Saturday, August 28, 2010

Paris Travel Tip II

How do you get into Paris from CDG (Charles de Gaulle Airport)?
It depends.... Take a taxi if:
  1. You are in a group of 3 or 4 people,
  2. You bring more than you can carry (tsk, tsk)*,
  3. You are directionally challenged and prone to getting lost,
  4. You are willing to spend €65+
  5. There is a grève (RER/Métro strike)
You can take a hotel bus making several stops before you are deposited at your hotel or take the RoissyBus which will take 1 hour or more depending on the traffic (if you are staying in Opéra district).

You can take the RER-B for €8,5 which will take you to stations shared with Métro stops. Buy your RER ticket at this green machine with cash. If you do not have Euros you may have a long wait in the line with the tourists. You may get on the Métro (with a ticket or pass) without coming up to the street level. I have been fortunate to ride the RER to St. Michel-Notre Dame and then take a short walk to one of my regular hotels in the 5ième.

If you are going to buy a Métro pass (1, 3, or 5 days) do not buy it at CDG as they only sell zones 1-6 and you may only need zones 1-3. If you plan ahead you may buy your Paris Visite online and have it mailed to you. However, do not buy online and print out a voucher as you will have to go to some random address on Rue de Rivoli to get your pass -- a pain. Paris Visite includes the RER, Métro, and busses and offers discounts (some museums, Disney, Printemps, etc).

If you are going to be in Paris for a longer period there are some economical options with NaviGo Découverte which is not restricted to residents of Paris. (let's talk about this)

I love the Paris Métro and find it easy to navigate -- Just don't get caught far from your hotel/apt as it is shutting down for the night (you know who you are). There is no advance warning -- it just stops and you are done for the night.

If you know where you are staying and some of the venues you will be going, this interactive Métro map is a great place to start planning your visit!

* Taxis charge by the bag. Tant pis pour vous.


jb said...

Just ask whichever of the silver-blond flossies it was (I forget - all tooo confusing) I guided from CDG into town.
RER machines take credit cards. You can't buy multiple tickets in one transaction, but that was the only downside.
Done and dusted in minutes

To "Take a taxi", add

#6 If you're prepared to waste 90 minutes during rushhour"

Shell Sherree said...

€65 for a taxi? Crumbs. This is great, practical info, Genie ~ wonderful!

Indie.Tea said...

Getting lost in Paris might be a good thing :-)

shari @ little blue deer said...

Okay, I will keep this on file for my next trip (in my dreams)! XX!

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

JB -- I am glad you mentioned the credit cards. I added another link for the RER tickets which is fabulous. In the first paragraph it mentions the "credit card" issue. The machines will not work with most North American credit cards, which in general do not have smart chips nor are PIN number protected.

The link also has a step by step instruction with photos and tips from the time you get off the plane until you get on the RER!

Shell -- If you can bypass the taxi, it is a quick means into Paris. Truthfully, my daughter and I take a taxi when we leave Paris as we have an extra bag each and leave the hotel or apt very early for CDG (5:30am). The quick trip before rush hour in a taxi with "bags" is easier and less stress.

Indie -- I love to get "lost" while wandering in Paris. For me it is not really "lost" but finding a new path. The best is to get on a bus and see where it takes you -- You are above ground, sitting down and can see a great deal.

Shari -- Come with us! With your wonderful blog and eye for beauty, you would have a great time.

Virginia said...

Where to begin. I've fallen into all those traps at one time or another. I'm not extravagant but sometimes a taxi is worth it, especially as you said, if you are still willing to play Russian roulette with your checked luggage. i've never had to wait more than a few min. for a taxi, but I've always arrived in the a.m. If you have to change at Chatelet, I hope you packed some psychiatric medication to ease things.

And that late night Metro ride can turn into Nightmare on the rue de RIvoli if you're not careful.

And one more caution: The RER is a threat to just stop and everyone off. It happened to me in the burbs of Paris on the way back to CDG. Thankfully several passengers assisted me in finding the right one to connect with. That's not the first time that's happened with the RER either. Maybe someone that lives there can enlighten us.

Genie you and Mary and I should write a book. We'll let JB chime in on how to keep from spending money in Paris. Leave your wife at home! HA

Alexa said...

Was meant to be doing my Saturday chores right now, but I can't stop playing with the interactive Metro map!
If only I had enough of the French Word of the Day to get to CDG in the first place, and try out your excellent, excellent tips for getting into town via the RER (love the link that has step-by-step instructions w/photos).

jb said...

"The machines will not work with most North American credit cards, which in general do not have smart chips nor are PIN number protected"

And I always thought hat you were like an advanced culture.....!

jb said...

And I thought I was mildly generous to the 2 SBs....

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Virginia -- I agree that Châtelet is a challenge but if you go to Wikipedia (search Châtelet Paris Métro detailed map) you can find escalators (ascenseur) and les tapis roulants (moving walkways). It appears that there is one that will take you directly to the platform for Line 1 (Direction Château de Vincennes) which would take you to St. Paul and Bastille.

I think that I know what happened to you on your RER ride back to CDG. There are two RER-B trains and one does not go to CDG. I am going to email you a link to the details of "how to know" which one.

Alexa -- I think that you would do just fine! Come with us!

JB -- Yes, the credit card is a major problem and not sure why we can't all get together on that.

Oh, and you were very generous to the two SBs. I was not sure if you were calling them "flossies" or "floozies" Hah!

Alexa said...

I meant the financial kind :~{ but thanks! :~} And, believe me, I would love to!

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Alexa -- You never know how things might work out.

Rob said...

Excellent info! We took the hotel shuttle. It worked great, but a bit pricey. The RER is so simple, I think it is the B3 line that gets you to the St. Michele RER stop, there is a Metro on at St. Michelle.

Virginia said...

As far as the carte de crédit is concerned JB, have you ever pulled yours out and tried to use it in Paris? Humm? Funny every hole in the wall cafe in Paris can make ours work. IT's just another "French plot" to foil les américains' attempts to get from Point A to Point B.

GEnie, that website is wonderful. Remind me how to find it next time we go! :)

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Rob -- You are correct and there are two Métro lines (#10 and #4) right there.

Virginia -- Mais oui, ma chère amie! The website also mentioned that a tourist may have difficulties in getting the RATP personnel to issue a NaviGo Découverte for a weekly or monthly Métro pass. I'll help you with that too.

Harriet said...

Thanks for all the info on the RER. That's what we used into Paris on our last visit. It's especially convenient for those of us who stay in the 5e. I've also used the AirFrance bus which leaves from Gate 34 at the airport. From their drop point in Paris, (Montparnasse for me), one then needs to use either a taxi or the Metro. The down side of going back to CDG on the AirFrance bus is waiting for the correct AF bus at Montparnasse (or other location).

MadAboutParis said...

I'd rather be a floozie than a flossie...Salut JB!

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

Fantastic tips! I need to bookmark this for my next visit to Paris!

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Harriet -- Good recommendation regarding the bus. The only problem I encountered in a bus (or taxi for that matter) is the potential traffic congestion which is not a problem on entering the city but a bit scary to catch a plane. Merci!

Mad -- You can be a floozie if you like.....

Preppy -- So glad that you visited and commented on my blog!

Petrea said...

I love your tips. I'll never remember them all! I'll have to search your site next time I go.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Petrea -- Let me know and I'll send you a long list -- Hope it is soon!

Rob said...

The best pocket book to buy when traveling in Paris is the Paris Pratique Metro map book.

Peter said...

Excellent; I wish I had made this post!

(I have included your blog on my list of "Paris blogs" on my sidebar.)

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Rob -- I have the 2002 Paris Practique and swear by it. My daughter carries the spiral Michelin which is perhaps more detailed but I find harder to read on the go. Good point! I may use "maps" as my next Paris Tip. Merci!

Peter -- So glad to see you back and thanks for including my blog on your list. Everyone knows "Peter" -- Merci!