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How To Reach Paris

How to Reach Paris by Air

Paris has three international airports although the one that is most used is Charles de Gaulle International Airport. It’s also called Roissy because that’s the name of the suburb where it is located. Charles de Gaulle is around 28kms northeast of the centre of the city and is well connected to the city by bus, taxi and train. There are six bus lines which link the airport to different parts of the city and the buses are frequent. The taxis will take you to the city in forty minutes and flat rates have made it easier to get onto one of these. For €50, you will be dropped to the Right Bank and for €55, to the Left Bank. The fare goes up by 15% after 7pm and on Sundays. Do ensure that you take taxis that are marked clearly as taxis. 

Charles de Gaulle is connected to the city by the RER B line which connects with central Paris stations such as Gare du Nord, Châtelet–Les Halles and St-Michel–Notre Dame. The trains are available from 4.30am to 11.50pm every ten minutes approximately.

There are several daily flights from Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata etc. The airlines that operate to CDG are Air France, Air India, Lufthansa, Emirates and Etihad. 

The other two international airports in Paris are:

  • Orly Airport – Orly is 19km south of central Paris but it is not that frequently used by international airlines. Public transport from Orly to Paris is not very evolved but it is due for a change by 2024 when a metro line will make this airport more accessible. Orly has two bus lines into Paris and taxis with standardised rates, similar to CDG. There are no direct train services to Orly but a tramway line connects the airport to the Villejuif–Louis Aragon metro station in Paris. 
  • Beauvais Airport – Beauvais Airport is nearly 75km away from Paris and only a few low-cost airlines operate out of here. While it might be tempting to cut costs by flying here on these airlines, do remember the costs of reaching the city once you land. There is an airport shuttle that links the airport to central Paris but it will take more than an hour. Moreover, the taxi rates can go higher than 200 Euros, which can be quite prohibitive. 


How to Reach Paris by Bus

Almost all the European capitals are connected to Paris by the Eurolines service. The city has an international bus terminal - Gare Routière Internationale de Paris-Galliéni which is in a suburb called Bagnolet. From here, a metro ride will take 15 minutes to take you to the République station. Some of the other bus operators here are Megabus and FlixBus. From Paris, you can travel to all the other major cities in France by road as well. The expressways here are excellent although they tend to be crowded.

How to Reach Paris by Train

Paris has great rail connectivity to other parts of France and even other countries in Europe. There are six stations in Paris alone which help route traffic to various parts of the country and the continent. Paris’ public-transport system is called Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP). If you want to travel by train, it’s best you book reservations in advance. There are also greater chances of getting a discounted fare if you book ahead. Among the many trains that run their services, here, there’s the Eurostar, Thalys and Train Express Régionale.

Some of the main train stations in Paris include:

  • Gare du Nord – offers domestic and international services and is in North Paris.
  • Gare d'Austerlitz – currently undergoing renovations but also serves trains from the south along with high speed trains to and from Barcelona and Madrid.
  • Gare de l’Est – This station is typically used for trains from Germany and a weekly train from Moscow as well. 
  • Gare de Lyon – This is the terminus for trains from Italy, Spain and Switzerland
  • Gare Montparnasse – Serves trains from Spain and Portugal and is located in Southern Paris. 
  • Gare St-Lazare – This is the station for trains that come from Normandy and is located in northwest Paris.

How to Commute Within Paris

Paris has several options for those who want to get around the city in ease. A recommendation for those who are going to be in the city for a few days is to get a travel pass which allows travel on the Metro and buses and covers all zones. Navigo is the system that is used here to get across the city with ease. 

By Bus
Buses in Paris run from 5am to 1am on all days of the week except on Sundays. The experience of seeing the city from the bus can be quite unique. The bus system is operated by RATP and the buses are easily accessible outside the train stations. They even cross all the major points of the city before they head out into the suburbs. 

By Metro
Paris has an excellent underground metro system and it is considered to be the second busiest metro system in Europe. One of the important things to remember before buying tickets for the metro is to check and see how many zones will be covered by the ticket. The ticket price changes accordingly. There are five concentric zones in all and zone 5 is the furthest zone. Metro maps might help in understanding how and where you need to go. Metro lines can be identified by their zone number and line colour on these maps and official signs. The first metro train begins service at 5.30am while the last can probably end around 1.15am.

Réseau Express Régional(RER) is a suburban train line that has five main lines. It’s faster than the metro but there are not as many stops. RER can be quite helpful if you’re headed to Versailles or even Disneyland. Before purchasing your ticket, make sure it is for the correct zone. 

By Boat
The Batobus travels up and down the Seine river and has 8 stops at piers. These are glassed-in boats and are indeed perfect for tourists to enjoy a leisurely ride down the river as they pass by various attractions such as Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Musée d’Orsay, Hôtel de Ville, St-Germain des Prés, Jardin des Plantes/Cité de la Mode et du Design, Musée du Louvre and Champs-Élysées. Tickets for the boat service can be bought at the ferry stops or you can buy a pass. 

By Taxi
While there are flat fares to and from the airport, it’s actually quite difficult to flag down a taxi on the streets yourself. Official taxi stands might be more helpful in this case. There are different fares for different times of the day and different days of the week.

By Motorbike Taxi
If you’re travelling alone, then these can be quite convenient. The taxi moto will take you to your destination faster than traditional taxis, provided you’re not too scared of speeding down the roads. 

By Bicycle
As Paris sees a lot of cycles, there are dedicated cycling lanes here to reduce the number of automobiles on the roads. There is a bike share system with docking stations that will allow you to pick up a bike, pay for it, ride it and drop it off at another docking station with ease. There are also electric bikes but can be used only by those who are above 14 years. Cycles can also be rented for the day. 

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