December 15, 2018

Cheapest Airport Travel Options

Here are the cheapest ways to get into Paris from each of the three major airports and the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Traveling on a budget requires mastering the delicate balance between minimizing your expenses and maintaining a certain comfort level so that you enjoy your trip. This of course means making choices and for the Paris visitor, these choices start at the airport.

Several factors can influence how you decide to travel from the airport into the city. The cheapest travel option is not necessarily the best. Whatever you decide, it’s best to be aware of your options. 

 

Beauvais Airport

Cheapest Option: Airport shuttle (15.90-17€)

Your best bet to get to the airport from Paris is to take the airport shuttle. The trip takes about one hour and fifteen minutes and costs 17€ one-way (15.90€ for tickets bought online). You can catch the shuttle at the Pershing coach park near Porte Maillot in Paris. Be sure to arrive at least three hours and fifteen minutes before your flight to be sure to get to the airport on time.

The shuttle from the airport into the city leaves twenty minutes after each flight. More information.

Drawbacks: Time and distance

There really aren’t that many options to choose from when it comes to low-cost airport transportation to and from Beauvais Airport. The real question to ask yourself is should you be flying out of Beauvais airport in the first place.

Most Paris visitors arrive at either Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport or Orly Airport. But if you book your flight through a budget airline like Ryanair, you’ll likely see Beauvais (BVA) as the Paris airport option. While the prices for flights into Beauvais may seem tempting, for many travelers, it’s just not worth the hassle. In a survey conducted by travel website The Guide to Sleeping in Airports, Beauvais was voted 10th worth airport in the world and worst in Europe!

If you’re still considering flying in or out of Beauvais airport, here’s what you should know:

  • Don’t be fooled by the name. Though it is also listed as “Beauvais Paris Airport” on some airline sites, the airport is 85 km (53 miles) from Paris.
  • Flights out of Beauvais airport are not necessarily the cheapest option. Be sure to check multiple carriers before booking your flight.
  • Flying into Beauvais can make sense if you plan to travel in the north of France or visit Disneyland Paris.

 

Orly Airport

Air France planeCheapest Option: Line 7 Tramway

If the mammoth that is Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport overwhelms you, you may prefer to fly into the smaller Orly airport. There are two low cost transportation options from Orly into Paris. The most common option is the Orlybus, which costs 8.5€ and arrives at the Denfert Rochereau metro station in Paris in 25-35 minutes. Buses are available every 8-15 minutes between 6:00 and 12:30 a.m. heading into Paris and from 5:30 and midnight from Paris to Orly airport. But if you’re short on cash and have lots of of time, you may prefer to take the line 7 tramway, which connects with the  Villejuif-Louis Aragon metro stop (line 7). A tramway ticket will cost you 1.90€

Drawbacks: Time. At first glance, the line 7 tramway and the Orlybus both take 30 minutes to reach Paris, but while the Orly bus arrives at a major metro station in the city, the tramway connects with the southernmost station of the line 7 metro. Depending on the time, you can also expect longer waits for the tramway. If it’s late in the evening, expect an additional wait for the metro.

Those who want to avoid public transportation can take a taxi into the city for 30-35€. Le Bus Direct, which provides service to the Champs Elysées, is another reasonable option at just 12€.

 

Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport

Roissy Charles de Gaulle AirportCheapest Option: Easybus shuttle

Newcomer Easybus touts itself as being the cheapest and only direct bus service to central Paris from the airport in just 45 to 60 minutes. While the Easy Bus starting price of €2 per trip is much cheaper than all of the other alternatives, note that €2 is the starting price if you book your ticket ahead of time online. Same day tickets can go up to €10 depending on demand, the date and the time, which is still a competitive rate. Online tickets are nonrefundable, but you have the option of getting on another bus up to sixty minutes before or after your scheduled time (as long as there are available seats).

Drawbacks: The service, which was launched in May, 2015 seems to have received mixed reviews in its first year. While some praise the low price and easy access, others say that buses regularly show up late or not at all. Another complaint is the lack of air conditioning in buses on hot summer days. Also, like its competitors, Roissybus, Les Bus Direct and Super Shuttle, Easybus services can be affected by traffic jams. Bottom line: This may be an okay option for getting into Paris. But on your way back to the airport, be sure to give yourself plenty of time and a backup transportation option in case problems arise.

Other Options:

Supershuttle: A shared shuttle service that bills itself as the perfect alternative to the hassle that comes with taking public transportation and the high price of a taxi. A shared SuperShuttle will make a maximum 3 stops on the way. Individual passengers pay 27 €. 

Le Bus Direct (Formerly Les Cars Air France): A higher end alternative to the other shuttle options: think USB outlets, comfortable seats and WIFI access. Bus trips to Montparnasse or the Eiffel Tower cost 17 €.

Roissy bus Paris

Roissybus: Roissybus is a direct bus between the Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport and the Opera district in central Paris. The bus departs from all three airport terminals with service every 15 minutes from 6:00 a.m. to 7 p.m. and every 20-30 minutes from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. The trip takes a little over an hour and costs €11.60.

RER:  Few would describe the RER ride into Paris as enjoyable: think crowded trains and uninspiring landscapes. But at 9.75€, it’s a cost effective option for those who are hesitant to test their luck with a shuttle provider. The RER, which stands for Réseau express régional (Regional Express Network) is a regional train that serves Paris and its suburbs.

It takes about forty five minutes for the RER to reach the Gare du Nord train station from the airport and just a few more minutes to get to the city’s central train station, Chatelet. From there travelers have a multitude of options for reaching their hotel or other final destination. But this option isn’t for the faint of heart. Between the stairs, the crowded train stations and the sometimes difficult-to-read train station directions, taking the RER can quickly become overwhelming. With all of that in mind, the RER + metro approach is really only recommended for frequent travelers who pack light.

Public Bus (lines 350 and 351)If you’ve got plenty of time to spare and like public transportation, you may consider taking the public bus to the airport. Buses pass every 15-20 minutes during the day and every 35 minutes in the evening. They usually take one hour to one hour and fifteen minutes to get to the airport, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time. Expect to spend 6 € (3 bus tickets). Buses leave from Gare de l’Est (line 350) and Nation (line 351). 

Night bus (Noctilien)Those with very late/early morning flights have fewer options when it comes to transportation to the airport as both the RER and shuttles will be unavailable. Two night buses allow travelers to get to CDG from the city, buses N140 and N143. Buses leave from Gare de l’Est and take roughly one hour and fifteen minutes to reach the airport.

Conclusion:

It’s easy to see why Paris visitors can quickly get frustrated with their options for coming into the city and may decide to pay more on transportation for some peace of mind. Still, there are a few steps you can take to minimize your stress when it comes to traveling to and from Paris from the airport:

  • Plan ahead so you aren’t struggling to figure out how to get into the city after a long flight. Having a plan can save you money and headaches.
  • See if your hotel offers airport transportation: Many hotels offer free or paid shuttles for their guests.
  • Have a plan B: As mentioned before, taxi and train strikes are a very real possibility in Paris and can affect your transportation to and from the airport. Be sure to keep up with the latest information regarding potential strikes.
  • Avoid early morning flights if at all possible. If there are strikes, having to get to the airport really early will just make things all the more difficult.
  • If you must book an early flight, consider heading to the airport early. Veteran France visitor Jan from France Travel Tips shared a tip to help travelers breath easy. If you are flying out of Paris Charles de Gaulle early in the morning, why not spend your last night at a hotel near the airport? The day before your flight, check out of your hotel and leave your luggage with a left-luggage service, which run from 3-7 €/day. After enjoying your last day in Paris, you can take an evening RER to your airport hotel. The next morning, you can take a quick stress-free trip to the airport.

With a bit of research and planning, getting to Paris doesn’t have to be a nightmare or a major drain on your wallet. What’s your plan for getting into the city from the airport?

Resources:

Paris By Train

RATP Website

 

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