Paris Transportation


Paris Airports

  • Paris France - Charles Degaulle (CDG)
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  • Paris Transportation

    Getting There

    By Air

    Two airports take care of the enormous amount of traffic flying in and out of Paris: Paris-Charles de Gaulle, handling most international flights and Orly, taking care of most domestic routes. You can find important information about all Paris airports at: http://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr/

    Charles de Gaulle Aiport (CDG)

    Looking like something from the future or just out of George Orwell's mind, Paris-Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG) (+33 1 4862 2280/http://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr/) resides 22.5 kilometers/14 miles northeast of Paris. Not only is the structure a bit imposing, but the mass of humanity trying to move from point to point in the airport can make for a frustrating and confusing experience. But most of the airport's customer service representatives are quite friendly, speak English, and are more than willing to help you. Free ADP shuttle buses (each color coded green or blue depending on terminal) connect the three terminals, which are loaded with shops, restaurants and bars, play areas for the kids, ATMs, information booths and currency exchange centers. Parking is ample and a number of hotels are perched in the center of the airport grounds. Most international airlines descend into Paris-Charles de Gaulle at some point. Major carriers include:

    Air Berlin (+33 811 025 102/ http://www.airberlin.com) Air Canada (+33 825 880 881/ http://www.aircanada.com) Air France (+1 800 237 2747/ http://www.airfrance.com) Air Malta (+33 1 58 18 64 07/ http://www.airmalta.com/) Air Transat (+1 877 872 6728/ http://www.airtransat.com) Alitalia (+33 820 315 315 (France)/ http://www.alitalia.com) All Nippon Airways (+1 800 235 9262/http://www.fly-ana.com) American Airlines (+1 800 433 7300/ http://www.aa.com) Blue1 (+372 668 0140/ http://www.blue1.com) Blue Air (+40 21 208 86 86/ http://www.blueair-web.com) BMI Baby (+33 890 710 081(France)/ http://www.bmibaby.com ) British Airways (+1 800 247 9297/ http://www.british-airways.com) Cathay Pacific (+1 800 233 2742/ http://www.cathaypacific.com) Condor (+1 800 364 1667/ http://www7.condor.com) Continental Airlines (+1 800 523 3273/ http://www.continental.com) Corendon Airlines (+31 23 75 10 600/ http://www.corendon.com) Delta (+1 800 221 1212/ http://www.delta.com) Easy Jet (+44 20 7241 9000/ http://www.easyjet.com/) FlyBe (+44 1392 268 529/ http://www.flybe.com) Germanwings (+44 870 252 1250/http://www1.germanwings.com) Iberworld Airlines (http://www.iberworld.com) JAL Japan Airlines (+1 800 525 3663/ http://www.ar.jal.com/en) Lot (+1 212 789 0970/ http://www.lot.com) KLM (+33 0890 710 710/ http://www.klm.com/travel/fr_en/) Korean Air (+1 800 438 5000/ http://www.koreanair.com) Lufthansa (+33 826 10 3334 (France)/ http://www.lufthansa.com) Northwest Airlines (+1 800 225 2525/ http://www.nwa.com) Norwegian (+47 21 49 0015/ http://www.norwegian.no ) Qantas (+1 800 227 4500/ http://www.qantas.com) Singapore Air (+1 800 742 3333/ http://www.singaporeair.com) Sterling.dk (+33 1 55 69 5571 (France)/ http://www.sterlingticket.com) TAP Portugal (+351 707 205 700/ http://www.flytap.com) United Airlines (+1-800-538-2929/ http://www.ual.com) Vueling (+33 800 90 5461 (France)/ http://www.vueling.com ) Wizz Air (+33 825 54 0001/ http://www.wizzair.com ) Zoom Airlines (+33 800 21 3266/http://www.flyzoom.com)

    There are more than enough ways to get into the center of Paris, including a wealth of inexpensive options and those that require a hefty wallet.

    By Car

    Driving out of the airport can be taxing on the nerves (especially if you do not speak or read French), and once you manage to find your way, traffic rushing toward the center of town is nothing short of a nightmare. For jet-lagged travelers, driving is either a great adventure or a nail biting obstacle. The best bet to get into central Paris is to locate the A1 and head southwest. From there the motorway options are ripe with possibilities, but a good map will keep you from getting lost or run over. Onsite car hire companies are: Avis (+1 800 230 4898/ http://www.avis.com) Budget (+1 800 527 0700/ http://www.budget.com) Europcar (+33 825 825 490/ http://www.europcar.com) Hertz (+1 800 654 3131/ http://www.hertz.com) National (+1 800 227 7368/ http://www.nationalcar.com) Sixt (+33 820 00 7498/ http://www.e-sixt.com).

    By Taxis

    Taxis are one of the more expensive options (EUR 40-EUR 60 depending on destination) and trips can take up to an hour in traffic. There are only two official taxi companies in Paris: Taxis G7 (+33 1 4739 4739/ http://www.taxisg7.fr) and Taxis Bleus (+33 891 70 1010/ http://www.taxis-bleus.com). For getting from the city to the airport, try Alpha-Airport (+33 1 4585 4545) where you will find friendly English speaking reservation staff and the ability to make a 24 hour advance reservation.  In addition (like many other countries), there are a number of non-regulated taxis. If you choose to use a non-regulated taxi service, make sure you agree on a price before your departure as sometimes drivers try to take advantage of tourists. From the airport to central Paris should be around EUR 50. A supplement of about 15% applies to rates at night (between the hours of 7p-7a), on Sundays, and on public holidays. Ranks are located outside the terminal arrivals hall.

    By Shuttle and Limousine

    Door-to-door van service is available though Blue Airport Shuttle Paris (+33 1 3011 1300/ http://www.paris-blue-airport-shuttle.fr) and Paris Airports Service (+33 1 5598 1080/ http://www.parisairportservice.com). Must Limousine Service (+33 1 45 62 3077/ http://www.mustlimousines.com) and Agence VIP Car (+33 1 4500 1211/ http://www.agencevipcar.fr) are among the luxury car and limo services.

    By Bus and Train (RER)

    Getting into town via coach is a more economical transportation alternative; fares usually range from EUR 8 to 13 depending on your destination. Air France (+33 1 4156 8900/ http://cars.airfrance.fr) operates two lines of bus service from CDG airport: Line 2 departs from the terminals to Porte Maillot and Étoile. Departures are every 15 minutes from 5:45a-11p. Line 4 connects the airport with Montparnasse and Gare de Lyon, leaving every 30 minutes from 7a-9p. RAPT (+33 1 4468 2020/http://www.ratp.fr), the local public transportation company, employs the Roissybus, which heads off from each terminal from 5:45a-11p every 15 to 20 minutes for a 45 minute direct jaunt to the Place de l'Opéra. The fare is EUR 8.20. Public bus 350 jogs to Gare de l'Est train station and bus 351 connects Roissy with the Nation metro stop. These buses run daily but stop during the night.

    If you are traveling light, the Regional Express Network (RER) B line train (http://www.ratp.fr) is the way to go. It leaves from the TVG Station in Terminal 2 (via an ADP bus if coming from other terminals) for Gare du Nord, Châtelet-Les-Halles, Saint-Michel, Denfert-Rochereau and beyond every 4-15 minutes from around 5am to midnight. Each stop links with the Paris Metro. It is also the quickest way to go to the city center.

    Orly Airport (ORY)

    Orly (+33 1 4975 1515) is the smaller of the two airports and at 14.4 kilometers/9 miles due south, it's closer to the city center, but unfortunately most international airlines fly right over it to Paris-Charles de Gaulle. Planes pull into one of the two terminals (South, West), and free shuttle buses join the terminals. Shops ranging from duty free to newsstands, restaurants, bars, currency exchanges, and ATMs are dispersed throughout both terminals. A business center is in the west terminal and a business lounge is in the south terminal. Airlines include:

    Air Canada (+33 825 880 881/ http://www.aircanada.com) Air France (+1 800 237 2747/ http://www.airfrance.com) American Airlines (+1 800 433 7300/http://www.aa.com) All Nippon Airways (+1 800 235 9262/ http://www.fly-ana.com) British Airways (+1 800 247 9297/http://www.british-airways.com) Cathay Pacific (+1 800 233 2742/ http://www.cathaypacific.com) Continental Airlines (+1 800 525 0280/ http://www.continental.com) Delta (+1 800 221 1212/ http://www.delta.com) JAL Japan Airlines (+1 800 525 3663/ http://www.ar.jal.com/en) Lot (+1 800 223 0593/ http://www.lot.com) KLM (+1 800 447 4747/ http://www.klm.com) Korean Air (+1 800 438 5000/ http://www.koreanair.com) Lufthansa (+1 800 645 3880/ http://www.lufthansa.com) Northwest Airlines (+1 800 225 2525/ http://www.nwa.com) Qantas (+1 800 227 4500/ http://www.qantas.com) Singapore Air (+1 800 742 3333/ http://www.singaporeair.com) United Airlines (+1 800 241 6522/ http://www.ual.com)

    By Car

    If you are ready to take on the speedy roads of Paris, wind out of the airport and hop on the A6 going north to hit the city center via Porte d'Orléans (A6a) or the Porte d'Italie (A6b). For more of a warm up to driving in Paris opt for the N7 to the Paris Porte d'Italie. Rental car companies are located in the arrivals hall and include: Avis (+1 800 230 4898/ http://www.avis.com) Budget (+1 800 527 0700/ http://www.budget.com) Europcar (+33 1 494 61 570/ http://www.europcar.com) Hertz (+1 800 654 3131/ http://www.hertz.com), National (+1 800 227 7368/ http://www.nationalcar.com) Sixt (+820 00 7498/ http://www.e-sixt.com).

    By Taxi

    Taxis ranks are located outside the arrivals hall of each terminal. Although rather expensive (EUR 20-EUR 60), especially if you are heading to the suburbs and at peak traffic hours, it may be a good option if you are tugging along a houseful of luggage. Remember to negotiate a fare with you driver in advance if you are not using one of Paris' official taxi companies, Taxis G7 (http://www.taxisg7.fr/ +33 1 4739 4739) or Taxis Bleus (http://www.taxis-bleus.com/ +33 891 70 10 10).

    By Shuttle

    Airport Shuttle (+33 1 30 11 13 00/ http://www.airportshuttle.fr) and Paris Airports Service (+33 1 55 98 10 80/ http://www.parisairportservice.com) offers door to door service to and from the airport. Limo services include Must Limousine Service (+33 1 45 62 30 77/ http://www.mustlimousines.com) and Agence VIP Car (+33 1 4500 1211/ http://www.agencevipcar.fr).

    By Bus and Train (Orlyval and RER)

    Air France (+33 1 41 56 8900/ http://cars.airfrance.fr) has coach service between Orly and Invalides every 15 minutes from 6am to 11pm for EUR 7.50. Jetbus darts between Orly and Villejuif-Louis Aragon Metro station, which links with Line 7. RAPT's (+33 1 44 68 2020/ http://www.ratp.fr) Orlybus will cart you from either terminal to the Denfert-Rochereau metro station, an efficient and popular option among travelers. Bus 180 departs from the south terminal and terminates at the Porte de Choisy metro station with stops at various RER stations in between. Train service has two options: Catch a free shuttle bus from either terminal to the Pont de Rungis, Orly Station and hop the RER C line train, which leaves for Paris every 15 minutes. The other route is via the Orlyval monorail, which leaves each terminal's arrivals area every seven minutes, for the Antony station where the RER B line heads into Paris.

    Getting Around

    To the credit of Napoleon III and his much maligned administrative chief (and city planner) Georges Haussmann, Paris was transformed from a battle torn dilapidated walled town into the cherished urban showcase that it is today. The relatively compact 20 districts (arrondissements) unfold clockwise like a spiraled croissant with the Seine splitting the city into a right bank and a left bank. Broad tree lined avenues give way to squares that branch out to narrow cobblestone streets and even thinner pedestrian alleyways filled with shops or cafes or even markets. Thus, walking is the best means to get around, and each new street and each new corner presents another focal point and another example of the city's envied civic artistry.

    By Metro, Bus and RER

    RAPT (+33 8 92 69 32 46/http://www.ratp.fr) coordinates and manages the city's comprehensive public transit system, which consists of 14 metro lines and nearly 300 stations, more than 400 bus routes, three tram lines and the Réseau Express Régional (RER) suburban rail network. The system is divided into six zones, although in most cases tourists will stay within the first three zones, and various ticket packages are available ranging from single one way fares to a carnet (book of ten). A carnet is around EUR 11.10, whereas a single ticket is EUR 1.50. A Paris Visite pass allows unlimited rides on all forms of public transport and comes in blocks of 1-5 days and for 1-6 zones. You can purchase a card at either airport or any metro, RER, tram station or bus counter.

    Although the network may appear confusing at first once you pick up a map it is actually quite uncomplicated to decipher. Plus, the fact that metro stations are seldom located more than a few blocks from any point in the city center makes it one of the most convenient in Europe. The metro stations are marked with an 'M' and the lines are marked by number (1-14). RER trains are listed by letter (A-E). Because of the numerous forks on the rail lines, especially on RER routes, it is essential to know the terminus of the train you are catching. This way you will avoid hopping on the wrong train, which is easy to do if you are not paying attention. Buses, also listed by number (20-96 in the 20 districts), once slogged along in Paris traffic but now dedicated lanes have made them more efficient. The three tram lines reside on the outskirts of the city and are rarely used by tourists. Balabus is a public bus that offers a fifty minute tour of the area's major attractions like the Musée d'Orsay, Louvre, Notre Dame and the Opera Bastille.

    Trains run from around 5:30a until about 1:00a daily. On Fridays and Saturdays, the Metro runs up to 2:00a. Bus service usually ends around 8p-10p. Night buses operate after hours.

    By Car

    Driving in Paris may be challenging, but it is not as bad as driving in other European cities like Rome or Barcelona. Parisian drivers are a sophisticated sort (they actually slow to a stop at yellow lights) but being behind the wheel does bring out their primal urges. Just try changing lanes during rush hour. Traffic on the outskirts of the city and on major boulevards in the city center inches along at a snail's pace and parking is literally non existent especially after dark. You may end up parking a full metro ride from your hotel, because most do not have lots or garages. And just because you see locals prop up on the sidewalk, don't follow the lead: the city has little qualms about towing at all hours of the night.

    Roads marked with an "A" (Autoroutes) are wide, speedy (128km/80mph speed limits) expressways that usually involve tolls once you venture outside the major cities. Roads designated with an "N" (National) are two lanes and toll free. Many parallel the main expressways, which is convenient, but the roads do have a few drawbacks: 1) due to the two lane set up and the lower speed limit it takes longer to get where your are going, 2) they are riddled with roundabouts, 3) if you are driving cross country you will literally go through the center of every town on the way. That is quaint at first but becomes tiring after a while as all the towns begin to look the same 4) France's truckers use the roads and have no problem letting you know it is their road and 5) construction delays are seemingly ever occurring.

    The A1 and N1 from the north, A13, N13 and N14 from the northwest, N12 from the west, A11 from the southwest, A10, N20, A6 from the south and the A3 and A4 from the east all converge on the city. The Boulevard Périphérique (periphery) winds around the circumference of the city, but once you exit off this road you are quickly thrown into an organic maze of streets that make having a map a must to navigate.

    By Taxi

    Taxis are good late at night after the trains stop running. Ranks are positioned about every couple of blocks, outside the airports, train stations and many of the main tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower. Rates start at EUR 2.50 and the meter rates are around EUR .60-EUR 1.50 per kilometer with a minimum charge of EUR 5. You can also call or have your hotel dispatch a cab. Companies include: Taxis G7 (+33 1 47 39 4739/ http://www.taxisg7.fr/) and Taxis Bleus +33 891 70 1010/ http://www.taxis-bleus.com/).

    By Batobus

    Batobus (+33 1 4411 3399/http://www.batobus.com/english/index.htm) has a fleet of big glass window boats that float up and down the Seine seasonally stopping at eight attractions including the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame.

    By Bike

    An effort by the city to reduce the congestion and pollution caused by cars has led to a service called Vélib (a combination of "vélo," meaning bike, and "liberté," meaning freedom) that allows paying members to borrow bikes from the numerous stations around the city and return them at any other station. Both year-long subscriptions and one-day passes are available, with the first half hour free and the subsequent time on a sliding scale to promote the prompt return of bicycles and their continued rotation. More information can be found at the website: http://www.velib.paris.fr/

    Although you will probably want to avoid the cobblestoned traffic nightmare of Champs-Elysées, it is not a bad idea to see Paris by bike, although it does have its hazards. More than 60 miles of bike lanes share major thoroughfares, along with trails through parks and along the Seine making the city rather biker friendly. Plus, it may be the only spot on the globe where you can see commuter cyclists maneuvering the streets of Paris with a cigarette in hand. Paris à Vélo (+33 1 4887 6001/ http://www.parisvelosympa.com) rents cruiser and tandem bikes and provides guided tours.

    Leaving Paris By Rail

    Six major stations and various smaller ones encircle Paris sharing the rail workload. For the most part each serves trains arriving and departing form the point of compass on which the station is perched (i.e. east, west, south). But there is considerable overlapping, especially for domestic routes, so make sure you arrive at the right station if you are booked in advance. Stations include:

    Gare du Nord (home to Eurostar (http://www.eurostar.com), which has daily high speed jaunts between Paris and London, via the Chunnel, and Paris and Brussels. It is also the hub for trains exiting to northern France, Holland, and Belgium). Gare de L'Est is the international gateway to central Europe with trains sprinting to Germany, Luxembourg, Austria and Switzerland. Gare de Lyon links Paris with Lyon, the French Riviera, Italy and points in Switzerland. Gare d' Austerlitz serves the Loire Valley, southwest France, and Spain. Gare Montparnasse links Paris to western and southwestern France.

    The quantity of train operators and the mind boggling number of passes (Inter Rail, Eurail Select, Eurail Flexi, Eurail Saver, Eurail Flexi Saver, Euro Domino, etc,) being peddled can be overwhelming, especially for a novice rail traveler. The last thing you want to do is have a brain freeze and end up in Brussels when you packed the bathing suit for beach time in Barcelona. Rail Europe (+1 877 257 2887/http://www.raileurope.com) does an excellent job of making sense of the complicated origami of high speed and traditional (slow) routes and breaks down the difference between the likes of TGV, Thalys, Eurostar, Talgos, AVE and the seemingly endless array of rail service providers. It also lists the various pass options so you can find the right fit for your travel.

    The country's national rail company, Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF) (http://www.sncf.com), is famous for its track record of efficiency (meaning trains are usually on time; a rarity in Europe) and its race-car on rails TGV (http://www.tgv.com) bullet trains, which link Paris with the major cities of France and with Geneva, Switzerland. Daily service to London is available through Eurostar (http://www.eurostar.com/). About 20 trains link Paris to London in 2 hours and a half. Daily service to Brussels is also available on Thalys (http://www.thalys.com), which also links Paris with Amsterdam, Cologne and Geneva among other northern European cities. Artesia trains run high speed routes between Paris and Milan and Paris and Turin up to five times a day. Elipsos/Tago Night Trainhotels has various classes of overnight sleeper service to Madrid on the Fanscico de Goya and to Barcelona on the Talgo Joan Miro. You can also book night trains to Berlin, Hamburg and Hanover.

    Distance to Paris from other cities

  • London, United Kingdom
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • Venice, Italy
  • Basel, Switzerland
  • Bordeaux, France
  • Lyon, France
  • Dusseldorf, Germany
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Calais, France
  • New York, NY
  • Boston, MA
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Dallas, TX
  • Washington, DC
  • Montreal, Canada
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Los Angeles, CA

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