How Practical Is It To Change Between Airports In Paris?

Paris is served by two main airports, Orly and Charles De Gaulle. With both airports served by different airlines, you may find yourself connecting between the two. They are far apart, and transfers can be time-consuming, but not that difficult with good public transport. This article takes a look at the different options for doing so.

Air France at CDG
CDG is the main international airport in Paris, but many regional flights use Orly. Photo: Getty Images

Two main airports

Paris is, in fact, served by three airports. The third, Beauvais Airport, is a smaller facility. With commercial airlines, you’d more likely yourself at Charles de Gaulle (CDG) or Orly (ORY).

Charles de Gaulle is the larger airport, used by many international airlines and most long-haul flights (including Air France). It is the second busiest airport in Europe, after London Heathrow. Orly is an older, smaller airport used by Air France for many domestic flights, many low-cost carriers including easyJet and Wizz Air, and some European airlines (including Lufthansa) for regional flights.

Unfortunately, the airports are located on opposite sides of Paris. CDG is around 25 kilometers northeast of the city, and ORY is about 13 kilometers to the south. Transfers between are not going to be quick or cheap, but are not difficult if you have to make them.

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Connection by train

There is a direct rail connection between the airports, using the Paris regional train, the RER. The route is RER B via the city center. Trains run regularly, and the travel time is around one hour.

But, if this is your first visit to Paris, allow more time for purchasing tickets, making airport connections, and ensuring you get the correct train. The fare between the airports is €19.60.

RER line B
RER line B connects the two airports. Image: Chabe01 via Wikimedia

At CDG, there are RER stations at terminals two and three. From terminal one, there is a free shuttle CDGVAL to connect. From CDG, you need an RER B line train in the direction of Saint-Remy less Chevreuse (not Robinson). Stop at Antony for ORY connection.

At ORG, the main RER B train stops at Antony station. From there, a connection on the Oryval train links to the airport. This is a frequent connecting service and is included in the RER ticket price. Leaving from Antony station, take an RER line B train north, terminating at Aeroport Charles de Gaulle 2 (not a train heading to Mitry-Claye).

How Practical Is It To Change Between Airports In Paris?
RER line B at CDG airport. Photo: ProtoplasmaKid via Wikimedia.

Connection by bus

There is a smooth bus transfer between the two airports, provided by ‘Le Bus Direct.’ This is a regular service, leaving every 30 minutes during the day. It is an easier option than the train, with no changes, especially so if traveling with luggage. And the bus offers USB and WiFi, something you won’t find on the train and perhaps useful between flights.

Journey time is around 90 minutes, but as with any road journey, this is not as reliable as the train. The cost is comparable, €22 for a one-way trip (or 37 for a return).

CDG bus
Bus connection between airports can be smoother. Photo: flightlog via Wikimedia

Or just take a taxi

As at any airport, taxis are easy to find and offer the simplest connection. In rush hour, a train might be faster, though. But if you have luggage, and especially for a party of three or four, a taxi can make sense. The fare between the airports should be €60 to €80, and the drive can take between 45 and 90 minutes depending on traffic.

Have you connected between airports in Paris? Would you like to share your experiences of the best way? Let us know in the comments. 

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