
-Two options when you approach the machine:
Acheter les coupons, tickets or
Recharger Pass Navigo
There is a roller to roll to the option you want. Pick "acheter les coupons, tickets". Then push the button to select. I think it says "valider"
-Now you can roll down to the English flag to continue in English.
-In the next section. pick "coupon for Navigo Decouverte Pass"
-Then choose how many passes you want.
-The next section is "receipt yes or no" Pick yes, in case you have a problem, you can show that you paid.
-Now you pay. Each pass is $5. This pays for the pass itself and does you no good until the pass is charged. Usually, there is a spot for change, bills or credit cards.
- The machine will dispense little paper tickets, one for each pass.
-Take these to the window and the attendant will exchange them for two cards, one plastic and stiff and one flimsy paper. You will also get a clear plastic holder.
-Go back to the machine and this time pick "Recharger Pass Navigo"
-Highlight the time that you want the pass to work, generally that week.
-Now put lay the hard plastic card on the purple tray, and when you pay ( 16.80 E for the week),the card will get validated for use for the week.
Think you're done? Not even close!
-Take the flimsy card and attach your picture where there is a square of tape. Fair warning, passport pictures are too large and will need to be cut down. You need to leave enough space at the bottom to write your name.
-When you have written your name and attached a picture, peel the backing off the clear part and fold that over the picture side.
-Now take the two cards and line them up so that the hole in the flismsy card reveals the same number on the hard card. If you buy multiple cards, check the numbers, they are not intercahngeable.
-Once the cards are lined up, slide them both into the plastic holder until you feel them click into place.
VOILA! YOU'RE DONE!!!!
Now you just slide the card each time over the top of the machine at the entrance. Green arrows will appear, and you're in. This is a great pass, and totally worth the pain to get.
That said, I saw metro stations with machines that only rechsrged passes, didn't sell new ones. And I have heard that at larger stations, you may be able to do the whole purchse from an attendant.