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Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport: transportation; trains, buses to Paris; baggage, restaurants, tickets.

Updated on January 28, 2011

Coming into Charles de Gaulle Airport into Terminal Two. In French but Bus means Bus and Sortie means Exit.

Aerial view of CDG, largest airport in Europe

An aerial view of Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG/LFPG) as seen from a British Airways Airbus A320-200 heading to London Heathrow (LHR/EGLL) from Athens Eleftherios Venizelos (ATH/LGAV) in July 2006.
An aerial view of Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG/LFPG) as seen from a British Airways Airbus A320-200 heading to London Heathrow (LHR/EGLL) from Athens Eleftherios Venizelos (ATH/LGAV) in July 2006. | Source

Schematic drawing of Terminals and connections at Charles de Gaulle Airport

Terminals and connections at Charles de Gaulle Airport
Terminals and connections at Charles de Gaulle Airport | Source

If you are flying into France from the U.S. you will most likely land in Charles de Gaulle Airport. And what an exciting adventure the airport is by itself. Yes, it's huge, the largest in Europe, but you'll only see a small part of it, since it's broken up into xxx terminals.

Depending on the time of year and time of day you visit Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG is the airport code), it will be quiet or bustling. A good guess is that it will at least be very busy. And very secure: it is well guarded by professionals in uniform and in plain clothes.

One of the most interesting things about CDG is the mix of people. For an American used to diversity, it's not new to see people who look different from each other on the outside. On the other hand, CDG is a huge meeting point for people not only from western and eastern Europe (as well as the U.K.), but also
Africa, Asia, Australasia, South America--why don't I just say from all the world.

Part of the reason for the great mix of people is that some of France's former colonies such as Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana have become Departments (like American counties or states) and so their inhabitants are French citizens, vote in French elections, have business and family interests in France and travel there with ease and often. Former colonies, such as Vietnam, Senegal, Mali and the Cote d'Ivoire do a great deal of business with France and there are many ties to families who migrated to France and continue to live there.

:Like any other great airport, Charles de Gaulle is full of shops and restaurants. From small mobile food stands, tiny last-minute souvenir shops, and bookstores to, of course, the stores offering the highest fashion in clothing and jewelry (Cartiers, for example) and restaurants offering superb repasts.

But, of course, you want to know how to navigate this giant airport, how to find your correct terminal, how to deal with security, how to use the buses and trains within the airport, how to use buses, trains and taxis to get to Paris and back. And how much they cost. Hopefully, many of the links displayed in this page will help you figure this out. I'll let you in on one secret: the second time is always better. If you have a less than good experience in CDG on your first trip, don't let that daunt you from coming back. I assure you, even a little bit of familiarity of 'Oh, I've seen that before. I know where the washroom is, I know where to get the shuttle bus, I know where to buy perfume and a sandwich,' will bring smiles to your face the second. And hopefully the third, fourth and fifth times.

One note about the famous French 'attitude.' And this is just my humble perception and opinion. Frankly, when I'm in France, I think of myself as being in a kind of New York. New Yorkers (and Parisians) are not terminally rude, their metronome beats a lot faster than it does in Duluth or San Diego. Parisians have a thousand and one things to do in the next hour (especially if it's a rush hour), they're multitasking and, since they are very, very responsible to their team, they can be a bit brusque if they believe a demand is not serious or urgent. If you're ever in CDG at a relatively slow moment, you'll find agents, security, even French passengers are more than courteous. I've had people put their own baggage in the care of their spouse so they could show me exactly where to get my shuttle bus. But I do suggest thinking twice before asking a busy agent a non-essential question.

It's not wise, even foolish, to try to generalize about a nation of sixty-three million people, but I'll take the leap, anyway. The other thing, which I've mentioned in other of my Hubpages, is that it is not the habit in French culture to smile at strangers. It's not a negative, it just isn't part of their repertoire of behavior. They sometimes wonder why an American is smiling at them. And most of them (if they haven't had much to do with Americans) are somewhat embarrassed if you focus your eyes on them or approach them out of the blue (I just received a funny story about such an occurrence from an American friend of mine in Paris.). Just because French people look similar to Americans and often dress similarly doesn't mean that their culture is really less foreign than say Romanian or Russian. Vive le difference. I mean that's why we go there (unless we just go to look at paintings, buildings, and statues).

I hope you find useful information in the maps and videos I am posting here. If there are any mistakes, outdated information, or unanswered questions, please feel free to contact me.

Charles de Gaulle Airport in Roissy (Paris suburb), France


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