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How to Get to Paris

How to Get to Paris by Air

By Air The main airport of Paris is the Charles de Gaulle Airport, also known as Roissy. The airport is located 23 km northeast of the city. There are 3 terminals at the Roissy.

Airport Facilities

There are work zones in Terminals 1 and 2 where the travellers can work and recharge their electronic equipments. Bureau de change and one bank branch and ATM are available on all terminals as is wireless internet and phone rental. There are post offices in Terminal 1 and 2.

Bars and restaurants can be found in all terminals as can shops of all types including duty free. The airport, due to security reasons, no longer has left luggage facilities but lost and found offices are there in all terminals.

The airport is well equipped for the disabled with reserved car parkings, special toilets and wheel chairs. The airlines should be informed in advance. Other facilities include prayer rooms, massage and manicure in Terminal 1 and 2. There are also play areas in Terminal 2.

Each terminal has its own car park which is directly linked to the terminal by a lift. The long term car park, PR is for Terminal 1 and the short term PX is for Terminal 2 and3. They are connected by a free airport shuttle bus. Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are linked by the new CDGVAL metro line.

There are plenty of options to get you from the airport to your destination. There is an SNCF desk on the fourth floor of Terminal 2 for public transport enquiries.

RER trains serve the airport along with ADP shuttles. Line B runs from Terminal 1 and from the TGV station at Terminal 2 to Gare du Nord, Châtelet-les-Halles, St Michel, Luxembourg, Port Royal and Denfert-Rochereau, with connections for the métro. TGV and Thalys trains also run to various destinations in Paris and beyond.

There is a door-to-door airport shuttle mini bus to the city centre. It serves all three terminals and goes to Place de l’Opera for the metro. The Noctilien night service links Paris to various destinations between 0030 and 0530. Places have to be reserved in advance.

The Air France Coaches leave from Terminals 1 and 2 to Porte Maillot Arc de Triomphe and Gare de Lyon. It also links the Orly Airport.

Taxis are easily available outside the terminals and will readily take you to the city centre. You can also book a taxi from the airport. Some of the famous companies are Alpha Taxis and Les Taxi Bleus.

You can also rent a car from one of the many car rental desks located at the airport.

Other airports which serve the city are the Orly International Ariport, 18 km from the city and the Beauvais Airport. Orly is the old international airport of the city and is used by Air France for domestic purposes and by some other European airlines. Beauvais is mostly used by low cost liners and some charter flights.

By Sea

The Ferry and Hydrofoil services are available 24X7 in all seasons. This is used mainly by people who are coming from the United Kingdom. The ferries also carry cars and trucks. There are at least four trips everyday from Folkestone to Calais.

How to Get to Paris by Rail

With five international stations in Paris, there is no dearth of entry points into the city. However there is no central station in the city and the stations are not connected to each other.

Gare du Nord looks after international travel for northern France. Northern Europe comes under this station. The Channel Tunnel serves as an excellent conduit for travellers from England via Calais. Gare de l’Est has Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Basel, and central Europe under its purview. Gare de Lyon looks after passengers for Lyon, Marseille, the Cote d’Azur, Geneva and Italy. For the Loire Valley, southwest France and Spain, it will be Gare d’Austerlitz and Gare St-Lazare for those of you going or coming from England and Normandy via Dieppe. The Gare Montparnasse serves western France – primarily Nantes and Brittany. It is also the terminal for the TGV Atlantic service from Paris to Bordeaux.

One of Europe’s most efficient rail systems is France’s Societe Nationale de Chemins de Fer, also known as the SNCF. Rather complicated though well-organized timetables will tell you with different colours, the high and low traffic periods. This helps, because the low traffic periods give you a reduction, called tarifs Decouvertes. These discounted passes and the Eurailpass are valid on most services in France except on TGVs (high-speed trains that are faster and more convenient than air travel in many cases).

Reservations for any destination by train can be made at any Paris station

How to Get to Paris by Bus

Most international buses coming into Paris would go into Gare Routiere Internationale du Paris-Gallieni. International bus passes are cheaper than rail passes and could offer unlimited travel, letting you board a bus whenever and wherever. This option is especially attractive for those under 26 or over 60 years of age. If you are travelling by car, Eurotunnel shuttles cars between France and England.

You can drive into Paris yourself. French roads are good, but remember, the toll costs are high, and so are the petrol and rental charges. Also, you are required to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) from your local automobile association. An IDP is valid only with your original driving.

Getting Around Paris

By Road: Finding your way around Paris in a bus is possible if you know a few rules. Buses ply from 6.30 am to 8.30 pm. on all days except Sundays, when services are drastically reduced. The routes are indicated on the sides of buses. It will be possible on most occasions to stop a bus anywhere on its route by waving at the driver. Remember to obliterer (cancel) your ticket in the composteur (canceling machine) when you enter the bus.

Travelling by car could be a nuisance as parking space is nearly impossible to find and petrol prices are astronomical. If you have breakdown on a highway trudge to a roadside emergency telephone or find a garage. Don’t let your tank get too low, as gas stations are few and far between.

By Train and Metro: The efficient metro (Metropolitain) will take you to most parts of Paris, and in a surprisingly short span of time. Another way is to take the RER (Reseau Express Regional) that is actually the commuter train to the suburbs of France. The RER however, also serves as an excellent subway within Paris and is a real time-saver. All metro tickets are valid for RER and bus travel within Paris. Keep your ticket till you leave the RER system. Green dressed authorities will ask to check them and they aren’t exactly friendly if you’re without your ticket!

Travellers Tip! If you are going to be using the metro, the RER or the buses for a few days, get yourself a Paris Visite Pass, which are not only economical for travel, but cut costs on certain entrance charges at sightseeing venues. These can be bought at any of the larger metros or RER stations.

By Foot/Cycle: The pavements in the city are ideal for skating. It is legal to skate around the pavements in Central Paris and the suburbs. Bikes are also available for rent in the city. In fact riding a bike is one of the safest and best way to get around Paris. The locals revere bicyclists!

Another great way to explore this sensuous city is on foot. If you manage to not stop at the many cafés and restaurants on the way, it is possible to make your way along the city in just a couple of hours. But be careful of taxi drivers and other cars in the old city as due to the narrow sidewalks you’ll be forced to walk on the streets.

By Waterways: A river cruise is an excellent way to get an overview of Paris. If it is your first visit to this city, and especially if romance rather than a business meeting is foremost on your mind, a boat ride on the Seine is must. Boats leave every half an hour, but are less frequent in winter. The timings are generally from half past ten in the morning to five in the evening, and departure points are from Pont d’Iena, Pont de l’Alma and from beneath Square du Vert-Galant on the western edge of Ile de la Cite.

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