What to do during a layover in Paris Charles De Gaulle and Orly Airports?

Updated: June 2018

Connecting in Paris CDG or Orly airports? In today’s guide we’ll go over the most recommended things to do when en route through Paris.

Paris Charles De Gaulle International Airport (CDG) is Air France’s main hub and as such is quite busy airport. Although terminal infrastructure has been improved through the last years, queuing times at passport control are notoriously long, so make sure to allow at least one hour to clear passport control.

With that in mind, let’s see what can do.

You have up to 5 hours:

For layovers shorter than 5 hours, my recommendation would be to stay in the airport and not to leave for the City center.

According to my experience, if arriving from a Non-Schengen location, you should allow 90 minutes or more to safely connect  in Paris. Avoid shorter connecting times unless you have flexible travel plans.

When arriving from outside Europe, you’ll need to go through passport control. Once done, head to your departing flight gate.

Note: CDG has several terminals (1,2 (concourses a-g) and 3) with a shuttle system between them. The detailed map can be found here.

Free WIFI  is available so you can catch up with email. Network speed is average.Premium internet is currently available for Euro 5.90/Hour.

Smoking is not allowed in the terminals. Terminals 2E and 2G have designated smoking facilities.

You have up to 5 – 6 hours:

If your layover is between 6 to 12 hours long, subject to visa requirements, you might be able to leave the airport for a sightseeing tour in Paris and still make it on time to your connecting flight.

Can i leave the airport? Any Visa restrictions?

Although most nationalities might not need a visa to leave the airport or transit through the Non-Schengen (international) area , this might not be the case for you. We recommend to carefully evaluate visa requirements before your trip.

Where to store my Luggage?

After clearing customs, you might want to consider storing any carry-on luggage in the the designated baggage locking stations available in all terminals (besides 2G).

Heading to Paris

Now you are all set and can head to Paris. From Charles De Gaulle Airport, you can reach Paris in several ways:

  • In case you want to visit the Louvre museum,  use the RER B, which departs from both Terminal 1&3 (Airport Charles De Gaulle 1)  and 2F (Airport Charles De Gaulle 2 TGV) every 15-20 minutes and will drop you in roundabout 40 minutes in Chatelet/Le Halles station.  Return Trip currently cost 9.75 Euro.
  • Other option is to use the Roissybus (11 Euros) heading towards the Opera area. You can catch the bus from all terminals, except 2G. Journey time is roundabout 60 minutes.
  • A third option is to use the Air France bus that will drop you in the Arc de Triomphe (Etoile) after an hour.

From the Orly airport you can reach Paris using the Orlybus that runs from Denfert-Rochereau station and Paris-Orly.

Here are a few essential attractions that you can visit in 7-9 hours:

  • Visit the Louvre museum; this could take you easily and entire day, so you might want to focus on the essentials
  • Stroll through the Tuileries garden and visit the Orangerie museum to see Monet’s nympheas.
  • Cross the Concorde square and walk through Champs Elysee boulevard towards Etoile.
  • Climb the 284 stairs that will take you to the Etoile roof and enjoy the amazing view.
  • Take Metro 6 towards the Bir Hakim station and enjoy a terrific view of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine. If the queues are not too bad, consider taking the lift the the Eiffel top.
  • Head back to CDG or Orly

24 hour overnight stopovers:

If you have an entire day in Paris, you might want to stay in the Maree district or the Latin Quartier.

  • Visit the Maree and enjoy Place de Vosges and the Picasso Museum.
  • Cross the Seine to Ile St Lui, have an ice cream, and walk to the Notre Dame church.
  • Follow Hemingway through the Latin Quarter, enjoy your coffee and relax, you are in Paris.

Any questions and/or recommendations to share with us? Feel free to leave us a comment!

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