The largest international airport in Paris, Charles de Gaulle, or CDG, is one of the major aviation hubs in Europe. More than 70 million passengers pass through this massive airport every year, and you can catch flights from here to just about every country on earth.
The three huge terminals of this airport make it practically a city by itself, and given how big and busy the airport gets, it can be a difficult place to navigate, especially if you’ve never been there before. That’s why the best thing to do is to drop off your bags at a Charles de Gaulle luggage storage and get yourself situated before you take on this sometimes overwhelming place.
Here are some tips and useful information for traveling through Paris’s main airport. Good luck!
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Consider Staying at an Airport Hotel
It can sometimes seem like there’s a certain sadism behind planning flights. Many flights, especially international ones, leave at eye-stingingly early hours of the morning or well into the night when normal people are asleep. That can make it difficult to get to and from the airport and cut into your preparation time, starting your holiday off on a stressful note.
You can make things easier on yourself by staying at a hotel at Charles de Gaulle itself. The airport offers several different hotels, and the competition helps to keep the prices relatively low. Knowing you’re only a quick shuttle ride away from your terminal will not only help you to sleep easier, but it also means you’ll spend less time traveling so you can spend a little longer in bed before an exhausting trip.
Use a Luggage Cart
Did we mention that Charles de Gaulle is huge? Well, it bears repeating. In this massive airport, you want to travel as lightly as possible, which is why it can be so useful to store unneeded bags at a luggage storage in the airport.
However, if you have a lot to bring with you, don’t forget to pick up a luggage cart to make things easier. Use of luggage carts it’s free at Charles de Gaulle, and it will make it much less exhausting to carry your bags with you.
Give Yourself Lots of Time
This is especially important if you haven’t been to Charles de Gaulle before. With such a massive airport, it can be difficult to find your way around. That’s why it’s always wise to give yourself plenty of time to orient yourself and make your way from one gate or terminal to another, even if you booked everything online for the convenience.
The last thing you want is for stress and confusion to cause you to miss your flight or render all that planning useless due to something as simple as getting lost in an unfamiliar place. Make sure to plan ahead and give yourself the best chance of catching your flight on time.
Use Some French
You don’t need to speak French to travel through Charles de Gaulle Airport. All the signs in the airport are in multiple languages, and the staff will generally speak at least some English if you need to ask questions. However, it’s always a good idea to learn even just a few basic words in the language of any country you’re traveling to. Saying bonjour and merci to airport staff is likely to get you a much better reaction than barking orders at them in a foreign language. As always, remember your manners everywhere you go, and you’ll find people far more likely to go out of their way to help you.
Get the Right Terminal
When you arrive at Charles de Gaulle, make sure to double-check that you’re in the right terminal. It’s easy to get confused and end up on the wrong side of the airport, so be extra careful when it comes to this. Some terminals are quite far away from each other, and it can take a long time to get between them if need be.
Be sure to check your ticket or reservation for which terminal you’ll need — or better yet, ask an airport employee — and make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get there once you arrive at Charles de Gaulle.
Terminal 1 is the oldest terminal at Charles de Gaulle and is built as a central hub with gates radiating from it. Terminal 2 is sometimes referred to as the Air France terminal since this is the home base of the national carrier. This terminal is divided into sections, so you’ll hear about Terminal 2A, 2B, and so on all the way up to 2G. Most of these terminals are connected, so you can easily walk from one to another, but 2G will require you to take a shuttle to reach it.
Terminal 3 has no boarding gates under the smallest terminal of the airport. If your flight is booked here, be aware that you will have to shuttle from this terminal to one of the other terminals to make your flight, so be sure to leave some time for that.
Getting to Charles de Gaulle Airport
If you’re coming from the city, there are several ways to get to Charles de Gaulle. The first and most convenient is by train. There are two RER lines (B and D) that stop at the airport, and it takes about half an hour to get here from the Paris center.
Another option is taking a bus or shuttle service directly from the airport — this is especially useful if you don’t live near a métro station — or taking a taxi, which may be more expensive but can sometimes be faster than public transport depending on where you are in the city.
Finally, you can also drive your own car to Charles de Gaulle: there are plenty of parking lots available at various prices throughout the airport, and you should make sure to book ahead if possible.
No matter how you get to the airport, remember to give yourself plenty of time. You don’t want to miss your flight due to any last-minute delays!
Following these tips and tricks will help ensure that you have a stress-free experience at Charles de Gaulle Airport, giving you more time and energy to enjoy your journey.