Articles and Photos by David "Q." May                   All rights reserved ©2001-2009
 

To Home Page

À la version en Français

   
From Orly or Charles De Gaulle

Transporting or riding your bike from the airport into Paris or elsewhere

Taking your bicycle on the RER, in a cab, or cycling into Paris.

On this page:

Paris Airport Overview
Transportation to Paris by taxi, bus, or RER train
What is your best choice to bring a bicycle into Paris
Taking TGV high speed trains
Departing from Paris — Boxing your bicycle
Cycling directly from Charles DeGaulle Airport
Cycling Directly from Orly Airport

 

Paris Airport Overview

Overseas international flights to Paris usually arrive at the Charles De Gaulle Airport (also known as Roissy), which lies about 15 miles (25 kilometers) northeast from the center of Paris. Many European flights land at Orly Airport, about 9 miles (15 kilometers) south from the center of Paris.

Charles De Gaulle airport has an older terminal (Aérogare 1, in English Terminal 1), a group of newer terminals (Aérogares 2A - 2F, in Englishr Terminals 2A - 2F) and a charter-budget flight terminal (Aérogare 3, in English Terminal 3). These terminals are separated by more than a mile (2 kilometers). Maps of the Roissy and Orly terminals are available at the URL for the airports of Paris, www.adp.fr. Their site has an English language version.

Orly Airport has two main terminals, Orly South and Orly West. You can walk on a sidewalk from one terminal to the other.

Baggage carts are available at no cost in the international baggage arrival areas of both Orly and Charles De Gaulle (Roissy) airports. You can roll these to curbside, or also (in the case of Roissy 2) to the elevator near the railroad and RER stations.

Transportation to Paris by taxi, bus, or train:

Taxi: At either Charles De Gaulle or Orly airport, you can request the taxi dispatcher to call for a minivan taxi (called an espace). You should be able to fit your bicycle, with the front wheel removed, into the cargo area. The total price of your ride into Paris will be 45 to 75 Euros.

A few taxi drivers have been known to take tourists "for a ride". Before loading your cab, ask for the driver's estimate of the price, including everything but his tip. (There is a charge for baggage, and prices are higher at night and on Sundays.) Add 15% to the price for the tip. If the fare comes to more than the amount stated, and you feel you have been driven around, don't leave a tip. Of course, if there is a major traffic blockage, it would be fair to give the driver more. During morning rush hour, there are much faster routes to some parts of Paris that cost more.

Bus: Alternatively, from either airport, you can put your bike, still in its shipping box (wheels removed), on the Air France buses to Paris. A long-distance bus is called a "car" in French. Different buses go to different destinations. From the De Gaulle airport there are two lines, one to Porte Maillot and Etoile/Champs Elysées, the other to the Gare de Lyon and the Gare de Montparnasse railway stations. From Orly airport, there is only one line that serves the Gare de Montparnasse, Invalides, and Etoile/Champs-Elysées. There is also Air France bus service between the Charles De Gaulle airport and Orly airport. The various trips costs approximately 12 to 20 Euros per person one way if purchased on line (2013). They are more if purchased at the airports and less if purchased as a round trip.  For details follow this link (in French):  http://www.lescarsairfrance.com/en.html. Pricing details can be found here: Les prix ce trouve sur cette page: http://www.lescarsairfrance.com/fr/nos-tarifs-et-produits.html.

RER: In the author's opinion, it would be quite difficult to use the RER (regional express trains) to transport a bicycle in its carton or in a bike bag, together with panniers.  He believes that if you want to use the RER, you must reassemble your bike in the air terminal or on the sidewalk, mount your panniers, and carry your bike down the stairs to the stations.  The RER from either Roissy or Orly (including a ride on the line OrlyVal) costs about 10 Euros per person (2013).

RER trains running into Paris (B line) make two stops at the Charles De Gaulle Airport. The stop closest to Terminals (Aérogares) 1 and 3 is the first one you reach coming from Paris.  You walk to Terminal 3 in about 400 yards, and take a bus to Terminal 1 that runs every few minutes and takes about five minutes to reach the terminal. The second terminal coming from Paris serves Terminal 2, and lies between Halls C and E. Elevators service the ticketing level, and again the track. Baggage carts are no longer allowed on the elevators, escalators or stairs.When going to either airport by RER, remember that not all RER B trains go to the airport; check the illuminated display of stations served that is provided in every station.

At Orly, in either terminal, you can walk your bike into the OrlyVal stations; the OrlyVal line provides a free transfer to the RER B station at Anthony in about 8 minutes. The RER continues into Paris.

At any of these RER stations, you will need to get a ticket seller or other agent to open a gate for you, both to enter and leave, or lift your bike over the barriers. Save your ticket to show when you exit (or without bicycle, to put in the exit turnstiles). There are special compartments for bicycles at the extremities of the train.

You cannot take your bicycle onto the RER into Paris during morning rush hour (6:30 am to 9:00 am), or from Paris during the evening Rush hour. In Paris the best stops to enter or exit on the B line of the RER, which services both airports, are the Gare du Nord, on the Right Bank, Denfert-Rochereau on the Left Bank, and now also Saint-Michel via an elevator directly to the platform, accessible from the corner of Quai Michel on the Seine and Rue Xavier Privas, which is one block east of Boulevard Saint Michel. You must already have a ticket to use the elevator. Towards the Seine, the RER platforms are deep underground, and you would have to carry your bike up or down many steps.The Gare du Nord has no railway connections with the other railway stations in Paris (Austerlitz, Montparnasse, Lazare, Lyon, or Est). You must connect by bike, foot, subway,other RER lines, bus, or taxi.

TGV: The TGV high speed trains to the provinces stop at a railway station next to the RER station in Charles de Gaulle Terminal 2, between terminals 2-C, 2-D, and 2F. Few if any of these TGVs will carry assembled bicycles, but you may carry on bike boxes or bike bags (housses) perhaps fabricated yourself out of pack cloth. See the discussion of TGVs and housses under Trains and bicycles in the section of this site on bicycle touring in Europe. Baggage carts are not allowed on the elevators. Therefore, unless you are part of a group, it will take organization and effort to move your bike box or housse, and your panniers from your baggage cart to the appropriate door of the train.

Riding in Yourself from the Airport to Central Paris: If you feel comfortable doing so (see below) and the weather cooperates, you might enjoy riding in from the airport, or vice-versa. The pages in these links tell you how to do so - mainly on bicycle paths:

By bicycle directly from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Central Paris or elsewhere (or vice-versa)

By bicycle directly from Orly Airport to Central Paris or the South (or vice-versa)

What is your best choice to come in to Paris from the airport?

It depends (a) how much luggage you have; (b) how strong your are; (c) exactly where you are going; and (d) how easily you can afford a large taxi fare.

Certainly the easiest and most convenient thing to do, after your long air trip, is to choose a large taxi ( "Espace"). This could take you directly to your hotel or outbound train station , but it is the most expensive alternative, particularly if you are traveling alone.

The second easiest alternative, and the second most expensive (but not nearly as expensive), is to take an Air France bus, and when you arrive hire an espace (taxi) to go to your final destination. You have to transfer your baggage from the bus arrival point to the taxi pickup point. This could be difficult, particularly lf you are traveling alone. Alternatively, in whatever weather you find yourself, you could assemble your bike at the bus stop. (Going to the airport you could have your taxi drop you right at the bus.)

The RER plus riding in Paris or taking the Metro can be practical, comfortable, and less expensive if you are coming into Paris with just a bike and panniers, providing you are willing to assemble the bicycle at the airport (or if you are a non-cycling tourist, you have only a light suitcase or two). The RER, however, can be very inconvenient if you have a bicycle in a box, or an assembled bicycle and also regular luggage. That's because of the stairs, elevators and escalators involved, and the distance from the Gare du Nord train platform and the taxi stand.

If you are alighting from the RER or Metro at the St. Michele- Notre Dame stop, be sure your valuables are all in your suitcases; a ring of purse snatchers has operated in this station for years, with seeming impunity. The author knows of no other place in Paris with as much risk of theft.

But why not —if you only have a bicycle and panniers, which you are willing to assemble at the airport, and if your schedule and the weather permit it — begin your bike trip at the airport?

Departing from Paris — Boxing or bagging your bicycle

When it is time to leave Paris with your bike, you may use any of the methods described above to go to the airport. If you wish to box your bike in Paris, contact any of Paris' bicycle shops to see if they have, or will have, a bike box.

Many airlines have bicycle boxes at the airport, and some airlines will carry fully assembled bicycles! Contact your airline. At Charles DeGaulle Airport, Air France (throughout Terminal 2) sells bicycle boxes at their ticket sales offices (not at their check-in counters). In August 2005, the price was 6 Euros. These boxes can be used on other airlines. According to a recent e-mail, no airline in Terminal 3 (including Easy Jet) has boxes, yet some (such as Easy Jet) require boxes to transport your bicycle.

The process of boxing your bike at the airport can be quite inefficient. One person who e-mailed this site recommends leaving at least an hour. If you have to go to another terminal to pick the box up, leave at least 90 minutes for the task. One couple boxed their bike the day before, transferred to an airport hotel for the night, and transferred back to the airport in the morning, using the hotel's shuttle.

If you are using a bike bag to transport your bicycle on trains, you probably can use it to pack your bicycle on an airplane, rather than a box. Check with your airline. Directions for making a light-weight bicycle bag (housse), that can roll up and be carried with you on your bicycle, are here.

To home page