When you fly to Paris, you actually don’t fly into Paris. You will be just outside of Paris – about a 40 minute metro ride. There are 3 airports possible to fly into Orly (ORY) which is 14km South of central Paris, Beauvais (BVA) which is 90km North West of Paris, or Charles de Gaulle (CDG) which is 23km North East of Paris. The following tips will be for CDG to Paris.
Although I never took a taxi in France, I was warned by EVERYONE I met to not take one, especially from the airport. I took a couple of Ubers, only due to the fact that the metro closes at 1:40am everyday (hint hint – take note of that if you go out late), and they were decently priced, but still more expensive than the metro. So, this is my justification for advising you to travel by metro, lol.
As a novice traveler, I have not had much experience with international airports. I’ve actually only flown round-trip to Toronto, Canada from Los Angeles…..I didn’t even leave the continent and they basically treat it like traveling between states. It was very straight forward and we used Ubers as it was a work-expensed trip. For Paris, I had read prior to leaving that you can take the train to the inner city (compliments to my hostel’s website, 3 Ducks Hostel – not the best directions, though).
1. Find Your Terminal
When you land at CDG, you will exit your plane to one of three terminals. The trains to Paris are at Terminal 3. If you landed there, great, skip ahead to the next section, for everyone else, you will need to find the tram that takes you from terminal to terminal and the parking garages. The tram is more like a mini subway/metro within the airport, similar to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, NV (trying to pull from any experience I have haha). Find a spot on the tram and take it to Terminal 3, there will also be signs saying that Terminal 3 is where the Metro and RER Trains are. The RER B is a dedicated train that goes to and from Paris, this is the train you need to be looking for.
2. Purchase your ticket
Once you exit the tram, you will need to find a ticket dispenser, they are automated. You will take a right out of the tram and walk about 50 feet, it will be on your right-hand side. To get into the city of Paris, you will be taking the RER B towards Paris.
Make sure you make the correct selection on the screen, they offer many languages so that you can understand what you are buying, but they also offer a lot of different types of ticket options. RER train is what you want, you only need a 1-way for now, but if you’d like to be efficient and trust that you won’t lose a ticket for the duration of your stay, buy two! You can pay with notes (cash) or credit card.
3. Take your ticket and board!
You gain access to the trains by inserting your ticket at the entry gate in the yellow “insert area” and it will pop up on top closer to the plastic gate. Voila, you can pass. For the RER B, go straight and take the stairs to your right –
side note: before taking stairs down to any metro/train there will always be two sides and two entries (well, most of the time) and there will always be a sign on each side showing you which direction the train is going by listing all of the stops the train is to make from the station. ALWAYS check, I thought I was getting used to the metro system and accidently got on at the correct station, but in the wrong direction- got off at the next station to go back, got on the wrong direction again…..45 mins later I was back on track lol
board the train and make your way into Paris! It will be about a 40-45 minute ride. If you need help figuring out which station to get off at, or how to get around within Paris, check out my post How to Use the Metro & Travel In Paris: 4 Must-Have Apps for the Solo Traveler. Here you will learn how to determine which stop you need to get off at, and the walking directions from the station to your destination.
For more information directly from CDG’s website, click here for some official info!
Thank you for reading! As always, if you have any feedback, comments, or suggestions let me know, and if you liked this blog please like and share it. If you have any other tips, feel free to comment! Thanks 🙂