Paris transfer: How to get from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Central Paris

Traveling has changed a lot these days, it’s a whole lot easier than it used to be. With all the gadgets, tablets and smartphones, every piece of information we need is at our finger tips where ever we go. Finding our hotel, direction for a nearest pizza place, language interpreter, and hotel reviews are just a click away.

Although we have all these smart items of convenience, sometimes things still don’t work out as we expect. For instance, when I was in Europe, my google map was showing that my hotel was in a totally different direction from what it actually was, nightmare! I’ve lost minutes walking around with heavy luggage in tow to find out that I’m going in the totally wrong direction. Help me Siri!

So if you’re heading off to Paris and whether you are using an app to get to your destination here are some easy guides and tips to make your seamless transfer from Charles de Gaulle airport to central Paris.

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Arrival Hall
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Signs at the Arrival Hall

Navigating your transfer from the largest airport in France, Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) – Roissy Airport is easy whether you speak French or not. The airport has three terminals (in order), TERMINAL 1, TERMINAL 3 – Roissypole, and TERMINAL 2 and it’s linked by CDGVAL, a free shuttle train that travels between the three terminals. It’s the easiest and convenient way to transfer from Terminal to Terminal, car parks, RER-TVG railway stations, Hotel Courtesy Buses, Taxis and Bus Pick Up Stands.

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Express Walkway
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Follow the Train Indicator

Transferring from CDG to Central Paris by RER (Réseau Express Régional) train:

Once you’ve picked up your luggage from the conveyer, just follow the sign, SORTIE (Exit) to the main arrival hall. Follow the sign “PARIS RER’ and “Train” indication. From Terminal 1, catch the CDGVAL to Terminal 3, second stop and follow the train indicator on the second level. If your aircraft landed at Terminal 3 or Terminal 2 just follow the “SORTIE’ AND “PARIS RER” signs for easy access to the RER station lobby. At the lobby you’ll find the train ticket office and rows of ticket vending machines. At the ticket office, you can ask all your questions about your transfer or how you get to your final destination. If you are staying in Paris longer, its a great idea to purchase your Paris-Pass here, don’t forget to pick up a free copy of the Paris map, sometimes the old ways of map reading are the best. The vending machines have an English translation option, and tickets are sold by zones. Some machines attract long queues during busy hours but are very efficient, however, if you’re a first timer, it’s best to use the ticket office so you don’t hold up the queue while navigating the multiple screen menus of the vending machine. After purchasing your ticket, you’ll then proceed to the platform and catch the train to Paris with direction to Robinson, Antony, St-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse.

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Train Ticket Office
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Train Ticket Vending Machines

For TGV-High Speed Trains that connect CDG airport with several French main cities, the station lobby is located underneath Terminal 2.

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Entrance to Main Train Lines – High Speed Trains(left) and RER Trains (right)
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Main Entrance of RER train platforms

Fare: Ticket (Billet lle-de-France) from Aéroport CDG to Pari (Zone 5 to Zone 1 ) – 10.30€ (adult fare), 7€ (children 4 – 9), free (children under 4). Prices as of September 1, 2017.

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Train Ticket Sample Zone 1-3

Tips:

If transferring late in the afternoon or early evening to Paris, the trains are crowded especially from the third station until Gare du Nord, it’s the rush hour, commuters also catch the same train to Paris. It’s best to position yourself where you can easily store your luggage and access to the doors. Believe me, it’s difficult to alight quickly when it’s packed. The word ‘PARDON’ (Sorry) madame or monsieur comes handy as you make your way out to the exit doors.

The Paris Visite Pass – 24 hour unlimited travels between Zones 1 to 3 for 13.20€ is the most easiest, convenient and economical way of traveling around Paris and it’s available for the duration of 1,2,3,5 days. The pass allows you to use all of the public transport network; the metro, tramway, bus RER and SNFC Transillien networks.

Transferring from CDG to Central Paris by Bus:

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Le Bus Direct

The Le Bus Direct (formerly Air France) is a bus service between CDG and central Paris, you’ll find them outside the Terminals. Superbly engineered buses with free wifi and USB plugs in each seat. You can pre-book your tickets or buy the ticket when you board the bus, there are no pre-seating plans, so sit wherever you want. Check out the destination with the ground personnel as there are two separate services between CDG and central Paris. One service for example is from CDG airport to Eiffel Tower via Porte Maillot / Étoile Champs-Élysées / Trocadéro cost Return 30€ and Single 17€. Children 4-11 years old Return – 20€, Single 10€, 4 years old and below, free. The travelling time is one hour but it could be much more with traffic along the motorway during peak hours.

Other bus service from CDG to central Paris is by the local buses 350/351. Journey with these buses will take time as they stop at every single bus stop to Paris. Aside from the RER Train and Le Bus, you can transfer by Taxi and door to door private minibuses.

Tips:

Knowing a few basic French phrases can help you to navigate around France and make your life a little bit easier, most people enjoy hearing someone trying to speak in the native tongue, and a please and thank you can go a long way. Simple words like; Bonjour (hello), Merci (thanks), Au Revoir (good bye), Oui (yes), Comment ca va? (how are you) just to name a few. Everywhere you go, you will hear these words. So try to master a few phrases.

Like any other cities in the world, beware of pickpocket at all times.

Bon voyage !

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