Getting from Charles de Gaulle Airport to your Paris hotel is easy as un-deux-troisFeb 4, 2003 (Updated Sep 26, 2005) Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line It's easy to get from Charles de Gaulle Airport to your Paris hotel by train, metro, bus or taxi. Let cost and convenience be your guide.
You're tired, you're confused, you're wondering how to get to your hotel.
As a typical American visitor to Paris, you're most likely to touch down at Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG), just north of the city. You'll pass through immigration and customs and finally end up on the curb wondering "How the heck do I get to my hotel?" Of course, there will be signs all around telling you exactly how to do that, but they'll all be in French.
Fortunately, Paris has one of the world's best transportation systems. Let your pocketbook and your destination be your guides. Here are your basic options for getting from CDG into Paris along with the approximate cost in euros (EUR) and minimum time:
-- Train (RER B + Metro): 7.75 EUR, 30-45 minutes
-- Bus: 8.20-11.50 EUR, 40-50 minutes
-- Taxi: 50 EUR, 45 minutes
-- Limousine: 105 EUR, 45 minutes
Of course, a train or bus will just take you to a train or bus terminal, while a taxi or limo will take you directly to your hotel. Note: costs change annually, so use these figures only as a guide to relative fares for the different modes of transportation. At the moment, the euro is equal to about 1.30 dollars, so just add 30% to the figures to get the approximate dollar cost. Remember, exchange rates change constantly.
Here are some more details:
Hours of Operation
The most widely used segments of Paris's transportation system run from early morning to after midnight. However, some services have more limited hours. Check the web sites listed under Related Links.
Access by Train
The RER is Paris's system of fast suburban trains, and you'll be taking the one designated RER B3 into the city. There are two RER stations at the airport: Roissy CDG 1, in the Terminal 1 complex and Roissy CDG 2/TGV, in the Terminal 2 complex. In Terminal 1, walk or take the Green shuttle to the shopping level to find the RER station. In Terminal 2, take the Blue shuttle to the TGV-RER station. Note, the designation B3 refers to the branch of the B train system that goes to and from the airport (among other places). This is more important when you're coming back to the airport. In this case, be sure to get on a B3, not a B5.
Within Paris, RER B connects with other RER lines and with the Metro, which can take you just about anywhere. Use the maps in the station to plan your entire trip, and buy a combined RER-Metro ticket. You'll get close to your hotel for only 7.75 EUR.
The rock bottom cost is great, but this trip is not for everyone. Transfers may require lots of walking and step climbing, and handling any more than one backpack or rolling suitcase will be very difficult as well as annoying to other passengers. Also be aware that pickpockets target tourists with luggage because they are often tired and distracted. A viable alternative is to get off the train at one of the large central Paris stations and take a taxi the rest of the way. If your destination is on the Right Bank (north of the river), get off at Gare du Nord or Chatelet les Halles. On the Left Bank, there are many stations, starting with St-Michel Notre Dame.
Access by Bus
Air France Coach Line 2 leaves from several points in the airport and makes two stops in Paris: Porte Maillot, and Place Charles de Gaulle (at the Arc de Triomphe). Cost: 10.00 EUR, trip time about 40 minutes. Place Charles de Gaulle is a transportation hub, so you can take the metro or a taxi from here.
Air France Coach Line 4 departs from several points in the airport and stops at the Gare de Lyon and Montparnasse (two major train stations). This is ideal if you have to make a quick train connection at one of these stations. Fare is 11.50 EUR, and trip time is about 50 minutes. Again, both stops are major transportation hubs.
Roissybus. The area around CDG is known as Roissy, and the airport is often called Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport. This bus takes you from the airport to Place de l'Opera, in the heart of Paris. Cost: 8.20 EUR, time about 45 minutes. As usual, the metro is nearby.
Taxis and Limousines
Taxis charge a flat fee of 50.00 EUR to any destination in central Paris, and limousines charge 105.00 EUR. Have the address of your destination written down and hand it to your driver. Even better, have the address and a printed map! Paraphrasing Mark Twain: I couldn't get those people to understand their own language.
Getting to the Airport
Of course, all of these trains, buses and taxis go both ways. Just show up at the right place and time and they'll get you to the airport. One caution: RER line B splits into several sublines as it leaves Paris. Make sure you're on a B3 train with destination Roissy CDG.
If you have lots of luggage, take a taxi. It's just too difficult to handle lots of bags on the train. For a group of three, the per person cost is less than twice that of the cheaper alternatives.
If you're on a budget, have just one backpack or suitcase, are in good shape, and are good at navigating through public transportation systems, take the train and the metro.
If you're going to take the metro, know the name of the station nearest your hotel. Most hotels feature this information prominently in their literature.
Always leave yourself extra time. Be wary of pickpockets, especially if you are handling luggage.
First trip to Europe? Need to brush up your travel skills? Then, check out my review of Rick Stevess essential guide, Europe Through the Back Door.
Little known ways to save money while traveling abroad:
-- Your credit card probably adds 3% to every foreign transaction. This one doesn't
-- Seventeen ways to manage the cost of your visit to Paris
-- Your Europe Trip: Dealing With Travel Money, Currency Exchange, and Tourist Rip-offs
For more transportation information, check out:
Aeroports de Paris (ADP)-- www.adp.fr --has one of the best airport web sites you'll see anywhere. The airport diagrams are truly amazing. It also has detailed information on airport transportation.
Find details about the suburban trains (RER) and metro at www.ratp.fr .
Details on the whole French and European train system are available at www.sncf.fr .
For more information on transportation in and around Paris:
-- Using Paris's great transportation system: Metro, RER, Bus, Noctambus, Tram, etc.
-- Eurostar through the Chunnel: The fast, comfortable, convenient way to get from Paris to London.
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