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We leave in 12 days for Paris and its getting crazy!

We have 12 days until we leave for Paris and my wife and I are very excited. We will be following Rick's Paris in 3 days guide. I have started to outline the details and I came up with a few questions.

Getting from the airport to our hotel has become a challenge. One idea we heard about was to take the Roissy Bus, nicknamed the Opera bus, to the Opera house stop. From there we would hop onto the Metro to our hotel. Has anyone done this? How was it and would you recommend it or something else?

Do we need to purchase our museum passes before we leave or when we get there?

When and where do we but our Metro tickets? We will arrive in Paris with no tickets and in Rick's book he says it is better to not buy it at the airport, but we need tickets to get to our hotel from the airports.

Thanks for help.

Posted by
313 posts

Mike, could you give a few more specifics -- are you flying into CDG? Where is your hotel, or why has it become a challenge?

Posted by
11450 posts

Buy Museum pass there, ( are you sure you will need it, it is not always best choice) .

I have no idea what " Rick Says" but of course you can buy metro tickets at the stations.. or airport.

Where is your hotel, how can anyone advise best way to get there if we don't know where " there" is??

Posted by
10344 posts

Buy the Museum Pass when you get there, if you end up deciding that the Pass will save money.You ask about the Roissy bus, here are links to prior discussions here covering that: click hereclick here 2click here 3If you want more discussions, enter "Roissy bus" in the search box, upper right.It sounds as if you have Rick's book Paris 2008, if you don't you should probably get it, because in the book he explains in detail the 4 options you have for getting from CDG into Paris, see pages 439 - 441 of Paris 2008--the Roissy bus is only one of the choices you have, the other choices are: taxi, RER line B, and Air France buses. If you're carrying lots of baggage or are just plain tired after your flight, a taxi may be worth the extra cost.

Posted by
14770 posts

The Metro with luggage? ewwww. and in rush hour, impossible . . . IMHO. Maybe pop for a taxi from the bus stop to the hotel?

Aren't there short-term passes one can buy for the Metro/busses?

How long are you going to be in Paris? (whatever the answer, I'm jealous :-)

Posted by
12040 posts

"The Metro with luggage? ewwww. and in rush hour, impossible". Disagree here. Not ideal, but definitely feasible.

I echo the question, are you flying into Orly or CDG? Is there a reason why you want to take a bus versus a train into the city? If the reason is sight-seeing, I can tell you that there really isn't much to see until you enter the inner sections of the city. Quite frankly, the outskirts of Paris are rather ugly.

There's no reason to purchase a museum pass in advanced (I don't even know if advanced purchases are an option). In my opinion, the biggest value in the Museum Pass is not in money saved, but in time. If you visit any of the big museums, you can by-pass the main ticket queue and save anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours waiting time.

Posted by
25 posts

I second the PARIS 2008 book. I just got mine in Saturday for a November trip. It goes into much greater detail than the FRANCE book.


Posted by
1014 posts

We have done the bluevan from our hotel to the airport and it worked out well. If you are going r/t they give a discount.


Metro tickets can be bought at any metro station.

How many days are you staying and do you start on a Monday or Tues. Carte Orange weekly card, if you plan to use the metro an buses a lot, can be cheaper. If just staying 3 days, then buy carnet of 10 tickets. If you need more, then buy more.

Posted by
27 posts

We have taken rhe Roissy bus several times and found it a good way to get into the city. There are several pick-up places at CDG. It can be crowded. Tickets were purchased from the driver.
The bus drops off on the street by the Opera....if you were walking into the front door of the Opera, you would see the bus stop area on the street to your left. It looks like a normal city bus stop.
The Metro entrance is just in front of the Opera in a little area of sidewalk, if i recall. You have to go down the steps to see the train lines. It is pretty easy to get around. Enjoy.

Posted by
360 posts

I took the Roissy bus & metro to my hotel yr before last. I prefer it to the RER & will do it again next month. I bought the bus ticket from the driver. When I got to the Opera metro stop (which I had some trouble finding, so if you chose this route, follow Rick's directions carefully), I bought metro tickets. Since I stayed in the rue cler area, it was an easy metro ride. So, I think it depends on where you are staying - can you get a direct line to your hotel? Also, if this is your first trip to Paris & you're really tired, you might spring for a Taxi to the hotel & then at the hotel, arrange for a shuttle back to the airport. I've done that as well. Depends on how much you want to save money.

Posted by
1631 posts

Mike, use to plug in the address for the hotel and find out exactly where it is located. Then you can find out if it close to a metro stop and how far your walk will be from the stop to your hotel. Of course, using the metro requires carrying your luggage up and down stairs or escalators, lifting it in/out of the metro train, etc. So, packing one small piece of luggage each is key to being able to get around on the metro and walking to your hotel. As previous posters asked, where are you staying--we could help you even more. Have fun making lifetime memories!

Posted by
91 posts

We are landing at CDG. I have the Paris 2008 book and did not see the chapter about the airport. In the Rome 2008 the chapter is called airport, not so in the Paris book. The hotel is located by the Gare de l'Est
Metro. We will be getting off the plane with 2 carry ons and one check in bag. Which transportation do you think is best with 3 bags?

Posted by
8 posts

We just got back from Paris last night, and we used the Airport transfer service of Paris Shuttle ( 20 euros per pax (one way)for Shared Shuttle Transfer.

If you want to take the RER and Metro, this is what you can do:-
From CDG airport, take Blue RER line B (direction Robinson or Saint-Remy-Les-Chevreuse). Alight at the Gare du Nord. Transfer to either the Purple Metro Line 4 (direction Porte d’Orleans) or Orange Metro Line 5 (direction Place d’Italle) and alight after one (1) stop at the Gare de l’Est Station.

You will probably need to exit the RER system when transferring to the Metro, so retain your RER ticket for entry into the Metro.

Posted by
360 posts

The Roissy bus is still an option as you can get a line connecting to the Gare de l'Est at Opera. I remember the RER/metro as having lots of steps. There's no 'best' way into Paris. Only you can decide how well you'll manage with your baggage. If your checked bag is heavy & you're older, I'd consider taxi or shuttle. However, a shuttle for 2 may cost almost as much as a taxi & be much less convenient as it has to be booked ahead of time. Think about what matters most to you - saving money, convenience, coping with personal limitations, dealing with lack of sleep & jet lag, etc.

Posted by
2000 posts

When I arrive in Paris I always take a shared shuttle van to my hotel. Have done this several times now -- I use parisshuttle I believe -- one of the ones recommended in Rick's book. (I book it in advance in the US). Like shuttle vans in the states, the driver will make serveral stops throughout the airport to pick up passengers, and then of course once you hit the city he may drop off other people before you, so it can take a while to get to your hotel. But the vans are comfortable and you can just sit and enjoy a mini-tour of the city, and unwind. I find the drive in from CDG to be fascinating.

Or if you feel like springing for it, you could take a cab and get to your hotel sooner. I personally think for the first time in Paris, it's desireable not to be hassling with busses, transfers to RER or metro, particularly when tired and dragging luggage -- up ramps and stairs of which there may be many. Treat yourself and arrive in style -- just my personal opinion. Have fun whatever you do!

Posted by
91 posts

I think we will take the Roissy bus and when we get to our hotel we will buy the museum pass and Carte Navigo.

Posted by
36 posts

Mike, We're going to Paris in 10 days. We bought our Museum Pass in the States. Its worth the cost and in the time saved from waiting in lines. Also, if you're going to Versailles, its definately worth it as the enterance fee to Versaille Palace is like 25 Euro.

Also, from CDG, you can take the Air France Bus into Paris. There are 2 different bus stops at CDG stopping at different points in Paris. Google "Air France" and you'll find the website with fees. Taking luggage on the Metro is fine if you're don't mind the hassle of walking up and down stairs (not all Metros have elevator/escalators) and having to walk a lot if you're transferring from one station to another. Also, if you take the bus, you won't have to deal with buying Metro tickets when you arrive.

If you need Euros when you arrive at CDG, best to use a debit card from Bank of America. BofA debit cards can be used without fees on any BNP ATM machines. I'm told there are many in Paris, and HOPEFULLY there is at least one or two at the CDG airport. I got my debit credit very fast -- just go to the BofA website and apply on-line - very easy, and there are no fees for the checking account.

Have a great trip.

Posted by
16 posts

Mike, even if you have to speed deliver it, get the "Streetwise Paris" map. It's laminated, it shows metro stops, Taxi stands, and EVERY street inside the Boulevard Peripherique. We relied upon it COMPLETELY. It's about $9.00 on

If you are arriving CDG, take the RER train and get off at Gare du Nord, Les Halles or St. Michel and take a taxi. The two RER tickets will be about $25 and the taxi (depending on your hotel) will be about $10-15.

We just got back from Paris, so I know all of this is current. Have fun!

Posted by
8700 posts

If you take the RER B, get off at Gare du Nord and take a five-minute walk to Gare de l'Est. It will be faster than transferring to the Metro and waiting for the next train to go one stop to Gare de l'Est. Use the escalators at Gare du Nord to get to street level. The fare is €8.40.

Posted by
521 posts

We took a cab from the airport to our hotel. They are there and ready for you to hop in. It cost about 30 or 40 euro I think. The metro in Paris is just a breeze. Learn it right away and you will save yourself time and your body wear & tear.

The museum pass can be purchased at the museum. We used ours and was glad to get it. I think we got the 2 day pass and I completely forgot it covered Versailles and didn't have enough days. I should have gotten the higher one. Versailles had a long line we could have avoided.

Posted by
51 posts

If you're concerned about money, the metro is the way to go! It is so fast and efficient! Two people and 3 bags, I don't think it will be a problem. Everytime I've flown in and out of Paris I've used the metro and some of those visits I had a TON of luggage with me as I was moving to and from the country. Yes, there can be a lot of steps, but if you don't have much luggage it won't be a problem. People were always very nice and helped me when I had a lot of bags with me.

I also second what Roseanne said about the Streetwise Paris map. GET ONE! It's easy to read, and doesnt unfold as huge as other maps, so its a little less obvious. I used it all the time, it has even the the little tiny streets and metro stops on it.

You can buy metro tickets at any metro stop. There are different passes that might be a good deal depending on how long you're there. If you're not there that long, I recommend buying "Un Carnet" (ohn kar-nay), which is 10 tickets at a discounted price.

Bon Voyage!

Posted by
14770 posts

The museum pass has hidden advantages. You won't stand for 15 minutes in front of a museum deciding if it's worth the entry fee. . . and if it wasn't, you didn't pay extra. And, you won't feel you're wasting money if you only see part of a museum.

Posted by
273 posts

My husband & I used BluVan, it was great! Buy the museum pass, it is worth every penny to not stand in line.

Posted by
17 posts

Hi Mike~Skip the Metro!
Our first stop in Paris last year was CDG, and after customs and picking up Euro's, we make the mistake of finding our hotel via the train/metro. Avoid at ALL costs-- the pickpockets are waiting at Gare du Nord to ruin your vacation. Take a bus or taxi, stay above ground for your first view of the city--you will appreciate being 'grounded' for the rest of your visit. Even seasoned travelers can be targets. Otherwise, enjoy all the museums and sights, but early in your trip plan a half day (and go hungry) in the Rue Cler... fantastic! Enjoy!

Posted by
206 posts

Buy your museum pass there. Instead of starting at the Louvre or Osay, go to one of the smaller museums to purchase your pass. No waiting that way, or anytime after that.

Posted by
14770 posts

Metro vs. bus

If you have a choice, take the bus. Though it may not be as fast, you will enjoy the scenery.

Posted by
1804 posts

Mike: Regarding Jerri from California's comment that pickpockets are all lurking at Gare du Nord just waiting to ruin your vacation. Totally not true...I stayed for a number of weeks in that very neighborhood and was in and out of Gare du Nord several times a day at all hours of the day and night.

This is obviously a comment from someone who probably has very limited experience taking subways and public transportation.

Is it more comfortable to take a taxi when first arriving from the airport? Absolutely if you are carrying lots of heavy luggage. I took the RER from CDG and found it was easy and fast to get to central Paris, but I only had one bag to carry.

Are there pickpockets in Paris? I'm sure they exist, but not just on subways and in train stations. Victims are those who don't take precautions to secure their valuables and keep track of them when out in public. There is zero reason to avoid public transportation if you take the necessary steps to keep your items safe.

Posted by
19 posts

just returned from France. We took the Air France bus from CDG to the Arc de Triumph for 14 eur each one way (buy ticket from the bus driver). Took the RER train from stop at Pont D'iena back to the airport for about half the price; it was a direct route. Both are very easy; ask for directions to the bus from the information desks in the airport.

Posted by
91 posts

Thanks for all the great advice. We can not wait to go.