Air France Coaches from CDG to Paris:
On a recent trip to Paris with a few of my girlfriends, we flew into Charles De Gaulle Airport (airport code CDG). The rental apartment we had for the week was in the St. Germain area of Paris so we had to decide on the type of transportation that would get us from CDG to Paris. A rental car is not necessary in the city center, so that idea was out. The other viable options are a taxi or shuttle buses. Air France offers transfers between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Orly-Ouest airports, as well as between Paris and the two airports. There 4 regular routes, 5 stops in Paris, 217 round trips per day, and it runs everyday. The Air France coach bus stops at Gate 34 at the Arrivals level in Terminal 1. Terminal 2 B/D, go to Gate B1. Terminal 2 A/C, go to Gate C2. The bus picks up new passengers every 15-30 minutes.
Bus Service from CDG Airport to Paris City Centre:
Taking the Air France coach from CDG to Gare Montparnasse on Rue du Commandant Mouchette, in the 6th arrondissment on the left bank is an easy and inexpensive way to get to Paris. Depending on your arrival terminal, there are convenient dedicated stops to catch the AF coach. You can purchase your tickets from the AF coach ticket office or directly from the driver. We caught our coach down at the luggage level, our bus was only a few feet from our baggage carousel. Our one-way fare from CDG to Gare Montparnasse was 16.50 euros per person (27 euros roundtrip, 8 euros for children 2-11 and free for children under 2). They also offer groups (4+) a 15% discount. The AF coach serves 4 routes from CDG and Orly Airports. The coaches run every 30 minutes from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm everyday. The luggage handler took our oversized luggage and stowed them in the luggage compartment, be sure to tell them your stop, so they put them in the right place. We bought our ticket from the driver, try to have the correct amount in hand, so you don't hold up the line, but they do give change. I stopped at an ATM at the airport, and bought a pack of gum so that I would have some change. Once on the coach you can take any seat available. The oversized coach seats were clean and roomy. There was ample space for our tote bags in the feet area. As in most coaches, there are 2 seats on either side of the aisle and a long row of seats at the back, our coach was practically full (50+ passangers). Once, settled, we were on our way to Paris and at 2:30 pm the freeway was crowded but moving. The coach made it's way in and out of streets, and round-abouts, until we reached the coach's first stop at Gare de Lyon on Boulevard Diderot on the right bank, it took about 35-40 minutes. We continued on our route through congested streets until we reached Gare Montparnasse on the left bank in about another 25-30 minutes. As we decended the steps from the coach, the porter was removing our luggage and we just pointed to our luggage and he lifted them onto the sidewalk, we were on our way. Depending on where you are going, the Montparnasse metro station is down the street and around the corner are Montparnasse Tower on Montparnasse Blvd servicing lines M4, M6, M12 and M13, as well as Gare Montparnasse (train station). From this coach's stop, anywhere on the left bank is accessible.
Air France Bus Service Routes:
If you are like me and want to research things before taking off on a trip to a place like Paris, you can check out the Air France bus service routes online at http://www.airfrance.us/US/en/common/guidevoyageur/aeroport/car_airfrance.htm
. The website, although a bit tough to navigate, has maps with locations listed of where the coaches stop and pick up passengers. You can get schedules, fares, and check out the group discounts they offer. Whether you are flying into CDG or ORLY airports, the Air France coach service is probably the easiest way to go. The French women who we rented our vacation apartment from in Paris told us to use the AF coaches and she has never had a complaint from anyone in over 10 years of recommending their services. We can say the service was excellent and well worth it.
AF Coach Service vs Taxi or Shuttle Service:
Our time constraints were minimal as we arrived into Paris on a Monday afternoon and were in no immediate rush. However, on our way back home, we wanted to make sure we got to the airport on time as we had a very early morning flight out of CDG. As we mentioned above, some of the AF coaches can get stuck in commuter traffic, so on our return trip to the airport we choose a shuttle service that another friend had used and it worked out just fine. CDG to central Paris is roughly 17 miles so the trip can take upwards of an hour at rush hour times. Limousines are available for about $100 to $200 Euros (one way). A taxi ride from central Paris the Charles De Gaulle airport will run at least $50 Euros - depending on traffic conditions. The ride itself can take 40 minutes to 2 hours. Many taxis in Paris are not set up for credit card payments. We weren't sure how much money it would be, so we decided on a shuttle service (see the review on our website). Private shuttle vans and airport shuttles are convenient and offered for a set price. You can charge the service on a credit card in advance if you wish. Unlike the Air France shuttle which doesn't go "door to door", the private shuttles will pick you up at your hotel or apartment. They are a bit more expensive than the Roissybus and Air France shuttles, but most people agree they are worth it when you want to make the most of your time. We were lucky that we escaped the city in early October, 2010, right before the nationwide strikes against the pension reform plan started wreaking havoc on all forms of transportation.