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5-6 hour layover at CDG - possible to get into Paris for some sight seeing?

5-6 hour layover at CDG - possible to get into Paris for some sight seeing?

Mar 19th, 2001, 01:42 PM
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5-6 hour layover at CDG - possible to get into Paris for some sight seeing?


I have about 5.5 hours between my flights at DeGaulle. I'd really like to get away from the airport for some walking around and a decent lunch. Can anyone tell me how long it might take us to get from the airport around 9:30 am on a Saturday? We need to be back by 3:00. Is this doable?

Mar 19th, 2001, 01:57 PM
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5.5 hours between landing and takeoff, or 5.5 hours after customs and before checkin ? If the second is true you still don't have much time, the subway takes over 1 hour to the city centre, by taxi is not much less.
If you make it to the city you're in big trouble, 'cause you wont want to depart ........... Sorry
Mar 19th, 2001, 02:16 PM
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I did something similar a couple years ago. There should be little problem getting into the city for a pleasant lunch and stroll. Take the RER from CDG to Gare du Nord, then hop the Metro to an area you'd like to visit - Notre Dame/banks of the Seine/ Latin Quarter, the Marais area, St. Germain, etc. As Peter noted above, your travel time may be up to an hour each way (portal-to-portal) but that still leaves time for a relaxing lunch.
Mar 19th, 2001, 02:19 PM
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Peter, we land at 9:30 am and take off at 3:20 pm for a flight to Cork. We are actually going back to Paris the next Saturday for five days. I know we'll be exhausted from an overnight flight, but I'd rather get out and get some exercise than sit in an airport all day. Are there any nice towns closer to the airport we could go for lunch and a stroll around?

I suppose if we could get out of the airport by 10:30 am, into Paris by 11:30, we might still have two hours before having to start schleping back to the airport at 1:30 pm.
Mar 19th, 2001, 02:44 PM
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Meg, honestly, I am MUCH too anal and uptight to be able to that. It would weigh heavily on my mind, and I would not be able to relax(unless I drink some major wine). I do hope you can make it so. We have a four hour layover in Paris in August, and I guess I will just have to eat and shop at CDG. ;-) Judy Have a great time whatever you do.
Mar 19th, 2001, 03:07 PM
Jim Rosenberg
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Judy, at least you follow the old advice of "Know Thyself"! Depending on the time, Les Palmes downstairs in Terminal 1 is a great place to linger over lunch and some wine right in the airport. That should kill at least a good 90 minutes of it for you; you need to be at the gate and ready to board 30 minutes prior to take-off, so we're down to two hours of wondering through duty-free, etc. Meg, you could take that RER right into Chatelet-Les Halles and then never even have to switch to the metro, if you didn't want to. There are places to eat, etc. right in that area. I don't really know what I would do. I'm kind of anal about things like that too, Judy!
Mar 19th, 2001, 03:23 PM
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I definately think this is doable and it would be a shame to spend 5 hours in Paris without seeing the city.

From CDG take the RER B (about 45 FRF per person each way). Gare du Nord is one option, but not the only one. The RER B also has stops right near the Louvre, just across the river from Notre Dame, and in the Latin Quarter. I just returned from Paris yesterday and the train ride was just under 45 minutes each way.

Options for a short visit include 1) a 90 minute guided tour of the Louvre that takes you to the major works -- Mona Lisa, Venus of Milo, etc. I think there is an 11:30 tour. Find the "special" entrance on the NW corner (Rue de Rivoli and Rue du Palais Royal) to avoid the line at the main entrance. Could have lunch in the resturant in the Louvre. Here's the Louvre's website: www.louvre.fr

2) A tour of Notre Dame -- there is normally no wait to get in the cathedral, but the line to the bell tower is usually pretty long and it moves slowly because they only allow about 20 people up at a time.

3) Visit a cafe or tea house. I recommend outdoor seating at all cafes regardless of weather. Tea houses generally do not have outdoor seating, but do have amazing desserts. I recommed La Jacobine or La Cour de Rohan, both located on Commercial St. Andre (a lovely little alley that's easy to miss) in the 6th Arrondissment, right near the Odeon Metro stop.

Best of luck -- I hope it works out for you to visit this most wonderful city!
Mar 19th, 2001, 03:49 PM
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Hi Meg, to me -- since I don't like CDG at all (could they have possibly made it any uglier?) -- I think your desire to not hang around there for 4-5 hours makes a lot of sense. I agree with the other posters, allow about an hour into, and back from Paris. Sit at a cafe and watch Paris go by instead of looking at that endless expanse of horrible concrete at the airport.
Mar 19th, 2001, 04:12 PM
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I think that is very do-able for someone who knows Paris well and the metro/RER system already. It's hard to tell as some people just are not good with maps, directions, public transportation, etc, and don't know how to use underground systems and buses (much to my surprise, but I've repeatedly encountered tourists like this in my home town which has a metro and my sister was completely baffled by BART/cable cars in San Francisco as she's led a sheltered adult life and while in Paris I've overheard and viewed many older American tourists shouting at metro clerks for directions because they cannot figure out the simple maps, it is pathetic)--anyway, I think it's hard to tell how much time you would spend at all this, but here are a couple odd alternatives. There is a French comic book character amusement park (Parc Asterix or www.parcasterix.fr) which is only 10 minutes or so from CDG by taxi (there is actually a public bus from CDG there, but a cab would be easier). I don't like that character or amusement parks, but it would be different. Another alternative to a place not too far from CDG is to take a cab to St-Denis which is only about 15 km from CDG going west on the A1 highway (it's on the northern edge of Paris). St-Denis is an interesting town and has some decent restaurants; you can tour the Basilica and have lunch, anyway. There is a very interesting museum there but it's a walk from the Basilica (which is in the center of town and the tourist office is right on that square, so that's where I would take a cab to). So, that's closer than Paris and since you're going to Paris anyway, you won't miss anything you can't see later. Here is a very good web site of the city which describes all the things to do there: www.ville-saint-denis.fr I'm not sure if I would risk that or not; on a Saturday it shouldn't be too risky traffic-wise, and taking a cab to St-Denis you can judge the time you will need for return.
Mar 19th, 2001, 07:08 PM
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I travel to Paris frequently and have encountered a wide variety of situations going to Paris from CDG. Strikes occur frequently on the rail line and even if they last only one or two hours you may not make it back to the airport. When strikes occur the highway is gridlock. A shared cab on a Saturday can get you quickly and inexpensively to the Seine. If you have never been to Paris take the one hour boat trip and you will see many of the highlights very efficiently, otherwise go to the Marais for lunch and stroll down to the Seine. Good luck.
Mar 19th, 2001, 07:19 PM
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had five our layover a year or so ago at CDG..barely had a sip of wine and tast of soup when I heard my name paged..about an hour and a half later...
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