There are two main airports in Paris; Orly to the south of the French capital and Charles de Gaulle Airport, commonly known as CDG, to the east. The biggest and busiest airport in France is located about 25 kilometres from the centre of Paris. Named after France’s famous World War II general turned president, Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport is known amongst the French themselves as Roissy (the name of the nearest town). Sixty million passengers passed through the airport in 2011, making it the second busiest in Europe after London’s Heathrow Airport. The following is a guide to getting around this major international airport.
The first important fact about CDG Airport is that there are three terminals, so knowing which one your flight is leaving from is vital. The airport is divided into two major terminals, with a smaller third one. Terminal 2 is a vast complex, containing seven sub-terminals labelled A to G. It is by far the nicer of the two main terminals, mostly due to it being newer. The check-in areas are at ground level and the glass walls and rooves keep travellers, who are passing through, in touch with the outside world. Terminal 1, despite major refurbishments in recent years, remains a monument to avant-garde 1970s architecture. Designed by Paul Andreu, the same architect who designed Terminal 2, it was inspired by the shape of an octopus, with the boarding gates spread out like the tentacles and precariously bouncy travelators that transport passengers up to them.
Despite its distance from central Paris, it is relatively easy to get to Charles de Gaulle Airport by public transport and there are a number of different ways to achieve that. Terminals 1 and 2 are connected by suburban train (RER) from central Paris and there is even a high-speed TGV train station within the precincts of the airport, making it directly accessible from several cities other than Paris. There are two train stations within the airport complex, both on Line B of the suburban RER system. Leaving the airport, any trains will take you into the city and the line also leads directly to Orly Airport. Some are non-stop, while others stop at every town on the way, and it takes, on average, 35 minutes to get to central Paris. If you are travelling through Terminal 1, then the free CDGVAL shuttle will take you from the train station to the departure level. Shuttle buses also run between the different terminals.
It is also possible to reach the airport by bus. Air France operates a coach service that leaves from a number of departure points in central Paris, and the RATP public transport company operates a bus service, which leaves from behind the Garnier opera house in the city centre. A shuttle service also operates directly between Disneyland Paris and the airport.
International flights to and from France can come through either Terminal 1 or 2 and if you get confused as to where your flight is leaving from, there are notices on the trains that list which airline companies leave from which terminal. Even if you do get it wrong, the shuttle runs between the two terminals. Traffic is often heavy on the roads to and from Paris and may cause delays if choosing to transfer by taxi, although it can be more comfortable to travel this way if there is a lot of luggage to carry. Unaccredited cab drivers touting for business within the terminal building are best avoided. They charge inflated prices, so it is recommended to only take a cab from the approved taxi ranks.
All of the terminals in Charles de Gaulle Airport have a variety of bars, cafés, restaurants and refreshment areas, but, when it comes to duty-free shopping, Terminal 2 is once again the better option, although Terminal 1 does have a number of stores that sell souvenirs and last-minute gifts. There are general duty-free shops with the usual selection of tobacco and alcohol, as well as luxury fashion names such as Hermès, Bulgari and Mont Blanc, and it wouldn’t be France if there wasn’t an array of gastronomic delights for sale in all of the terminals. If shopping is completed or the flight delayed, take the opportunity to try out the latest video games in the Playstation 3 areas, which have recently opened in each of the terminals, or unwind in one of the automatic massage chairs to be found in various parts of the airport.Write a Review
You can be the first to write a comment.