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Use Paris Metro On Arrival Day?

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Apr 20th, 2013, 02:01 PM
  #1
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Use Paris Metro On Arrival Day?

I'm trying to determine whether to take a taxi or the metro into central Paris.

My daughter and I will be arriving CDG at 8:30 in the morning. We will have one carry-on and one handbag each, and we are both fit.

I've read that many of the Paris metro stations have MANY steps! I have also read that it's good to try to avoid the metro during rush hour, so these are my questions:

1. Arriving at CDG at 8:30 am with no luggage to claim, how long should we allow to get through customs, purchase a carnet of metro tickets and get on the train? Will we be in rush hour, and if so should we avoid the metro since we will have luggage?

2. We are staying in the 6th. Closest metro station is St. Michel. Are there elevators at this station, and if not, how many flights of stairs to get to street level?

Thanking you in advance for the good advice I know I'll receive! =)
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Apr 20th, 2013, 02:39 PM
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Strictly speaking, it is the RER, not the Metro that you will be taking; the RER is the underground line that comes in from outlying areas. The Metro is within the city itself.
Lots of people take the RER in to town, but it sure is simpler in a taxi. If you're not on a strict budget, I'd take a taxi.
Others will disagree.

I've taken the RER into town just once at rush hour, and it was a mad house with luggage, but again, people do it all the time.

Hard to tell how long it will take you to get through passport control; I'd plan on an hour until you can get on the RER.

Happy travels!
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Apr 20th, 2013, 02:40 PM
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A carnet of métro tickets may be useful when you are in Paris but the métro does not stretch to CDG. Fare on the RER B with connections to any métro station is 9.50€

Just asking this question alone would have me urge you to take a taxi, about 50€ to 55€. It´s door to door service, all above ground with comfortable seating the entire way, no one asking you for money, and no chance of becoming lost. Take the RER back to the airport when you are rested and understand the system better.

Do not accept rides from clandestine drivers soliciting from within the terminals. Proceed directly to the taxi platform but steps from the customs exits. Your total fare should include 1€ for a second bag placed into the trunk. Hand the drive a piece of paper with the name of your hotel clearly written upon it.
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Apr 20th, 2013, 03:16 PM
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I took the RER from CDG when I went to Paris a few years ago. It was easy and cheap. It was my first time traveling alone (I was meeting a friend later on) and I was really overwhelmed, so I ended up taking a five minute cab ride from the station where I got off the RER, because I didn't feel up to figuring out the metro just then.

If you're averagely fit, I don't think you should have any problem with the stairs in the Metro.

That said, since I'm going to Paris with two friends in June this year, we may just take a cab, and split the fare between the three of us. Yes, it would be a little more expensive, but when you're jet lagged, it's nice not to have to think too much.
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Apr 20th, 2013, 03:22 PM
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It's never taken me more than a few minutes at Passport Control at CDG but it would take about an hour (perhaps a bit less) to deplane, get to the RER station, and buy your ticket.

Unless you're on a strict budget I would take a taxi. I don't remember any budget constraints from your other threads. If you're going to Paris first after an overseas flight you'll be tired and won't want to try the RER immediately.
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Apr 20th, 2013, 04:03 PM
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Thank you all for the feedback.

I'm not worried about the jet-lag or negotiating the RER/Metro. I typically use train/tube/subway after long flights without any problems and am aware of my limitations. That said, perhaps my original concerns were not clear. I am:

1. Concerned about the lack of elevators because I have read that many stations in Paris don't have them. Therefore, I wanted to specifically know if anyone has information on the specific stops in question. I've not been able to find it on the internet.

2. Approximate time to get through customs, etc. Thank you Adrienne for that information!

This is what I would like to do, elevators or only a moderate number of steps permitting:

Take RER from CDG to St. Michel.

QUESTION: Are there elevators/escalators to get to the RER at the airport? If not, approximately how many steps/staircases are involved.

Get off the train at the RER Saint-Michel Notre-Dame stop. The exit from the tunnels that is closest to our apartment will be the Metro exit, pl. St-Andre-des-Arts (#4, according to the RATP map.

QUESTION: How far is this exit from where the RER stops and are there elevators/escalators to help you get to street level? If not, how many flights of stairs?

I realize these are very specific questions, so unless you've used these stops/exits, they are impossible to answer.

Thanks!
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Apr 20th, 2013, 04:54 PM
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They have information on the Paris metro website about elevators, but it isn't easy to find, this is the list http://www.ratp.fr/fr/ratp/c_22868/l...res-amenagees/

IN any case, someone asked about this not too long ago, and there is an escalator at St Michel, apparently. Now that website says the elevators at St Michel are undergoing renovation. Surprisingly, it doesn't like the airport RER stop, wonder why. It does have elevators as I recall, though, and escalators.

I've spent much longer than a couple minutes at passport control at CDG, you can't predict. There would have to be no one on the plane hardly for it to take only a couple minutes (unless you managed to get first, I supposed) and no other plane at the same time. I don't think it's ever taken me longer than about 20 minutes. What difference does it make, anyway, upon arrival? Do you have some appointment to make that you have to know exactly how long? I would estimate maybe 15 minutes actually at passport control alone, aside from everything else, then.
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Apr 20th, 2013, 05:00 PM
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As I recall, RER stations are more likely to have escalators (going up, anyway) than Metro stations.
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Apr 20th, 2013, 05:07 PM
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Time out of CDG can be highly variable, whether for immigration or baggage. Depends a lot on how many planes come in at approximately the same time, and there usually are a lot around your arrival time.
Even if there are escalators, assume they may not be working. If you have this much concern, take a taxi.
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Apr 20th, 2013, 05:17 PM
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Christina - Thank you for the information! This is exactly what I was looking for, but had been unsuccessful finding. I think with the "renovations" going on at St. Michel, we are better off taking a taxi.

I do not have an appointment, but my cell phone will not work in Paris until I purchase a SIM card. I've rented an apartment was trying to get an idea of what time I should tell the owner to expect us. I assume that there is WIFI all over the airport, so I will probably just email him as we head to the taxi stand.

Is it about 45 minutes from CDG to the St. Germaine area at that time of day?
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Apr 20th, 2013, 05:25 PM
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On another note, we are arriving on a Monday and leaving from Orly on a Saturday.

Is it more cost effective to purchase carnets of tickets as we go, or to buy the Navigo Pass for one week?

We plan to mostly walk and take the metro for longer distances (Sacre Coure, etc.), so I'm thinking "as we go" but input appreciated!
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Apr 20th, 2013, 06:51 PM
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I would not assume that there is wifi in the airport. There rarely is free wifi in airports.
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Apr 20th, 2013, 07:05 PM
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You can get 15 minutes of free WiFi ("WeeFee" as they say in Europe) at CDG:

http://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr/ADP/e...services/WiFi/
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Apr 20th, 2013, 07:10 PM
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I always use Rick Steves's books for planning my European trips. But I don't always agree with his advice. He advises Paris travelers to buy the carnets, but I have found it much more convenient myself just to have a pass for unlimited rides, even if it costs a little more, so I can forget about tickets. It's nice to know you can hop on and off the Metro, buses, and RER whenever you want and not have to worry about whether you'll burn another ticket. I've gotten off the Metro at the wrong stop more than once!
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Apr 20th, 2013, 07:24 PM
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Just out of curiosity, if you're both in relatively good shape, why are you so concerned about the number of steps? I doubt an extra flight of stairs or two would up your transit time by more than a couple of minutes.
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Apr 20th, 2013, 09:17 PM
  #16
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Andrew, thank you so much for the link to the wifi. I knew I had read that somewhere, but couldn't remember where! I tend to agree with you about the pass - so much easier than having to buy more tickets when you run out, stand in lines, have correct change, etc. I think we will get the Navigo Pass. I too have gotten off at the wrong stop a few times!!

Hiddenbird - It's not walking up the extra flights of stairs that concern me. The issue is carrying luggage up several flights of stairs in a crowded environment. When you're hauling a suitcase, those flights add up.
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Apr 20th, 2013, 10:28 PM
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If you take the escalators at the Saint Michel RER station, you will have a grand total of one flight of steps to walk up (the last flight to street level). However, there is also an elevator from the RER to street level -- I have never taken it myself, so I'm not sure if it is easy to find or not -- but all you have to do is look for the elevator sign if you feel that you need it.
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Apr 21st, 2013, 09:39 AM
  #18
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Kerouac - THANK YOU!!

This is exactly the information I was seeking. One flight of steps is very doable with luggage - three flights is not.

I appreciate your help. =)
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Apr 21st, 2013, 09:55 AM
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You don't have to stand in lines or have correct change to buy métro tickets. It takes about 10 seconds. As for escalators and elevators, knowing ahead of time that they exist doesn't mean knowing ahead of time if they're actually working. And I've never been in a Paris métro station where it was much of an issue to take a bag up stairs. I can't even think of one that has more than a flight or two, though maybe they exist.
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Apr 21st, 2013, 02:06 PM
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Darlene - I would not worry about going up the steps in a crowded environment - people will just go around you as long as both of you don't walk abreast and hog the step area, which I'm sure you won't do.
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