Paris: shuttle from CDG into city

Aug 11th, 2005, 08:42 AM
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We're deciding between the shuttle and a taxi. I've looked up the shuttle information and have that cost.

Travelnut, you said that your taxi from CDG to the 5th was 55 Euros. Do they charge by the person or the ride? We are three.
Thank you
Aug 11th, 2005, 08:47 AM
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There were 2 of us but it was Sunday, which is an extra cost. I think add'l passengers cost extra, and there is a bag fee of around 1-2€ each.

The main thing that can run up the bill is traffic.

So- taxi is more direct, more convenient but cost is not fully containable; shuttle is fixed-cost and fairly convenient, but occasional complaints about service (Airport Connection, to me, seems to garner the most complaints).
Travelnut is offline  
Aug 11th, 2005, 08:51 AM
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Good information about rates...
the extra-person charge is for the 4th person and above (so no extra for 3 passengers).
Travelnut is offline  
Aug 11th, 2005, 09:27 AM
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Travelnut - you are an incredible wealth of information. Thank you so much!
Aug 11th, 2005, 09:34 AM
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There is another wealth of information at
Robespierre is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 02:26 PM
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There's a helpful page which details ALL the travel options between Paris and the CDG / Orly airports -- including fares, schedules, pick-up and drop-off locations (both at the airport and in Paris), and comparative convenience for travelers. It covers taxis, private shuttle services, limousines, Air France buses, RER (train) and other public transport (such as Roissybus and city buses). The URL is:

There is no one particular type of service which is best-suited for every single traveler, family, or group. Based on some of the above comments and questions, I believe a few points of clarification are in order.

For example, "francophile03" wrote:

"Generally most people find that shuttles are not worth the lower cost as they can be late or not pick you up at all and drive other passengers to their destinations first." AND "To save about 5 euro more or less by taking the shuttle is not worth it."

It sounds like "francophile03" may have had a bad experience with a given shuttle operator, and/or was headed for an arrondissement furthest from CDG -- resulting in being dropped off last among several passengers in a "shared" vehicle.

However, s/he is underestimating the average (additional) cost of taking a taxi to most addresses in central Paris. Both "worldinabag" (08/10/2005) and "Bigal" (08/11/2005) make valid points, in that overseas flights landing at CDG tend to arrive around rush hour, when the A1 freeway becomes a congested nightmare, and taxi customers can sit in traffic up to 2 hours watching in horror as the fare meter keeps climbing.

For jet-lagged travelers with a fair amount of (heavy) luggage, there are only three door-to-door services which will pick you up at your arrival terminal, assist you with your luggage, and deliver you directly to your hotel or rental apartment in Paris. They are: private shuttles (generally minivans), taxis, and limousines. Each of them has their pros and cons.

For the cost-is-no-object traveler, a private limousine certainly offers the maximum in comfort and luxury -- for a price, of course (usually 100 Euros & up). Finding a reputable, licensed limo at the curbside is not guaranteed, however, as there have been many instances of "gypsy" limo operators who will try to seduce you with their charm as you exit the terminal doors. Should you choose this method, be certain that you have agreed to the exact final cost to your destination, before allowing the first bag to be loaded. Preferably, you would have reserved your ride in advance, through a limousine company's web site or by phone, and received an e-mail or faxed confirmation of your fare.

Taxis can be an ideal form of transport if (1.) you are a couple or threesome arriving late morning or early afternoon, or on a week-end; AND (2.) you have not made any advance reservations for another form of transport; AND (3.) you already have a supply of Euros in hand. Disadvantages: Expect to pay a surcharge for every piece of luggage. The fare is not guaranteed, since it depends on traffic conditions. Based on the variables, expect to pay between 45-75 Euros. (The CDG airport's web site estimates around 50 Euros during daytime hours, plus a surcharge for evenings after 7 p.m., Sundays and/or holidays.)

Although French transport laws require taxi drivers to accept a fouth passenger, many of them scoff at this requirement and will refuse to do so. (If they do accept, there is also a surcharge for the fourth passenger.) In practical terms, carrying four passengers in a taxi is unwieldy and virtually impossible with average amounts of luggage. For families traveling with infants, keep in mind also that taxis will not have a child seat available.

Shuttle operators generally offer either a "shared" or "private" transfer in a minivan, with a capacity of 7 or 8 passengers. French transport laws require that they already have a written manifest to pick up specific prepaid (or pre-reserved) passengers before entering the airport complex -- which is why you must reserve your transfer in advance, either online or by phone. The flat fare is guaranteed in advance (regardless of traffic conditions or distance to your Paris destination), and generally includes a free amount of luggage equal to the standard airline allowance (2 check-in, 1 carry-on, 1 personal item per person).

Shuttles can also accommodate bicycles, pet cages, wheel chairs, and oversized luggage items. Some shuttle operators have child seats available for infants and toddlers. Fares range from 25-30 Euros for a single traveler, to 35-40 Euros per couple, or as low as 15-19 Euros per person in groups of up to eight; some offer discounted rates (9-10 Euros each) for children up to age 10. Disadvantage: If traveling in a "shared" van (with other passengers), you may not be the first ones to be dropped off. However, shuttle itineraries and passenger loads are usually programmed for closely grouped arrondissements, and no more than three drop-off points per trip.

Many fodorites posting on these forums say they don't mind a little sightseeing on their way to the hotel, especially when the driver is friendly and points out landmarks along the way. Some have even expressed gratitude when the driver took a little detour to show them a place they asked about.

Those who arrive at CDG for the first time can find it a little intimidating (just as any major airport), only more so if French language is not your strong suit. In that case, you may find it reassuring when a private shuttle driver greets you as you exit customs -- holding a sign with your name on it -- and brings you to your vehicle.

With respect to public forms of transport, "Robespierre" (08/11/2005) observed: "The RER/Métro is the cheapest (8 Euros), and not subject to traffic jams. Yeah, I know -- it's 'difficult' if you have luggage. To which I reply: if you can't get your bags off a plane and onto a train, you need to learn how to travel lighter."

While I commend "Robespierre" on his practical tips for traveling lighter <grin>, this is not always possible -- especially for longer stays or families traveling with children. "Difficult" is somewhat of an understatement, also. Doing a little research, it was interesting to learn that the Paris taxi operators' lobby was successful in influencing where the RER station at CDG was built. It requires taking a CDG shuttle bus from your arrival terminal to reach the RER station, purchasing tickets, then lugging your bags up and down stairs to catch a train to Gare du Nord or Denfert-Rochereau, connecting with one or two Métro lines in Paris (again, more stairs) to reach a station closest to your hotel, then walking some blocks with bags in tow to reach your destination.

Yes, if you're an energetic young backpacker with only a knapsack, and on a tight budget, the RER is a viable option. However, in that case, I'd like to point out that the train (7.85 Euros) is NOT the cheapest method. On the contrary, it costs only 4.20 Euros to take the #350 bus to Gare de l'Est, or the #351 bus to Nation! They take anywhere from 1:15 to 1:45 to reach the terminus, and make many stops in Roissy along the way. Also not recommended with lots of luggage. Unless your hotel is across the street from the terminus, count on taking the Métro or hailing a taxi from there.

The New York Sun, in its 17 June 2005 Travel Section, said this: "With unannounced (and usually unexplained) metro strikes affecting the RER rail link from Charles de Gaulle airport to central Paris on a regular basis, you can't always count on public transportation to get you into town on time."

Air France and Roissybus coaches offer relatively economical fares to Paris (more than RER, less than minivan shuttles). You can board these buses directly at your arrival terminal. Fares range between 8.20-12.00 Euros/person. Disadvantage: Each of them has only a specific drop-off point in Paris (refer to the web site I mentioned at the beginning, for exact locations), from where you will still need to hail a taxi or take the Métro to reach your destination -- adding to the total time and cost. Jet-lagged travelers or families with children will also not find these options very convenient.

In the final analysis, there are certainly a number of avenues available for traveling the 30km from CDG to Paris. The one you choose will depend to a great extent on your budget, time available, patience -- or your desire for creature comforts, convenience, and prompt delivery to your destination. I have personally tried several methods, and -- at my age -- prefer the private transport options.

You be the judge. Best wishes to all, and enjoy every moment you can in the City of Light!
dfnet is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 02:41 PM
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Hmmm...dfnet, you seem to pick both this older thread and me from the many here. Don't be a coward. Identify yourself for you sound like a regular Fodorite.
francophile03 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 02:45 PM
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And you're a first time poster, too, dfnet. This is very amusing your post about shuttles. Just let me tell you straight, I prefer taking taxis. Whether or not it's right for you or for another person that's a personal choice. No! I do not enjoy taking a city tour on a shuttle, thank you. And I have never read that any more than two or three at most have said they enjoyed taking 'city tours' during their shuttle rides.
francophile03 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 03:13 PM
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I dont agree with some of your comments concerning taxis. Minivan taxis tend to be readily available at the airport. This eliminates the problem of the 4th passenger as well as luggage limitations. When you request a taxi from the queue there is an airport employee available that can guide you to an appropriately sized vehicule. The surcharge for luggage is a flat set fee of .90 cents per bag.

Concerning the RER station, it does not require you to take a shuttle. The RER station is directly connected to 4 terminals. From those 4 terminals you may walk to the RER station without ever exiting the terminal building. The other two terminals in CDG 2 are walkable as well since you simply walk through two terminal bldgs instead of one. Only terminal 1 requires a shuttle. You also do not have to lug bags up and down stairs. The RER platform is served by escalators. No stairs required. Upon arrival in Paris stairs are probably but not at CDG. If you are staying in a hotel near a RER station such as st michele, luxembourg, port royal or denfert then the RER is a very valid option. At rush hour a RER / taxi combo is another good choice.

Also overseas flights do not "tend" to arrive at rush hour. In fact if I had to guess I would say that more arrive in the AM. But it is a valid point to avoid a taxi during rush hour.
MorganB is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 03:35 PM
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I would like clarification on dfnet's statement "catch a train to Gare du Nord or Denfert-Rochereau." From I can tell on the RATP website, RER line B goes from CDG all the way thru Paris, with many stops along the way, not just Gare du Nord and Denfert-Rochereau. When I search for a route from CDG to St. Michel/Notre Dame, it doesn't show that any transfers are necessary. Where did you get the info that it only makes two stops in Paris?
g33kgrl is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 07:15 PM
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RER lovers unite!

Actually, g33grl posed an excellent question. The short answer: consult the excellent route maps available on the web site. The RATP (Regie Autonome des Transports Parisiens) is the public transportation authority for Paris.

The long answer:

RER line B, which goes from CDG and traverses central Paris in a north-south path to the southern suburbs, does make a small number of stops (7) in the city. The following list of those stops also shows which ones offer a connection (fr. correspondance) with Paris metro/subway lines to other destinations:

Gare du Nord (metro lines 4 & 5; RER lines D & E)
Chatelet Les Halles (metro lines 1, 4, 7, 11, & 14; RER lines A & D)
St-Michel Notre-Dame (metro line 10; RER line C)
Denfert-Rochereau (metro lines 4 & 6)

If your hotel or other destination happens to be situated near one of those seven stations, then you're in like flint. On the other hand, more than 98% of Paris hotels will not be near RER line B. In those cases, one would need to either take a taxi from the RER station, or continue on by metro to one of its roughly 380 stations throughout Paris.

Since RER B does not connect directly with six of the metro lines (2, 3, 8, 9, 12, 13), a second connection would be required to reach hotels near those lines. In some cases, these include entire arrondissements which could only be reached by making two connections.

Example: Most addresses in the Montmartre area (18th arrondissement) are served by metro lines 2, 12, and 13. To reach line 2, one would first take line 4 from Gare du Nord. To reach line 12, one would first take line 14 from Chatelet Les Halles. To reach line 13, one would first take line 1 from Chatelet Les Halles.

For the sake of brevity, suffice it so say that several other arrondissements pose a similar challenge, requiring two metro connections from RER B to reach one's destination.

A word of caution to the uninitiated: connecting stations like Chatelet Les Halles should be avoided at all costs when traveling with multiple pieces of luggage or toddlers in tow. The distances one must cover underground to reach your metro line can be quite significant! Navigating the twists and turns, plus various sets of stairs -- while trying to pay attention to a multitude of directional signs -- can be confusing for an out-of-towner. Yes, it is true that for part of the way there is a long moving sidewalk (if I didn't mention this, the "defenders" would surely bring it up!), but if you try to stand on it rather than walking quickly -- you'll likely inspire contempt from hurried commuters jostling past you in a rush.

In conclusion, the argument here is not whether RER offers an excellent solution for some, who may have little baggage and don't mind walking or climbing stairs. (It does.) However, for many visitors it is certainly not the most convenient or comfortable solution. That would include those with heavy luggage and/or young children, elderly travelers, and those with disabilities.

In my case, I also include those with jet-lag who prefer some creature comforts! ;-)

After all, I'm on vacation -- not commuting to work!
dfnet is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 04:11 AM
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Here's some helpful info for transfers at Chatelet from the RER line.

Line 4: Short well marked walk but does involve one VERY steep long staircase

Line 14: Short well marked walk with elevators / escalators. No stairs

RER A and D: This can be as simple as a walk across a platform (cant remember which line / direction). Otherwise, up escalator (stairs available but look for the escalator), across large open area following signs, down escalator. Easy transfer.

Lines 1, 7 and 11: Amazingly long walks through a labyrinth of corridors, stairs, moving sidewalks. To be avoided even without luggage unless you really have no choice.

A tip for getting through turnstiles with luggage, either move the luggage through ahead of you or look for large glass doors at one end of the bank of turnstiles. This can be opened to allow you to pass through with large items such as luggage. The door will either have an attendant in a booth or you may see a red button you have to press to ask. English only might be a bit dicey but worth a shot.

Keep your metro ticket handy. You will need it when you transfer from the RER to the metro or to exit the RER. Nothing worse than digging through pockets looking for a little piece of paper when loaded down with luggage and tired from a flight.

I personally prefer a taxi when I am arriving at CDG because I am tired. However, if my hotel were near a station where I didnt have to change at all I would take the RER. A family should opt for a taxi in my opinion. When I leave from Paris I usually take public transporation. Again however, I am usually traveling alone or with one other person. The more people you have in your party, the more appealing a taxi becomes.
MorganB is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 04:35 AM
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After reading the many posts about getting to Paris from CDG, I have concluded that it is a very personal thing, this choice of transportation. I choose to take the RER. However, it is always just two of us with carryon luggage. The one time we went with 5 of us, some who liked to travel heavy, we planned to use a shuttle. However, plans changed when we missed our connecting flight in London and ended up arriving at CDG without luggage and used the RER to get into the city. On the return trip to CDG we used parishuttle, which we were completely unhappy with and will never use that service again. We didn't mind the picking up of passengers and driving around. We did mind however that the driver dropped us off far away from our departure point (we were not sure where we needed to go) and we walked forever to get to our terminal. That was our fault, but the driver couldn't wait to dump us at the first Air France sign he saw. We much prefer the RER and don't even mind walking miles thru the maze at Chatelet.
opaldog is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 05:28 AM
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MorganB, thank you for that very useful description of transfers at the Chatelet station. I have been avoiding that station because of the many warnings about stairs and labyrinths, and this is just the kind of information I need. Saving it for future use.
Nikki is online now  
Sep 25th, 2005, 05:39 AM
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The hotels I use in Paris are generally within 4-5 blocks of an RER station. No need to transfer to the metro. I always have just 1 small carry-on size bag. So, for me, the RER is the best way to go.
BUT, if you do not travel light, and/or you have several others with you, I would NOT recommend the RER.
platzman is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 05:55 AM
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I am travelling solo and have a very small cabin size case (5kg) so will attempt the RER from CDG to Gare de Nord. My slight problem is I only have a 3 zone Paris Visite card and I know I should travel on a 5 zone card from CDG.
Can anybody give me advice as to whether I have to buy a complete new oneway ticket 0R buy a supplementary ticket covering the outer 2 zones OR just get on the darn train and take a chance? Please help.
tod is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 06:02 AM
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Tod, Robespierre says you can buy a supplementary ticket for Roissy to ?(last town in zone 4 before entering zone 3-check RER map). Do NOT attempt to get by on a 3-zone ticket, most RER stations require your ticket to ENTER and EXIT, and your ticket would not be valid since CDG is in zone 5. You'll find the ticket office for local trains to the left of the ticket office for the TGV, I think it was level 2 of the train station.
Travelnut is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 06:12 AM
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I will only comment on the long post by dfnet (or whatever) where he says taxis for 4 are difficult to get. This is totally incorrect. We usually walk directly to one in the taxi queue. They are VERY common and not difficult for your hotel to obtain for the return trip to CDG. We have also obtained them at taxi stands in Paris, where one person rode in the front seat in a normal size car.
Gretchen is online now  
Sep 25th, 2005, 06:49 AM
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Travelnut/Robespierre - Thanks for the good advice about buying the ticket from Roissy to La Plaine - Voyageurs(is that the place?) I was nervous about just climbing aboard without knowing the consequences!
Thanks again so very much!
tod is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 07:01 AM
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The closest stop to CDG in Zone 3 is le Blanc Mesnil (shown as "Blanc-Mesnil" in the RER schedules). I wouldn't use the terms "supplement" or "extension" when buying a ticket, because I don't think that nomenclature is recognized by the RATP. Just ask for un billet, and use it to get on the train. According to, the one-way fare is 4.90€.
Robespierre is offline  

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