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Jhstubbs Sep 11th, 2010 03:58 PM

Gare du Nord (Eurostar) to downtown Paris-best way to do it?
We are going to be staying in the Rue Cler area of Paris in March. This will be our first time here and we are wondering what seems to be the best way to get from the train station- we are taking the Eurostar- to this area. There will be four of us. Is it better to take a taxi or maybe an airport shuttle? What would be the approximate costs of either? Or is finding a driver better? I've heard some horror stories so I'm worried!

Any advice would be great-


zoecat Sep 11th, 2010 04:25 PM

With 4 people, I suggest taking a taxi. I'm guessing the fare would be ~20E. There can sometimes be a long line at the taxi stand, but it moves fast. Don't take an offer from a taxi driver just hanging out near the line offering rides. Use the official taxi stand.

Gretchen Sep 11th, 2010 05:24 PM

Just take a taxi.

Seamus Sep 11th, 2010 07:42 PM

The Gare du Nord <i>is</i> in central Paris, so you are not talking about a long distance, nothing like an airport transfer is necessary. Metro or bus would require a connection, taxi (licensed from the queue and not a gypsy cab as noted above) is your best bet. With four people you may need a minivan but they are pretty common these days.

Christina Sep 12th, 2010 08:13 AM

Horror stories? Really? I can't imagine, just take a taxi, I take them all the time and have no horror stories to tell and I've been doing it for two decades. Don't know what you mean about finding a driver. On the street or something? I don't know how you'd do that.

Gretchen Sep 12th, 2010 08:15 AM

To be specific, go out the front door and get in the taxi queue. The driver will charge you for your bags and for pick up at a station (a couple of E)--this is not a "horror story" or scam. Tip. It will be about 20E and easy.

Jhstubbs Sep 12th, 2010 08:35 AM

So sorry everyone-

My post is a little confusing I must admit. We were originally flying into Paris and I was wondering about the transportation from there (the airport) to Rue Cler. That is where I had heard about the "horror stories"- drivers not showing up, being charged online for the service and having it be more once they arrived, etc. That was what I was referring to.

We have since changed our minds on our itinerary (London first, then Paris instead of the other way around) and we are arriving from London on the Eurostar. Sounds like it will be very easy and trouble free just taking a taxi.

What is a standard tip for a taxi ride?

jkbritt Sep 12th, 2010 09:16 AM

Depending on luggage, a bus/Metro only costs about 1.50E each, less if you buy a carnet of tickets which can be used on bus, train or Metro. Walking is also an option, again depending on luggage. Our favorite apt. is about a 20 min. walk from the train station and we walk it. Helps to stretch our legs after sitting so long. Get a map of Paris and see your location and then decide on mode of travel. I have a wonderful interactive bus map sent by a long time member of this board if you want, just email me.

spaarne Sep 12th, 2010 09:40 AM

You might have trouble fitting 4 people and luggage in a single taxi in Paris.

If it was my money I would take the Metro. There is an elevator on the Eurostar platform.

From Gare du Nord take line 4 direction Porte d'Orleans. Get off at the 3rd stop Strassbourg Saint-Denis. Catch line 8 direction Balard. Get off at the 9th stop, Ecole Militaire. Rue Cler (aka Rue Steves) begins about a block NE. You don't tip the Metro engineer.

Buy a carnet of 10 tickets to save money if you plan to use the Metro again, and you probably will. There is no "downtown" Paris. I suggest that you get a map of Paris. Rue Cler is off in the 7th arrondissement. Navigate Paris by arrondissements and Metro stations.

Ackislander Sep 12th, 2010 01:52 PM

People are making this too hard.

Follow the advice of those who tell you to take the taxi.

You walk down the platform in the same direction as everyone else after you get off the train, and you enter the main station. There will be a large sign pointing to taxis. Follow the sign and go out the door onto a kind of covered sidewalk.

There will be a line, possibly long, especially if you don't move as fast as the other people who just got off the Eurostar. It will go quickly, even though you will probably have to loop back while in the line.

There will be a person at the point where people are getting into taxis. He will be supervising who gets into which taxi, putting singles and couples into smaller vehicles and indicating that larger parties with a lot of luggage should wait for a larger taxi, so it may not be first come/first served. Do what he tells you. He will speak some/a lot of English, but he will be a lot happier if you have the address you are going to, including the arrondisement, on a piece of paper to give to him and ultimately the driver.

You may feel that you are being driven around, but the driver is not trying to cheat you. He knows the one way streets and where the traffic jams are likely to be. Rue Cler is a pedestrian street; no cars are allowed. Taxis may be an exception, but don't think he is doing anything weird if he makes you get out at the corner and walk the rest of the way, especially during market hours.

Google Maps shows it taking 22 minutes by car. That would not be in rush hour traffic, though.

spaarne Sep 12th, 2010 06:53 PM

<i>People are making this too hard.</i>

My daughter recently experienced a taxi que for a TGV arriving in Paris over an hour long.

Make sure you have euros in your pocket before getting into the que.

kerouac Sep 12th, 2010 11:48 PM

Gare du Nord is much more "downtown" than rue Cler.

But aside from that, if you see more than 25 people in the taxi queue, you could probably get most of the way to your destination by metro or bus by the time you could get into a taxi.

kerouac Sep 12th, 2010 11:51 PM

You can also reserve a taxi if you want to pay extra (I don't know how much extra). The drivers wait with a sign for the Eurostar and take you to the secret underground taxi lot just a few steps away (I discovered that area because Europcar and Hertz have given me the privilege of parking there when I return a car.)

seafox Sep 22nd, 2010 09:15 AM

I know that folks have been saying a 45 min. arrival ahead of train time in both Paris and London are ideal. Is that still valid? My insticts tell me an hour and a half is safer given security. Thoughts?

avalon Sep 22nd, 2010 09:25 AM

We do this trip frequently. I like to allow 1 hour. Then I can hace a coffee while I wait for the train

Gretchen Sep 22nd, 2010 09:40 AM

If there is a huge line walk across the street to La Maison Blanche and have moules frites--our favorite place in Paris to know we will get what we want, a rather interesting view from the sidewalk cafe.
And there is not a real problem getting a taxi for 4. The poster that said people are making this too hard are correct.

kerouac Sep 22nd, 2010 11:04 AM

<i>My instincts tell me an hour and a half is safer given security. Thoughts?</i>

You mean the two minutes spent at the conveyor belt X-ray? Please, it isn't an airport! After all, you can carry all of the liquid items that you want and nobody is going to ask who packed your bag. 45 minutes is more than enough for the Eurostar, because the official (and unrespected) deadline to check in is 30 minutes, and you can't board until 15 minutes before departure. Since the departure lounges at both sides are a total bore, the less time spent there the better.

apersuader65 Sep 22nd, 2010 01:39 PM

I'd recommend the Metro. Follow Spaarne's directions. It's cheaper and faster.

sassy_cat Sep 22nd, 2010 02:51 PM

seafox, here's what the website says (it depends on your ticket and if you need assistance)

latedaytraveler Sep 22nd, 2010 05:49 PM

Ackislander makes a good suggestion – have your hotel/address clearly written on a piece of paper. Years back my friend and I arrived in Paris from Amsterdam on the Thalys. When we told our cab driver our destination, he could not understand us – the Lutecia (spl?) on Avenue Raspail on the Left Bank, a well known hotel. Obviously, our French pronunciation was to blame. Now I always have the address of my destination clearly written.

Enjoy Paris…

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