Paris on a long layover?
May 12, 2010 10:31 AM   Subscribe

Paris on a long layover?

My husband and I are going to Spain to visit my grandparents mid-June and one of our flights gives us an 8 hour layover in Paris. We'd like to bust out of the airport, see some of the sights (quickly), and eat lunch.

We're in our mid-20s. This is his first time overseas; I lived in Britain as a child and visited Britain and Germany at 13. I speak french.

We will have one carry on (small wheeled suitcase) and 1-2 backpacks.

How much time should we leave for getting back to the airport before our flight? 2-3 hours?

We'd like to see the Eiffel Tower. What can we and should we see in the remaining time?

What transportation would be best? A cab? Bus?
posted by bookdragoness to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I assume you're going through Charles De Gaulle airport, which has an easy connection via the RER B line to the Paris Métro system. Extremely detailed directions for the system are here: You might want to get a Paris Visite pass which will cover your trip to and from the airport as well as all metro/bus travel within Paris. One day pass costs 18.50 euros.
posted by tractorfeed at 10:59 AM on May 12, 2010

Which airport? Orly or Charles de Gaulle? They're on opposite sides of the city, and both connect to RER line B. Orly also connect to RER C which has a stop for the Eiffel Tower. The B will require a transfer.
posted by mkb at 11:03 AM on May 12, 2010

Response by poster: Charles de Gaulle, thanks!
posted by bookdragoness at 11:20 AM on May 12, 2010

Best answer: One thing to note if you decide not to get the Paris Visite pass - you'll need to buy an RER ticket for going back to the airport rather than a normal metro one, as otherwise you won't be able to get through the barriers. You'd therefore have to buy a new ticket in order to walk approximately 1 foot.
posted by djgh at 11:28 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also, Gare du Nord (on Ligne B) has left luggage lockers (look for the sign saying "Consignés").
posted by djgh at 11:31 AM on May 12, 2010

Best answer: I have managed to get from De Gaulle to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower and back in an 8 hour layover.

See if you can get your luggage checked through to your second flight- that way you don't have to worry about it. Just remember to keep your valuables, passport and boarding pass on you.

You should be able to get in and back on the train system that was linked to above.

If you enjoy seeing a city by foot, I recommend taking the metro to Notre Dame (visit and walk around) then walk to the Eiffel Tower along the Seine. That way you can see two major landmarks, and view little bits of the city in between including shops and street vendors. Plus you can stop for lunch at one of the million cafes you see. If you get tired of walking, get a taxi and it wont cost that much to get you to the tower.
posted by nbaseman at 1:10 PM on May 12, 2010

Response by poster: I really appreciate all the responses. Our layover has changed slightly so now it's 13 hours, approximately 7 to 7. So, we can do even more! Baguettes for breakfast!

I've seen conflicting time estimates for going through security at CDG. Does anyone have a recent experience?
posted by bookdragoness at 2:20 PM on May 12, 2010

Response by poster: That 7-to-7 is am to pm.
posted by bookdragoness at 2:25 PM on May 12, 2010

Best answer: Don't mess around with buses or taxis, the Metro is fast and quick and there are stops near all major tourist attractions. You don't mention what your interests are other than baguettes and the Effiel Tower. Let me suggest a little Pain du chocolat for breakfast and check out one of the fantastic museums or churches that the city has to offer. In particular, the Musee d'Orsay is a.) in a neat remodeled train station b.) filled with lots of Impressionistic masterpieces c.) Not so huge that it feels overwhelming on a short visit.
posted by mmascolino at 2:48 PM on May 12, 2010

Best answer: Croissants for breakfast croissants for breakfast.

Baguettes for lunch.
posted by leafwoman at 4:11 PM on May 12, 2010

Best answer: I went through CdG security last weeked. It took about 10 minutes, there was almost no line (this was at 8:30pm on a saturday night, it may be different other times). They don't ask you to remove your shoes, and they didn't search my bag, just screened it.

Check in at CdG seems to be all self-check in with bag drop, but the self-check-in can't deal with onward connections, so that took a little longer than I expected.

Have a lovely time!
posted by girlgenius at 4:15 PM on May 12, 2010

+1 on Musee d'Orsay...LOVED it, and definitely do-able/not overwhelming for a quick trip.
posted by angab at 6:44 PM on May 12, 2010

nth the Musée d'Orsay. It's under renovation right now, so some works are on the road (like Whistler's Mother,) but it's still an incredible collection of impressionism. I was there in March -- I'm not a painting guy, but I was blown away. Just across the bridge is the Musée de l'Orangerie where there are two incredible oval rooms of Monet's water lilies.

You can hit both of those in about three hours, maybe a bit less depending on how much time you want to spend at d'Orsay.

Protip: buy your tickets online in advance for the d'Orsay. That way you can skip the massive line outside; the couple bucks extra that you spend will save you an hour easy.

Have fun!
posted by herrtodd at 12:06 AM on May 13, 2010

If you do go to the Orsay and also want to go to the Orangerie you can get a combo ticket -- called Musée d'Orsay /Musée de l'Orangerie Passport (scroll down) -- which gives you admission to both. The Monet lilies have never been favorites of mine but the installation in these luminous oval rooms is quite striking. And downstairs in the Orangerie there is usually a good temporary exhibit plus a rather good permanent collection of cubist and impressionist art. And then you're in the Tuileries, which is a great place to walk around if the weather is nice.
posted by tractorfeed at 7:17 AM on May 16, 2010

Response by poster: About our interests: we don't have very many specific things we'd like to do, other than play the tourist for a couple of hours. We'd like to do or see just about anything; we just want to make the most of our time.

To clear up a little about the baggage - it sounds like the best thing to do with our carryon will be to stash it in the RER Gare du Nord luggage lockers and come back for it. I'll post after our trip with how it went!

Thanks again, everyone.
posted by bookdragoness at 11:57 PM on May 16, 2010

Response by poster: Also, as it's a layover, we won't have to re-check-in.
posted by bookdragoness at 12:00 AM on May 17, 2010

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