Disembarking at CDG and getting to Austerlitz in 2 hours?
May 12, 2006 1:16 PM   Subscribe

Can I make a 10:08 AM train from Paris' Gare d'Austerlitz if my flight's arrival time to CDG is 7:45 AM?

This is on Saturday, May 20. I've done the CDG-Austerlitz connection before, but I forget how long it takes. Our flight arrives at 7:45 AM (scheduled) to CDG Terminal 1, and then we're planning to take a cab to Austerlitz to catch a 10:08 train south. I'm thinking it's possible, but risky. What do you think, Parisians and travellers?

I figure an hour to deal with disembarking, luggage, and customs, then 45 minutes cab ride to Austerlitz, leaving 30 minutes of spare time. Does this sound right?

I know a lot of the factors are variable depending on weather and what's going on on that day, but any advice you can give is welcome. The next train isn't until 16:47, so we'd rather not wait unless we have to.
posted by The Michael The to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total)
As a rough estimate I think you'd be able to make it on the RER if your flight is not seriously delayed (where are you coming from tho, US? I've never done CDG from outside the EU). With a cab, no idea, seriously dependent on traffic (I've only driven CDG-Paris on weekdays myself, but it was a nightmare!). I'd highly recommend RER/metro. Why take such a risk?
posted by ClarissaWAM at 1:30 PM on May 12, 2006

Coming from Philadelphia, where plains are notoriously late departing.
posted by The Michael The at 1:38 PM on May 12, 2006

Tough call... The last time I flew into CDG it took me a little over 90 minutes to get out of the airport, almost all of it waiting for luggage. I definitely agree with ClarissaWAM that RER is probably a more secure bet (or at least a known quantity.) Of course, riding RER and Metro with a lot of luggage can be a pretty stressful experience.
posted by j-dawg at 1:45 PM on May 12, 2006

According to Mapquest, Roissy CDG to Austerlitz takes 26 minutes (for 30km). Definitely doable in 45 minutes, as long as traffic is not too heavy (shouldn't be on a Saturday morning, but there's not guarantee). Have a good trip!
posted by bluefrog at 1:46 PM on May 12, 2006

I've also checked the RER option. It takes roughly 1 hour. Considering connections and luggage (and if money is not an issue), I'd chance it with a taxi.
posted by bluefrog at 1:48 PM on May 12, 2006

Yeah, the RATP site says 52mins CDG-Austerlitz.

Saturday mornings should be ok... but I never trust traffic anywhere.

True though, metro connections are a nightmare with luggage.

I'm going to be arriving in Paris that same morning btw! Just as an aside...
posted by ClarissaWAM at 1:56 PM on May 12, 2006

Not a Parisian, but as a traveler I'd expect that at 9:00 a.m.-ish on a Saturday, vehicle traffic should be on the light side as long as there's nothing extraordinary like a holiday or truckers' strike. Every city I've ever lived in has been like that. Should work to your advantage; I'd bet on you making your train.
posted by donpedro at 1:58 PM on May 12, 2006

Honestly I'd wait. Is it a train you can buy tickets for at the station? Most seemed to be like that; I don't remember a single train I ever saw in any of the Paris train stations being full, either (gare de lyon, gare du nord, et gare d'austerlitz).

Getting to the RER from CDG took me about half an hour, but I didn't have to wait for luggage and there was no line for customs/immigration (funny story - i actually went through both customs and immigration before i realized that i should have had my checked luggage with me. they barely noticed that i walked back through, the wrong way, to get it). Transferring in Paris was a bitch, though. The Les Halles station is confusing as hell the first couple times you go through; i don't know if you'd be transferring there or not, though.
posted by devilsbrigade at 3:49 PM on May 12, 2006

No, you change at St-Michel Notre-Dame RER for Gare D'Austerlitz, which is less of a rabbit warren.

I'd lean towards the RER if you get past customs & immigration in CDG before 8.30am, and taxi otherwise. (You often pick up time on eastbound flights as long as you leave when scheduled.)
posted by holgate at 4:14 PM on May 12, 2006

As someone who has been going to Paris now for some 27 years, I can say the answer is: Very Doubtful.

All stars would have to be aligned to make a connection like that. Don't forget there is immigration into CDG to contend with before you can even think of getting on a train.
posted by Nicholas West at 5:06 PM on May 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

Honestly I'd wait. Is it a train you can buy tickets for at the station? Most seemed to be like that; I don't remember a single train I ever saw in any of the Paris train stations being full, either (gare de lyon, gare du nord, et gare d'austerlitz).

Do not wait! I've taken the train from Paris 4 times in the last five months, every time I've booked ahead (usually about a week or two), every time my first choice train has been full.
posted by Packy_1962 at 5:29 PM on May 12, 2006

Although, I guess this issue is dependant on where you're traveling to.
posted by Packy_1962 at 5:47 PM on May 12, 2006

Possible, but risky. It'd be a total gamble on everything going swimmingly, and these days that's a hell of a gamble, I think. You'd need your plane to arrive no later than on time and you'd need to breeze through the airport formalities, and you'd need the roads to be good.

Personally, I wouldn't risk it. You're asking for stress if you do.
posted by Decani at 7:05 AM on May 13, 2006

I've found that, barring massive delays or weather in Paris, the pilot tends to make up the time on transatlantic flights. So even if you leave late, you'll probably get there on time. Getting through immigration and picking up your bags is where you'll be delayed. I think you'll be ok, though, in a cab. Your estimates sound good to me. Do you have euros already or will you have to get some at the airport?
posted by chelseagirl at 8:49 AM on May 13, 2006

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