Unfortunately there is no perfect way of getting to and from the Paris airports, but below are my suggestions. Note that for the Air France bus (Car Air France) to and from Charles de Gaulle and Orly you can now purchase tickets online, and doing so will save you 10%.
Charles de Gaulle (Parisians call it “Roissy”)
Most international flights arrive at Charles de Gaulle airport. There are three terminals at Charles de Gaulle so be sure to look at your ticket or check online before departing so you know which stop to get off at. Here are you best options:
- Taxi: I would only recommend taking a taxi during off-peak hours. It should be about €50 euros to or from central Paris late at night or during the day on weekends but on a weekday morning, for example, it could run closer to €75 and take longer than the RER. If you do take a taxi from the airport, just follow signs in the terminal for “Taxis”. Most taxis will only take credit cards (if they do at all) that have a chip (une puce) so be sure to have euros on you.
- Air France bus: Air France runs comfortable shuttle buses available to anyone (you do not have to have flown Air France). To/from Charles de Gaulle tickets are €15 one-way/€24 round-trip to/from Porte Maillot or Charles de Gaulle-Etoile (by the Arc de Triomphe) (line 2) or €16.50 one-way/€27 round-trip to/from Gare de Lyon or Montparnasse (line 4). If you purchase tickets online in advance, you get 10% off. Otherwise, you can buy tickets right on the bus. There are also discounts for kids age 2 to 11. I prefer the Air France coach to the train if I have a heavy suitcase (there are luggage handlers on both ends to assist) and/or extra time. The bus runs every 20 – 30 minutes (from Charles de Gaulle-Etoile it’s usually on the 00:00 and 00:30 but not always) and it takes about 45 minutes with no traffic but can take 1 ½ hours (or potentially more) during rush hour. At least you’re still paying a fixed price no matter how long the journey takes! To find the bus in the airport, just follow signs in the terminal for “Paris par bus” or “Paris par car” and you will see a parking spot where the bus pulls up with the destination marked on the pavement. (Be careful to get on the right bus as there are 3 lines from Charles de Gaulle.)
- RER B: As long as there are no strikes (which you can verify on the RATP’s website), the RER is the fastest way to travel to/from central Paris during peak hours. One ticket (€9.10 each way or €72.80 for 10 tickets) will also allow you to transfer from or onto another RER line within Paris or from/onto the metro for no extra charge. From Les Halles in central Paris to Terminal 2 at Charles de Gaulle take about 33 minutes, but leave time not-so-uncommon delays, for metro transfers and for walking a bit within the terminal from the RER station to your check-in desk. Trains leave about every 10 minutes, but less frequently off-peak. Click here to check the exact train times on your day of travel.
- Roissybus from Opéra: The Roissybus is a normal RATP bus and costs €10 each way. It leaves from outside the Opéra Garnier, at the corner of rue Scribe and rue Auber. Click here for departure frequencies. Click here to check the exact bus times on your day of travel.
- For information on night buses to and from Charles de Gaulle, click here. Click here to check the exact bus times on your day of travel.
There are two terminals at Orly—Ouest (West) and Sud (South)—so be sure to look at your ticket or check online before departing so you know which is your stop.
- Taxi: On a Sunday morning, it costs me less than €25 to take a taxi from Orly back to the 6th arrondissement. But I would only recommend taking a taxi during off-peak hours. If you take a taxi from the airport, follow signs in the terminal for “Taxis”. Again, most taxis will only take credit cards (if they do at all) that have a chip (une puce) so be sure to have euros on you.
- Air France bus: Air France runs these comfortable shuttle buses (€11.50 one-way/€18.50 round-trip) available to passengers of any airline or non-passengers alike to/from Orly to/from Montparnasse, Les Invalides and Charles de Gaulle-Etoile (by the Arc de Triomphe) (line 1). If you purchase tickets online in advance, you get 10% off. Otherwise, you can buy tickets right on the bus. There are also discounts for kids age 2 to 11. There are luggage handlers on both ends of the journey to assist. The bus runs every 20 – 30 minutes (from Charles de Gaulle-Etoile it’s usually on the 00:15 and 00:45 but not always) and it takes about 45 minutes with no traffic but can take double the time (or potentially more) during rush hour. To find the bus in the airport, just follow signs in the terminal for “Paris par bus” or “Paris par car” and you will see a parking spot where the bus pulls up with the destination marked on the pavement.
- RER B + OrlyVal: The RER is the surest mode of transportation during peak traffic hours. Purchase a ticket for the RER and OrlyVal (the light train) together for € 10.75 each way. Take the RER B south to Anthony, then switch to the OrlyVal. From Les Halles in central Paris to Orly, it should take about 45 minutes including transfers, but I always leave time not-so-uncommon delays, lines to buy tickets, etc. Trains leave about every 10 minutes during the week, but less frequently off-peak. Click here to check the exact train times on your day of travel. Be sure to verify on the RATP’s website that there are no strikes.
- Orlybus: There is a bus that runs every 15 – 20 minutes between the airport and Place Denfert-Rochereau (on the RER B and Metro lines 4 and 6) for just €6.90 each way. Without traffic, it takes about 30 minutes. It runs from approximately 5:30am to 11pm. Click here for more information.
- Night Bus No. 144 takes about 35 minutes (with zero traffic) from Châtelet to the airport. Click here to check the exact bus times on your day of travel.
It would certainly be beyond my budget to take a taxi to or from Beauvais, about 80 kilometers northwest of Paris. It would probably run about €150 which is likely more than you would be paying for your airline ticket, as Beauvais is the hub of the low cost airlines in Paris (Ryanair, Wizzair and several others, but not Easyjet.) The best (and in my opinion the only) way to get to/from Beauvais is by the Beauvais Airport shuttle (open to passengers on any airline) from Porte Maillot (on Metro Line 1 or the RER). The trip takes about 1 hour 15 minutes (though sometimes 2 hours on a Friday evening) but it is actually quite easy if you have the time because the coaches are comfortable, cheap and available to and from Paris for each flight. In other words, there is no flight too early or too late—there will always be a bus. Organizers recommend that you plan to take a bus 3 hours 15 minutes before your flight time. It costs €15 one-way (no discount for round-trip) and you can purchase tickets at the bus station at Porte Maillot or at Beauvais airport. (Tickets used to be available online but due to “technical problems”, online ticket sales have been suspended. But check the official site as presumably they will recommence one day.) It’s tricky to find the bus at Porte Maillot if you have not taken it before. Click here for a little map. Leaving Beauvais, buses often seem to run continuously, but officially a bus leaves 20 to 25 minutes after each flight lands. There are now two terminals at Beauvais but the bus stop is the same; the terminals are only a 5-minute walk apart.
If you need to travel from Charles de Gaulle to Orly or vice versa, you can take either the RER B + Orlyval or line 3 of the Air France coach (€19 one-way).
Is there a Super Shuttle option in Paris? Yes, there are group shuttle options for those who want door-to-door service without the full price of an individual taxi. But you are likely to wait quite a while in the airport and do a full tour of Paris before you arrive at your destination. I would only recommend this option if you are travelling alone and you really cannot lift your luggage yourself. Here are some options for shuttle services, but I have not actually tried them myself, so I am not recommending them!
The options are always changing, so please e-mail me or post a comment if you have further suggestions or corrections to any of the info above!