Getting around in France

by Andrea Segura - Wednesday, March 15, 2017

As you are planning your bicycle trip and beyond, you will certainly wonder how to best get around. We’re here to help and have put together some general information and tips for you. You will find tour-specific travel information in the online itinerary specific to your tour. Note that any fares and timing mentioned are estimates.

We also recommend Rome2Rio, which is an excellent route and travel planning resource.

Due to the frequency of social and labor strikes in France it is advised to verify the availability of your intended public transportation while within France and check the media for announcements of scheduled strikes. Most often this impacts rail travel, but at times does include taxi service. Especially check if you plan to use train travel to catch a flight.

Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)

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To and From the Airport

  • By Bus: Air France buses will take you to several train stations in Paris
  • By Shuttle: The Blue Airport Shuttle provides service to downtown Paris. Rates are reasonable for two or more people if you reserve online in advance
  • By Taxi: Taxis to downtown Paris cost between EUR 50 and EUR 80.

By Shuttle from Charles De Gaulle to the Orly Airport:

  • Take the airport shuttle at Exit 22 on the departures level to the RER B station “Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 1”.
  • Take the RER B direction Saint-Rémy les Chevreuse.
  • Get off at the “Antony” stop and take the “Orlyval” shuttle to the Orly airport.
  • The trip takes about an hour.

Orly Airport in Paris

Paris Orly Airport (ORY)

There are several transportation options to reach downtown Paris. Follow signs to the Orlyval shuttle which will take you to the Antony station. From there you can catch the RER B train to downtown Paris.

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To and From the Airport

  • By Taxi: To downtown Paris cost between EUR 50 and EUR 80.
  • Train Transportation: This website describes French train travel in detail. It’s worth reading to save you money and frustration.

Other Types of Transportation

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Trains in France

If you do decide to make your arrangements ahead of time, we suggest using the following resources:

Train Travel Reminders

Traveling with your own bike: Bikes are allowed on all TER regional trains and some TGV trains that require special ticketing. If you see a bicycle symbol listed on the schedule next to your train that means it has a special car designed for storing bicycles. If your bicycle is packed into a special case (not a cardboard box) you can store it in the designated luggage areas on board provided that it does not restrict access to other passengers. You can also call the English-speaking service in France at 011-33-8-92-35-35-39, open from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm (be aware of the time difference). Please contact our office if you have questions about bringing your own bike on tour.

Paris Metro System

The Paris metro system is the best method to travel around Paris. It’s made up of:

  • Metro trains: On these internal Paris trains each line is a different color and number. The directions are identified by the last stop on the line, so board the train whose final destination is the same direction as your stop.
  • RER trains: These trains go to the airports and farther out of the city. The different lines have letter names (A through E).
  • Buses: Local buses in Paris are also a good way to see the city.

You catch RER, metro trains, and buses from the same stations – (buses also have extra stops above ground). Bus and metro trains cost the same and use the same tickets, while RER trains generally cost more. Buy tickets for all three at all metro stations. Pick up a free Petit Plan de Paris metro map and/or look at RATP for information on the Paris mass transit system.

Taxis

Taxis wait outside airports and medium to large size train stations. In smaller towns, the café or bar will often call for you. It is good practice to ask for an approximate fare before the ride and the pay meter start. Keep in mind that the cost may vary depending on traffic in the city.

Rental Car

You usually save money arranging your rental from the U.S. Be sure to get the exact address of the rental car agency, (preferably at your arrival airport). Most rental agencies in France are closed on Sundays. We suggest Sixt or Hertz

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