Everything you need to know about the airports in Paris!
The first step to planning any trip is figuring how to get to your destination, of course! If you’re coming to Paris, unless you already live in France, you’ll probably be taking a plane. You’ve most likely had to book a flight before, so you know the best sites to visit in order to get the best deals.
You start your search, when suddenly you realize that there seems to be multiple airports in Paris. Say what?! Yes, there are actually 3 airports in close proximity to the French capital. I’m assuming that many of you have already heard of Charles de Gaulle airport, as it is the largest. But, there is also Orly and Beauvais.
I’m here to give you the down low on each of these Paris airports, so that you know which is the most convenient. I’ll also be giving you the best options of how to get from each airport into the city.
Keep reading to learn more about the Paris airports, and you’ll be one step closer to booking your perfect Paris trip!
Side note: be very careful with seemingly too-good-to-be-true ticket prices you’ll likely see advertised by 3rd party travel sites. We’ve had THE WORST luck with these sites here at Sight Seeker’s, and I’m here to say…it’s not worth the few hundred dollars you may save. Do yourselves a favor (and avoid many headaches) by going straight to the source and book your tickets that way! You’ll thank me later…
Charles de Gaulle
As I mentioned, Charles de Gaulle is the most well known airport in Paris. It’s huge, and flights from all over the world fly into this airport daily. You’ll also probably find that most major airlines coming from North America, Australia and the UK fly into Charles de Gaulle. Over 70 million travelers come and go through this airport per year!
I would definitely suggest that you try to fly into this Parisian airport. It is the most convenient, and is well connected to the city via public transportation.
Need to know info:
Airport code: CDG
Airport location: Charles de Gaulle is located to the north of Paris, and is about 45 minutes away by car, and about 1 hour away by train from the center of the city.
Departure and arrival information can be found here. Simply click on the first box and select “Paris-CDG” to see information regarding flights that are flying into or out of Charles de Gaulle.
How to get to Paris from Charles de Gaulle airport by train:
To get from CDG to Paris by train, follow the big blue overhead signs that say ‘Paris by train’ with a little circle with RER in it – this signifies the RER above-ground train into the city (The metro is a little circle with an M in it). Keep your eyes peeled for signs that will tell you how long you will have to walk to get to each terminal – they will also have information on how long it will take you to get to the RER. All the signs at CDG are in English and French.
As you are approaching that section of the airport, you will see machines to purchase tickets all in a row. The machines can be set to English so just follow the instructions on the screen to purchase your tickets to Paris. They are 10 euros per person, one way.
After purchasing your tickets, continue following the signs for RER B Paris by Train. Once on the platform you’ll see signs letting you know that all trains are going to Paris. Although the platform signs say “Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 2 TGV”, it’s not the TGV platform, that’s just the name of the station as a whole.
The first Paris city center station is Gare du Nord (about 50 minutes once the train starts moving). The next stations are Châtelet Les Halles, St Michel-Notre Dame, Luxembourg, Port Royale, Denfert Rochereau, and Cité Universitaire. Remember to always keep your metro tickets until you come back to street level, to avoid a possible fine!
The Orly airport is a bit lesser known to tourists, but as far as distance goes, it’s actually the closest airport to the city center, located just 8 miles south of Paris. It is much, much smaller than Charles de Gaulle, but it also caters to a wide range of airlines. There are only 2 terminals here: Orly South and Orly West. The city is easily accessible via commuter trains.
This is the airport for you if you are traveling to Paris from another European city. That being said, there are also some flight options if you’re coming from New York to Paris. I’ve found that these flights are some of the cheapest transatlantic options.
Need to know info:
Airport code: ORY
Airport location: Orly is located to the south of Paris, and is about 30 minutes away by car, and about 35 minutes away by train from the city.
Departure and arrival information can be found here. Simply click on the first box and select “Paris-Orly” to see information regarding flights that are flying into or out of Orly.
How to get to Paris from Orly airport by train:
There are several options for getting to Paris from Orly by train. Plus, there is a bus option as well!
RER B and OrlyVal: You can expect to spend 30 minutes getting from Orly to Paris if you use this option. You’ll need to take the OrlyVal shuttle service from Orly to get to the Gare d’Antony, which is a station on the RER B train. Once you get to the Gare d’Antony, simply take the RER B in direction Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 2 – TGV OR Mitry-Claye. Stops of interest on the RER B include Gare du Nord, Châtelet, and Saint-Michel – Notre-Dame, and Luxembourg.
There are 2 departure points for the OrlyVal:
- Orly South: Gate K – near the baggage claim area;
- Orly West: Gate A on level 1.
RER C: You can get to the RER C by taking a different shuttle bus, which is called “Paris Par le Train.” This shuttle will take you to the RER station Pont de Rungis. The journey is about 35 minutes. From there, you can take the RER C into Paris if you go in the direction Pontoise OR Montigny-Beauchamp. Stops of interest on the RER C include Champs de Mars – Tour Eiffel, Musée d’Orsay and Saint-Michel – Notre-Dame.
You will find the shuttle bus here:
- Orly South: look for Exit C and then stop 6;
- Orly West: look for Exit C and then stop 7.
OrlyBus: This is perhaps the cheapest option for getting into Paris, but it also takes the longest. You can expect to be on the bus for anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic.
The bus leaves from both Orly Terminals (just look for the signs!), and will drop you off at Place Denfert-Rochereau in Paris.
Beauvais airport is the farthest away from Paris, and I suggest you avoid it. The transfers to the center of Paris are long and quite expensive. A lot of travelers choose this option because flights are inexpensive, but once you add on the cost of the transfer it ends up being a little on the pricey side.
Transatlantic flights hardly ever fly into Beauvais, which is probably why many of you reading this article have never heard of it! It is an option for inter-European flights, and many budget airlines use this airport.
Need to know info:
Airport code: BVA
Airport location: Beauvais is located 50 miles northwest of Paris, and is 1.5 hours away by car, and about 1 hour and 15 minutes away by bus from the city.
Departure and arrival information can be found here.
How to get to Paris from Beauvais airport by train:
There is no direct train from Beauvais airport to Paris. The only way to get to this airport via public transportation, is to take the Aéroport Paris Beauvais bus to the Porte Maillot bus station, located in the 17th arrondissement. Here you’ll find the metro line 1, which you can use to get to the city center. Stops of interest on the line 1 include Charles de Gaulle – Étoile, Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre, and Saint-Paul.
Taxi, private transfers and airport shuttle information
Here are some general tips for getting to Paris from the airports mentioned above if you don’t feel comfortable taking public transportation!
If you are going to take a taxi, just follow the signs for Taxi – it will be on those huge overhead blue signs that you see all over the airport. This will lead you to a taxi line, which usually has attendants moving it along pretty well. If you are approached by someone around the baggage claim area claiming to be a taxi driver, just ignore them and walk to the taxi line – these are scam artists who will charge you several times the normal price.
If for some reason you do not like the taxi driver who pulls up when you are next in line, you can let the people behind you in line take it instead. When you get in the cab it is polite to say ‘Bonjour Monsieur,’ even if you think your accent is awful! Some drivers will speak more English than others, some may only speak French. In either case, make sure you have the name and address of your hotel written down on a piece of paper that you can simply hand to the driver so there aren’t any ‘communication problems’.
Remember that most taxis will not take credit card, so make sure you have enough cash to cover the cost. 60-90 euros is a good amount to make sure you have on you when you arrive at the airport. Remember also that around a 10% tip is usually given for taxi rides.
If you would prefer to book a private transfer, here are two different companies we recommend:
I’ve spent quite a while doing research and contacting everyone I know to figure out the best shuttle service and I have to tell you that there is not definite, hands-down “winner”. It seems that for every shuttle service that I checked out (and there are tons of them!), there were mixed reviews. Generally all of the negative things said about each and every company were that the passengers A. thought that they were getting a private shuttle but it turns out that they had to make stops along the way to pick up other passenger; B. were picked up much later than the time that they had booked; C. the driver did not know where he was going so the trip took longer than it should have; D. the driver was rude, and E. the driver did not speak English.
- Paris Shuttle: For shared or private shuttle
- Blu Van: For shared shuttle
- Super Star Travel: Good for groups of 1-3, private
- Say Shuttle: Good for groups of 4-8, private
I hope I’ve cleared up any confusion when it comes to Paris airports! Now you know all there is to know about which airport to choose, how to get to Paris from each, and which ones I prefer!
Now…start booking your tickets and get to Paris already! We’ll be here waiting with open arms 😉
If you’d like to book a walking tour with us once you get here, click here to view all of our amazing options!