Traveling to Paris – Everything You Need to Know

Strolling through Le Marais, baguette in hand, as the sun sets. The legendary romance and food of Paris is something many travelers dream about. Traveling to Paris, though, requires a little prep work, and your experience getting to and around the city will be much improved if you’ve got a feel for what to expect and what to do.  Here’s everything you need to know about getting settled in this magnificent city from what you need before you go, to getting around the city.

What are the requirements for going to Paris?

If you’re traveling to Paris from the US, there’s no visa required for visits under 90 days.  You will, of course, need a valid passport. Your passport must not expire within 3 months from your travel dates, so if yours is expiring soon, get it renewed ASAP.  At the time of publication, standard passport turnaround is up to 11 weeks, with expedited service coming in at 6 weeks, so be sure to leave plenty of time.  If you’re traveling during COVID-19, check this site for the latest travel requirements. 

Traveling to Paris via airplane

Airports in Paris

There are three major airports serving Paris and the surrounding region. Here’s everything you need to know between stepping off of your long flight and arriving in Paris’s city centre.

Traveling to Paris through Charles De Gaulle Airport

Also known as Roissy – Charles de Gaulle, this is Paris’s main international airport.  If you’re flying in from outside Europe, chances are, this is where you will be arriving.  There are several ways to get in to the city centre from the airport:

Airport Transfer/Car Service

The most expensive, but the most hassle-free and luxurious method of getting from the airport to the city centre. An airport transfer service driver will be waiting for you at arrivals with your name on a sign and deliver you directly to your hotel or other destination.  Prices average around €75 (about 85 USD), and vary depending on group size and vehicle selected. The ride is about 20-30 minutes.

Taxi

Taxis into Paris city centre will take about 30 minutes and run you about €50-55 (around 55-60 USD), and will bring you straight from the airport to your accommodations.  Note that there is an extra charge of 15% on evenings between 5-10 AM, and on Sundays and public holidays.

Rail

You can hop on the rails directly from the airport.  The RER B train (Paris’s express train) departs every 10-15 minutes and takes you right into the city centre in about 30 minutes, hitting major stops like Gare-Du Nord, St. Michel-Notre Dame, Luxembour, Châtelet-Les-Halles, and Denfert-Rochereau.  You can find easy links to the rest of the city from any one of these stations.  The ride costs about €10, and will also cover the cost of a link on the metro to your final destination.

*Note that rail lines often are not open 24 hours, so check your preferred route to ensure it will be running at your time of arrival.

Bus

You can take the Roissybus, with a direct route to Place Charles Garnier (close to Place de L’Opera).  Fares cost about €11, and the ride takes about 60 minutes.  The bus runs from 6:00 AM to 12:30 AM, and they depart every 15-30 minutes.

You can also take a local bus from the airport Bus 350 and 351 take you from CDG to Gare de l’Est and Place de la Nation respectively for about €6, with rides taking about an hour. 

Traveling to Paris through Orly Airport

Smaller than Charles de Gaulle, but closer to the city center, Orly is Paris’s secondary hub for large and international airlines.

Airport Transfer/Car Service

As with CDG, the most expensive, but the most hassle-free and luxurious method of getting from the airport to the city centre. An airport transfer service driver will be waiting for you at arrivals with your name on a sign and deliver you directly to your hotel or other destination.  Prices average around €75 (about 85 USD), and vary depending on group size and vehicle selected. The ride is about 20-30 minutes.

Taxi

Taxis into Paris city centre will take about 30 minutes and run you about €50-55 (around 55-60 USD), and will bring you straight from the airport to your accommodations.  Note that there is an extra charge of 15% on evenings between 5-10 AM, and on Sundays and public holidays.

Rail

You can hop on the rails directly from the airport, but you will need to take a short transfer to get to the rail station.  Look for the Go C Paris shuttle and take the shuttle to Pont de Rungis RER station.  

From Pont de Rungis RER station, you’ll take the RER C (Paris’s express line) to any number of major rail hubs, such as: Gare d’Austerlitz, Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame, Musée d’Orsay, Invalides, Pont de l’Alma, Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel, and Bibliothèque François Mitterrand.  The ride costs about €6,50.

You can also take the Orlyval, which departs every 5-7 minutes to the Antony RER Station, where you can take the RER B to destinations such as: Cité universitaire, Denfert-Rochereau, Port-Royal, Luxembourg, Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame, Châtelet-Les Halles, Gare du Nord.   Tickets run about  €12,50.

*Note that rail lines often are not open 24 hours, so check your preferred route to ensure it will be running at your time of arrival.

Bus

You can take the Roissybus, with a direct route to Place Charles Garnier (close to Place de L’Opera).  Fares cost about €11, and the ride takes about 60 minutes.  The bus runs from 6:00 AM to 12:30 AM, and they depart every 15-30 minutes.

You can also take a local bus from the airport Bus 350 and 351 take you from CDG to Gare de l’Est and Place de la Nation respectively for about €6, with rides taking about an hour. 

Traveling to Paris from Paris-Beauvais Airport

Beauvais serves most of the budget airlines flying in and out of Paris, so you’ll likely only arrive here if you’re traveling from inside Europe.  Located about 80 km (55 mi) from the city centre, you’ll be in for a slightly longer transfer time getting into the city that is more expensive, so plan your schedule and budget accordingly.

Airport Transfer/Car Service

Again, the most expensive, but the most hassle-free and luxurious method of traveling to Paris city centre. An airport transfer service driver will be waiting for you at arrivals with your name on a sign and deliver you directly to your hotel or other destination.  Prices average around €170-220 (around 190 – 250 USD), and vary depending on group size and vehicle selected. The ride is about 80 minutes.

Taxi/Rideshare Service

Taxis into Paris city centre will take about 80 minutes and run you about €170-220 (around 190 – 250 USD), and will bring you straight from the airport to your accommodations.  Note that there is an extra charge of 15% on evenings between 5-10 AM, and on Sundays and public holidays.

Rail

You’ll need to take a 15 minute taxi ride to the closest rail station, to catch the train into Paris. From there, the train ride is about 80 minutes into Paris Gare-du Nord.  Cost should be about €14-17 for the ticket, with an additional €14-17 for the taxi to the station.

*Note that rail lines often are not open 24 hours, so check your preferred route to ensure it will be running at your time of arrival.

Bus

The easiest, most affordable and convenient way to get into the city is via bus.  There is an arranged bus service for each flight that arrives at Beauvais that goes into Paris-Porte Maillot, which sits just west of the city centre. The trip takes about 80 minutes, and tickets can be purchased in the arrivals hall of the airport for about €17.  The bus departs about 20 minutes after the plane lands.

Paris Metro Sign

Getting around Paris

There are lots of ways to get around the city.  Taxis, and rideshare services like Uber are available to get you directly from point A to point B. The most popular and, often, the fastest way to get around the city is to use the world famous Paris Metro. The map may seem daunting at first, but it’s quite simple.  Find the stop closest to where you’re going, note the end destination of the line your stop is on, then hop on the train in the color of your line marked with the end destination of your particular spur. 

You can pick up passes to help save you some money while getting around on the metro.  The Paris Visite travel pass can be purchased for durations of 1, 2, 3, and 5 days with prices ranging from €14 for the 1 day, Zone 1-3 pass, to €73 for the 5 day Zone 1-5 pass.  Note that if you plan on using this to get to and from Disneyland Paris or the airports, you will need Zones 1-5.  

The Visite can be used on all public transit systems (including RER, metro, bus, tramway, and SNCF Transilien networks.  They can be purchased at the vending machines and ticket counters of all RATP stations, as well as online at Parisinfo

*Note that you need to write your full name and dates of validity on the ticket for it to be activated.

Euros are Paris's Currency

Currency in Paris

France is one of the 23 European Union member countries that use the Euro System – abbreviated €.  You can see the current exchange rates at XE.com   

When it comes to exchanging your money, I generally advise against using exchange bureaus.  While they are always in convenient locations like the airports and near tourist attractions, they generally build in a 5% spread between buy and sell, and they often charge a commission fee.  Banks will often not exchange currency unless you are an account holder.  

ATMs are usually the best place to get your local currency.  There are ATMs all over the city, and they almost all take Visa and Mastercard. I recommend that you try to stay to the bank ATMs, as they generally don’t charge a fee. Try to avoid the independent ATMs (such as Euronet ATMs), as they can charge a fee.  

Be sure to call your bank and credit card company before traveling, firstly to inform them that you’re traveling, so they don’t freeze your card due to international transactions, but also to check to see if they charge any fees for international transactions.  That’ll help you decide your best way to access and use funds abroad.

Standard EU Two Pronged Plug

Using Electronics in Paris

Before you pack that curling iron, be sure to have an understanding of voltage and electricity in foreign countries. The voltage in Paris is 230 volts, and they use a standard European 2-3 prong plug. Most phone and laptop chargers are dual-voltage and will only require a travel adapter, but if you plan on bringing any other electronic devices, you’ll likely need to bring a power converter as well, unless those devices are also dual voltage.

The Arc de Triomphe

Packing for Paris

Chic is the name of the game in Paris, and you should be packed accordingly. Think dark neutrals, and classic pieces.  Temperatures in Paris range from lows in the 30s in the winter to highs in the 70s (Farenheit) in the summer, so definitely pack some light layers.  Comfortable walking shoes are a must, but leave the trainers at home.  Athletic wear is generally only worn on trips to the gym. Do have a raincoat on hand, as there is always the chance for rain, and, even in the summer, at least a light jacket for chilly nights. 

Wi-Fi and Cellular in Paris

Paris has the best city-wide coverage of free wifi in the world provided by Paris Free Wifi.  With over 260 hotspots through the city-wide wi-fi, there are also countless cafes, bistros, and bars where you can tap into Wi-fi. 

If you want full cellular service, consider picking up a local sim card to connect to one of the local providers.  Provided by one of the three major networks in France, the Orange Holiday sim card will provide 20G of cellular data coverage for 30 countries in the EU for 2 weeks with the ability to “top up” with a variety of service options. Save some time and order this ahead of time, so you’re able to connect as soon as you touch down.

Going to a new country can be super confusing, but with a little prep work before traveling to Paris, you can get straight to enjoying this incredible city with ease. Bon Voyage!

*Suitcase Daze is reader supported. We may earn a small affiliate commission on any purchase made through the links on the page at no cost to you. The opinions remain my own, and I only recommend products I would use myself.

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