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Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
RER Trains

From: Paris CDG Airport Transportation

Trains (RER)

The RER is a regional train network with stops at major railroad stations and Métro hubs in Paris. From the RER platforms at Charles de Gaulle Airport, you can reach the Gare du Nord, Châtelet-Les Halles, Saint-Michel, Luxembourg, and other stations of RER Line B.

Connections to the Métro network and RER Line C (which runs along the left bank of the Seine) make it easy to get within 500 meters of any hotel in Paris, although you may want to take a taxi instead of the Métro if you're burdened with luggage and arriving in the city center at rush hour.

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ABOVE: RER platforms at the railroad station (gare) in Terminal 2.

photoHow to ride the RER: After you've retrieved your bags and gone through customs, look for a "Gare" sign with a train symbol. (CDG has two RER stations: one for Terminals 1 and 3, and the other at Terminal 2. The terminals are connected by a free CDGVAL shuttle train.)

At the RER station, you can buy tickets in two ways:

  • From an "Île de France" ticket-vending machine, which won't accept banknotes and probably won't work with your credit card unless you have a "smart card" with an embedded microchip and PIN. See "Ticket-buying hassles" below.

  • At the ticket counter, where you can pay with cash or a credit card. (Good news: Foreign cards are accepted; bad news: The ticket office is closed late at night.)

Notes:

  • In 2014, the adult single fare between CDG and Paris is €9,75. Children under 4 travel free, and children from 4 through 9 years of age pay €6,85.

  • The Paris Visite zones 1-5 tourist pass ("Paris + suburb + airports") and the Navigo Zones 1-5 commuter pass are valid for transportation to and from Charles de Gaulle Airport. You can buy either pass at any RER ticket window at CDG.  (Please note that the "Paris Centre" version of the Paris Visite pass is good for only Zones 1-3 and does not cover airport transportation.)

Once you have your ticket, follow the signs to the platforms. When you've descended the escalator, check the electronic signboard for train departure times and platform numbers. Trains normally depart every 10 to 20 minutes between 5 a.m. and midnight.

Tips:

  • If possible, take an express (direct) train, even if it means waiting a few minutes longer on the platform. Local trains stop at 10 suburban stations on their way into the city, adding 15 minutes or more to the normal 30-minute trip time.

  • If you're traveling with anything larger  than a carry-on suitcase, look for a bicycle compartment behind the driver's cockpit. (These compartments have their own set of doors.) You'll have to stand during the trip into Paris, but you'll be out of other passengers' way and you'll find it easier to get off if the train gets crowded.

  • Watch out for pickpockets, who prey on naive or jetlagged tourists.

  • On trips to the airport, be sure that your train's destination is "Charles de Gaulle-Roissy." (B3 trains go to CDG; B5 trains split off for another suburb.)

  • Allow plenty of time for journeys to the airport, just in case you're delayed or get lost in the terminals. (On a recent Sunday-morning trip, our journey required two train chages between Saint-Michel and the airport because of track maintenance. The RER did a great job of posting uniformed employees on the platforms to guide passengers to the right connecting trains.)

Ticket-buying hassles:

  • If your credit card won't work in the ticket machines at CDG, you'll need to pay with euro coins or stand in what's likely to be a horrendously long line at a ticket counter.
  • Buying tickets for a return tip can be problematic, too, if you're at a busy station: On a recent departure from the Gare du Nord, none of the four RER ticket machines would accept our credit cards, and two of the machines weren't accepting coins. One workaround is to depart from a Métro station and transfer to the RER. (Métro stations often have at least one ticket machine that accepts banknotes, and lines at the Métro's ticket windows are seldom long.)

Other trains from Charles de Gaulle Airport

High-speed TGV trains connect CDG with cities in France and neighboring countries. See the airport's TGV page for station information; to plan your journey, visit TGV-europe.com.

Next page: Airport buses


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