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CDG toGare Montparnasse

We will arrive CDG @ 11:15 from SLC with carry-on only can we make a 15:00 train at Gare Montparnasse without too much stress?

Posted by
20017 posts

We will arrive CDG @ 11:15...

If that statement is true, then the rest of the statement is probably true. The stress starts to build if your arrival is delayed.

Posted by
12172 posts

Any chance you're coming from Iceland? My trips into CDG have been from Iceland. I arrive carry-on only with passport already stamped for Schengen. If not, you need an allowance for passport control (which I've heard can be bad at CDG).

If you're arriving similar to my trips, it takes right at one hour to get off the plane, walk through the terminal, take the val to the RER station, buy your ticket and be on a train leaving the airport.

After that, it's about an hour to downtown. It seems getting off at Les Halles and transferring to Metro Line 4 to Marie de Montrouge is the simplest route to Montparnasse. The walk at Les Halles will probably be fairly long, maybe 15 minutes plus another 15 minutes on the metro.

As has already been mentioned. Timing depends on factors outside your control. Is your plane on time? How long are the passport lines? You have to weigh whether the savings are worth the risk. When buying a 2nd class ticket with no reservation, often the ticket says it's valid "from" (or beginning at) a specific time and date. If you miss your train, you can validate it for the next train without penalty. I'm not so great at navigating SNCF to know exactly how to choose that option, I just know I've had some tickets that are train specific and others that are valid starting at a certain time.

Personally, I prefer to spend at least one night in Paris. It gives me some lag time in case a flight is delayed or canceled. It also gives me a chance to adjust to the time difference. Unless you're really good at sleeping on the flight to Europe, you will be tired and not your sharpest - which makes it more likely to miss a connection or have trouble with ticket machines - and run a little slower than normal.

Posted by
2542 posts

I would consider that an absolute minimum amount of time to be able to make reliably a CDG to Montparnasse connection. If anything goes wrong, your connection might be tenuous. It physically takes about one hour from CDG to Montparnasse using the RER B but there are myriad things that can delay: weather at departure or en route, traffic delays arriving CDG, passport control upon arrival, or any type of maintenance delay. Work actions are always a threat.

The shortest walking distance from RER B to métro would taking the RER B to Châtelet/les Halls (the line 4 station is les Halls). Basically, métro 4 is 3 escalators upward from the RER B platform. However, métro 4 arrives Montparnasse below Place du 18 juin and not directly at the station resulting in a long, underground walk.

I might give route preference to the RER B to Denfert-Rochereau, transferring to métro 6 to Gare Montparnasse.

Posted by
10176 posts

Definitely to Denfert then transfer to the 6. The 4 to the station is a bear underground, up and down stairs with no escalators and long, long passageways.

Posted by
1093 posts

Personally, I prefer to spend at least one night in Paris. It gives me some lag time in case a flight is delayed or canceled.

This is what we prefer too. The only time I'd take a train after a flight is if it is relatively short run (an hour or so), runs frequently during the day, and there is no discount for advance purchase such as the TER trains.

If you're doing the trip on TGV with a discount ticket and you miss your train then the ticket usually can't be changed and expires worthless. And since you need to get to your destination to check into your hotel you'll have to buy a full-fare ticket. Some people don't mind the risk.

Posted by
8035 posts

Make sure the Montparnasse metro station is open; it was closed during the strike and on other occasions when we have been in Paris. If it is open then the train to Denfert Rochereau and the 6 to Montparnasse Bienvenue is much easier if you are trying to get to the Train station. Make sure your train is at Gare Motparnasse 1, 2 and not Vaugirard its satellite station which is another 15 minutes walk away from the main station.

Posted by
3685 posts

Have you considered taking Le Bus Direct? Depending on the time of day and if you are traveling right now when there is a transit strike it could be an option?

Posted by
1335 posts

I myself find Le Bus Direct to be the most stress free way to get to la Gare Montparnasse from CDG. The bus stop is right outside the terminal and only traffic is your foe. At 11:15 I wouldn't imagine it'd be that bad. The bus makes 1 stop before arriving at Montparnasse. You will then take a little escalator up to the main hall and won't have to navigate from the bowels of the metro all the way to the top.

Posted by
2542 posts

If stress free is the objective, taking a taxi from the official taxi queue is as easy as it gets. Fares are fixed to Gare Montparansse at 58€. Taxi drivers are not tippied.

However, 3+45 is not a lot of time to make a connection at a train station in Paris, particularly one on the opposite side of the city. The last time I took le Bus Direct to Gare Montparnasse, I waited 45 minutes for the bus to show, 30 minutes for the initial stop at Gare de Lyon, and traffic into Paris was so intense that the entire journey took close to 3 hours. For someone with a 3+45 connect time, that is a lot of stress.

Carry-on only makes the short connection time a bit easier but one never knows how long passport control will take, (it can easily exceed one hour), so I would want the fastest option available to reach Gare Montparnasse. That will be the RER B, transferring at Denfert Rochereau to métro 6.

I might add that Gare Montparnasse can be a bit confusing unless someone is very familiar with the layout. You can check your departure platform before you arrive using your smartphone (assuming you have service) and this SNCF link.

Posted by
4037 posts

Helpful advice on train stations such as the Metro-SNCF combo at Montparnasse, complete with photos, at this blog:

It could easily take an hour after the plane touches down on the runway to be free of CdG. So yes, there is some stress built in to this commute.

Posted by
17 posts

We had this dilemma last year. Our decision was to take a cab from CDG to the train station. Bit were we glad we did this! At the airport there is a special area just for the 55 euro cabs. They put the luggage in/out if their trunk and you're off. They do all the work and worrying while you close your eyes and sleep another 45 minutes! Completely worth it!

Posted by
517 posts

We have a close connection CDG to Montparnasse. I'm familiar with the RER but have also been confused with the stations and had RER train delays a few times, so I'm going to spend the extra 35E (train is 21 E for 2). My questions are:
1) any thoughts on the traffic on a Saturday at 9 a.m.?
2) Where is the "special area just for the 55 euro cabs"? I'm not familiar with that.

Brad - our connection is less time than yours (8:15 arr 11:52 train from Mont.) and we have to check out poles. I realize this is a level of stress and risky but I thought I'd give it a go. I love Paris but I want to get to SJDPD that day.

Posted by
2542 posts

any thoughts on the traffic on a Saturday at 9 a.m.?

Road traffic Saturday morning should not be a big problem but if your scheduled arrival is 08h15, being in a taxi by 09h00 is being very optimistic.

Where is the "special area just for the 55 euro cabs"?

This is just the normal taxi queue which is generally but steps from the customs exits. Signage to the location is very good. Do not accept offers from clandestine drivers soliciting from within the terminals.

As of 1 February, the fixed fare will be 58€. Taxi drivers are not tipped.

Posted by
424 posts

Thanks all for the information. The train from Montparnasse departs @ 16:00 . I think we will just take a taxi from CDG, unless we sail through passport (you never know), in which case the RER will work. Of course all bets are off if the strike strife returns.
Thanks Brad