Ultimate Guide for Three Paris Airports
Travelling to Paris is always the right thing to do. You can get there by plane, TGV and other efficient means of transport. Most people, however, come to the “City of Lights” by plane. The French capital has 3 airports in its vicinity – Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Beauvais. Depending on various factors – cost factor, where your hotel or hostel is and more, any of them could be ideal for you. Now, let’s see in which cases you should choose one over the other two. This guide allows the reader to find all necessary information about the three Paris Airports.
Paris airports: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)
Charles de Gaulle is the main Paris airport, located 23 kilometers (14 miles) from the city center. Accordingly, car rentals and hotel deals (in case you need to wait for another flight) are slightly higher when compared to Orly and Beauvais, other two Paris airports.
The airport has unlimited free Wi-Fi, so you can get in touch with anyone once you land. You can find a number of money exchange offices at the airport. But, unless you urgently need euros (for a taxi, for example), better wait to convert your home currency into euros (€) in the city. Make use of ATMs to obtain more favorable exchange rates while you are at CDG.
The airport disposes of various commercial facilities and of those where you can relax and entertain. Cinemas, spas, restaurants and shops are some of them. Conference rooms and family facilities are available, too.You can find tourist info points throughout each terminal.
Transfers between the terminals
Charles de Gaulle has airside and landside connections between its 3 terminals. You will need between an hour and 1:30 hours for airside transfers. Landside transfers between the terminals usually take around an hour. However, you should plan more time for changing flights. CDG is one of the busiest European airports, and delays tend to occur.
The most convenient transfer option for most travellers is the CDGVAL, the airport’s rail service. It connects the airport’s terminals with each other and with the transportation hubs (RER, TGV…). CDGVAL trains run every 4 minutes between 4 am and 1 am. This service is completely free.
Getting to Paris from CDG
Charles de Gaulle features great transportation options to the city suitable for every budget.
To get between Charles de Gaulle and your accommodation in Paris, you have several good choices. In case that you haven’t booked your room yet, take a look at Booking and Agoda websites. They offer ideal deals based on your budget and other preferences.
RER train B provides direct and affordable transfer between CDG and the city center. Travelling times to Les Hales (near Ile de la Cite) are around 40 minutes. So, if your final destination is centrally located, you can reach it in around an hour by RER. If you need a transfer to Montmartre (north of the center), traveling times will be approximately the same. For reaching destinations in southern Paris, allow up to 1:30 hours. Transportation fares for adults are 10€.
If you are a budget traveler, you can make use of buses 350 and 351. These buses depart every 20 to 30 minutes and travel around 1:15 hours to the Gare de l’Est (350) and Nation (351). Total costs are around 6, 7 euros. However, keep in mind that these stations are away from most points of interest. Therefore, you may need to calculate the public transportation fares in total transfer costs. A metro ride (or as many rides until you leave the metro network) costs 1.9€.
Le Bus Direct is a handy shuttle service that takes you from the airport to various key points in Paris (the Tour Eiffel, Champs-Elysees, Gare du Lyon…). Journey times to the Champs-Elysees are up to an hour, in general. The shuttle usually needs up to 1:10 hours to reach the Tour Eiffel. If your final destination is nearer to the Ile de la Cite or Le Marais, take a bus to the Gare du Lyon (up to 50 minutes). Finally, if you head deeper into southern Paris, the bus takes you to the Montparnasse within 1:20 hours. Flat fares are 17€.
The Roissybus service operates between the airport and Paris Opera. Departing frequency is around 15 minutes and the cost is 11.5€. If you prefer being taken directly to your destination, you can consider door-to-door shuttle service. For a price of around 20 euros and over (depending on the destination), you avoid inconveniences related to changing transports within the city.
Finally, you can always opt for a taxi. Although taxi fares depend on the tariff (day, night, workday, weekend…), they start at 50€ for a ride to Paris downtown. Journey times are around an hour.
Paris airports: Orly Airport (ORY)
Orly is the second major airport of Paris and is the nearest to the city center (14 kilometers/9 miles). Just like Charles de Gaulle, the airport disposes of money exchange offices and ATMs. Orly has free internet that you can use without limits, too. What is also awesome about this airport is that ORY has a multi-religious prayer zone. There, feel free to perform your religious practices.
If you need to stay at the airport for some time, you may well entertain yourself. Orly has playing and playstation areas where you can enjoy table football, the pool, pinball and other games. Furthermore, ORY boasts a notable art collection. Finally, shopping and dining facilities are also available.
Transfers between the terminals
Orly Airport is smaller than Charles de Gaulle and you will navigate through it much easier. ORY has 2 terminals, and you can get between them by the OrlyVal automated rail service. The circulation between the terminals is also maintained by the airport’s car park shuttles. Both types of transfers are free of charge. OrlyVal operates between 6 am and 11 pm, while shuttles run usually between 3:30 am and 1:30 am daily. Both transport options need up to 10 minutes to get the passengers between the airport’s terminals.
Getting to Paris from ORY
OrlyVal operates between the airport and the neighboring RER station (line B). If you opt for this combination, you will reach the city center (around Ile de la Cite) in 50 minutes. Usually, this is the quickest public transport option for getting to downtown Paris. To reach the Gare du Nord (near Montmartre), the train travels over an hour. The price of the fare is 12€ and the departing frequency is several minutes.
Le Bus Direct line 1 operates between Orly and the Arc de Triomphe, with another major stop at the Montparnasse, in southern Paris. The flat rate is 12€ and average journey times to the Montparnasse are up to 40 minutes. If you travel to the Arc de Triomphe, at the beginning of the Champs-Elysees, you will usually travel around an hour. Departing frequency of line 1 is 20 minutes.
If your hotel or any other destination is deeper in southern Paris, you can take a transfer by Orlybus to the Denfert-Rocherau metro station. From that station, you can catch further connections to other parts of the “City of Lights”, if needed. The Orlybus departs between 8 and 15 minutes, in general, and the journey lasts up to 35 minutes. The price of the journey is 8€.
On the other hand, if your final destination is somewhere in the 12th or 13th districts of Paris, your best public transportation transfer option should be the bus 183. It operates between ORY and the Porte de Choisy. Travelling times are around an hour and the price of the fare is 2€. The bus departs in intervals between 30 and 40 minutes.
Now, if you carry a lot of luggage and aren’t too enthusiastic to change transports, you can order a door-to-door shuttle service. Their fares start at around 20€ for taking you from Orly Airport to the center of Paris.
After all, you can always choose a taxi ride if it suits you best. A taxi can take you to the downtown of Paris in around 45 minutes. Approximate fares, depending on a day and hour, range between 30€ and 40€. These fares tend to rise up to 60€ if your final destination is somewhere in northern Paris (Montmartre, for example).
Paris airports: Beauvais-Tille Airport (BVA)
Beauvais Airport is the most distanced one of the Paris airports from the French capital. It is around 90 kilometers (60 miles) away from the city center and has limited transportation options. However, what it lacks in transfer options it makes up with prices of flight fares. Beauvais Airport is the main landing point for low cost airlines, which offer lower flight deals than airlines using CDG and ORY airports.
Free Wi-Fi is available for 30 minutes at the airport. A better internet connection (with higher speed) is available for a 5€ surcharge. Currency exchange offices and ATMs are also available. Unlike at other two Paris airports, you won’t find much of a shopping or entertainment here.
Information about terminals
Beauvais Airport has 2 terminals, and both of them occupy the same building.
Getting to Paris from BVA
As stated above, transfer options between the Beauvais Airport and Paris are scarce, but they operate very well.
Beauvais Shuttle is the main transfer option to the French capital for most travelers. Its buses are conveniently scheduled to depart some 20 minutes after a plane lands at the airport. Shuttle buses travel between the airport and the Porte Maillot (west of the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees) around 1:15 hours. Flat rate of the journey is 16€. This is the cheapest and usually the quickest transfer option to Paris from BVA.
When you arrive at the Porte Maillot, you can take metro line 1 (1.9€ as long as you are in the metro network) to get to the downtown (Ile de la Cite, around 30 minutes). To get to Montmartre, you can combine metro lines 1 and 12 (around 30 minutes). The easiest way to get to the Montparnasse is to alight from metro 1 at the Champs-Elysees Clemenceau station and take line 13. Total journey time should be around 25 minutes.
You can take a Shared Shuttle Service, which takes you to your final destination. Prices vary depending on the number of passengers, but usually range from 20€ to 40€ per person.
A taxi ride from BVA to Paris will set you back around 100€ and over. You can also take a taxi to the Beauvais city and jump on a TER train, but this option is rather time consuming and expensive (around 30€ for both fares).
In addition, you can get between Paris airports directly if your next flight takes off from some of them. Le Bus Direct maintains a direct line between CDG and ORY airports. The line 3 departs every 20 to 30 minutes and covers the distance in up to 1:20 hours. The price of the journey is 21€. To get between BVA and CDG, you can use the Shared Shuttle Service. The price per passenger ranges between 30€ and 55€ and the journey time is around an hour.
With everything put together, we can conclude the following:
CDG is the principal Paris airport, handling most flights. In accordance, flight fares to and from this airport are usually the highest, as well as hotel and car rental deals. Proximity to the city is great, and you can reach the city center in around an hour once you get off the plane.
ORY is the nearest airport to the French capital. If you fly to this airport, you are likely to pay less for flight fares than to CDG. Hotel and car rental deals are slightly cheaper and the connection to the city center and outlying areas is very good. Travelling times between ORY and the city of Paris are the same or shorter than from CDG.
BVA is the farthest airport from the city, but transfer times aren’t significantly longer. Keep in mind, however, the prices of the available transfers. The cheapest return-journey option is 32€ (+ public transportation fares), so you should opt for this airport only if you can get much better flight rates.