Points, Miles & Life

Travel adventures on this earthly pilgrimage

Category: Mass Transit

Best way to get from CDG Airport to Paris

When researching destinations, the first thing on my mind is how to get to and from the airport. For Paris, the main airport is Charles de Gaulle (CDG). It is the hub of Air France, and is primarily used by the major/full-service carriers. This is where we were flying into, so I wanted to find was the best way to get from CDG airport to Paris.

Luckily, there are a number of options. Some may appeal more to the cash-strapped backpacker, while other may be better for the time-sensitive business traveler.

Which makes it a bit hard to determine the best way to get from CDG airport to Paris center. But we’ll try. Here are four options:

Convenient: RER B Train

One convenient option is the RER B train that departs regularly from CDG. Expect to wait 10-15 minutes for a departure. The cost is 10.30€ per person (7€ for kids 4-9), and you can use the ticket machines to purchase your fare by card. The machines do have English as a language option. For myself and the kids, we paid 27.60€ for our transportation from CDG to Paris.

best way to get from cdg airport to paris

The RER B takes about 30 minutes from CDG airport and will take you to Gare du Nord as the first major stop. Additional stops include Saint-Michel Notre-Dame, Luxembourg Gardens, and Port Royal, among others.

The train does make local stops along the way to the center of Paris. At least ours did. I don’t know if this is standard. Maybe only some do this and we ended up on a local train.

From each of the stops, you can catch at least one metro line to other destinations within Paris. This is what we did, catching line 5 to Republique from Gare du Nord. You must have your train ticket to exit the train.

One detail I missed is that you can apparently use your RER B ticket to transfer to the metro for free. I wasn’t aware of this. We bought three metro tickets needlessly.

Roissybus

This was my backup option if I decided not to take the train. We were originally going to be staying at the Holiday Inn Paris Opera and Grands Boulevards, and using the bus would make more sense as it takes you to the Opera neighborhood.

If you want to take the Roissybus, you can buy a ticket at the bus station at CDG. The cost is €12. Busese run about every 20 minutes.

The transit time of the bus varies based on traffic. Generally, it will probably take 45 minutes to an hour to get you from CDG to Paris. Because we weren’t staying in the Opera area, the bus didn’t make much sense, as it is both more expensive and takes longer than the train.

Shared Van

A shared van could possibly save you a bit of transit time, but with some added cost. It won’t be as expensive as a taxi or Uber, however, since they are transporting multiple people. The plus side is that you will be taken to your actual destination and won’t need to transfer anywhere.

Prices vary depending on your destination. Transit between our hotel (Crowne Plaza Paris Republique) and the airport with Super Shuttle prices at €47 each way for three people. This is definitely more than the train, but it isn’t outrageous.

You can schedule your pick up and drop off ahead of time and pay ahead of time as well, which is convenient.

Potentially fastest: Uber/Taxi

If time is your most critical factor, Uber or a Taxi may be the way to go. Just expect to pay a whole lot more than for the train or bus. However, if you are traveling as a family, the cost differential might not end up being quite as bad.

A taxi or Uber can get you to the Paris city center in ~40 minutes, but it obviously depends where in Paris you are staying. The benefit here is that you will be taken directly to your destination rather than to a station from where you have to take a city bus or metro to your final destination.

But it comes at a cost. Uber will probably cost upwards of €50, and I’d expect a taxi to cost even more. Might be worth it if you’re traveling as a group and can pile several people into a car.

Personally, I don’t value the time savings that highly. I’d rather stick with the train, which in my opinion is generally the best way to get from CDG airport to Paris after reviewing all the options.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, it really depends on your needs to determine the best way to get from CDG Airport to Paris. The train is probably the most consistent and economical for the majority of folks. I’d maybe consider a rideshare if in a group, but I probably wouldn’t consider the other options, mainly due to cost.

Roissybus photo used under CC 2.0 license

4 Reasons To Consider BART While Visiting The Bay Area

BART_at_station

If you live in or near the Bay Area, this whole post will be pretty mundane. Leave now and go find something more interesting to read. If mass transit isn’t your thing, you should probably leave as well. Have fun paying for rental cars, parking, and/or taxis. Now for everyone left, if you ever consider visiting San Francisco, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is a great system to use. Here are four reasons to consider the Bay Areas primary mass transit system:

air_bart

The driver-less AirBART tram runs between the Oakland Coliseum BART station and OAK airport.

  1. Airport access. Both San Francisco International (SFO) and Oakland International (OAK) airports have direct connections to BART. At SFO, the station is literally attached to the north end of the International Terminal. This is extremely nice. At OAK you have to take the AirBART service which runs you from the airport to the Coliseum BART station (and also the Amtrak station), but it is nearly as easy. If you are like me and prefer to use mass transit if at all possible when visiting an urban area, the BART connections make visiting San Francisco a breeze. The downtown stations will put you within walking distance of many nice hotels.

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    The SFO BART station. It is directly accessible from the G side of the international terminal.

  2. Parking. Because my wife and I live in NorCal, we have driven to the Bay Area and flown out of both SFO and OAK on several occasions. Over time we have learned that leaving the car at a BART station saves us from paying expensive airport parking. A select number of stations offer long-term permits, which you can book online through Select-A-Spot. The parking fee is at most equivalent to off-airport parking at the Oakland airport, and some stations charge as low as $5 per day. Weekends are also free is you book a period that spans them. Parking at an outlying station can also save time and lessen stress if you would be fighting rush hour traffic. Among others, my wife and I have left our car before at Oakland, Fruitvale, Pittsburg/Bay Point, Millbrae, and Dublin/Pleasanton stations. Note: the regulations do state that you must ride the system round-trip (but I honestly don’t know how they would catch you if you didn’t). The parking deal is so great that I sometimes leave my car at a BART station for a few days when I drive to the Bay Area for work. It beats paying for hotel parking if staying in or near downtown, and it’s one less thing to worry about for the week.

    east-dublin-bart-station-parking

    Many of the large parking garages in the BART system allow long-term airport parking.

  3. Connection to Muni. If you need to travel within San Francisco, you’ll have to look to Muni. The BART stations along Market Street (Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell, and Civic Center) in downtown SF allow direct connection between the two systems. The Muni trains literally run on a platform directly above and parallel to BART. Above ground options are easily accessible as well, and you can easily get to nearly any part of San Francisco from one of the bus connections along market street. If you are looking for the iconic San Francisco cable cars, hop off at Powell Street and you can ride up Nob Hill on one.

    PCC_car_in_San_Francisco

    You can catch many Muni options easily from any of the downtown San Francisco BART stations.

  4. It is easy to navigate.  Not including the AirBART connection, there are only 5 transfer stations in the entire system, and you really only need to change platforms at two of them. There aren’t really multiple options between Point A and Point B. Nor are there express trains (something that makes NYC subway travel substantially more efficient, but way more confusing, at least for tourists). The only variations are morning/evening train differences, and weekday versus weekend schedule. It is true that trains don’t run as often as in some other cities, but the schedule is published and typically very reliable.

    map

    The weekday BART map. The system serves significant portions of the East Bay in addition to SF.

There are definitely some limitations to the system. The only truly ‘local’ service by BART is in downtown San Francisco, and the whole system overwhelmingly exists to transport people to and from the central business district. (Okay, I guess that UC Berkeley is another primary destination). In any case, San Francisco certainly isn’t Manhattan where you can find a subway station in less than 5 blocks in any direction. If you are trying to reach destinations in East Bay or the Silicon Valley, you will need to look at other options. Nevertheless, I still consider BART to be a fantastic option when visiting the City by the Bay. Add to it the great Uber coverage that exists in the city, and you’ll never have to drive and park on the hills of San Francisco!