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Help Me Decide : Paris - Getting from CDG to Gare du Nord

Help Me Decide : Paris - Getting from CDG to Gare du Nord

Jan 3rd, 2012, 03:34 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2012
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Help Me Decide : Paris - Getting from CDG to Gare du Nord

Hello everyone,

I am in a dilemma and would appreciate any advice possible.

You see, I am planning a business trip to Antwerp in Belgium in mid-Jan this year, with a stop-over in Paris. So essentially I will fly into to Paris CDG, and then take a Thalys train from Gare du Nord to Antwerp.

My itinerary however, includes some shopping that I need to do in Champs Elysees. My main concern is the security in Paris as I was pickpocketed on the train, after a red eye flight, distracted and luggage in hand, from CDG to Gare du Nord on a train (the one that stops at every suburban station) 2 years back.

Anyway, I will fly in on a Sunday and I see myself presented with 2 choices of itinerary:

Itinerary A (Leave luggage at CDG airport)
1. Check in luggage at left luggage counter at CDG
2. Go from CDG to Champ Elysees using public transport
3. Finish some shopping, from Champ Elysees take public transport back to CDG
4. Retrieve luggage from left luggage counter at CDG airport
5. From CDG, take Thalys train to Antwerp (transiting at Brussels)

Pros for Itinerary A :
(a) No taking of the train from CDG to Gare du Nord burdened with luggage; (b) was told that it took shorter time to check in and retrieve luggage at luggage facilities at CDG compared to check in and retrieve luggage from lockers at Gare du Nord

Cons for Itinerary A :
(a) Less trains departing for Antwep from CDG airport (b) Have to spend more time to change to another train at Brussels in order to get to Antwerp (c) troublesome to have to go all the way back to CDG just to take the train (instead of taking the train at Gare du Nord)


Itinerary B (Leave luggage at Gare du Nord)
1. Go from CDG to Gare du Nord via RER non-stop train, with luggage in hand
2. Check in luggage at luggage lockers at Gare du Nord
3. From Gare du Nord take public transport to Champ Elysees
4. Finish some shopping, from Champ Elysees take public transport back to Gare du Nord
5. Retrieve luggage from luggage lockers at Gare du Nord
6. Take Thalys express train to Antwerp

Pros for Itinerary B :
More trains departing for Antwep from Gare du Nord (b) Direct train to Antwerp without any change of trains (c) taking the train at Gare du Nord, no need to go all the way back to CDG airport

Cons for Itinerary B :
(a) Have to take the train from CDG to Gare du Nord burdened with luggage and have to be extra careful; (b) long queues at the luggage lockers at Gare du Nord

What is your advice in my case ? Which way should I choose ?
Thanks!
senocs is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 04:21 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,867
What are you shopping for, out of curiosity.
Invest another $50 in your trip and take a cab to the shopping place. Buy your stuff and take a cab to the Gare du Nord.
Gretchen is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 04:22 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
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I would be tempted to just hop a cab to Etoile and then another cab to Gare du Nord from there. The big advantage is you only have to deal with your luggage a bit during the shopping. This would particularly make sense if you are only going to one shop to buy something specific and aren't just "shopping". After a long flight that would be my choice even for the price difference. At least you don't pay the luggage lockers and RER and have to handle all your luggage alone. Then you can have a cab drop you right near the area of the gare to catch the train most easily rather than schlepping luggage from the metro/RER area.
jpie is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 04:26 AM
  #4  
 
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Hey Gretchen-we must have post at the same time-great minds think alike
jpie is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 04:31 AM
  #5  
 
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If you go from CDG, you need to know that no Thalys trains serve CDG. You would take a TGV from CDG to Brussels and then either a Thalys train or an IC train from there to Antwerp.

I would vote for a Thalys train directly from Gare du Nord to Antwerp. If you book well in advance (up to 90 days) at thalys.com, you can get a cheap Smoove fare.

Do not bring a billfold. Wear a money belt and keep your passport, credit cards, ATM cards, and any large bills in it. Keep a small amount of spending money in a front pants pocket. Use small locks to secure the zippers on your bag.
TimS is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 07:01 AM
  #6  
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thanks for all the replies so far.

gretchen, jpie,
I have tasked with a shopping list by some relatives and friends. Basically LV (only the Champ Elysees store is open on Sunday) and Hermes (don't even think they open on Sundays), but I need to stress they are not for myself. However, I must admit that I don't like the feeling of shopping with a suitcase (albeit cabin size) and laptop bag in toll.

TimS,
Yes you are right, it is a TGV and changing to a Thalys. Sorry I wasn't being very precise on that description.
senocs is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 07:17 AM
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The Air France bus has a drop/off pick/up point at Etoile. That could be one way to do round trip to CE from CDG.

RER is easiest for getting to GDN. If you could do that, with a wary eye looking for neer-do-wells, then luggage issue and round tripping to CDG goes away.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 01:05 PM
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I STILL say cab to the store if you have small baggage. Just get it over with!!
It would be fine if they were for you.
I may be wrong but you may be limited in the number of items you can purchase at these stores at one visit.
Gretchen is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 02:10 PM
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i googled and found that there is a Hermes in Antwerp. ditto LV.

personally I'd forget about shopping in Paris [if this was all i was going for] and go straight to Antwerp.
annhig is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 09:28 PM
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From what I can see, the biggest problem is having accepted a shopping list. In any case, Hermès is not open on Sunday.
kerouac is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 10:58 PM
  #11  
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UPDATE :

Thanks for all the responses so far! It is much appreciated.
Seems like Sunday shopping in Paris is not that good an idea! Have decided to take a flight in 1 day earlier, check in luggage to a CDG airport hotel and then do the shopping over Saturday and Sunday. Now the decision comes whether to take which option :

1. TGV train from CDG to Bruxelles-MIDI, change trains to a Thalys train and then from Bruxelles-MIDI on to Antwerp
2. Thalys direct from Gare Du Nord to Antwerp

What would you do, from a safety/security standpoint? On one hand, there is the security concern of taking the RER to Gare du Nord, the security concerns within the Gare du Nord terminal itself whilst changing trains. On the other hand, the other way would involve changing trains at Brussels and reading online it seems the Bruxelles-MIDI station is also a hotspot for crime and theft.

PS. I know, I know, I am completely paranoid, but after that pickpocketing incident in Paris 2 years back (which was a complete nightmare by the way) I just want to be as completely informed as possible. Even if it means to take a risk, I prefer to take a known, calculated risk.

Thanks in advance for the advice!
senocs is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 11:01 PM
  #12  
 
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I absolutely would not stay at an airport hotel if the point is to go shopping in Paris.

I think you need to give the RER and Gare du Nord another try. I know it is hard to relax after a pickpocketing incident, but that's the whole point -- you are not supposed to relax! You certainly have the proper vigilance now to avoid problems.
kerouac is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 12:52 AM
  #13  
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Thanks kerouac

I'm a little torn myself. On the one hand, the shopping is not for me and I'm just doing the favor mostly for relatives, some of whom have helped me before. On the other hand, because it's not really for me, I don't want to spend too much on lodging and accomodation.

What is your concern, may I ask you to share ? In terms of inconvenience between CDG and the city etc, I totally understand, but I am not in a particular hurry and I have some time to kill. The shopping is just a few shops, and other than trying to fulfil the shopping list I'm not really interested otherwise.
senocs is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 01:26 AM
  #14  
 
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Just get a hotel across from Gare du Nord -- the completely refurbished All Seasons has just opened there and next door is the bit more elegant Mercure, just to name 2 of the 50 or so hotels in the neighbourhood. Then at least you would be just a few steps away from the train to Antwerp.
kerouac is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 06:35 AM
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sencos - is there some reason that you don't want to do this shopping in Antwerp when you arrive there?

Why not do what you want to do in Paris and leave the shopping till later?
annhig is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 03:55 PM
  #16  
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hey korouac, you know what, in the end I just booked a room at the All Seasons Gare du Nord which is directly across Gare Du Nord station. It just opened Nov 2011 so it shouldn't be that bad I guess. Thanks for your inputs.

To : annhig
I don't have a lot of time in Antwerp actually. Jam packed with meetings. Stores would probably be closed by the evening when I'm done.
senocs is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 09:18 PM
  #17  
 
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annhig,, glad you finally made the choice to stay in Paris,, Gare Du Nord is just not that scary,, and in 30 years of visiting Paris I have only had one or two attempts and pickpocketing( they did not succeed!) so please do not let your one experience make you so nervous, you are now alot smarter and it likely won't happen again. I am a woman who travels alone and I feel very safe in Paris.

The biggest mistake you made was agreeing to shop for others,, I would have said something like "if I have time I will try" but not made promises,, and you even changed your travel plans for this shopping,, that is way too nice I think!
justineparis is offline  

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