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How to get to your destination from the airport on your first day in Paris

 (photo by timeout.com)

***Today’s information in thanks to http://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr/adp/fr-fr/Passagers/accueil/

When most students think of Paris study abroad preparations, they think about getting a French visa, upgrading their American cell phone plan to an international one, have questions on banking, look for the best price on a flight- but what about how to get to your host family’s house or hostel that very first day? One former study abroad student on Twitter recently told me that she wished she would have known this information on her first day as it would have alleviated some stress to an already anxious day. So I dedicate this post to her and all the up-coming Paris study abroad students.

Bienvenue à Paris

There are 2 main airports in Île de France about 45 minutes to 1 hour outside of Paris down town – Charles de Gaulle (abbreviated as CDG) or Orly. Fun fact- CDG is sometimes referred to as Roissy Airport because it is located in a town called Roissy. CDG is north of Paris where is Orly is south of Paris. For some time now all international flights (which you will be) land at CDG. It’s like in Dallas we have DFW and Lovefield airport. DFW is for all domestic and international flights whereas Lovefield is only for some domestic flights. Anyhoo, back to Paris. CDG is a pretty big airport and there are a few ways to leave it to get to your destination on your very first day in Paris. Let’s take a look! Here’s a video on Terminal 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au4Nu0-mnNU

1)  Taxi – this is the easiest, most direct, safe but most expensive way to get to your destination. Just like any major airport, there are taxis outside waiting to take people to where they need to go. It’s easy because all you have to do is walk out the front door and look for a line of taxi’s and find the first available one; It’s direct because you don’t have to worry about frequent stops or getting off at the right stop- you’ll be dropped off directly at the front door of your destination; It’s safe because you don’t have to share the cab with anyone or have strangers get on in the seedier neighborhoods. However, the cost to take a taxi can be anywhere from 50 € to over 100 € depending upon where you are going in Paris. And don’t forget the tip!

 roissybus6233(photo by francetravelplanner.com)

2)  Roissy Bus- this is a bus specifically set up to transport people from CDG airport to Opéra Garnier at the corner of rue Scribe and rue Auber which is pretty much right in the middle of Paris. It is a big bus and just like the general RATP buses (RATP also operates this bus), it is clean, roomy, safe, has a direct route and runs every 15-20 minutes. At 10 €, it’s a pretty good deal with plenty of room for your luggage and nice way to see Paris for less than the price of taxi in an equally safe mode of transportation. You can find the Roissy Bus outside of Terminals 1,2 &3 at CDG airport. More of a visual person? Here’s a clip of someone taking the Roissy Bus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSsTqQk7Dkw and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXNxeB6-I8I

 

rer_b_terminal_1_atrium(photo by: parisbytrain.com)

3)  RER Train- The RER B train picks you up right inside the airport! This is another good deal for getting into Paris from the airport at 9,50€. It’s also a double decker train and should have lots of room. One big con to this method is that this train makes every stop along the way from the airport to Paris and those stops are not in the best of neighborhoods. The RER B train makes stops at:
The station « Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 1 » serves terminals 1 and 3.
The station « Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 2 – TGV» serves terminals 2 ACDEF and G.
Terminal 2G is linked to terminal 2F (entrance 2.10) by the free N2 shuttle (average journey time :15 minutes).
Journey time (From the below Paris stops to CDG):
- approx. 25 minutes from Gare du Nord
- approx. 28 minutes from Châtelet-Les-Halles
- approx. 35 minutes from Denfert-Rochereau.

Frequency:
- every 10-15 minutes on weekdays

I took the RER once to come back after dropping someone off at CDG and a young girl got on in from one of the banlieu (suburb) stops. She brought a loud radio with her and started stripping and pole dancing on the train- and that’s the least of your worries! I do not recommend this option for your very first day in Paris after a long flight and with suitcases in tow but it is good to know that it is an option if the other 2 fail you for some reason. Sometimes an image is more powerful than words, here is one tourist’s video of taking the RER B to CDG https://www.youtube.co/watch?v=0mLhk3k3UD0

It’s natural to be nervous you’re first day in Paris- you’ve just signed up to be away from everything and everyone you know and love! But with a little leg work you can have your method of transportation (as well as a back up plan) already in place so that it is one less thing for you to worry about on your very first day in Paris. Bonne chance!

Do you have other questions about your time in Paris as an au pair, student or traveler that you would like answered? Tweet it to me @twentyinparis

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Are you going to Paris to study or be an au pair? Do you think that the experience of living in Paris is dreamy? You might be setting yourself up for disappointment if you do! Don’t go abroad with dreams- see the real experience of transitioning to a new culture and language to best prepare yourself with new “thought- provoking” (Dialect Magazine) book The Paris Diaries: The Study Abroad Experience Uncensored- out now on Amazon Kindle ($3.99)