Flying to Paris
Paris is served by two main airports: Charles de Gaulle and Orly. They offer flights to pretty much any destination in the world. For advice on finding the best rates, see our money-saving guide to Short Haul Flights.
Most international flights to Paris arrive at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport, also known as Roissy, 26km (16 miles) north of the city.
Air France flights use Terminal 2 (section 2E for UK and US). easyJet's UK flights use Terminal 2B; British Airways flights from London Heathrow use Terminal 2A, BA's Manchester and Birmingham flights go to Terminal 1.
Most other airlines, including Aer Lingus, Continental, flybe and United Airlines, use Terminal 1, but check before you fly. Some low-cost airlines, including Jet2 and Monarch, use the small Terminal 3. The free, driverless CDGVAL light railway connects the different terminals, RER stations and car parks.
Trains, buses and taxis - the simplest way to go between Charles de Gaulle airport and central Paris is by RER train; it takes around 50 minutes to Châtelet-Les Halles (8.70 euros). There are two stations: Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 1 serves Terminals 1 and 3; Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 2 - TGV serves Terminal 2 and is also a mainline station for high-speed trains all over France. There are also assorted bus services, including the Roissybus to Opéra (9.40 euros), Air France coaches to Etoile/Porte Maillot and Montparnasse (15-16.50 euros) and RATP buses 350 to Gare de l'Est and 351 to place de la Nation (5.10 euros).
Count on at least 60 euros for a taxi to central Paris and beware of rush hour traffic jams.
Many domestic flights and some international flights, including Air France flights from London City Airport and Southampton, arrive at the smaller Paris-Orly airport, 14km (9 miles) south of the city. This is actually a very good option if you have the chance as it is smaller and easier to find your way around than Charles de Gaulle and near enough for a taxi into town to be an affordable and reliable option (allow around 30 euros), especially as there is a dedicated taxi lane on the motorway.
Otherwise, take the Orlybus to Denfert-Rochereau station in Paris (6.60 euros), which is cheaper and more convenient than the Orlyval shuttle train to RER Anthony in the southern suburbs (Orlyval plus RER 10.25 euros), or Air France buses to Montparnasse, Invalides and Etoile (11.50 euros).
For further information on both airports visit www.aeroportsdeparis.fr.
Various companies, including Paris Airport Shuttle (www.paris-airport-shuttle.com), Paris Shuttle (www.parishuttle.com) and Airport Connection (www.airport-connection.com), run door-to-door minibus services between the airports and hotels. Reservations have to be made in advance. Fares cost 20-27 euros per person, with discounts for two or more passengers. Allow extra time if the minibus is collecting from several hotels.
Note that Ryanair flights from Shannon, Dublin and Glasgow arrive at the tiny Beauvais airport (www.aeroportbeauvais.com), 85km (53 miles) north of Paris. A coach service runs between the airport and Porte Maillot in Paris (single 14 euros) with tickets available in the arrivals hall at the airport and in the Pershing car park at Porte Maillot.
Eurostar trains (www.eurostar.com) from London and Thalys trains from Belgium and the Netherlands arrive at Paris Gare du Nord station in the city centre, which has easy connections to metro, RER and bus services. France has a generally efficient network of mainline trains (www.voyages-sncf.com), notably the high-speed TGV trains, which provide a serious rival to air transport. The main Paris stations are Gare Montparnasse serving western France, Gare de Lyon serving Lyon, the Alps and Provence, Gare du Nord to Lille and northern France, Gare de l'Est to the Champagne, Lorraine and Alsace regions, with slower trains also running from Gare St-Lazare to Normandy and Gare d'Austerlitz to central France.
For information on getting around the city once you're there, check out my How to get around Paris page.