Paris airports and how to get there and to Paris
Are you planning a quick trip to Paris? Well, this is always a very good idea like fabulous Audrey used to say! Plus, if you’re flying within an European airport you’ll find plenty of low cost airlines and very cheap options. So many cheap options that if you are staying only for a few days you might consider carefully selecting to which Paris airport to land to fully enjoy your visit.
Paris officially has two airports: Paris Roissy / Charles de Gaulle – better know as CDG – and Paris Orly (ORY), but looking for flight with Ryanair and Wizz Air you’ll probably get Paris Beauvais (Beauvais-Tillé) too and in general this is the cheapest you can get, but it’s far away from Paris…
Paris Charles De Gaulle airport
Roissy Airport or Charles de Gaulle is at 25km north-east of Paris and is the primary airport for international and long haul flights, as well as for low cost carriers.
The RER B blue trains connecting Charles De Gaulle Airport CDG to central Paris represent the fastest (25 minutes from Gare du Nord station) and cheapest transfer option by Parisian public transport, running every 15 minutes from 4.45 a.m. to midnight. Just be careful and if you are in a rush take the “fast train” having seven stops less than the slow one. Just make sure to take the train to CDG and not the one ending in Mitry! RER has two stops at CDG: one is in Terminal 2 (end of the line) and one in Terminal 1, from where you need to walk along the glasses walkway when flying from Terminal 3 (count 10 minutes – might be longer by N1-3 free shuttle buses). Tickets cost 10.30€ one-way.
The Roissybus is the bus connecting Charles de Gaulle Airport to Paris Opéra. The bus leaves from any of the three terminals and runs every 15 minutes from 6:00 a.m. to 8:45 p.m., and then every 20 minutes until 11:00 p.m. Tickets cost 12€ one-way and the journey takes up to an hour. A very good option if you’re staying in the Opéra – Louvre area.
When landing at night, night buses N140 and N143 run every day from the three terminals terminating at Gare de l’Est: N140 runs hourly to Paris between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m. and N143 runs every 30 minutes from midnight until 4:30 a.m. The one way ticket costs 6€ and you can buy it on-board.
If you are in no rush, you can spend the same amount of money traveling by local bus numbers 350 or 351 running through the Parisian suburbs. They both depart from Terminals 1 and 2 every 20 minutes between 6:15 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. and it can take more than two hours to get to Gare de l’Est (350) or Nation (351).
If you fly Air France you can also take the comfy Air France Coach also known as Le Bus Direct for 17€ (one-way or 30€ for a return ticket purchased online). Line 2 connects Terminals 1 and 2 to the Arc de Triomphe, running every 30 minutes between 5:45 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. while line 4 terminates at Gare de Lyon.
When traveling with too much luggage you could also take a taxi from any terminal and at any time. Reaching Paris downtown takes more or less one hour and costs around 70€ or more depending on traffic conditions. Getting a taxi on the street downtown can be less easy. I recommend you call for one several hours in advance (7€ extra).
*Note that since March 2016 taxi drivers are required to charge a fixed rate for trips to and from Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports and can’t charge fees for each piece of luggage or an airport fee anymore. What you might get charged extra is an additional 4€ fee for each passenger above four.
Paris Orly airport
Paris Orly is my favorite airport! Smaller and closer to town it’s dedicated to domestic and Mediterranean flights.
As Charles De Gaulle Airport even Paris Orly, also know as ORY, is connected to central Paris by the RER B blue trains. The closest RER station is Antony, directly connected to the South and West terminals by the driverless metro line Orlyval running every three/four minutes between 6 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. The combined fare for the Orlyval and RER is 12,05 € one-way and the whole trip takes 20 minutes.
The Orlybus is a good option too. You can get it every 15 minutes in any terminal from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. or on Place Denfert-Rochereau. The trip takes 30 minutes and costs 8€ one-way (you can buy the ticket on-board).
For a cheaper transfer you can take a bus running every 20 minutes to Pont de Rungis in any terminal between 5:00 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. The trip lasts more or less 10 minutes and from Pont de Rungs station you can take the yellow RER C towards Pontoise or Montigny Beauchamp. This combination costs 6,85€ one-way.
Even from Paris Orly airport you get local city buses serving Paris neighborhoods: number 183 connects South Terminal to Porte de Choosy in 45 minutes and number 285 terminates in Villejuif in just 15 minutes. The ticket costs 2€ one-way and buses run from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. every 15 minutes from Monday to Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sundays. B
The Air France’s Air Coach is available every 30 minutes from 6:00 a.m. to 11:40 p.m in both terminals and connects Paris Orly airport to the Arc de Triomphe. The journey takes 45 minutes and a one-way ticket bought online costs 12.00€ (return tickets cost 20.00€).
Same thing as when landing at Paris Roissy airport: when traveling with too much luggage you might prefer a taxi. Reaching Paris downtown from Paris Orly takes more or less 40 minutes and costs around 45€.
Paris Beauvais airport
Paris Beauvais-Tillé international airport is quite small and is located 80km from Paris.
The Aérobus is the fastest option connecting Beauvais airport to the Pershing car park at Porte Maillot. Buses are lined up outside the terminals and tickets can be purchased online in advance or at an Aérobus machines (15.90€ one way or 29€ for a round trip, free for kids up to 4 years). Aérobuses leave every 20 to 25 minutes after each plane lands. When getting back to the airport from Porte Maillot count at least a 3h15 delay before your check-in time!
Another option is the TER train (Regional Express Train) from Beauvais railway station to Gare du Nord, but it implies you take a 5€ shuttle or a 20€ taxi to the station and then a 14€ train. The journey takes 1h20.
Some cooler transfer options to and from Paris airports
When living in Paris I was also used to book the myDriver Airport Transfer Paris to find a chauffeur driver waiting for me in the arrivals hall with a name shield or in front of my door on Canal Sant Martin and load my suitcases… a very cool and relaxing transfer! Pre-book it and you’ll see that most of the time it’s not much more expensive than a regular taxi transfer.
Another option I like is the shared or private Super Shuttle to be booked online or even upon arrival at Paris Roissy or Paris Orly. When picking up your baggage you need to call a special toll free number to be given a meeting point in the terminal. Once the shuttle arrives it will generally complete its circuit of the terminals to pick up other passengers and then it will drop you off at your final destination in Paris.