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Arriving in Paris 5 hours before we can access our apartment

We are four travelers and our plane lands at about 6am. The earliest we can leave our luggage with our apartment landlord is 11 am and we will not be able to check in until 2pm. What do four jet-lagged weary travelers do? I was considering booking a room the night before, just so we could have a place to stash the luggage when we arrive, and maybe take a shower, but I certainly don't want to rent a hotel room in Paris for four, when all I really need is a rest-point. Any ideas? Anyone think booking a one-bedroom so four people can shower is unethical?

Posted by
57 posts

i am sure there will be better advice from more seasoned travelers than myself but...

once we arrived at CDG last week it took us about 1.5-2 hours to deplane, go through customs, get our luggage and find a taxi, then another 40-50 minute cab ride....so you have 3 hours right there. that is probably an over estimate but it took us a long time to just get out of the airport.

also, when we departed CDG earlier this week we stayed at the CDG Novotel which is a short subway ride on an airport shuttle from the terminals. I know that they rent rooms for just this purpose - like an 8 hour non-overnight stay.

hope this is helpful.

Posted by
5 posts

We were supposed to land at an early morning time in May but we were delayed at JFK due to plane issues so we were 3 hours late landing! Not to be pessimistic but lots of things could delay your arrive in Paris and getting through the airport takes some time.

Posted by
2353 posts

Which train station is nearest your apartment?

From Seat61:

The Gare du Nord has left luggage lockers ('consigne automatique' in French), open 06:15 to 23:15 daily. The locker area is located downstairs under the main concourse opposite platform 3 - when you walk off the end of the Eurostar platforms onto the concourse, look for downward stairs just ahead and to the right of you. All your bags (even those you're not leaving) are X-rayed before entering the locker area as a security check. A small locker costs €5.50 for up to 48 hours and will take a medium-sized backpack. A medium locker costs €7.50 and might take 2 medium backpacks. A large locker (around 1 metre high) costs €9.50 and will take a large suitcase or 2 large backpacks. No keys are involved, you shut your locker, pay the money and a receipt is printed showing a code for opening the locker. There's are change machines which (if they're working!) can convert €10, €20 or €50 banknotes into the coins needed for the lockers.

The Gare de Lyon has left luggage lockers, open 06:15 to 22:00. X-ray check at the entrance. Locker sizes and prices the same as Gare du Nord. The locker area is downstairs in a corridor linking the two concourses.

The Gare d'Austerlitz has left luggage lockers, open 07:00 to 23:30. It's just outside the main street entrance to the station, you'll see it on your way in from the metro. X-ray check at entrance. Locker sizes and prices the same as Gare du Nord.

The Gare de l'Est has a staffed left luggage office, open 06:00 to 23:45. It's downstairs from the main concourse, in a corner off the shopping centre area. Bags are X-rayed when accepted for storage. Locker sizes and prices the same as Gare du Nord.

Posted by
8850 posts

As Christi said, just put your things in a luggage locker in a train station and enjoy Paris until 2 p.m.

Posted by
5509 posts

The RER "B" express train will whisk you four from CDG to Gare du Nord for a little less than a taxi would cost, probably faster, though less comfortable. Or taxi there, your choice. After that, what Bets said. Walk around outside, have some lunch, and Metro or taxi to your apartment when the time comes.

Posted by
3093 posts

If you really want to take a shower, just store your luggage a station with showers. There are showers at Gare du Nord and Gare d'Austerlitz (and maybe other stations). The showers at Gare du Nord are located on Level -1, near the entrance of the metro line 4. The showers at Gare d'Austerlitz are near track 21. You don't say where your apartment is located so it could be that another station will work better for you. You can do a google search for "gare en mouvement" plus the name of the train station and then look through services to see if the station you want to use has showers. I have read that there are municipal showers in Paris. I know nothing about them other than you have to bring your own towels and toiletries: http://www.paris.fr/services-et-infos-pratiques/social-et-solidarites/personnes-en-situation-de-precarite/les-bains-douches-municipaux-138#adresses-et-horaires-des-bains-douches_2

Posted by
14042 posts

I'd dispense with with whole hotel room/shower idea as you could very well eat up 3 hours by the time you get off the plane, collect luggage, get through immigration, into central Paris and find the location of your apartment. I'm not wild about the idea of stashing luggage at a train station either as you'd have to return for it. I think I'd forego breakfast on the plane (which probably won't be wonderful anyway) and find a cafe close to the apartment for coffee, a GOOD morning meal and some people-watching. It'll probably be 11:00 before you know it! Then stash the bags and hit the streets; you can shower before bed.

Posted by
2250 posts

I'm with Kathy. While I usually try to arrive at a later hour or find an apartment that will let me in early, given your circumstance as it's currently set, I'd make my way over to the apartment area, assume it will be 9am when you get there and then plant myself at a nearby cafe with my luggage then drop the luggage and go explore a bit. We did this once in Amsterdam with an early arrival flight and it worked out okay.

Just curious - is your apartment available the night before and how much would it be per person to book it for that previous night....you get to split it between 4 people.

Posted by
11450 posts

I am with Kathy too.
I would just mellow out( no mad rush to get through immigration etc) and go intonoaris and have a leisurely breakfast , then dump luggage at apartment and go on with my day.

Posted by
3093 posts

I provided the information on showers but I do agree that Kathy offered up great advice. The second to last thing that I do before I leave the house for an overnight flight is take a shower; if you can do that, you might feel less pressure to grab a shower when you arrive. You would be surprised at how quickly it will be 11 AM if you head into town and order breakfast at a place near your apartment. Was your face in a restroom at CDG. If you have checked luggage and all goes well, odds are you will be ready to leave CDG at around 7 AM and be in Paris at around 8:00 AM. If you have checked luggage, getting that may take more time that you think. By the time you order breakfast and eat and have a couple more cups of coffee, it will be awfully close to 11 AM. Then you can drop your luggage off and go out and explore until check-in time. Of course, if your apartment is near one of the City Locker luggage storage locations, I would leave it there until right around 2 PM. One concern for me with having a day-rate hotel room is the temptation to take a nap and napping on the arrival day destroys my ability to overcome jet lag.

Posted by
5 posts

All of your answers are so sensible! Many thanks. I did check to see if I could have the apartment the night before, but there are other guests. We will be on the left bank near the universities. My sister and law and I are taking her daughters, one who just graduated from high school and the other from college. Quite the trip.

I am so grateful for all y our answers.

Cheers!

Janis

Posted by
14042 posts

You are going to have a wonderful time, Janis! Great city, Paris.

Posted by
2916 posts

The few times that we've been in a similar situation we've just found a cafe and had a leisurely breakfast, then strolled around a bit. Given your time frame, you might not even need to do the strolling part.

Posted by
509 posts

Two additional "time killers" after arrival at Paris airport: (i) purchase SIM card for smart phone if that's on your to-do list; (ii) purchase Museum Passes (the clock on your number of selected "days" won't start until the first day you actually visit a museum covered by the Pass.) If you are as low-tech as we were, add another 30 minutes over coffee/breakfast to install and launch the SIM card.

Posted by
14042 posts

LOL, we don't even travel with a phone (yet) so no SIM card transfer needed!

Posted by
1562 posts

Agree with other comments. Just find a sidewalk cafe near your apartment and people watch. You could take turns with your group walking around as sitting for too long with just make you tired. Wander around looking for the local market, Boulangerie, metro entrance, etc. EVERY restaurant, bar, cafe has outdoor seating. Instead of taking a shower, just changing clothes seems to help "freshen up".

Posted by
2466 posts

At the risk of sounding like a grumpy Paris resident, let me add this:
There's been a huge increase in the number of visitors who can't access their apartments when they reach Paris. Most of them spend 2 to 3 hours in a cafe.

Waiters and regular customers are getting fed up with people who plop themselves and their piles of luggage wherever it's convenient and take up a couple of tables while Dad orders an espresso and Mom and the kids go searching for the nearest patisserie, bringing back sacks full of goodies which they have the nerve to eat at the table.

After awhile, the family splits up and wanders off repeatedly, leaving someone to watch the luggage. The bill amounts to 2.40 EU for several hours when the tables could be used for people who would actually like to order food and drink.

If your apartment offers an option to pay for an early arrival, take it.
Better yet, stay in a hotel, where your luggage will be stored for you if you arrive before your room is ready. Then you can wander around and enjoy yourselves.

Posted by
3093 posts

The key here is to not treat the cafe like a lounge where you can wander in out for the price of one cup of coffee. Pick a place and have meal there. It's not rocket science to know that four people can't roll into a place, get a table for four, and leave one person there nursing one cup of coffee and not anger the owner and the serving staff. Doing what Chexbres describes above would be appalling and selfish. I am envisioning arriving at the cafe at around 8:30 and all four of you enjoying a leisurely breakfast for 60 to 90 minutes not the four of you dumping your luggage and taking turns leaving to walk around after a one-drink order.

Posted by
14042 posts

No, I certainly wasn't advocating for the scenario described. That would be poor manners indeed! Have a leisurely meal, and make it worth the while of the establishment for you to spend whatever time is necessary. It shouldn't be a turn-taking, place-holding thing.

Posted by
8850 posts

How can a cup of cafe creme, even a large creme, and a croissant be a nice leisurely meal lasting 60-90 minutes? Even if you throw in a piece of baguette and a glass of orange juice it's not 60-90 minutes Only a couple of restaurants in Paris serve a large American breakfast. It's less intrusive and less hassle to leave the luggage at a train station and get on with a quick breakfast and seeing the city.

Posted by
3093 posts

I think that we are making too big a deal out of the restaurant option. It is just that one of several choices. Last August, I arrived in Paris at around 7. My accommodations would not let me to stay in until 2 but I could drop off my luggage at 11 (same problem as the OP). This was in the 14th arrondissement with a Saturday morning arrival. I arrived in the neighborhood at around 9 and went into an open cafe on Rue Daguerre, ordered, ate and paid my bill and the whole process took well over an hour without me even trying to stretch out the process. There was absolutely no problem -- I can see a problem stopping in cafes if there is a ton of luggage but my family of four travels with each of us carrying a small backpack and a wheeled carry-on. In April, again not trying to stretch out the process, I had breakfast on Rue Dauphine and that took well over an hour all total from being seated to leaving. Sure if you have a roll and coffee, it will be quick but if you order an omelette, like my son did, and you are not in a hurry, you are looking at an hour or more for the meal. Same thing happened time wise at the Pain Quotidien on Rue Varenne but in that case we were in a rush but service was quite slow.

Posted by
15326 posts

Probably the Gare d'Austerlitz is closest. Then just wander around the Latin Quarter, plenty to see. If the Gare Montparnasse (also not far) has luggage storage, you could go up Tour Montparnasse and see Paris from above (good view of the Eiffel Tower).