5 Hours in Paris

Old Jul 14th, 2005, 12:23 PM
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5 Hours in Paris

Hi everyone!
I have a 5 hour layover in Paris at the beginning of October. Is there enough time to get into the city, see a few sites (briefly), make it back to the airport and through security, and catch my flight? This my first time in Paris, and I'm not looking for anything in depth. Just want to see some of the big touristy things and witness what life is like in Paris. If anyone has any good ideas for ways to get into the city (cab, train?) and what to see during my very short visit, I'd be very appreciative. What I really need to know is if this is even feasible to do. Thanks!

grandchester
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 12:31 PM
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Frought with perils i believe - at least an hour to get in and hour to get back - taxis can become ensnarled in traffic - to take the train means probably taking a shuttle bus to the RER station and then 40 mins to town. Beware of strikes on trains - can pop up anytime. Your five hour layover may be less than five hours if your bags don't come out quickly - you may have to check in an hour or more early for your next flight. Doesn't seem real comfy for me. but i understand this is the only time you may be in Paris so maybe pay a lot of euros to a cabbie and have him take you by the Eiffel Tower, etc. with security tightening up even more i wouldn't be surprised you may have to wait to go back thru security to get to your connecting flight and pass thru customs, etc.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 12:41 PM
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You definitely would have to go back thru security and if you don't have a boarding pass for your ongoing flight you'd need to get in that line too!

I guess if all you wanted to do was run once around Notre dame from the St Michel RER stop and then get back on the train , you could. I wouldn't chance it, knowing the hold ups at CDG can be maddening!
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 01:30 PM
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Five hours is not enough to do anything and still be sure of getting back for your connection. It's best to stay at the airport. Sorry.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 02:08 PM
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Hi G,

If all you do is hire a cab to take you into Paris, make a quick run through town and take you back to the airport, it will be 150E well spent.

Check with www.parishuttles.com and www.beshuttle.com to see if they will take you from the airport to a central hotel and come back and get you from that hotel an hour later.

Cost will be about 50E. You get an hour to walk around.

Don't sit at CDG for an hour.

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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 02:13 PM
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Well, Ira..we used Paris shuttle last trip and after other pick up and waiting for a no show ..it took us 1 hour and 45 minutes to get from rue Jacob to CDG..NEVER AGAIN!
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 02:28 PM
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Not enough time. Shop for some French cheese and foie gras at the duty free.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 03:04 PM
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No - it's not - unless you like living really dangerously - and don;t mind the possibility of missing your flight.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 03:04 PM
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Five hours would be just barely enough time to step outside the airport and back in again. A taxi might take 2.5 hours to get into town, and just as long to get back. There's just no way you can see anything on a five-hour layover.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 03:14 PM
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Count me in with those who don't find that 5 hours is enough time to enjoy Paris. I guess I don't like taking chances that I would miss my flight too. I have read of others who have seen Paris in a half day and it that's what you want do it, but I would not. One person I read about actually paid taxi fare of over 200 euro just to drive from CDG to the Eiffel Tower and back so that his son could go up the tower.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 04:01 PM
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I would never leave the airport with such a short time. Knowing getting into the city could be ~1 hr, and back the same. Assume you need to check in to an ongoing flight? And you'd have to at minimum get thru security again.

My rule of thumb is to aim for 3 hour airport layovers. Enough wiggle room but not too boring. In another city 5 hours could be enough to get into town (A'dam for instance) but I just don't think so in Paris.
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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 03:45 AM
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Hi g,

It takes 50 min to go from the metro station at CDG 2 to the St. Michel stop, across from Notre Dame.

That gives you an hour to walk around the Ile de la Cite'.

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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 06:20 AM
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Ira, I agree with that if all goes well and one is familiar with the Metro. There is very little wiggle room for error or trying to figure out the system.
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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 06:25 AM
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Besides reality and logistics, I think it depends on a person's attitude in the situation. For myself, I would be having an anxiety attack about getting back to the airport on time and it would hardly be enjoyable. I'd rather sit and drink wine in an airport bar, quite frankly. A more mellow, laid back individual might be able to have a great time with a quick dash into a city they are not familiar with on public transportation.

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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 10:20 AM
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I wouldn't risk that, because it's possible you wouldn't have even an hour in Paris--one hour transportation each way, and one hour in Paris is three hours total. Security can be lengthy at CDG, and you are supposed to be there at your plane at least an hour ahead of takeoff, I think. It can take up to a half hour to get off the plane after it has landed, and immigration can have long lines. If you don't even know Paris and where the RER is or how to get a ticket, etc., I'd say at a minimum you aren't going to be getting on the RER into Paris until about one hour after the scheduled arrival of the plane.
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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 12:24 PM
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Don't try to go into Paris unless you are ready and willing to lose your connection. If you can catch another flight an hour later after losing the connection, it may be worth the risk. If it's a flight that leaves only once a day or three times a week, it would be folly to risk going into the city when the chances of missing the connection are so high.

If you want to see Paris that badly, change your flights so that you can actually stay in the city for a day or two.

I've shown people around the city during a ten-hour stop, but that's twice the time you have ... and they were coming in and leaving on Eurostar, which puts you right in the city center, eliminating all the hours of delays in travel and waiting that come with travel by air. Even so, it was pretty rushed.
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