Travel Tips: Arriving in Paris

May 20, 2020  |  By Peg Kern
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Travel Tips: Arriving in Paris

I have to be perfectly honest and say that Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris is not my favorite airport to fly into or out of – and even worse is trying to make a connection through it. It’s too large, and frankly I’ve missed too many connections there. But there are two things I like about it that pretty much cancel out all the rest. One, it’s the easiest way to get to Paris. And let’s face it, that’s a pretty big plus, since Paris is hands-down one of our most popular destinations for cooking vacations and cooking courses! Two, even though it’s located pretty far outside the city, it’s very easy to get from the airport to the city center by train.

Sign in CDG airport
There are many sites that will give you detailed instruction on taking the train from CDG to Paris, but we think sometimes they are overly complicated, so here are the instructions in a nutshell.

The train that goes to CDG is the RER (not the metro or metropolitan), and there are 2 stations within the airport. Usually you will arrive into terminal 2 from the US (or will be bussed to terminal 2). For your departure, you might need the Terminal 1/3 stop, depending on your airline.

When you arrive in CDG follow the signs for “Trains,” “RER Paris by train,” or “Gare SNCF Railway Station.”

See more travel tips on visiting Paris, including visiting Paris in the Spring and Paris Neighborhoods.

RER vending machines at CDG airport
Once at the station you can buy your RER tickets at an automated vending machine using your credit card as long as your credit card is chip-enabled. Otherwise, you’ll need to go to the ticket counter. You can buy 1-way or round-trip tickets (the latter is simply 2 tickets), and they cost (as of this posting) 10 Euros each way (7 Euros each way for children). The vending machine has an “English” option, so it’s pretty easy.

The trains run frequently in both directions. Don’t worry about a schedule, you’ll never have to wait too long. For the terminal 2 station they depart from tracks 11 and 12. The sign on the track will tell you where it is going. Unless you’re traveling beyond Paris, pretty much any train leaving from track 11 or 12 is going to work.

You put the ticket in the feeder (magnetic stripe down), then retrieve it and walk through the turnstiles. Don’t forget to retrieve it and keep it – you may need it to exit the station.

On an RER B train
One you’re on the train, there is a lit-up schedule that indicates where the train will be going and which stops it will make. Find a seat (if you can), and enjoy the ride!

The trip takes about 30 minutes and you’re most likely going to want to get off at Gare du Nord or Les Halles (where you can transfer to almost any Metro line).

Questions? Just let us know. You can contact us here.

(Please note the information in this blog is accurate as of February 2017.)

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