Another Paris transporation question

Jan 14th, 2007, 07:32 AM
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Another Paris transporation question

We (two couples) are arriving at Gard du Nord on a Thursday morning. We're staying in an apartment a 10 minute or less walk from Les Halles. We will be leaving the following Monday morning at 11:55 from CDG to go home. I've been reading some threads here and feel our best form of public transportation is to buy the 10 ticket carnets for 10,90 and just buy more when we need them. It seems people aren't too thrilled with the Visite pass, which would be 18,60 for 3 days each and then we'd still have another day to work with, so I'm thinking the carnets will be best. Also I don't know anything much about the Mobilis. We are young 50's and do like to walk but I'm sure will need some public transportation. And I'm thinking if the weather is nice one day we would maybe use Batobus as an alternate. Maybe you can validate what I just said.

But my question really is should we buy the carnets at Gard de Nord and can we use one ticket to get to Les Halles? I'm thinking that will work. Are they available in machines there or do you have to go to a ticket counter? Do you need to have them validated when you first ride? I believe they are good for both metro and bus. I have several subway maps. Does anyone have a link to the bus maps or can anyone recommend a line that might start in the 1st or 2nd that would be a good self-tour?

And on the way back home I think we can buy some kind of ticket for 8 Euro to get back to CDG but I think I would feel better taking some kind of shuttle service that I would like to reserve in advance. With 4 people I don't even know if moneywise it would be cheaper to use public transportation, and I'm a little nervous about getting back to the airport as I've read some horrendous things about CDG. So having said that, can someone recommend a reliable and reasonable shuttle service where we can make arrangements in advance to be picked up, give me a website so I can get a price? Also, with an 11:55 a.m. on a Monday flight, what time do you think we should arrange for a pickup?

Thanks so much for your replies. You guys are a great source of information. Unbelievable.
CRose10328 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2007, 08:16 AM
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Tickets 't' bought by the Carnet cost €1.09 each. A Mobilis card is a ticket that gives you one day of unlimited travel on the Métro, buses, trams and trains. For the central zone (the 20 arrondissements of central Paris, it costs €5,50. You simply run it through the machines like an ordinary ticket. You can buy them all at once (but be careful not to use one prematurely - running it through the machine date-stamps it, effectively invalidating it for any other day).

The master bus map for Paris (available free at Métro stations) is

For a view of a specific route, use this URL, changing the route number on the end to the one you want to see:

The N° 42 and 69 buses would be a good start on seeing the sights. The 24 that runs up and down the river is another. But the basic map will get you to a nearby bus stop and you can read the route signs there, too.
Robespierre is offline  
Jan 14th, 2007, 09:11 AM
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The tickets in the "carnet" are for the central Paris metro area only. You can't use one to get from CDG airport into the city. CDG is in what is called "zone 5" in the local transportation system terms, and that is outside the validity of those single tickets. That is why you have to buy a ticket that covers that route (which is around 8 euro). It isn't any cheaper going in than going out. YOu just ask the ticket clerk for a ticket to get from where you are to Les Halles stop (or zone 1).
Christina is online now  
Jan 14th, 2007, 09:12 AM
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oh, gee, sorry I was confusing your leaving with arriving, and missed that you are arriving at Gare du Nord. Sure, you can use one of those tickets from there to Les Halles.
Christina is online now  
Jan 14th, 2007, 09:21 AM
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I assume you must be arriving at Gare du Nord from somewhere besides CDG on RER B since RER B does continue straight to Chatelet Les Halles?

In any case, I highly recommend just buying a few carnets for flexibility and ease of use as with four people, you can buy as needed. You can buy them at any metro station either at the ticket window or at the machines which are very user friendly (especially if you use cash) and can be viewed in English.

Our first time to Paris, we were a little bit intimidated by the metro but within a few trys, we quickly felt like pros and used it a ton! Especially after a long day of walking, it was nice to just hop on the metro to get closer to the apartment. Within the city, you just figure out where you want to go and find the most direct line (each line is numbered) and closest metro stop. Once you enter the station, just stick your ticket in the slot and push through the gates, voila! You don't need your ticket to get out of the metro (NOT true with RER) but you should hold on to it in the very rare case you were asked for it (remember to throw it away once you exit so it doesn't get mixed up with your fresh tickets - you'll know as the machine will not let you thru!). Then look for the sign with the destination of your desired line (always see where your line ends as that is the way the signs are designated) and head towards that platform. You may need to transfer lines which is also very easy, just look for where lines cross and get off the train and head for the platform for the destination of the next line (you use the same ticket so long as you don't exit the system).

The biggest tip I have for you is to try to avoid transferring at the huge stations to get around the downtown if possible because they sprawl forever and you can find yourself walking a long way to transfer trains. For example, if you are staying near Chatelet Les Halles (not to be confused with Les Halles or Chatelet), you might walk to one of the nearby smaller stops if it also works for your destination.

Since you are staying near Les Halles, you'll want to be sure you have a good metro map as you will be near many different metro lines and once you have the hang of it, I think you'll find it a great way to travel. You can use the carnet on the bus I think but we never did as we found the metro so easy. The Batobus is a fun (slow) alternative to get from point A to point B and see the sights from the river.

We always bought the RER B ticket to get back/forth from CDG so I don't have a shuttle recommendation but I'm sure others will.
NorCal_Jo is offline  
Jan 14th, 2007, 09:22 AM
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The machines that sell tickets take bank cards and credit cards. If you have a 4-digit pin card for your bank card, it should work. You can also buy tickets from an agent, but there's often a long line-up at Gare du Nord. If you get euros in advance, you can also use cash in the machines. Make sure someone is watching valuables closely when you make this purchase at Gare du Nord. There are some pickpockets there and tourists distracted in this first ticket purchase are sometimes a target.

How much luggage do you have? A regular taxi, even with the supplement applicable for a 4th passenger, would be a good value for 4 of you. Some of the taxis are small mini-vans, and you can often find them near major hotels. You could simply grab a taxi at a taxi stand (you'll have a few days to figure out where the taxis congregate at stands). Shuttles are sometimes a hassle because they do more than one pick-up. You could also call a taxi, but the meter starts as soon as the car leaves to come and pick you up, so it will arrive with money already on the meter. That's why I almost always hail a cab on the street. I can usually find one within 5 minutes. The most I've ever had to wait (once) was 15 minutes). Unless it's pouring rain or snowing, you should find it difficult to find a cab in the morning before your flight.

Budget 15 minutes to find a cab (you won't need it, but just to be on the safe side) and 45 minutes to get to the airport (it will probably take 30-35 minutes).
Kate_W is offline  
Jan 14th, 2007, 09:33 AM
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Here's a circular city tour on city buses passing many points of interest.
Look up routes here, changing the number:

Board the 69 on the Rue de Rivoli. It goes to the Champ de Mars, and is the best of the routes.

Walk past the Eiffel Tower to the Boulevard, take a right and catch the 42 on the next street. In a few minutes you will be going down the Champs Elysses, past the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, then through the Place de Concorde and past the Madeline. Get off at the Opera stop.

Or, catch the 82 [direction Neuilly-Hopital American] and get off at Porte Maillot. Then walk to the corner, go right and onto the 73. That will take you around the Arc de Triomphe and down the Champs-Elysees. Get off at the Rond-Pont and onto the 42.

Walk down tthe Avenue de l'Opera [left side] to rue du Quatre September and get on the 29. Get off at Bastille and board the 69; or, get off at the Place des Vosges, walk down through the center
exit to the corner, go left and board the 69 there.

Re CDG, I would suggest a taxi. Shuttles charge by the person. Taxis charge only 2.70€ for the fourth passenger. Also 1€ per bag. When you call for a cab, the driver starts the meter [at 2€] when he heads in your direction.
RonZ is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 05:38 AM
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Thanks for all your input and replies. It's very helpful.

I think I will skip the idea of a shuttle back to the airport. I've read some stories about them not showing up at times and other problems and then I might just panic. I just wanted to be prepared ahead of time. I'm the planner. That being said, I think if we learn the metro/RER system while we're there and luggage is not too much of a problem, I will try to take the RER out to CDG. If I'm not feeling comfortable with that, I will take a taxi. I have a map of taxi stands that are close to our apartment. I'm afraid we might need more than the normal taxi for four people and luggage though. The owner of the apartment gave me instructions on ordering a cab the night before but that sounds like it would be more expensive. Does anyone know if they have larger cabs that come to the cab stops? Also any idea what a taxi would cost from the Les Halles area to CDG for 4 people and luggage? I don't want to go to the airport with too many Euro in hand, but need to have enough.

I'm thinking we can handle the public transportation. I guess we get on the #4 metro at Gard du Nord to Les Halles metro and walk 2 or 3 blocks. We will have been in Europe for 10 days or so, so shouldn't have jet lag and I think we can handle it. Another adventure.

I'm thinking I'll stick with the idea of the 10-ticket carnets for transportation in the city. Sounds reasonably priced and gives us some flexibility.

Thanks for the bus map and ideas for using them to do a little sightseeing. I will tuck them away for the trip.

Once again thanks. Oh, and don't forget any info you can give me about taxi prices and the availability of a larger taxi/van. If we have to call one that's large enough, how much more do you think that would add to the cost? (I know I can go on and on ..)

You guys are great!
CRose10328 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 06:23 AM
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Hi CR,

I suggest that the 4 of you call and arrange for a cab to get you.

A shuttle will be about 19E pp.

ira is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 07:23 AM
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There are also buses that run between central Paris and CDG terminals. There are the Air France buses and the Roissybus. I took the Air France bus from Montparnasse railway station to CDG.Price is 14 euros, it is a full size bus with luggage storage underneath. It runs on a regular time schedule, but only leaves /arrives at certain locations in the City, near Metro stations. It's worth considering in the mix.

I've also used the Roissybus to get to Opera, and RER to get to St Michel.

Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 19th, 2007, 03:49 PM
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If I were to decide to take the RER (I'm so undecided from one day to the next) would we head to the Les Halles RER station and take Line 3 to the airport? It looks like it would take approximately 30-40 minutes according to the RATP webpage. Does that seem right?

But then my confusion is where it says this:

"Stops :
Charles de Gaulle 1 airport, Charles de Gaulle 2 airport - TGV, shuttles to aerogares 1 et 2."

What does that mean? What is Charles de Gaulle 1 airport and 2 airport, TGV, shuttles to aerogares 1 et 2? Is that the terminal (airport) and the gates or what? How do I know where to get off?

Maybe I'll look for a map of CDG and it will be helpful as well.

CRose10328 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2007, 04:01 PM
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Look no further than - there you will see that CDG has 3 terminals, CDG1, CDG2, CDG3, the second having 6 "sections" 2A through 2F.

But the RER isn't on Line 3 - it's a train line separate from the Métro that stops at CDG1 and CDG2 - and there is a shuttle between terminals.

Here is a map of the RER and Métro lines that might help resolve your confusion:

At the bottom of this page:
there are links to large-scale maps of each of the terminals.
Robespierre is offline  
Jan 19th, 2007, 07:44 PM
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The OP was referring to RER line B-3, which goes to CDG.
CRose- the metro is named by a numbering convention (line 4, line 12 etc) while the RER suburban/express rail is named by a lettering convention (RER-B, RER-C...) some of those lines split or branch, therefore further distinquished such as RER-B3 vs. RER-B5...
A good study of the metro/RER system map will clear it up.
Travelnut is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 08:13 AM
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Thank you. That look at the metro/RER system map did help a lot. For some reason (it must be something with my computer) on those webpages for the CDG maps the wording was so tiny I couldn't read it even though I tried with a magnifying glass. Have to investigate that further.

Thanks again. That will help me keep my options open when we're in Paris.
CRose10328 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 08:49 AM
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Okay. One more question. I don't know why, but I seem to want to "micromanage" every detail of this trip. But really mostly I'm just worried about getting to the airport on time.

I've found a map of CDG and the terminals, the RER stations, etc. Now we are leaving on United out of Terminal 1 and it looks like the first stop at the airport there on the RER is Terminal 1. I'm assuming when you get off the RER train there is some kind of shuttle that takes you to Terminal 1? It seems to be a distance. Also if you've done this before, how much time do we allow from Chatelet/Les Halles to the airport and then the shuttle to the Terminal? Those trains run every 10 or 15 minutes I assume. And when you get on at Les Halles B3 is a totally different train from B5?

Thanks again for helping with my insecurities
CRose10328 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 09:39 AM
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Yes, a bus shuttle to terminal 1 awaits the RER trains. Before long, there will be an automatic rail system in service, but it seems to keep getting delayed. I would personally schedule 1 hour for the whole transportation deal from Châtelet-Les Halles to CDG1, but I know that it will take less time than that. Better safe than sorry.
kerouac is online now  
Jan 21st, 2007, 10:51 AM
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Hi CRose, I just sent you an email saying I would pick up a Metro map (one that you can actually read as opposed to the on-line ones) and mail it to you. Just so you know I'm not a nutcase! I'm American, living in Switzerland and passing through Paris on my way to Bretagne for my annual "Please God Help Me Lose Some Of This Fondue And Chocolate Weight" thalasso spa trip and planned on getting a new map for myself.
beaupeep is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 11:28 AM
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If you can't read the online Métro maps, you're doing something wrong. The maps in .pdf form can be zoomed, rotated, and printed in sections. The best ones IMO are

This one even fits on one letter sheet of paper:

Now, what's your problem?
Robespierre is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 02:56 PM
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Robespierre, thank you for the direct links. I can open the pdf files and do whatever with them. My problem was with this webpage:

Whenever I go there, the print is so small I can't read the writing to even tell which item to go to. Must be something with a setting on my computer. But the pdf's work just fine and are very helpful.

Thanks for taking the time.
CRose10328 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 04:16 PM
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Try Ctrl+ to enlarge the font.

The links under Paris-CDG at the bottom of the page you linked are .pdf and give very detailed plans of all the terminals.
Robespierre is offline  
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