How Long Do I Need To Connect At Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport?

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) is the largest airport in France and one of the busiest in the world. When you have a connecting flight at CDG, navigating your way through the airport’s three terminals, sub-terminals, and the various levels can be a complicated and time-consuming procedure. So, how long do you need to connect?

Air France-KLM
Making flight connections at CDG can be a challenge. Photo: Getty Images

About CDG Airport

After London Heathrow, CDG is Europe’s second busiest airport in terms of passenger numbers. Formerly known as Roissy Airport, the airport is named after former French President Charles de Gaulle, who also led the Free French Forces in World War II.

CDG covers an area of more than 12.5 square miles and is situated 14 miles northeast of Paris. With its convenient location and transport links, central Paris is a 25-minute train ride or a 35-minute taxi ride (depending on traffic) from the airport. Several bus services to the city are also available, as well as a direct connection to Paris-Orly Airport.

Facilities at CDG are located in three terminals: Terminal 1; Terminal 2, which also has seven satellite terminals; and Terminal 3, which has separate buildings for arrivals and departures. A fourth terminal is due to open in 2024. Free shuttle services operate between the terminals, car parks and public transport links.

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Paris Charles de Gaulle
Connecting at CDG Airport can take time. Photo: Getty Images

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 is the oldest terminal at CDG. It’s a circular building spread over four levels.

  • The ground floor connects with the CDGVAL automated metro system and offers escalators and elevators the upper levels.
  • The second floor is the departures and check-in level and is dedicated to passenger information and orientation.
  • The third floor is the boarding level and provides connections to the T1 satellite boarding gates.
  • The top floor is the arrivals level, where you’ll find the baggage carousels and access to P1 parking and bus, taxi and car rental facilities.

Around Terminal 1, you’ll find seven lounges.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 is divided into seven satellite sub-terminals named 2A to 2G. Terminals 2A and 2B, 2C and 2D, 2E, and 2F are arranged in semi-circles facing each other. Terminal 2G is smaller and located in a separate building. The terminals are split into separate levels for arrivals and departures, except for T2E, which has an additional boarding level.

T2 offers ten lounges for Schengen passengers, including the Air France Salons at 2F, and the YotelAir at Paris Charles de Gaulle at 2E Gate L. Seven lounges are also available for non-Schengen travelers including the Air France Salon in 2E Hall M.

CDG Airport Terminal 2E
Take time to relax in Terminal 2E. Photo: Gary Bembridge via Flickr

Terminal 3

Terminal 3 is divided into two buildings, each set on a single level. On the north side is the arrivals building, while the departures building is on the south side.

Terminal shuttle connections

Free shuttles provide transfers between the terminals, public transport services, and car parks.

  • N1 shuttle runs 24/7 and connects terminals 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, and 2F, the SNCF station, and car park PW. The frequency varies depending on the time of day.
  • N2 shuttle from 05:30 to 23:00 runs every 5 minutes and links terminals 2F, 2E (09:30 to 23:00), and 2G.
  • CDGVAL is an automated shuttle that runs every 4 minutes from 04:00 to 01:00. A bus operates between 01:00 and 04:00. The service connects T1, T3, all T2 terminals, and car parks PR and PX.

Also, color-coded shuttle services provide connections for transit passengers.

  • The green shuttle connects T1 to T2A and C from 05:00 to midnight for international passengers.
  • The blue shuttle provides international connections between T2 terminals 2A to 2F from 05:00 to 23:45.
  • The yellow shuttle connects T2 terminals 2A, 2C, and 2E to terminal 2G for international connections from 05:30 to 21:45.
  • The red shuttle takes international passengers between T2 terminals 2G and 2E (Gate M) from 05:30 to 02:00.
  • The orange shuttle provides a connection for Schengen passengers between T2 terminals 2F and 2G from 07:00 to 22:00.
  • The gray shuttle connects international passengers between T2 terminals 2G and 2E (Hall L) from 05:30 to 21:45.
CDG Airport Terminal 1 from the air
CDG has all the facilities you need. Photo: Citizen59 via Flickr

How long to connect between flights at CDG?

How long it will take you to connect flights at Paris CDG is dependent on whether you’re connecting to an international or domestic flight, which terminal you are arriving into, which terminal you’re departing from, and whether you have hold luggage to collect and check-in.

Within Terminal 2, the time it takes to walk between the sub-terminals ranges from around 5 to 20 minutes. Taking the shuttle buses can reduce the time between the most distant terminals. As a guide, transferring from 2E or 2F to 2G will take between 30 and 40 minutes, including passing through customs and security and taking the shuttle service.

If you have a through ticket and your baggage is checked through to your final destination, it is recommended that you allow a minimum of 70 minutes if your departure is from the same terminal. If you need to transfer between terminals 1, 2, or 3, you should allow a minimum of 90 minutes.

Make the airport part of your travel experience

In short, for the most enjoyable and relaxed experience at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, allow plenty of time between your connecting flights. The airport has excellent facilities, including a wide variety of shops and restaurants.

Take advantage of the available free Wi-Fi and the charging stations for your mobile devices. If you have a more extended layover, treat yourself to the services offered by the many airport lounges. Alternatively, with Paris only 25-minutes away by train, pay a visit to some of the stunning sights the beautiful city has to offer you.

At this time, some terminals, airport shuttle services, and public transport may be affected by COVID-19 restrictions, so always check before you travel. Additional health checks may be required at check-in or security, which could mean it takes longer to get through to your boarding gate. Allow yourself some extra time.

Have you had connecting flights at Paris CDG? Did you find it difficult or relatively straightforward? Let us know in the comments.