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Uber or RER (CDG Term 2 to Les Halles)

I am a solo traveller (50 year-old female) - scheduled to arrive in Paris at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, Nov 26. I will be tired after a 10-hour flight and want to get to my hotel as quickly as possible. Should I take the RER or an Uber (or a taxi)? I don't mind paying more to save time. I travel with one carry-on size roller suitcase.

Also, how much time do you think it will take to get through passport control? Assuming my flight lands on time, can I realistically arrive at my hotel by 1 PM (2 hours after landing)?
Thanks for your advice

Posted by
2927 posts

I have flown into CDG ~20 times since 2010 usually after a direct flight from SFO and I think that on average it takes between an hour and 90 minutes to complete the entire process, including collecting checked luggage (not an issue for you). However, the length of time depends on a lot of things, where you are on the airplane, whether you have access to the priority lane for immigration, the number of flights that arrive around the time your flight does, how many agents are on duty, etc. If all you have is a carryon, I think generally speaking you should be out in about an hour. Lately, it's been taking me between 20 and 45 minutes from the time the doors of the plane opens, but in 2013, I began to have access to the priority lane so that has sped up the process.
Then for the drive to Paris, there can be traffic. I think 1 PM could be pushing it if traffic is bad but it is doable. Of course, that is a guess because of the possibility of traffic and not a promise. As to Uber, I prefer taxis from CDG because of ease of finding them. These days, my go-to suggestion is a taxi for the trip to Paris. Are you very familiar with mass transit? Do you know how to make yourself pick pocket proof? After an 10-hour flight, I say take a taxi if the budget allows. It will be a fixed price of 50€. Have you previously flown into CDG? The RER B, the train is probably faster to Chatelet-les-Halles but you say Les Halles so there may some walking after you get off the train. Some people make a game-time decision after arriving depending on how they feel when they land.

Posted by
2057 posts

Also, how much time do you think it will take to get through passport control?

Anywhere from 5 minutes to over one hour. There is no way to know in advance of your arrival.

I don't mind paying more to save time.

I assume then that you are flying first class as these passengers are given priority handling upon arrival and go through a completely different passport control process.

can I realistically arrive at my hotel by 1 PM (2 hours after landing)?

Difficult to answer without knowing where you are going. There can be a 30 minute or more time difference to addresses on the north side of Paris vs. the south side. If your destination is somewhere around Denfert-Rochereau, the RER will be definitely faster as long as your hotel is near the RER station there and your walking is minimal.

If you were to land around your scheduled time, being at your hotel within 2 hours is possible but not likely. I would suggest that a very realistic estimate to most hotels would be 3 hours.

Posted by
4160 posts

If you are not used to large-scale public transit, I would avoid taking the RER to Chatelet-les-Halles. It is one of the largest station complexes in the world and cna be quite confusing despite recent improvements. If the extra 40 euros of a taxi fit in your budget, there's no comparison in terms of comfort. And in terms of speed too; traffic is OK in the middle of the day.

Posted by
16941 posts

For the RER B to Les Halles, trains are every 7 1/2 minutes from CDG Terminal 2, and take 35 to 39 minutes, depending on if you get the express or local, which alternate. It will be a minor factor which terminal you arrive at. 2A and 2B are farther from the train station than 2C, D, E, F. Also, nominal check in time at your hotel probably will not be until 2 pm, so even if you do arrive at 1 PM, it may be an hour before you can get into your room.

Posted by
25 posts

Thanks so much for your replies! My hotel is only a short block away from the Châtelet-les Halles station. Unfortunately, I am flying economy so no special access to privileged queues.

I have been to Paris three time over the past three years (passport control in Iceland and Amsterdam with connecting flights). This trip I am flying nonstop from Seattle.

I have taken both the RER and an UBER from CDG. I am comfortable on public transit but I will be exhausted and I do not speak French. With this additional information, which mode of transportation will get me to my hotel faster and with the most convenience?

Thanks again!

Posted by
2927 posts

Odds are the RER B will be faster because odds are that there will be fewer delays on the train. But who knows. Last time I took the RER to CDG to meet someone arriving from SFO, I missed a train and the next one did not arrive for almost 25 minutes because of an incident. You are really talking about the train being maybe 5 to 10 minutes faster probably and the ease and convenience of a taxi, especially after a 10-hour flight, would outweigh that for me but YMMV.

Posted by
527 posts

In either option, I see you getting to your hotel by 1:00. I feel like my experiences have been roughly an hour to get through CDG, then about an hour tops to get to just about any destination in Paris. The RER is certainly easy enough, which it sounds like you are savvy with. It sounds to me though like you’re already leaning towards taking a taxi because you just don’t want to deal with the train after a long flight. That’s ok! If $50 is a splurge to make you feel comfortable and less stressed as you kick off your trip then that’s a worthwhile investment in my eyes.

Posted by
11973 posts

IMO a taxi/uber isn't a time saver if you are only a short walk from Les Halles. To me the train is less likely to experience traffic delays. Any time saving is due to them dropping you directly at your lodging rather than walking from Les Halles Metro station.

The other advantage for a taxi is not carrying your bags. If you have a lot of bags, the taxi may be worth it.

I always take RER but I only have one small carry-on (under 12 lbs.). I find it takes me right at an hour from landing to leaving CDG on an RER. That's after having my passport stamped in Iceland and not waiting for bags. The RER takes another 50 minutes to the center.

It's probably somewhat quicker to get to a taxi stand but time lost to traffic getting downtown is variable.

From what I hear, passport control at CDG can take quite awhile (depending on when you arrive). I've never done it. My trips have been either Icelandair or Wow Air (when they were operating). The best was Icelandair into/out of Orly, because Orly is both smaller and closer to Paris - so it takes less time to get downtown.

Posted by
776 posts

" It sounds to me though like you’re already leaning towards taking a taxi because you just don’t want to deal with the train after a long flight."

Each situation is different:

Knowing Paris public transit systems and my fatigue level very well, after my 10 hour flight, even with just carry on luggage, I always opt for a taxi that delivers me right to my door. Time is not my concern, convenience is.

Posted by
3339 posts

I'm a 50 year old female solo traveler too and when I arrived at CDG mid morning on a weekday last October, I took the RER and was very happy about that. Super easy...and I have a disability.

As for the speed of passport control, get your crystal ball.

Posted by
9914 posts

...ooops started to answer and realized OP was arriving today at 11 Paris time so she's probably ready for bed by now, lol!!

Hope it went smoothly whichever mode of transport you took!

Posted by
25 posts

Thanks to everyone for your helpful advice... as it turned out my flight was pretty empty so I was able to score a seat in the front of the economy cabin (in fact I had 3 seats to myself! Pretty amazing for a $590 RT ticket from Portland to Paris)

My flight landed a few minutes early and I quickly raced off the plane. I made it through passport control and was on the RER Train in less than 45 minutes.

I was lucky enough to get an express train (first stop was Gare Nord) snd I was in my hotel by 12:30.

The RER was a great choice.

Oddly, my friend who was coming to meet me almost fell victim to pickpocketing. She was approached my two women who aggressively asked her to sign something. The shoved a clipboard into her and she quickly realized that her crossbody bag was unzipped. She was loud and scared them off. You can never let your guard down.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply.

Posted by
2927 posts

Wishing you a great trip. Thanks for reporting back.

Posted by
3339 posts

My flight landed a few minutes early and I quickly raced off the
plane. I made it through passport control and was on the RER Train in
less than 45 minutes.

I was lucky enough to get an express train (first stop was Gare Nord)
snd I was in my hotel by 12:30.

The RER was a great choice.

Excellent!