Getting to Paris by plane

Paris is the glamorous capital of France. It is home to the famous Eiffel Tower which is the tallest structure in Paris and is also one of the most recognized structures in the world. Paris is also the most widely known glamorous city in France and quite naturally thousands from around the world as well as from other parts of France flock here. Therefore, getting to Paris by plane has to be smooth and hassle free so as to facilitate the tourists.

The two internationally acclaimed airports are the Charles De Gaulle International Airport and the Orly airport followed by Paris-Beauvais-Tillé Airport the city’s hub of budget airlines and Paris-Le Bourget Airport which was the first airport of the city. These airports make getting to Paris by plane much easier.

The most favored choice of getting to France would have to Air France. This company has a network of 340 destinations in 91 countries all over the world. Air France has its own aircraft or utilizes aircrafts from its SkyTeam Alliance Partners. Here 82 cities in France and Europe are linked to 83 destinations worldwide. This national company links most of the large towns to Paris on an average of one hour as well as connections between various regional towns. Getting to Paris by plane is also boosted up by this national Air France flight company that reportedly can get a person from one end of the world to the other through a single airport thanks to its connecting hub at the Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport.

There are buses that run at every 12 minutes and trains at every 15 minutes from the Charles-de Gaulle Airport that lies at approximately 14miles north of Paris. The same schedule is followed in case of the Orly Airport which lies at a distance of 8 miles south of Paris. There is a bus service that runs to and from the airport at an interval of 20 minutes.

So we see getting to Paris by plane is really hassle free and should therefore ensure a safe and happy journey. (Text Source: ‘AsiaRooms’)
Paris is served by three international airports – for more information, including arrival/departure times, check the official sites.

Charles de Gaulle International Airport (Roissy ICAO: LFPG, IATA: CDG)

The major hub airport to the north-east of the city. It’s notoriously confusing, so allow plenty of time for transfers. There are three terminals: Terminal 1, Terminal 2 (which is huge and subdivided into 2A through 2G), and Terminal 3 (formerly T9). Terminal 1 and 3 are next to each other, whereas mass Terminal 2 is in another building. The newest exception is terminal 2G which is a separate building and is only reachable via navette/bus in 10-15 min (bus leaves every 20 min) so allow extra time. The free CDGVAL shuttle train connects the terminals together. Everything at this airport is very expensive, especially food. There are hardly any benches around and don’t even consider looking for an outlet to charge your cell phone or laptop. There are no public shower facilities in the airport. Air France lounges have such facilities, and the departure lounges have showers. Lounge access is included for Air France business and first class travelers. The members of the Air France and cooperating frequent flyer programs may gain access with sufficient status. There is a possibility that some lounges may grant access to travelers on their flights for a fee. If you consider paying for access to the lounge, inquire when checking in for your departure. If you must have a shower and your frequent flyer status (and charm) are insufficient to gain entry to a lounge, the airport hotels generally have rooms available (in Sep 2009, the Sheraton in Terminal 2 at the train station charged €155).

When you arrive at CDG, you should note what terminal you arrived at (2A, 2D, etc.), because when you come back to the airport to depart at the end of your trip, the RER subway train makes two stops at CDG to cover the three terminals, but there are few indications of which airlines are at which terminals. Have a close look at your air ticket to figure out which terminal you are departing from. Air France and associates leave from Terminal 2.

For getting to or from Paris, the RER commuter train, line B, has stations in T3 (from where you can take the free CDGVAL shuttle train to T1) and T2; trains to Paris (the stops are Gare du Nord, Chatelet Les Halles, St Michel Notre Dame, Luxembourg, Port Royal, Denfert-Rochereau and Cite Universitaire) leave every 7-8 minutes (alternately 1 direct to Paris Gare du Nord and 1 stopping train). Adult tickets cost €8.50, and for children between 4-10 fare is €5.95 each and take around 35 minutes to Gare du Nord, 45 minutes to Denfert-Rochereau, making this the fastest and cheapest way to connect. Tickets can be purchased either through green (sometimes blue) automated ticket vending machines (“Billetterie Ile-de-France”) or through the ticket office serviced by transport authority personnel. Engineering works near CDG terminal-1 and Aulnay-Sois-Bois stations are conducted between 2300hrs and 0100hrs everyday, so you must take a Coach(Bus) from Terminal 3 to the station where you can take RER B train to Paris. The fare is included in the train ticket you purchase. The automated ticket machines accept Euro coins of €2, €1 and 50, 20, 10, 5 cent denominations and give change. Note that Euro notes are not accepted. There is one separate automated machine which changes €20, €10 and €5 notes to €2 and €1 coins. However, due to the high demand, the machine frequently runs out of coins. There are currency exchange centres, but they explicitly state notes will not be changed for coins. Alternatively, smart-chip credit cards can be used on the ticket machines. But, some none-European credit cards are not accepted. Because of the above limitations, purchasing tickets from the ticket office may seem to be an attractive method. Although there are many counters, the queues can be very long. Although it is a nuisance, the fastest way to get some tickets is to take a lot of Euro coins with you.

Trains for Paris are leaving usually from platforms 11 and 12. Look for signs saying “RER B” or “All trains go to Paris”. When using the ticket from and to the airport (as with tickets for the RER commuter trains in general) you have to use it to enter and to exit the train. Always keep the ticket handy as the SNCF officials sometimes check for tickets, and if you are without one you may be fined €40. This means that after you put the ticket into the entry gate and are cleared to pass, you must retrieve the ticket from the machine and keep it with you until you leave the train system including any connections.

Alternatively, the Roissybus service connects all terminals directly to Opera Garnier in central Paris, but it’s subject to traffic jams and rush hour, so it averages 60-90 min even on a good day. You could take bus number 350 and 351 to the city and it costs around 5.2 Euros making it the cheapest option to go to Paris. The tickets can be purchased inside the bus from the pilot and they need to be punched with a device lying next to the driver’s seat.

Air France buses are offering two stops in Paris (Porte Maillot, Montparnasse) from CDG with a 50-min ride. To reach a specific address into the city, this shared shuttle service costs €19 per person private transfers cost €79 Mercedes E transfer costs €129 and are available from CDG and ORY. There is also a TGV station in T2 for high-speed connections, mostly towards Lille and Brussels, but there are also some trains that head south to eg. Rennes and Nantes, bypassing Paris.

Orly International Airport (ICAO: LFPO, IATA: ORY)

This airport is southwest of the city, and served by a southern branch of the RER-B line that heads in the direction of Saint-Rémy-les-Chevreuse (not Robinson). This older international airport is used mainly by Air France for national lines, and other international carriers in Europe. Orly is roughly 40 min from Paris via the OrlyBus, which departs from Métro Denfert-Rochereau (ligne 6); the price is €6. The private Jetbus service goes directly to Métro Villejuif and is quite inexpensive. Another option is bus 285 that takes you to the Métro Villejuif – Louis Aragon(Line 7) in 15 min, but it stops on the way and is designed for commuters and not for travellers. Bus 285 costs €1,5 and runs every 10 min, stopping at airport level -1.

The Orlyval light rail connects the two terminals to each other and to the RER B line at Antony. It runs every 4-7 min and cost €9.85 for transfer to Paris, including connections to central area metro stations. The RER B from Antony runs through Paris to Aéroport Charles de Gaulle.
Beauvais (Aéroport de Paris Beauvais Tillé ICAO: LFOB, IATA: BVA)

This airport, a distance north of the city, is a smaller regional airport that is used by some low-cost carriers such as Ryanair (list flights) and WizzAir. The airport operates a shuttle service connecting with the Metro at Porte Maillot station. Buses run even during the wee hours of the morning (6AM). Buses leave 20 min after each flight arrives, and a few hours before each flight departs. Exact times can be found on the Beauvais Airport website. The journey will take about an hour in good traffic conditions, and costs €15 each way.
Airline Shuttles

In addition to public transport, Air France operates shuttles between Charles de Gaulle and Paris (€10-12), Orly and Paris (€7.5) and between the two airports (€15). Note that if you have connecting Air France flights that land and depart from different airports, you would still generally need to fetch your luggage after landing, catch either the Air France shuttle or a taxi (readily available at all airports) to the other airport and check-in again. This altogether could take up to 2 hours particularly if traffic is at its worst. It is also common to lose time during disembarking, as passengers often need to get off at the tarmac and get on buses which will bring them to the terminal building. Be sure to have sufficient time between flights to catch your connection. Note that check-in counters usually close 30 min before the flight departs, longer if flights are international carriers.

If you arrive to CDG Airport at night you’ll need a Noctilien bus to get to the city center. The bus stops in all three terminals (in terminal 2F it will be the second level in departure section – it is very difficult to find, but it really exists). The bus leaves every 30 min after 12:30AM (see timetable). The buses you’ll need are N121 and N120; the price is €7. (Text Source: Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia)

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