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How long to get through customs st DeGaulle

Taking fast train to Avignon
Go from airport or Lyon Gare
We are elderly and concerned about ruching to Lyon station

Posted by
118 posts

What time are you landing and what time is your train frrom Gare Lyon?
It can take up 1 hour to go through customs at CDG

Posted by
9680 posts

Yes, sometimes an hour to a bit longer.

Oddly last week when I arrived it took longer to deplane at the distant gate which used a shuttle to the terminal than it did for the Immigration part. Literally it was under 15 minutes from the time I got off the shuttle and thru the terminal doors to when I was stamped and on my way. I would never count on this happening, though.

I’d suggest a taxi in to town if you need to leave from there. Count on that being another 1-1.5 hours. Generally it’s an hour but I’ve hit traffic at times and it’s taken longer.

I do suggest you hit a bathroom after you deplane in case the line is long at Immigration.

Posted by
613 posts

I fear there are too many unknown knowns in your plan. Beat the stress and worry about time running out on you by staying overnight near the Gare de Lyon. Dinner at L'European across the parking lot in front of the Gare de Lion or in the station fine dinning restaurant. Easy metro into center Paris if you are up to it.

On top of the uncertainties of customs, transport, traffic, lost luggage, etc, you won't sleep well on the plane & you will be staggered by jet lag.

A door to door shuttle service is usually cheaper than taxi.

Posted by
19 posts

We land at 1
Either rush for a 3:00 train from degaulle or hang out till 5:00 train
Not spending night in Patis

Posted by
1549 posts

Planes can be late, I would not even consider trying to make the 3pm train. Are you purchasing non refundable train tickets? Or purchasing at train station when you arrive?

Posted by
16736 posts

Before you do, check the price for the same train at www.loco2.com. Rail Europe likes to add lots of fees. Loco2 has none, same price as the outfit that runs the trains, SNCF.

Posted by
776 posts

Just to clarify terminology. You don't go "through" customs at CDG. After you pick up your luggage, you walk past customs agents and they "spot check" you visually. They know what they're looking for. What you will go through is immigration/passport control. The lines here depend on how many planes have dumped passengers at your arrival time. Often, I've had no wait at all. As others above have pointed out, don't count on this happening.

Posted by
2889 posts

The only way to be sure of a short wait at passport control is to travel business class or otherwise have access to the priority lane. And even that is not 100% sure. For example, for one flight I took in 2015, all of the priority lanes were closed because of an issue with a passenger. You should plan on 4 hours between ETA at CDG and a train you get from Paris. With a train at 5 from CDG, it makes no sense to rush to Gare de Lyon.

Posted by
8293 posts

OK, I have to ask. Why are there so many posts from American travellers who use the word "Customs" without knowing the meaning of the word? Passport Control or Immigration is what they will encounter in a foreign airport, long before "Customs", which has to do only with what is in your luggage. The country you are entering wants your passport information and if that is satisfactory, you just sally through the "Nothing to Declare" exit at Customs. Unless, of course, you are traveling with contraband of some sort.

Posted by
6606 posts

The rule of thumb for booking a train from Paris is 4 hours after your ETA at CDG. We average about an hour in immigration when not traveling business class. When traveling business class we average about 15 minutes from plane through immigration, but then have to wait for luggage for 15 minutes to 30 minutes and business bags come off first. Usually the bags are up shortly after we come through regular immigration as it takes a while.

It then takes an hour at least into the city from picking up luggage. Make your way to the official cab line and wait your turn; do not be deflected by anyone directing you to a different line or offering a cab -- these people will cheat you. A cab to Gare du Lyon will cost 50 Euro flat fee for 4 people and their luggage; no tip or extra fees.

With 4 hours, you may have time to buy sandwiches at the station for the train and to get a cup of coffee and pastry before boarding or whatever. It should provide the cushion needed for the slightly late plane or longer than usual immigration line. There is always a risk booking a train on the same day as arrival but if you leave a 4 hour gap your odds are excellent of making that train.

Posted by
2889 posts

Norma, note that it is not just Americans or people you think are Americans who use customs to describe passport. Note the first answer which appears to be from Canada. Maybe you meant North Americans but ultimately does it matter when we know the OP is asking about how long it will take to get done with airport processing and be on their way.

Posted by
454 posts

I think Americans -- and in my experience Canadians as well -- play fast and loose with "customs" as a term for the passport control and customs process because (1) in the US and Canada, passport control + customs always happen at the same port of entry and directly right after each other, which is not always the case in Europe and because (2) in the US and Canada there is often both a wait at passport control and then a wait at customs (such as the line that I had to wait in recently in Montreal to exit to landside after baggage claim!), which is again also not the case in the EU as customs there is just a walk through a hall.

So from the point of view of the average North American traveler, passport control and customs are all part of the same big process, they always happen at the same time, there are unpredictable lines throughout the whole process and so from their point of view it's all the same thing, and customs happens to be the final part of it so they just end up calling the whole thing "customs."

I'm not defending erroneous usage, but I think it's worth understanding why it happens and maybe cutting some newbie posters a bit of slack.

Posted by
7587 posts

I don’t think it’s true that a shuttle will be cheaper than a taxi. Taxis are fixed-rate between the airports and Paris; a taxi from the airport to Gare de Lyon for up to four people costs €50. Flat rate.

Posted by
19 posts

So True Andrew
Us Americans call the whole ordeal customs! Thx for input

Posted by
6606 posts

And 50 years ago customs was a big deal. For some odd reasons countries really cared if you carried a bag of coffee over the border or whatever. (in 1960 Germany I paid a hefty customs fee for a small jar of instant coffee and in 61 was thoroughly searched in customs on the docks of NYC). It was extremely silly. In the last 30 years of many border crossings including in Asia and the Middle East, I have only had bags searched once and that was after declaring commercially canned duck confit at an American airport; they let me keep the duck but there was a whole search to make sure I was not smuggling in monkey parts or something. Since that time, I have brought in commercially canned duck several times without any interest being shown. Now the only thing they are really concerned with at customs is illegal drugs or agricultural products deemed dangerous (all of them actually). If they don't suspect you of either then you just walk through the door.

Posted by
6606 posts

It is emigration when you are leaving and immigration when you are arriving -aka passport control.

Posted by
1814 posts

I was in Paris twice in the last three years, and both times upon arrival at CDG it took me just over two hours to get through passport control and out.
One woman fainted, as you are standing the whole time in the switchback lines, and there's no going back!
Use the bathroom before joining the line.
You might be lucky and hit a quiet day, but I wouldn't book a 3pm train.
Plus, it's a very long walk through the airport to actually get out of it!!