best transportation from Paris CDG airport to Latin Quarter

My husband, 2 children (12, 14 yrs) and I will be arriving at CDG on a Sunday AM, about 10:00. What transportation would you suggest? We will be staying very close to the Place Monge metro station. We could take the RER and then transfer to 7 metro, but I have heard that transferring at Chatelet les Halles may be more than we want to deal with after an all night flight. Other options would be the Roissy bus + 7 metro to Place Monge, or RER to St Michel-Notre Dame and taking a taxi the remainder of the way. Any thoughts or opinions would be appreciated.

Also, we leave Paris from CDG at 10:30 on a Saturday AM - what's the best way to get back?

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8640 posts

Yes, the Chatelet-Les Halles RER station combined with the Chatelet metro station can be a maze--and therefore a bit of a challenge for first-time visitors until they become familiar with the system. However, if you're packing light, I still recommend that you give it a try. Follow the correspondances ("connections") signs to maneuver through the tunnels between the stations. Take metro line 7 (direction: Mairie d'Ivry) to Place Monge.

Do the route in reverse to get back to CDG. Allow an hour for the trip.

My second choice would be the Roissybus to Opera and metro line 7 from there. By the time you're ready to return to CDG, you'll be pros at using the metro and RER so that's the route I would suggest to get to the airport rather than metro plus Roissybus.

Posted by Ann
Indianapolis
4 posts

Thanks! We'll do that. Another question - I know the RER ticket will allow us to transfer to the metro. Returning to the airport, will it be obvious which ticket to buy to connect from the metro to the RER? Can I buy both tickets when we arrive in Paris, or are they specific to the date? (We're not going to the bother with the parisvisite - it doesn't seem worth the $)

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8640 posts

You can buy both tickets when you arrive. They are not date specific. The fare in either direction is €8.60. Because the fare to CDG is more than to other places in zone 5, be sure to specify Paris-CDG for your return ticket. Be aware that the RER B line divides northeast of Paris. Be sure to get on a train that is going to CDG.

Posted by Charles
Tumwater, WA, United States
118 posts

You'll be tired when you reach CDG but the RER is easy and on Sunday morning, Chatelet les Halles shouldn't be too crowded yet. One thing you may try is have your two sons do the research to find the way through the RER station to your Metro stop. before leaving home and they can be your guides. I kind of like that station because it's large, busy and a good feeling when you figure the way through. The ticket counters can help if you have a problem. If you are going to be in Paris for a while and be using the Metro, buy a couple of Carnets of tickets when you buy the RER ticket. It's a book of ten tickets and you save a little money that way. One of the family can be in charge of tickets handing them out each time you use the Metro and that way you don't have to deal with the ticket booth each time you travel. Have a great trip.

Posted by Richard
Lafayette, LA, USA
147 posts

How bad is taxi to the airport? I am actually staying in the Latin Quarter and am looking at a flight at about 8:30 am and a flight at about 8:30 pm to leave Paris on? How horrible will the traffic be and how long before the flight will one need to leave?

Posted by Marie
San Diego, CA, United States
857 posts

We always stay in the Latin Quarter at a hotel that my son found years ago. I've gotten there every way there is and if I'm traveling with one or two other people we just cab it both ways avoiding rush hour like the plague (where you are much better off timewise RER/metroing it). Make sure you get a cab from the official stand. If you still opt for the RER to St.Michel-Notre Dame figure out how far your hotel is. We just walk to it. www.streetwisemaps.com has a great laminated foldup map of Paris. It'll really help you plot out routes, where metro stops are etc. PM if you want more info. What fun the four of you will have. It's a terrific age to be taking your children to Europe. My youngest discovered that snails can indeed be extraorinarily yummy. Who knew!

Posted by Ann
Indianapolis
4 posts

Thanks, Charles and Tim, for the expert advice. We were planning on getting the carnet of tickets - I prefer not to try to get our money's worth out of the mobilis. We see so much more of the city when we walk, assuming the weather cooperates. I really like the idea of putting one of the kids in charge of the tickets, so I don't need to be fumbling for them. Glad to hear the Chatelet-Le Halles is ok. I had heard mixed things, and didn't want my kids' first view of Paris to be negative. Tim - I hope the flooding isn't near Minot. (My ND geography is not good.)

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8640 posts

Richard,

Arriving at 08:30 and allowing up to an hour to retrieve your luggage and go through immigration/passport control means that the worst of the rush hour traffic heading into Paris should be over by the time you jump in a taxi. If you are flying home from CDG, you should plan to be at the airport three hours before your flight is scheduled to depart. Allow one hour to get from Paris to the airport.

Since the meter will be running, your taxi ride to Paris will probably be around 50-60 euro. The return should be around 40-50 euro (much less traffic).

Posted by Ann
Indianapolis
4 posts

Thanks, Marie. I think we're going to take the RER, with the back up plan of a taxi if we are all too tired from traveling. We took our 3 older kids to Rome 8 years ago and it was a great experience - hopefully these 2 will enjoy Paris as much. They are excited about the food, and fortunately are adventurous eaters.

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8640 posts

Ann,

Minot is in northwestern North Dakota. There is some flooding in that part of the state; but thanks to a dam and dike system on the Souris River, Minot itself is not in danger. 100 miles to the south, Bismarck and Mandan have had some flooding because of ice jams on the Missouri River. Southwestern ND is harder hit. The Red River (along the Minnesota state line)--which floods nearly every year--is in serious trouble and the crest height will set a new all-time record this year.

I'm with you on walking as much as possible. It's a great way to see Paris! However, if you plan to take several metro or bus rides on Sunday after you have settled in, it might be cheaper for your children to each have a Ticket Jeunes rather than sharing carnet tickets with you and your husband. A zone 1-3 Ticket Jeunes costs €3.20. It's a one-day pass for people under 26 and is good either Saturday or Sunday.

Posted by Richard
Lafayette, LA, USA
147 posts

Tim,

The evening flight we are considering leaves Paris at specifically 9:10 pm. Are you suggesting that I need to leave the hotel (in the Latin Quarter) four hours before the flight and that I need to be at DeGaulle three hours before the flight?

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8640 posts

Richard,

If you will be flying home from CDG on a direct trans-Atlantic flight, then it is wise to be at the airport three hours ahead of your scheduled departure time. Yes, that means leaving Paris four hours ahead of your flight time.

If you'll be flying to somewhere else in Europe, then be at CDG 90 minutes ahead of your flight time.

Posted by Richard
Lafayette, LA, USA
147 posts

Tim, again thanks for taking the time to respond. I will be flying inside Europe.