RER B Station and Train in CDG's Terminal 2. Taken by Wikipedia Author trblnyx.
By Christian Eilers
Paris is one of the greatest and most influential cities in the world, and so the options are plentiful when you need to get to the city proper from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport. The best option to get from the airport to Paris, balancing both time and money, is to take the RER B train, specifically the RER B3.
Where to Catch the RER B at CDG
Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport can be quite confusing. Terminal 3 is located between Terminals 1 and 2, and Terminal 2 itself feels like 3 full terminals. There are two RER B train stations at the airport, Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 1 and Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 2 – TGV, but don’t assume that the numbers stand for the terminals they are in; though Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 2 station is located in Terminal 2, Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 1 station is located at Terminal 3. To make matters worse, The train’s terminus is at Terminal 2, and the first stop is Terminal 3.
From Terminal 1: Since the RER B does not service this terminal directly, you must take the shuttle service called CDGVAL (Charles de Gaulle Véhicule Automatique Léger) from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3.
From Terminal 2: Terminal 2 is quite large, but there are numerous signs that read “Paris par Train/Paris by Train” all throughout the terminal. The RER B station in Terminal 2 is located between Terminals 2E/F and 2C/D. Because Terminal 2 is so big, you can also catch the Aeroports de Paris N1 bus from 2A/B to the station.
From Terminal 3: This terminal (Roissypole) is fairly small and easy to navigate, and a pedestrian walkway connects the terminal with the RER B station.
Tickets from CDG to Paris can be pricey if buying them one at a time. The cost, as of July 2011, is 9.10€ for an adult (over 9 yrs.), 6.40€ for children 4 – 9, and free for children under 4. Roundtrip costs would be almost 20 euros per adult.
The Paris Visite Pass is the best option, available in 1-day, 2-day, 3-day, or 5-day increments. For 20.50€ per adult for the 1-day period, this pass allows you to travel on:
- metro lines
- RER lines (RATP and SNCF)
- Ile-de-France bus lines (RATP and OPTILE), except those circulating on Jetbus, Allobus Roissy CDG, tourist excursion and Air France networks
- the Orlyval line (linking Orly Airport to the RER B)
- the Montmartre funicular
For longer stays (over a week), the Passe Navigo (Découverte) may be the item to purchase. This card is 33.40€ per week for all 5 Paris zones, including both airports. Month-long Navigo passes can be purchased for 109.90€. - Prices valid as of July 2011. However, the time restrictions of the Navigo Pass can be a bit off-putting; pass validity starts each Monday morning, at first service (usually around 05:30) and ends the following Sunday at last service (usually around 01:40). To obtain the card, there is a 5€ fee on top of the weekly or monthly price, because these cards are more permanent in nature, as opposed to the disposable paper versions of the others. Also, you may need to get a picture taken, which may cost another 5€; there are many photo booths near the ticket kiosks, conveniently. Many ticket sellers try to avoid selling the Navigo Pass to tourists, urging them to get the Paris Visite Pass instead; sometimes they tell inquiring travelers that the Navigo Pass is only for residents, which is not true, though they probably do it because the other pass gives them a higher commission.
Where to Buy Tickets
Tickets for the RER B can be purchased at any of the blue Billetterie Ile-de-France ticket machines (don’t use the yellow machines, they don’t serve the RER B). Since most non-European debit/credit cards do not have the smart-chip inside, the machine may decline the transaction; however, there are ticket booths near both RER B stations at CDG with agents ready to help. These ticket kiosks will allow you to use a credit/debit card without a smart-chip.
To buy the Paris Visite Pass or the Passe Navigo, there are several ticket kiosks with agents standing by to help. These passes require a person to carry the magnetic card/ticket issued as well as the receipt with the issued person’s name. These tickets are not transferable, and you may get in trouble if you cannot produce the accompanying receipt with your name on it.
Getting back to CDG from Paris
Most of the information here can be reversed to accurately get you back to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport from Paris. One minor difference is the time that the RER B departs; The RER B3 departs from the Gare du Nord station, every 15 minutes or so, starting from 04:56 in the morning and ending at 00:15 (just after midnight). Remember to take the B3, because the B5 will go to Mitry – Claye.
CDG to Paris At a Glance
Line: RER B (Blue), Specifically RER B3
Cost (as of July, 2011)
- 9.10€ (full fare)
- 6.40€ (children 4 – 9)
- Free (children under 4)
Passes Accepted: Paris Visite, Passe Navigo (Découverte)
First Train CDG to Paris: 04:56
Last Train CDG to Paris: 23:56 (22:58 M-F until mid-2012)
Key Stations Served: Gare du Nord, Châtelet les Halles, St Michel/Nôtre Dame, Luxembourg, Port Royal, Denfert-Rochereau, Cité Universitaire