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6 hour layover at CDG--time to visit the city?

Hi, my flight back from PRG has been rerouted through CDG, now i am scheduled to arrive at CDG at 11:00 a.m. but dont fly out to the states until 4p.m. Having heard that CDG is filthy dirty and the 'worst airport in Europe' doesnt thrill me to think about sitting there 6 hours (with no free wifi to occupy my time)
Would i feasibly have time to travel into the city for a couple of hours or so? i know the trains take 50 mins from airport to city,, so allowing 2 hours roundtrip, but i'm concerned about getting back thru security etc..... any suggestions?

Posted by
1446 posts

Ashley, any chance your airline and your vacation can accommodate a lay-over for one extra day in Paris?

Posted by
81 posts

Heavens, no, I'd never chance that! We routed through CDG on a Rome -> CDG -> Atlanta trip and almost missed the connection to Atlanta. It's a big airport, you need to shuttle around in busses (at least we did) and it was a mess. We had to go through security at CDG even though we had just arrived and almost missed our connecting flight even though there was 1 1/2 hours in between. I would never venture out assuming I got through and connected. I'd take my iPod, buy a cup of coffee and chill before I tried to venture to Paris proper.

Posted by
8293 posts

If you arrive at 11:00 and depart at 4:00, that is 5 hours, not 6, so no, you should not leave the airport. By the way, I have never really had a problem at CDG, even when connecting and I must say, with all its problems in the recent past it is the first time I have heard it said that CDG is "filthy dirty". It makes it sound like you will be sitting in litter and filth while awaiting your next flight. Since your expectations are so low, you will be pleasantly surprised I think.

Posted by
5687 posts

I'd also stay at the airport. I don't like CDG because I have always found it to be a challenge for connections. With 5 hours, this won't be an issue. I have NEVER found it to be "filthy dirty."

Posted by
23465 posts

I agree with the others. The five,six hour layover is always a sucker play. You think you should time to do something but you don't. We were just through airport on Dec 14th. It just a big, congested airport but not dirty in anyway. Has a nice duty free shopping area. Probably not any worse than a half dozen airports I can name in the US starting with Philly.

Posted by
2023 posts

We had a five hour layover at CDG. As much as we wanted to go into the city we remained at CDG on the advice of friends who live in Paris. Visiting duty free will most likely not be an option because you will clear security. It was very boring with two meager choices for eating. CDG is certainly not dirty. Take reading material, puzzles, Suduko, etc.

Posted by
91 posts

SIGH seems like from the comments that the time will cut it too close to venture out in to the city.... just seems downright unfair to be stuck at the airport & never see the outside! oh well, maybe i can see the eiffel tower from the plane flying in or out, and just plan to return to Paris proper on my next trip! :) the comments re it being dirty were from other well travelled friends who have travelled thru CDG in the past....fingers crossed mine is a better experience than theirs!
many thanks for all the comments,etc !

Posted by
9110 posts

The only time I remember it being dirty was, well.......when the roof fell in.

Posted by
10349 posts

It's not particularly dirty, but some of those tiny toilets can be challenging, especially in terminal 1. Can someone help her with a place for a good meal in the airport, so she can at least get a decent meal. Ed? Maybe chowhound will have a tip.

Posted by
806 posts

Sorry, you would just be cutting it too close time wise. You could conceivably Take the RER into Paris, come up out of the station see Notre Dame at a distance and then run right back to catch the train back to CDG. It is not worth the grief. We were at CDG in May of 2006 and it was perfectly clean and modern, if confusing. Catch Paris next time.

Posted by
33314 posts

Never been to CDG, but if there's a Hippo there (thanks Ed) that would be a good place for a reasonably priced, tasty, relaxed meal. If you run out of potato chips you can ask for a few more. I have often run out.

Posted by
358 posts

I would stay at the airport as there is not much you can do in Paris in this short amout of time. If you fly business class you can use the lounge of the airline you are flying out of and a nice place to spend some time. Air France has good food in the lounge plus free computers along with places to plug in you own computer.

Posted by
4411 posts

Sorry, Ashley! But do look out your airplane window as you leave Paris - if the sky is clear, you WILL see the Eiffel Tower - from one or both sides of the plane- as you circle Paris...:-(

Posted by
1035 posts

If you don't mind spending some dough, you could hire a car and driver for a few hours. Maybe you could cobble out an hour driving past some of the sights and then head back for CDG.

Posted by
10349 posts

Ashley, My heart goes out to you being so close but yet so far, so I scoured chowhound hoping you could at least get a taste of Paris-pun intended. Mentioned was the Hippo in T2, as Ed said. Also a branch of the famous Brasserie Flo, and the restaurants inside the Sheraton, which is located inside the airport, were recommended by the foodies. Finally, there is a Laduree cart selling their famous macarons somewhere; they're worth hunting down. You can probably find the Flo and Laduree locations on their websites or maybe even the airport's.

Posted by
91 posts

aww, you guys are all so helpful!!! i appreciate all of the info, esp the part about finding some decent airport food!! It's the pits to spend $20 at the airport for a small plate of greasy slop you end up only picking at b/c youre hungry ---but not THAT hungry ---or a dry crumbly overpriced granola bar!! :) and sadly, i save up my vacation time for an entire year so i can burn out 2 pure work weeks worth (plus 2 wkends) so there's unfortunately not any wiggle room for an extra day in Paris....oh well, maybe next time! I will def write down the places/items you all mentioned. Thnx again.....all you kind, well traveled folks --keep on answering these posts!!! the next trip you save could be MINE! :)

Posted by
97 posts

By the time you get through security, it could be close to noon. International flights start boarding an hour before departure so you'll probably start boarding at 3 PM. Lunch and duty-free shopping can easily fill two hours. (Duty free should be after you pass through security.) That will only leave an hour+ to kill. Sorry!