IMG_1096Transportation from Charles de Gaulle Airport

Taxi’s are plentiful from the airport outside each baggage claim area. Depending upon traffic and where your destination in Paris is, a taxi can cost you anywhere from €40-80. When returning from Paris to the airport, make sure you reserve a taxi ahead of time – ask your hotel front desk the night before to place the order. Many times there are small “shuttle vans” that can take you for a fraction of the price of a private taxi and get you there in the same amount of time.

The European train system is very tourist oriented with kiosks where you purchase tickets with directions in English. Not only is the train a much cheaper alternative, it’s fun to ride along gawking at the local graffiti artists latest creations while giving you your first opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture listening to your fellow passengers speak their native tongue. No language skills? No problem, the Métro is color coded, making it very user-friendly. I recommend you purchase a “Carnet” or group of 10 individual tickets which cost €12+. This will give you 10 “legs” on the Métro lasting you a few days or the whole week. You can share a Carnet between travellers if you are only there for a few days. These tickets are also accepted on any bus which is another great way to see the city inexpensively.

IMG_0054There are a couple words of caution applicable here – be sure to pack only the essentials for your trip to keep your bag light and if possible use a narrow expandable suitcase (so on the way home you have room for all your fabulous finds!) This strategy will help you negotiate the turnstiles and several sets of escalators that are unavoidable with train travel into the city. Again, packing lightly will save you big time in event that the escalators are not working or if your Métro stop is under construction forcing you to get off at an alternative station. Another thing to consider is where you keep your purse with your identification. Make sure when you are fumbling with luggage that your handbag is zipped, on your person, and in front of you at all times. Pick pockets take advantage of distracted, tired, foreigners as they make easy marks. Don’t take the trains alone late at night and if you are ever feeling “creeped out” by anyone, make sure that you pay attention to your instincts…Paris is very safe, but no where in the world is free from predators so practice good personal safety at all times.

Truthfully, we gal pals usually take a taxi on the way back to CDG because our flights are typically early in the morning when we are way too tired and loaded down with heavy suitcases. When the party is over, it’s over. Know what I mean?

Taking the RER from CDG to my favorite area of Saint Germain:

Head out of baggage claim follow signs pointing you to RER Line B located in Terminal 2 of the airport. From Line B take any train headed towards Paris – take an express train if possible (the times of the next departing trains are located at the tracks and all the trains on that platform will tell you if they are express trains or local) since those will involve less local stops.

For travel to the Saint Germain area determine ahead of time which Métro stop is closest to your hotel. For the Hotel Left Bank, for instance, I switch from the Line B RER at Gare du Nord to Line 4 of the Métro heading south towards Porte d’Orléans and get off at the Odéon stop.

Click on the link below to see an excellent Paris Métro map:

Our SnapCar driver William poses with the gal pals.

Our SnapCar driver William poses with the gal pals.

Transportation while in Paris:

Of course the Métro is fast, easy and efficient, but buses can as easy and have the added benefit of showing you the city above ground. The carnet’s can be used on buses as well. Once on the bus, you need to press the signal button (red) when approaching the stop where you want to jump off.

Taxis are plentiful during off peak hours and seasons, but can be a challenge during the other times. Hailing a cab is the same as most cities where you flag one down. When a taxi is full of passengers already an orange light appears lit on top of the car. There is a minimum €6+ charge for all rides and an up-charge of an extra €3 for a fourth passenger. Many cabs will tell you they won’t accept a fourth passenger. It can be hit or miss. If you call a company to dispatch a taxi you will be charged on the meter from where the cab is to get to where you are which can be quite pricey.

SnapCar Paris sponsored my January, 2013 trip so I was able to evaluate this private car service. Using their simple click to order app to order a ride via their was super easy. Luxury cars pick you up, playing your favorite genre of music, include bottled water and provide you with electronic receipts afterward. No more waiting outside in the cold or rain because you can order the taxi with your phone and when the car arrives a “beep, beep” will sound on your phone announcing the arrival. Safety is a plus for women as a photo and name of your driver is sent to you prior to the pick-up. While each trip has a minimum trip cost of €15, it can be cost effective for parties of three or four to share the ride. For complete details of my review of this service, please click on the link: SnapCar Paris.