5 Hour Layover in Paris

Old Dec 13th, 2007, 01:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,860
It really does depend on your personality. I have a friend that is always doing stuff like this -- complicating things, arriving late or at the last minute, rushing, etc. It drives other people nuts. I usually play it safe, because that isn't fun to me. I'll be honest, all that trouble and cost just to go into Paris (or any city) for 1-2 hours wouldn't be that enticing to me. I've visited cities for an hour and two and it's not anything like actually visiting there.

It really is not just a matter of whether CDG is a zoo or not. There isn't any way in the world you can judge at CDG what the traffic is like. You can't even see it.

rampup doesn't mention experience and travels, but there are some folks who have never taken a metro system before and are very unfamiliar with such things and thus it takes them a long time just to figure out how to use it, buy tickets, get into Paris, get back, etc. Then there are those who get on the wrong train and miss CDG on the way back. Besides, if you are only in Paris enroute, you probably don't have euro, right. So that's another thing to figure out -- do I try to use my CC everywhere and don't buy anything where I can't use it, get change to buy one train ticket and a coffee, etc.

Spending 80-100 euro for a taxi ride to do this doesn't make sense to me, anyway. I'd rather take that money and go to a nearby hotel's spa/pool or something and relax. I think the RER is the most logical thing by cost and traffic. I have been on them when they stopped for a while, also, though. Not an hour, however.
Christina is online now  
Old Dec 13th, 2007, 01:57 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 8,862
Oh believe me, it's quite unlikely that security at CDG will rival that at TLV.

I've never understood what security means until I went through TLV.

When I arrived 85 minutes prior, the first question they asked me was why I was there so late. Next two people questioned me. They then took everything out of my bag. Stuff had to be X-rayed, including all the chocolates I bought. Next I was led to another room. My wallet and coat were X-rayed.

Now, at TLV you clear security before you can even check in. And there was a 45-minute deadline. I barely made it. Then they told me I couldn't take my bag with me. When I fished out my camera, that camera had to be X-rayed.

I'm sure that CDG security is not even close to this. In fact, I'd never gone through anything like this anywhere.

As I said, if you worry about the worst scenario, you'll not be chancing it anyway. But that doesn't mean that someone who likes to take chances should not.

As I mentioned, even if things go wrong, it doesn't mean that there's no recovery possibility. I gave that example when I had to get out of the car to push that car. Over the summer I took the SAS bus to the Oslo airport. And guess what? There was an accident. And I still made it! Of course I did give myself a little extra time.

So CDG can be bad, but I still maintain that if you actually have five hours, it's enough time to go into the city and back.
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 01:59 PM
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Hi 111,

When doing this sort of analysis, you have to consider what are the effects of not getting back in time.

In this case, the OP would miss the flight to Egypt and have to pay full fare. That, plus the cost of an overnight in Paris will e over $1000.

For some people, a look at the ET might be worth $1000. For others. not.

>Five hours in an airport can be excruciating.

Only if they won't let you smoke.

Otherwise, there are books and wine.

>I have been on them when they stopped for a while, also, though. Not an hour, however.

We were on the RER one day when it was stopped for two hrs about 0.5 km from the station because of a suspicious package on the tracks.

ira is offline  
Old Dec 13th, 2007, 02:06 PM
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When doing a cost-benefit analysis, you need to consider the problem probabilistically.

As I mentioned, if you adopt a minimax strategy, then there's no way I can convince you anyway. You're considering the worst possibility, and there's a positive probability that something very bad can happen.

However that sort of strategy is defensive and conservative.

What one should do, in my opinion, is assign probabilities to various outcomes and think that way.

Don't forget that there's a utility to see the Eiffel Tower (as an economist would put it) and negative utility to spending five hours at CDG. Depending on whether you're risk averse and risk loving, you can assign positive or negative utility to rushing to get to Paris and back.

Also if you travel a lot, and I want to think I do, time is very valuable for me, which I means that I don't want to spend more time in an airport than necessary. Admittedly this is outside of the scope of the original poster's question.
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 01:42 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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and triple check to see you are trying to catch the CORRECT train back to cdg.

thereīs a new "paulīs" with comfy seating ( for a change) at terminal E, I believe. can anyone confirm that terminal?

if you want to leave the airport, take the hyatt hotel bus and check out that place.. have a 6 euro cup of coffee, read some free press, then go back. at least you will get some fresh air!

there is some kind of internet place downstairs near train station, along with more eateries. there is also a supermarket in one of the terminals.. but i also am not sure as to which one. ( not much help here!! i have passed through this place many times, but have never jotted down which of the several terminals these things are in!)
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 03:56 AM
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Hi 111,

>When doing a cost-benefit analysis, you need to consider the problem probabilistically.

This is not a cost/benefit problem.

One does not calculate the probability of a nuclear reactor failing (it is very low), one decides what is necessary to contain the radioactive material if it does fail.

The Russians used your paradigm when they built Chernobyl. After all, what is the probability of someone disabling all of the safety systems and setting the reactor on fire?

OTOH, what were the consequences?

The OP is faced, not with "What is the probability that I won't get back in time?" (it could be fairly low), but "What do I do if I don't get back in time?" (the cost is very high).

If the only consequence of not making the flight to Egypt was that the OP had to wait 3 hr for the next plane, I would encourage the visit to the ET.

ira is offline  
Old Dec 14th, 2007, 04:36 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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May I also add that you might find a long-ish queue at RER ticket counter at CDG? The machines do not seem to take non-French ATM or credit card. IF you can get Euro COINS (recall the round trip fare was something like €8 or so), bring one with you so that you can bypass queues and buy RER tickets on the machine.
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 05:13 AM
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Well ira, personally I think it's a bit preposterous to compare missing a flight to a nuclear failure. Actually it's downright silly.

And who is to say that the original poster can't afford to pay $1000 or $5000 or $10000 to get on the next flight if something bad happens?

Just because you can't afford it or don't want to pay doesn't mean that someone else will make the same decision.

Perhaps the original poster decides that the probaility of failure is 1% and the cost is $10000 and the probabilistically weighted loss is $100 and seeing the Eiffel Tower far outweighs that.

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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 06:20 AM
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I'll confirm that there is a Paul's (since 1889) a the top level of the terminal, abouve the TGV statio. A good place for a cafe and croissant. When I was there is was SRO (standing room only)
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 07:18 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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no, that is not the one. i think this is a new one in terminal E.. i was flying to sfo on air france.. so.. perhaps that was the terminal?. it had very nice leather padded chairs/becnhes/sofa type seating, and was at the end of passageway so it was very quiet and inviting.

i just bought some bread to take to my friends, (which was excellent, BTW) but i remember thinking this was a really nice place to chill out for awhile if you had alot of time to get over there and back.

too bad i donīt remember the terminal.

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