Paris airports are the common starting point for most travelers to the city. If you're planning to arrive in the capital of France by air, you'll arrive at one of of the two main airports in the city: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and Orly Airport (ORY). Together these two Paris airports serve more than 75 million passengers each year. While Orly receives mostly domestic flights in France, Charles de Gaulle handles most of the international traffic. While Orly is located to the south of the city, Charles de Gaulle is located to the north. No matter which airport you arrive at, there will be a variety of modern amenities to suit your needs. From restaurants to ATMs and post offices to duty free shops, airports in Paris make travel simple.
Airports in Paris
Charles de Gaulle Airport handles most of the international flights, so if you are arriving from other European countries or the United States, you will most likely be arriving there. This international airport in Paris is located less than twenty miles from the center of the city, and it is well served by public transportation. Options for transportation include buses, taxis, limousines, trains, and shuttles. Depending on the location of your hotel or final destination, one of these options is sure to be right for you. Visitors should be aware of the expense of taxis and limousines, especially during high traffic times of day. A taxi could take anywhere from 40 minutes to more than wtwo hours, depending on traffic, and this option, which is never cheap, could prove to be particularly expensive if you encounter traffic jams.
The best option for transportation to the center of Paris from Charles de Gaulle Airport is the train. A combination of the commuter train (RER) and the Metro can bring you to the doorstep of your hotel affordably. The downside to this method of transport is luggage. Travelers with heavy suitcases should be aware that the Paris Metro system often requires passengers to carry their bags up stairs and across distances to make Metro connections. While the trains are an affordable and timely way to reach the center of Paris, some effort may also be involved. The Roissybus also connects the airport to the center of Paris for less than 10 euros, and shuttles capable of taking six to eight passengers are also a good deal.
Orly Airport handles mostly domestic flights from destinations within France. All amenities are still available at this airport, including car rentals, restaurants, banking facilities, and a post office. Orly Airport and Charles de Gaulle are less than 30 miles apart, so if you need to transfer between these two Paris airports, transportation isn’t too expensive. Orly is just over ten miles from the center of Paris, and therefore transportation to the center of the city is a bit more manageable than Charles de Gaulle. It is possible to hop in a taxi (but avoid rush hour at all costs!) and arrive in the center of Paris for an affordable fare. Airport shuttles are available for small groups, or travelers can take the RER or the Metro into Paris.
Paris Airport Hotels
Charles de Gaulle Airport Hotel
While there are hotels located close to both airports, they are not recommended if you plan on exploring Paris. You’ll spend more time commuting on the Metro to the center of the city than in the famous museums, boat tours, and restaurants of Paris. While accommodation in Paris is expensive, there are small independently owned hotels that still offer easy access to the history and culture of the capital of France. Staying in a hotel near the airports is only recommended if you are connecting to another destination and simply require convenience. Even if you only have one night in Paris, it is worth exploring the City of Light for however much time your travel plans allow.