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Paris airport, how to move between terminals? How to go downtown?

The second largest airport in Europe, we are referring to the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, also known as Roissy-Charles de Gaulle . Being so huge, it is totally normal that upon arrival it can seem somewhat intimidating. If we know that we are going to arrive here, it is normal to have doubts, how can I go from one terminal to the other? What things do I have to take into account if I am arriving from an international flight or vice versa? How to get to the city center?

Here we try to answer some of these doubts, which at the time also assailed me.

Some facts about Paris – Charles de Gaulle airport

  • IATA code: CDG
  • Located 25 km from París
  • Inaugurated on March 8, 1974
  • It is the most important airport in France
  • Without surprise, it is the main hub of the national airline Air France

How to move between the terminals of Paris Airport?

There are several terminals at the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport:

  • Terminal 1: it was the first terminal, which is accessible by free train, this is called CDGVAL and will be seen in the airport announcements.
  • Terminal 2: it is divided into several sub-terminals, which are 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F and 2G. From terminal 2A to 2F, you can walk to get from one to the other, but beware, you have to take the distance into account. Terminal 2E has remote departure lounges, we will talk about them at the end of this list. Terminal 2G is the only one that is not accessible on foot and you need to take a free bus to get there.
  • Terminal 3: like Terminal 1, it is accessible with the free CDGVAL train.

Map from parisaeroport.fr

Special mention to Terminal 2E

Terminal 2E is the largest in the airport and can be intimidating, but this is where international flights arrive and depart, so if you come from outside Europe, you will most likely have to go through here.

In this terminal there are three large rooms: K, L and M. Most likely in the boarding pass, for the least, the information will come that we have to go to terminal 2E, but without telling us what room was. We will see that on one of the many information screens at the airport.

It is very important to know the room to which we have to go, since the time can vary enormously. To begin with, room K would be the “most accessible” since it is the part of terminal 2E accessible on foot. Then from this area we have to look for the “Navette” (shuttle), which is a monorail, that will take us to rooms L and M.

Puerta de embarque Air France
Boarding gate in room K

Note: when the monorail is working, the airport will make a bus available, but it won’t be as fast. It happened to us during our flight from Paris to Hanoi and it was a bit stressful 😀

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Arrival of international flights: international area

In the case of having an international connection at the Paris – Charles de Gaulle airport, when we say international it is a flight outside the Schengen area, it is not necessary to pass migration control. Unlike what happens at the Mexico City airport, where it does not matter if you are not going to enter the country you have to go through immigration and customs, in Paris you do not have to.

What is very important is to make sure that there is not a change of airport, to the other airport in Paris called Orly, or a change of terminal that makes us leave terminal 2E, which is the terminal where the international flights arrive and where is the international zone.

In case of arriving and departing from terminal 2E, then all you have to do is:

  • When leaving the plane, check the screens to find our flight and see which room we are in: K, L or M
  • Seguir los paneles para dirigirnos a la sala indicada, como mencionamos arriba, probablemente habrá que tomar el monorrielFollow the panels to go to the indicated room, as we mentioned above, you will probably have to take the monorail
  • Pass security checks
  • Serenely wait at the boarding gate

Note: while waiting in terminal 2E, you can take the opportunity to shop duty free. The price should be 20% cheaper than what it costs.

In case you have a large stopover between your flights and your passport allows you to enter the European Union without a visa, you can take advantage of these free tours:

How to go to the Center of Paris, from the Charles de Gaulle airport?

There are many options, some are very expensive, others impossible if you have a lot of luggage, here they go:

  • RoissyBus: It is a bus that passes through all the airport terminals and goes to the Paris-Opera metro station. It takes about 60 minutes, although as always it can vary depending on the traffic. It has a cost of € 13.70.
  • Metro: In reality, it is not the metro that you take, but the RER, which would be the same as a commuter train. This will take us to Paris where we can change to one of the metro lines. The cost of the trip is € 11.40 and passes every 10-15 minutes approximately.
Roadmap of RER B
  • Taxis: There are several designated locations at the airport to take them, follow the information panels. The rate and time are variable, but can be around € 60 euros.

How to go from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport to Paris Orly?

The other airport in Paris is called Paris Orly. Air traffic is much less, but sometimes it may happen that you have to make a connection through that airport.

It is very important to note: if you arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle and you have to take your next flight in Paris Orly, or vice versa, you always have to collect your luggage before leaving the airport.

To go from one airport to the other there are several options:

  • Take the “Le Bus Direct” bus: (this option is suspended until further notice) t is a bus that runs every 20-40 minutes and takes approximately 70-80 minutes to make the journey between airports. It costs € 22 per person (no, it’s not free).
  • RER + Orlyval: you have to take the RER, as if we were going to the center of Paris, so the same map we left above applies. But in this case you have to go to Antony station, this part takes about 65 minutes. Then in Antony you have to take the ORLYVAL train that takes about 7 minutes to reach Orly airport. The cost is about € 21.50 per person.

It is not recommended to take a flight where the connection is less than three hours, and three hours is quite short.

Tell us: how did you do at the Paris Airport?

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Olga Grijalva

Olga is a traveler and travel content creator with 17 years of experience. Her goal is to share useful information to help you plan your adventures. She has visited more than 40 countries and is excited to share her experience with you.