Air Travel

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TRAVEL TIPS

Air Travel

Flying time to Paris is about 7 hours from New York, 8 hours from Chicago, and 11 hours from Los Angeles. Flying time from London to Paris is 1½ hours.

The French are notoriously stringent about security, particularly for international flights. Don't be surprised by the armed security officers patrolling the airports, and be prepared for very long check-in lines. Peak travel times in France are between mid-July and September, during the Christmas–New Year's holidays in late December and early January, and during the February school break. Through these periods airports are especially crowded, so allow plenty of extra time. Never leave your luggage unattended, even for a moment. Unattended bags are considered a security risk and may be destroyed.

Airline and Airport Links.com. Airline and Airport Links.com has links to many of the world's airlines and airports. www.airlineandairportlinks.com.

Airline Security Issues

Transportation Security Administration. The Transportation Security Administration has answers for almost any question that might come up. www.tsa.gov.

Airports

The major airports are Charles de Gaulle (CDG, also known as Roissy), 26 km (16 miles) northeast of Paris, and Orly (ORY), 16 km (10 miles) south of Paris. Both are easily accessible from the city. Whether you take a car or bus to travel from Paris to the airport on your departure, always allot an extra hour because of the often horrendous traffic tie-ups in the airports themselves (especially in peak seasons and at peak times). Free light-rail connections (Orlyval and CDGval), available between the major terminals, are one option for avoiding some of the traffic mess, but still give yourself enough time to navigate these busy airports.

Airport Information

Charles de Gaulle/Roissy and Orly. 3950; 0033/1–70–36–39–50 ; www.adp.fr.

Ground Transportation

By bus from CDG/Roissy: Roissybus, operated by the RATP (Paris Transit Authority), runs between Charles de Gaulle (T1 and T3) and the Opéra every 15 minutes from 6 am to 8:45 pm and then every 20 minutes until 12:30 am; the cost is €11. The trip takes about 60 minutes in regular traffic, about 90 minutes at rush hour.

By shuttle from CDG/Roissy: The Air France shuttle service is a comfortable option, and you don't need to have flown the carrier to use it. Line 2 goes from the airport to Paris's Charles de Gaulle Étoile and Porte Maillot métro stations from 5:45 am to 11 pm. It leaves every 30 minutes until 9:45 pm, with two further services at 10:20 pm and 11 pm. Tickets cost €17 one way when bought onboard (it's marginally cheaper if you book online or buy a return ticket). Line 4 goes to Montparnasse and the Gare de Lyon from 6 am to 10 pm. Buses run every 30 minutes and cost €17.50. Passengers arriving in Terminal 1 need to take Exit 32; Terminals 2A and 2C go to Exit C10; 2B and 2D take Exit B1; 2E and 2F go to the Arrivals-level bus station between the two terminals. There’s a 15% discount on any of these buses for parties of four or more.

A number of van companies, such as SuperShuttle Paris, serve both Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports. Prices are set, so there are no surprises even if traffic is a snail-pace nightmare. To make a reservation, call or reserve online at least one week in advance, and an air-conditioned van with a bilingual chauffeur will be waiting for you. Confirm the day before. The shared van service costs a third of their exclusive non-stop option but picks up other passengers, which adds at least 20 minutes to the trip.

By taxi from CDG/Roissy: Taxis are generally the least desirable mode of transportation into the city. If you're traveling at peak hours, journey times—and, by extension, prices—are unpredictable. At best, the ride takes 30 minutes, but it can be as long as an hour; fares can range from €50 to €70. Wecab, a subsidiary of Taxis G7 () offers a special shared taxi service between CDG and Paris that costs 40% less than a regular cab. Taxis G7 also offers Familycabs with baby car seats and boosters. ParisGreenCar is an eco-friendly alternative; it operates an energy-efficient fleet of hybrid taxis and makes a €0.50 charitable donation for every booking. Whatever company you choose, only take an official taxi from designated areas outside the terminal; these cabs have both an illuminated roof sign and a meter.

By train from CDG/Roissy: The cheapest—and arguably the fastest—way into Paris from CDG is via the RER-B Line, the suburban express train, which runs from 5 am to 11 pm daily. The free CDGVal lightrail connects each airport terminal (except 2G) to the Roissypôle RER station in 6 minutes. For Terminal 2G, take the free N2 "navette" shuttle bus outside Terminal 2F. Trains to central Paris (Les Halles, Gare du Nord, St-Michel, Luxembourg) depart every 10 to 20 minutes. The fare (including métro connection) is €10, and journey time is usually about 30 minutes.

By bus from Orly: RATP's Orlybus leaves every 10 to 20 minutes for the Denfert-Rochereau métro station in Montparnasse from Exit C in Orly South and Exit D in Orly West. The cost is €7.70. The cheapest bus is the RATP city bus 183, which shuttles you from métro Porte de Choisy (Line 7) to Orly South (Gate C, stop 4) or West (Gate D/G at Arrivals) for just €2. It departs every 30 to 40 minutes from 6 am to 12:20 am (frequency may be reduced on Sundays and holidays); travel time is approximately 50 minutes.

By shuttle from Orly: Air France's Line 1 shuttle bus runs from Orly to Les Invalides, Étoile, and Montparnasse every 20 to 30 minutes from 6 am to 11:40 pm. (You need not have flown on Air France to use this service.) The fare is €12.50, and journey time is between 45 and 60 minutes, depending on traffic. To find the bus, take Exit K from Orly South or Exit D from Orly West. Private van companies also provide shuttle service.

By taxi from Orly: You’ll find taxi stands at Orly South as you exit the baggage claim area at "M" and at Orly West by Arrivals "B" (look for icons indicating taxis ahead). A cab downtown will cost €40 to €55 and take at least 25 minutes if traffic is light.

By train from Orly: The cheapest way to get into Paris by train is to take the shuttle bus ("Paris par le train") from Exit F at Orly South or Exit G at Orly West to the station RER-C Pont de Rungis–Aéroport d'Orly. Trains to Paris leave every 15 to 20 minutes. The fare is €2.50 (shuttle) plus €4.35 (RER), and journey time is about 35 minutes. Another slightly faster option is to take RATP's monorail service, Orlyval, which runs between the Antony RER-B station and Orly Airport daily every 8 to 15 minutes from 6 am to 11 pm. Passengers arriving in the South Terminal should use the Orlyval counter between Exits K and J; take Exit A if you've arrived in the West Terminal. The fare to downtown Paris is €12.05 and includes the RER transfer.

A Paris-Visite pass allows you unlimited public transportation over 1, 2, 3, or 5 consecutive days and includes airport travel. Prices start at €11.15

Transfers Between Airports

To travel between Paris's airports, there are several options. The RER-B goes from CDG to Paris St-Michel–Notre Dame where you transfer to the RER-C to Orly West. Travel time is about 60 to 80 minutes, and tickets cost €16.15. Air France's Line 3 shuttle bus also runs between the airports for €21 one way, every 30 minutes; the trip takes about 70 minutes. Taxis are available but expensive: from €70 to €90, depending on traffic.

Contacts

Air France Bus. 08–92–35–08–20; en.lescarsairfrance.com.

ParisGreenCar. 01–82–28–38–70; www.parisgreencar.com.

RATP. 3246; www.ratp.fr.

SuperShuttle Paris. 08–11–70–78–12; www.supershuttle.fr.

Flights

As one of the premier destinations in the world, Paris is serviced by a great many international carriers and a surprisingly large number of U.S.-based airlines. Air France (which partners with Delta) is the French flag carrier and offers numerous direct flights (often several per day) between Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport and New York City's JFK Airport; Newark, New Jersey; Washington's Dulles Airport; and the cities of Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Houston, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Most other North American cities are served through Air France’s partnership with Delta via connecting flights. American-based carriers are usually less expensive but offer, on the whole, fewer nonstop direct flights. United Airlines has nonstop flights to Paris from Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. American Airlines offers nonstop service from numerous cities, including New York City's JFK, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Miami. In Canada, Air France and Air Canada are the leading choices for travel from Toronto and Montréal (in peak season departures are often daily); Air Transat also serves these destinations in summer. From London, Air France and British Airways offer up to 15 flights per day in peak season. In addition, direct routes link Manchester, Edinburgh, and Southampton with Paris. Ryanair, easyJet, CityJet, Flybe, and Aer Lingus offer direct service from Paris to Dublin, Birmingham, London, Glasgow, Zurich, Copenhagen, Madrid, Marrakech, Prague, Brussels, and other cities. Tickets are available online only and need to be booked well in advance to get the best prices—a one-way ticket from Paris to Dublin could cost a mere €45, for example. But with the low-cost airlines you must be mindful of auxiliary charges that could set you back about €40 for a single piece of checked luggage.

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