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PUBLIC TRANSPORT FROM ROISSY / CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT TO PARIS

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Public transportation from Roissy/Charles de Gaulle Airport is very doable.

Although it is easy to step outside the airport terminal and head for the taxi stand, be advised that a taxi ride into the heart of Paris can cost around 50 euros, unless there is traffic, which can really drive up the fare for this 17-mile trip. Taxis also charge a fee per piece of luggage going into the trunk, and drivers won’t take more than three people unless they have a van. The advantage to taking a taxi, is the freedom to relax, not having to deal with dragging bags through terminals, onto shuttles, up and down stairs and onto buses or trains, which requires a good bit of route-finding and concentration. Public transport can be exhausting after a long trans-continental flight.

However, if your bags are manageable and you don’t mind doing a bit of navigating, there are expedient, inexpensive ways to arrive in Paris from Roissy (CDG Airport). That taxi money could be spent on a great first night’s meal instead!

1. Take the RER B.

This is the suburban train line, which links the airport to seven stops within Paris: Gare du Nord (offering connections with metro lines 2,4,5; RER A and D), Chatelet Les Halles (linking to metro lines 1,4,7,11, and 14; RER A and D), St-Michel Notre-Dame (linking to metro lines 4 and 10; RER C), Luxembourg, Port-Royal, Denfert-Rochereau (linking to metro lines 4 and 6) and Cite-Universitaire. It takes a little patience. First you must find your way to the RER B stations at the airline terminal (ask airport employees and follow signs) so be prepared to do some walking/shuttling. Once in the RER station, buy a ticket at the counter, because US credit cards don’t work in the automated machines (unless you have euros already…then use the machines). You can also purchase a carnet (book of 10 metro passes here). Know which metro or RER stop is closest to your destination and determine what connection needs to be made, if any. Remember that when reading a metro map, you must go in the correct direction on that line, determined by the beginning and ending terminus names. For instance, on Metro Line 1, once in the station, determine which platform you need to be on by determining if you are going in the direction of the terminus, Grand Arche de la Defense, in the West, or Chateau de Vincennes, in the East. Although the RER will only cost 8 euros, keep in mind that it will necessitate the hauling of bags up and down stairs, as elevators and escalators are few and far between. Do as Parisians do…take the train! Insider’s Tip: Try and catch the express train, eliminating 10 suburban stops. RATP passes such as Navigo and Paris Visite may be used as well. Go to www.adp.fr for all Charles de Gaulle Airport information.

2. The RoissyBus is part of the RATP rail and bus system.

From early morning until 11 at night, for 8.60 euros, buses depart about every 15 minutes from each terminal. There is only one stop in Paris, in the 9th arrondisement, near the Opera, at the corner of Rue Scribe and Rue Auber.

There is a metro station right there, to make necessary connections, and tickets, unless a pass is being used, can be purchased on the bus. It’s a nice way to be above ground and sightsee while entering the city, although at rush hour, the ride may be very slow. Go to www.ratp.info to learn more.

There are in fact many choices one can make regarding transportation from Charles de Gaulle Airport into Paris, including the Air France Bus (available to all travellers), shared and private shuttle vans and of course, limos. It all depends on how tired you are upon arrival, how much luggage you have, how budget-conscious you want to be, and last but not least, aesthetically, how you love to enter the City of Light. Go to www.contexttravel.com to check out a highly recommended limo service.



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