Paris and What to do When You Arrive
Flights to Paris:
There are direct flights to Paris from just
about every country in the world. If you are coming from the USA of course the
easiest way to get to Paris is to fly from whatever city is closest
to you that has flights to Paris. Most likely are New York, Raleigh-Durham, Washington,
Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles and you probably get
the idea. For those of you who don't know the rules of the
game here is how it generally works if you are looking for cheap
fares. Airlines break up seats on a particular flight by price.
Let's say there are 250 seats on a plane in the economy section.
Maybe forty of those seats will be offered at the lowest price.
When they are gone the next forty will be at a price slightly higher.
When these are gone then the next group is slightly higher until
you get to the last group of tickets, generally the biggest and
most expensive. So in other words to get the cheapest seats you
have to book early. But it is not so simple. Because maybe on a
flight for April 21st the only tickets left are the most expensive,
but April 22nd there are three cheap tickets left. But how will
you know this unless you check every date? This is where an agent
who specializes in cheap flights can help. Try www.agreatfare.com
and usually they can find something inexpensive. There are also
certain periods when airlines are short on cash and offer bargains.
Arrival in Paris
You will probably arrive at either Charles De Gaulle
or Orly Airport, both of which are about 45 minutes from
the center of Paris unless there is traffic. If nobody is meeting
you the easiest way to get into the city is by taxi which will cost
a little under 25 euros from Orly and around 50 euros from De Gaulle.
There are usually plenty of cabs. The rates go up 30% between 7pm
and 6am and there is a charge of 1.50 euros per suitcase. For between
100 and 200 euros you can hire a private car or limo. When it is
time to leave Paris just have your hotel concierge call for a taxi
or if you liked the driver that brought you into town ask for his
card. You can also book a pre-arranged transfer which start at about 20 euros for a shuttle, or a private limo for a bit more.
There are several bus lines from Charles
De Gaul to central Paris but your best bet if you choose mass
transit is the train which leave every 15 minutes between 5:30 am
and midnight from the airport station to Gare du Nord, Chatelet
Les Halles and Luxembourg stations. From Orly
a shuttlebus will take you to the train which leaves every 15 minutes
between 5:30am and 11pm to Gare d'Austerlits, St Michel/Notre
Dame and Invalides stations. Air France provides bus
service to and from both airports.
From CDG the cheapest and easiest way to and from center is the Roissy Bus
service which costs 8 euros each way (buy tickets from the driver)
and drops you off and picks you up right across the street from the Opera where
there is a metro stop if you need to continue. There are often Taxis hanging
around this area to pick up people who need to get home or to hotels and don't
want to lug bags down the metro steps.
If you are flying on Ryan-Air then
you will most likely be using Beauvis Tille Airport which is connected
to the Porte Maillot by bus.
Trains: There are 6 different train stations in Paris
so where you arrive will depend upon where you are coming from just
as where you leave will depend on where you are going. If you are
coming from or going to Luxembourg,
and eastern France
you will use the Gare de l'Est.
If you are coming from or going to Spain,
and Southwest France
you will use the Gare d'Austerlitz.
To and from Switzerland,
as well as south and southeastern France
you will use the Gare de Lyon.
The Gare Montparnasse
is for western France,
while Gare St Lazare
is for northwest France,
Normandy and le Havre.
Gare du Nord
is for Belgium,
and the UK.
trains which go to and from London
in 3 hours through the Chunnel
also use this station. It seems complicated but unless you are going
to or coming from Switzerland you only have to remember
the name of one station and they can all be found on any map of
Paris. They are also all connected to the Paris Metro.
Long Distance Bus: The buses from other cities on Europe arrive
at the Gare Routiere Internateionale in Bagnolet a suburb east of
central Paris, which is connected by Metro at Gallieni station on
No matter how long your journey was and how
tired you are, you will probably be rejuvenated as soon as you get
into the city and will just want to leave your bags in your hotel
room and head for the nearest cafe. Don't worry. This is normal
and you should follow your instincts.