Getting To Paris From The Airports

Paris is about an hour away from either of the major airports that serve Paris. Charles de Gaulle is the one most used by North American travelers. Orly is more commonly used by travelers coming in from other countries.

No matter which Airport you fly into, you will still need to get into Paris. Once you've collected your luggage and stretched your back, it's time to get to Paris. Fortunately, there are many ways to do this.

Note: Most of my information is geared towards getting to Paris from CDG airport since most Americans will land there. For more specific information about transportation from Orly, see the link to the right and choose Orly. The options are similar.

Tips Before You Ride Into Paris

  • Have Cash Ready- If you haven't done it yet, get some money. You will most likely need it to purchase the tickets or pay for the taxi with cash.
  • Know Where You're Going In Paris - Knowing exactly where you need to go and mapping it out ahead of time is really helpful. You will help you to be able to choose which transportation into Paris is best for you. And with maps available on-line, right down to "street level view", you can really visualize where you need to go and which mode of transport will get you closest.
  • Keep In Mind Your Luggage - If you have a lot of luggage, taking the bus or RER and then metro may prove more work than you are ready for. If you are traveling lite, then you have more versatility and can save money

The Airport Shuttle to Paris City Center

There are several to choose from. From Orly airport, it is called the OrlyBus. And from Charles de Gaulle airport, it is called the RoissyBus (Roissy is the actual town where the airport is located and so the airport is sometimes referred to as Roissy airport.) See the link below for the prices, times, and location. BEWARE, don't get on the shuttle that takes you to the other airport!

I do like this way as it's inexpensive and gives you a nice view. If it's your first time in Europe, you may be surprised to see all the farm land - right there. The bus drops you near the Opera Garnier and, an amazing wow right off the bat!

However, study your Paris Map well before you get off because from here, you will most likely need to get to your apartment or hotel. And this is where traveling lite will be to your advantage.

Les Cars AirFrance to Paris

This is a shuttle bus service run by AirFrance. Although it is a bit more expensive, you have more choices of where to land your feet in Paris:
  • Line 2 takes you to √Čtoile and Porte Maillot (near the Arc de Triomphe) or
  • Line 4 takes you to Gare de Lyon and Gare Montparnasse (closer to the Quartier Latin.)

The Paris Metro Bus

The Paris city bus runs two lines from the city. Like Les Cars AirFrance, they will take you to different parts of the city:
  • Bus 350 takes you to gare de l'Est (up in a lively part north of le Maurais)
  • Bus 351 takes you to Nation (just north of le Bastille)

Taking The RER Into Paris

The RER is part of the amazing metro transportation system Paris has. It is actually a train that has few stops and so it is quite fast. RER B is available at CDG and will take you to:
  • Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame (heart of the Quartier Latin - directly across the river from Notre Dame) and
  • Gare du Nord (noted above).
Both stations are well connected with the metro. I've taken this many times. You get on (if in the early morning) and it's practically empty and then it fills up with commuters on it's way into the city.

Taking A Parisian Taxi

Sometimes, it's just easier to let someone drive you door to door. It's much more expensive (50-80E instead of 10-18E). But when you're tired, disoriented, and not up for an adventure right off the bat, this is a great option. See Paris Taxi Services to get phone numbers and other useful information.

Car Services For Paris

I really never imagined myself using this option. But summer of 2010, we arrived early in the morning with two kids about to hit the fatigue wall. I also was going to my Aunt's house in the suburb of St. Cloud, not easily nor quickly reached by public transportation. To be sure that no one hated anyone else before we got to nap, I hired a car service. It was AWESOME! I have to say, there was something very appealing about coming through customs and looking around for a driver holding a card with my name on it!

When you book a service, you pay up front based on where you're going, let them know your flight number and approximate time of arrival, and they verify it before waiting for you. You tell them how much luggage and they'll bring the correct vehicle.

There are a number of services you can choose from. You can do a search for "car service Paris airport".

Driving Into Paris

If you plan to rent a car while in Paris, you will get good directions directly from the rental agency. Frankly, the public transportation in Paris is so good and the driving in Paris so crazy, you should really think hard about this option.

My Preferred Way To Get In To Paris

I have used a few of these methods. Sometimes I know ahead of time which I will use, and other times I choose what ever seems to strike my fancy when I get through customs. I don't really suggest that unless you have been to Paris many times and feel comfortable with flying by the seat of your pants.

The last two trips had me staying in apartments near the Canal St. Martin. They were one metro stop from the Gare de Nord and so the RER was perfect. You need to buy the ticket from an actual agent in the main building of the airport and not from a machine. The RER trains are downstairs from that.
Paris Airport Shuttle
Paris Airport Shuttle

Resources

Escalators at Charles de Gaulle Airport
The escalator tubes at CDG

Charles de Gaulle Airport and Paris

Orly Airport and Paris