Getting To Paris From The Airports
Paris is about an hour away from either of the major airports that serve Paris. Charles de Gaulle is the one most used by North American travelers. Orly is more commonly used by travelers coming in from other countries.
No matter which Airport you fly into, you will still need to get into Paris. Once you've collected your luggage and stretched your back, it's time to get to Paris. Fortunately, there are many ways to do this.
Note: Most of my information is geared towards getting to Paris from CDG airport since most Americans will land there. For more specific information about transportation from Orly, see the link to the right and choose Orly. The options are similar.
Tips Before You Ride Into Paris
The Airport Shuttle to Paris City Center
There are several to choose from. From Orly airport, it is called the OrlyBus. And from Charles de Gaulle airport, it is called the RoissyBus (Roissy is the actual town where the airport is located and so the airport is sometimes referred to as Roissy airport.) See the link below for the prices, times, and location. BEWARE, don't get on the shuttle that takes you to the other airport!
I do like this way as it's inexpensive and gives you a nice view. If it's your first time in Europe, you may be surprised to see all the farm land - right there. The bus drops you near the Opera Garnier and, an amazing wow right off the bat!
However, study your Paris Map well before you get off because from here, you will most likely need to get to your apartment or hotel. And this is where traveling lite will be to your advantage.
Les Cars AirFrance to Paris
This is a shuttle bus service run by AirFrance. Although it is a bit more expensive, you have more choices of where to land your feet in Paris:
The Paris Metro Bus
The Paris city bus runs two lines from the city. Like Les Cars AirFrance, they will take you to different parts of the city:
Taking The RER Into Paris
The RER is part of the amazing metro transportation system Paris has. It is actually a train that has few stops and so it is quite fast. RER B is available at CDG and will take you to:
Taking A Parisian Taxi
Sometimes, it's just easier to let someone drive you door to door. It's much more expensive (50-80E instead of 10-18E). But when you're tired, disoriented, and not up for an adventure right off the bat, this is a great option. See Paris Taxi Services to get phone numbers and other useful information.
Car Services For Paris
I really never imagined myself using this option. But summer of 2010, we arrived early in the morning with two kids about to hit the fatigue wall. I also was going to my Aunt's house in the suburb of St. Cloud, not easily nor quickly reached by public transportation. To be sure that no one hated anyone else before we got to nap, I hired a car service. It was AWESOME! I have to say, there was something very appealing about coming through customs and looking around for a driver holding a card with my name on it!
When you book a service, you pay up front based on where you're going, let them know your flight number and approximate time of arrival, and they verify it before waiting for you. You tell them how much luggage and they'll bring the correct vehicle.
There are a number of services you can choose from. You can do a search for "car service Paris airport".
Driving Into Paris
If you plan to rent a car while in Paris, you will get good directions directly from the rental agency. Frankly, the public transportation in Paris is so good and the driving in Paris so crazy, you should really think hard about this option.
My Preferred Way To Get In To Paris
I have used a few of these methods. Sometimes I know ahead of time which I will use, and other times I choose what ever seems to strike my fancy when I get through customs. I don't really suggest that unless you have been to Paris many times and feel comfortable with flying by the seat of your pants.
The last two trips had me staying in apartments near the Canal St. Martin. They were one metro stop from the Gare de Nord and so the RER was perfect. You need to buy the ticket from an actual agent in the main building of the airport and not from a machine. The RER trains are downstairs from that.
Charles de Gaulle Airport and Paris
Orly Airport and Paris