I had to catch a connecting flight through this airport the other week on my way back from America and first impressions when arriving was that this airport is in pieces at the moment as it's being rebuilt bit by bit. However, what would be nice is if there was no disruption to travellers while this was going on but unfortunately that wasn't the case. When we landed we had an hour before our next flight, however the journey from the flight landing to the terminal by the coach must have been about 15 minutes and then once inside the terminal it was chaos going through security etc. and everyone just seemed to be pushed into one small area. We barely made it through to the next flight. Looking around the airport there is alot of work going on and I'm sure it might be nice when it's finished but at the moment it is very plain with long concrete tunnels and bare walls
I travelled through this airport last week after a long journey from the loire valley.
Firstly when you arrive from the metro you get to a large concrete station with not much in it. I worked out from the rubbish signs that I then needed to get on another quick train from there to terminal 1.
When arriving at the terminal you first need to find the right hall to check in which is on a board. I had 2 hours to wait before I checked in so bought some food from the small shop and a coffee from Mcdonalds. There is a large seating area but those seats are not comfortable believe me. At least you dont get charged for using the toilets like everywhere else in france.
When I checked in it turned out that my company hadnt paid for baggage, I then had to go over to pay for my bag at another desk, before returning to check in again. The man let me skip the queue though so that was good.
Then you head up a weird set of escalators to the passport control and the duty free bit. You have your boarding card checked before this as well.
The duty free bit was very small, I spent a nice half hour trying on perfumes but they still seemed very overpriced so I didnt buy anything. They also have a herbal remedie shop and another food shop.
Then theres a very long tunnel on one of those travel escalators to the gate where you have your bag security checked.
I hung around here for ages as my flight was delayed, I found the wine from the cafe very nice but at 3.70 a glass it was a bit steep after the 3rd one.
I finally boarded my plane 5 hours after arriving at the airport, and flybe got me home safely.
The airport doesnt have much to do so make sure you have a good book. Leave plenty of time to get there on the metro as me and my friend went on the wrong train that split off the other way so had to go back and she nearly missed checkin for her earlier flight!
Have just passed through this airport on my way back to the UK, and I am afraid that I can't offer anything positive to combat the general air of negativity surrounding it! I was at least fortunate in that a) I had checked in online, and only had hand luggage and b) I arrived on a train from Bordeaux, and thus had through no choice of my own over three hours to find my way to where I needed to be! I would hate to be arriving just before my flight was closing and be trying to find my way to the right departure gate!
I came up out of the station and my attention was immediately caught by an enormous departures board. It was the only one I saw in my time at the airport, and it would have been useful....if it hadn't been showing flight information for flights between 12pm and 4pm that afternoon (it was 7pm at this stage)
However there were signs for Terminal 2B, so I followed them and eventually got to the vague area where I knew my flight would be leaving. However the Easyjet section of the terminal really is pretty difficult to work out if you haven't checked in and been advised from which gate your flight might be leaving. I even queued up to go through security and was then told that it was over the other side of the terminal for Liverpool. I made my way over there and eventually managed to sit down in the vague area from where I thought my flight might be leaving. I guessed right!
None of this was impossible to overcome, but if one wishes to make a comparison with other large airports around the world (and I have been to quite a few, especially in Europe and the US), CDG does not fare at all well. My advice would be to arrive well before your flight's departure time, armed with a good book and no wish to do any shopping as there really is almost nothing to buy! At least it is possible to get there from the centre of Paris by train on one of the RER lines, one of the few experiences which does not cost an arm and a leg in the capital. However it is quite a way out of town, so don't take a taxi there unless you are feeling particularly wealthy!
Charles De Gaulle International Airport, Paris, France
When we decided to go to Disneyland Paris earlier this year, we didn't have much option other than to fly. We live in Scotland so to go by ferry, car or eurotunnel would with 3 young children be an absolute nightmare, not to mention expensive. We had originally considered flying into Beauvais with Ryanair, but we decided we'd rather fly from Edinburgh which is closer to us and fly to Charles de Gaulle which is closer to Disneyland.
I had been warned that Charles de Gaulle could be a bit of a nightmare and had done a bit of researching on the internet before we went. I had been given instructions that when we got into the airport, to go through passport checks, collect our luggage and go through customs, follow the moving walkways and we would come out right where we needed to be in order to take either the bus, train or taxi to Disneyland.
We landed early on a Thursday morning. The flight arrived on time and we were all very excited. I wasn't prepared for the size of Charles De Gaulle airport, it is huge and we had to get the bus from the plane to the airport. We got inside and stopped to use the toilet, which I think is where we went wrong. I think if I went again I would definitely stick with the crowd! When we came out of the toilets, there were only one or two people hanging around. There were no signs or airport staff anywhere. There was only one way that we could go and that was up a huge flight of stairs, so we did that and when we got to the top we could go straight on or take a passage to the left. Again there were no signs or staff around to show us which way to go, but there were a few people along the corridor to the left so we decided to go that way. We soon came across the luggage carousel so we had gone the right way. We collected our luggage and kept walking looking for passport check or customs or anything really to give us a clue as to where we were to go. There were lots of doors along the passage we were going and absolutely no one else and after walking for quite a while we decided we should probably have gone through one of the doors further back, but left via the closest door. We emerged into a busy part of the airport and there was a sign right above our heads which said "gare" (station). We went in that direction and eventually came out at what appeared to be the area of the airport we were looking for. The signs said that the railway station was down a floor and we could see the trains underneath. However, by this time we had missed the train that we were going to get. It also said that the bus station was up a level, so we took the elevator up a floor and this brought us outside. There were buses pulling in every now and again but none of them were the bus for Disneyland. There seemed to be a lot of taxi's around but none of the drivers spoke English (which I had been told they all did). After standing around for a while we went back downstairs to have a look and see if we could find any staff to ask. There was a closed information bit and there was no one else around to ask, so we headed back up to where the buses were but after waiting for an hour there were still no buses so I asked a taxi driver in French if anyone spoke English as my French is very very limited. He garbled something at me in French and disappeared for a while, but when he came back he brought someone who spoke enough English that he managed to translate to a taxi driver where we wanted to go.
On the way back I was so worried that we were going to get lost at the airport again and miss our flight, so we arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport 5 hours before our flight!! The taxi driver spoke very good English and asked us which terminal we were flying from. When we told him 2F he dropped us off directly outside terminal 2F. I checked the information which said that our flight would depart from 2E. There was an Air France information desk so I asked how to get to terminal 2E and was told to go down the stairs and it would be directly in front of us. So we headed down the stairs and found signs which took us on quite a trek, but eventually (and quite easily) we found the right place. We checked in with no problems at all and it was all pretty straight forward from then on. When we got to the departure lounge all the announcements were in English as well as French so there were no problems there and it was very clear where we had to go to board the bus to take us to the plane.
Overall I think the main problems in Charles de Gaulle are the lack of staff around to help people arriving and also the lack of signs showing people where to go. We are flying into Charles de Gaulle again in January and are hoping for a much better experience, but to be perfectly honest, I am absolutely dreading it and if we have a similar experience this time we will definitely NOT be flying there again as I would rather travel the extra distance to Prestwick and from Beauvais and fly with Ryanair. I have flown into Beauvais in the past and everything is so much easier.
Overall, if you are planning a flight into Charles de Gaulle I suggest you really prepare yourself and don't stop for the toilet when you get into the airport, just stick with the crowd. I thought it might just have been a bad experience, but looking at the other reviews on here, it seems the norm at Charles de Gaulle.
I know that living near Heathrow and then complaining about someone else's airport might conjure up the phrase "Pots, kettle, black - discuss", but Paris CDG, really, what a dump.
We're constantly hearing how Heathrow must expand or die, losing its 'vital' hub traffic to CDG, Schipol and Frankfurt, but in the case of CDG, I don't think it's got much to worry about. Anyway, what do hub passengers benefit my local economy - they fly in, pollute my air, fly out and spend nothing locally?
I'll get off my hobby-horse now and back to purpose - i.e. telling you what my first and hopefully LAST impressions of CDG Terminal 2 are.
Last Friday night, we thought we'd use up some Airmiles by flying to Paris for my wife's birthday, pushing the boat out by renting a loft apartment in Montmartre.
Initially, all went well - our local bus turned up, the Underground came promptly and we arrived at the swish new Terminal 5 with no bother at all in the closest thing to grand style that the Piccadilly Line will allow for. This was my second visit to the ill-starred or rather 'ill-started' terminal and now it's running just fine - even the flight was nearly on time leaving (no mean achievement - this was a Friday night remember).
"Welcome to Paris Charles De Gaulle where the local time is..."
Well, it didn't really matter as we then taxied for about 15 minutes (that's the trouble with these multi-runwayed airports - BAA please note). I did wonder whether we hadn't landed at Le Touquet and were driving the rest of the way.
We 'docked' at Terminal 2b, followed the herd through Passport Control and into what seemed to be the tiniest international baggage hall I've ever seen. On reflection, it would appear that the terminal is segregated into bite-sized chunks, ours being for Easyjet and BA. Nonetheless, six flight's worth of passengers were trying to find bags on two carousels. Being dimly-lit and somberly constructed in 1970s plain concrete (very South Bank - yuck) didn't help lift the mood either.
Not much of a welcome to a city of romance, unless the lighting was to get you used to candlelit dinners in gingham-tableclothed bistros, or maybe just to stop you gawping at the building.
Anyway, it didn't spoil our weekend.
Now for the 'good' bit, the return via 2B (well good if you like a good moan).
On arrival at 2B, we used what appeared to be BA's one automated check-in machine, getting our boarding cards in advance and changing our seats to the aisles in the process.
Then, completely out of our normal sequence we had to proceed through the passport control with all of our luggage to even access the real check-in desks, or in our case fast-bag drop desks. There doesn't seem to be a lot of difference these days, and if more people check in on line or by machine, it'll be faster to queue for a check-in desk than to 'drop your bags fast'.
Now that we were 'air-side', we started to survey what was available to us for what was probably going to be around two hours. Well, it's easier to list what isn't available, since that's just about everything.
For one thing, there are NO SEATS unless you are paying for food or drink. Bear in mind that if your flight is delayed so you don't know your gate number, you can't even forego these delights and go sit at your gate. It's still dimly lit, so it's not just arrivals that are getting the shock treatment.
Oh well, let's browse around the shops.
(5 minutes later) Well that didn't take long did it? There must be all of 8 of them, and two of those are the same newsagent. With seating at a premium, every stair case and lumpy looking ledge was in use. So too were the café tables, so finding one usually meant looking at the detritus of the last visitors for about 30 minutes before it was carried off. The only good news is that we ordered one bottle of water, and the waitress took the hint and brought us two glasses.
To be fair, we were told that our gate SHOULD be 27 at check-in, but our flight wasn't officially allocated a gate on the screens for nearly 90 minutes, and taking a chance would have been difficult to reverse, since the various gates didn't appear to inter-communicate, and besides which you'd have to sweet-talk your way back through the security checking, which here, is done at the last stage.
The solution appears to be to travel Business class then you get to play with all the nice folks upstairs in the Air France lounge, and more to the point SIT DOWN, although for crissakes don't trip on the assembled 'cattle-class' passengers blocking the stairs.
Maybe the other solution is to travel by Eurostar both leaving and arriving in Victorian splendour in a city centre. No wonder it's plundering a sizeable proportion of London-Paris traffic.
Arriving back at T5 Heathrow's palatial vaulted ceilings and calm uncluttered baggage reclaim almost made me proud - I say almost as I'm still smarting over the so-called 'public consultation process'!
Only pass through CDG Terminal 2 if you really have to, by which I suppose I mean only FLY to Paris from London if you really have to.
This place needs a logistics makeover - no free seating in this day and age of air traffic delays is absolutely unacceptable. A few more light bulbs wouldn't go amiss either, mes amis.
If I really had to, I'd make damned sure that I checked in on-line, even if it meant paying for an hour in an internet café, thereby lessening the need to pitch up two hours early so as not to delay your flight (what a joke that is) - anything to limit my time in this pile of c*?$.
FOOTNOTE - Had I travelled from Heathrow Ts 1, 2 or 3 would I have felt differently? Not really, but they'd have got a roasting too!
This Summer me and a group of friends from school last year decided to go on a European trip together. We all now go to different universities it is sometimes hard to see each other on a regular basis and we like to keep in contact and keep our friendship going.
Anyway the plan was London for a few days and then directly on to Paris for a few days totaling a bill of maybe 600 pounds by staying in hostels and eating cheaply.
It was all going great until we found out our flight from London Luton to Charles de Gaulle was delayed by 3 hours. For a change me and my friends had actually turned up 2 hours in advance so we were greatly annoyed. I knew this was going to be bad from the start.
So we got into Charles de Gaulle at around 10pm that evening eventually and it was so unorganized, there was maybe a hundred or so people on our plane and they only had 2 passport checking stations open, the queue was enormous and our hostel was a good way from the airport.
When we did get through the airport was empty every where was closed and all the information desks were closed for the night (is this not supposed to be a respected international airport?).
After walking around aimlessly for half an hour we found our way out of the airport and into the metro system which was fine and the holiday was off again.
However leaving to get home via this airport was twice the trouble of trying to get in, Firstly we reached the airport via train again like we had left but the machine refused to validate anybody s ticket and the ticket machine on our side was out of order, it was only around 5pm but once again nobody was around to inform us or anybody else traveling through this airport what to do. My mother had warned me about jumping these gates as her and her colleagues got fined 50 euro the last time they didn't validate their tickets, but we had no choice and nobody seemed to care which i think is a bit odd. I thought the security was a farce.
So we got in that was good we looked up the screens, turns out we had to walk half way around the airport to get to the easy jet section, so we did, just to be told that all Belfast directions were back out where we originally started from.
After what seemed like hours in a massive queue once more we got to check in our bags and walked through to the duty free area without being checked or anything just stared at by a guy in a booth waving us through which i thought was a little weird.
When we got to the end of the hall i wouldn't have described it as a duty free area, it had maybe 3 tiny basic shops, one feeble looking cafe and the toilets as standard.
We just decided to go straight into the lounge as there really wasn't much to look at, the security here was better but it was really small and slow and hardly what i would call efficient or secure compared to Luton airport.
The lounge was sort of ok but was tiny, the flight was delayed (again) and there were no toilets or cafes in the lounge just a humble vending machine with overpriced sugary snacks and drinks.
We queued yet again when we heard our flight being called just to find we had to stand for about another hour in what seemed like a greenhouse portion of a hall surrounded by glass walls, this really didn't help considering the heat outside was around 29 degrees Celsius and the airport had no real air conditioning from what i could tell. Also considering we had left our hostel at 10am and it was now almost 8pm we were wrecked and just wanted to go home.
I shall not be traveling through Paris via this route again, maybe next time i shall take the channel or something over to London first and travel home from there.
There are many rules in travel - I am already attempting to trademark the Never Eat Within Five Minutes of A Famous Landmark rule, and others among my favourites include If You Can’t See The Sea, Don’t Eat The Fish and Don’t Eat Indian Food Cooked by White People. One of the most important is more specific - Charles De Gaulle Airport Does Not Exist. Observe this rule, children, and your lives will be happy and prosperous. Ignore this rule, and you will suffer. I suppose I’ve always been biased towards this nightmarish den of incompetence since I inadvertantly smuggled a replica firearm through customs there. I don’t imagine the blank-eyed Gallic Douanier would be as lax as to ignore the unmistakable silhouette of a gun and allow perfect hijacking material into the cabin these days, although I wouldn’t bet on it. At the time, I had bought an unlikely souvenir at Disneyland Paris (it’s a long story) and I deliberately placed it in an obvious place in my hand luggage having forgotten to put it in my suitcase. I assumed it would be found, and that I was looking at a severe telling-off in French (the outside chance of getting shot by a trigger-happy guard was something I was trying not to worry about). But no - even as I noticed the shape of the gun on the x-ray screen, Mme. Security Guard was already giving grief to a man whose belt buckle had set off the metal detector. Still, you’ve got to have priorities. The only airport I have ever missed a flight is CDG. The only airport my luggage has gone missing is CDG. The only airport I have had my crotch aggressively sniffed by a big ugly dog was CDG. Admittedly, this might not be something within the control of the airport authorities, but I’m not so sure the little bastards didn’t plan it. Whether it is the weird, sick-making rubber escalator things in Terminal1, the fact that smoking is still common, or the way in which staff are nakedl
y hostile to people with dusky complexions, it’s not a happy place. But recently, I have had some particular problems there which are, to my mind, reason enough to ignore it as an option. I was flying to Rome last weekend, and had broken another of those rules I was taking about (Only Accept A Non-Direct Flight If Walking Is The Only Alternative). But in and out of the same terminal didn’t sound like too much of a trial. Or So I THOUGHT! Terminal 2 at Paris CDG is actually two terminals in one. Halls A, B, C, and D are far enough away from each other, but hall F is actually another distinct building connected by a long, long walkway that is impractical for the pedestrian. So the alternative? A bus. It is usually possible to dash about the Terminals at Heathrow and Manchester (much as I loathe travelling through Heathrow, it’s still a reasonably efficient place), but the signs at CDG are so muddled, it’s impossible. But of course, you ask, knowing that people using the buses are making connections, the authorities have laid on lots of buses, haven’t they? Haven’t they? Ah, well, no, that would be too easy. You pile onto these buses, and you find yourself squeezed into the armpit of a fat bloke wearing a polyester suit (there’s no excuse for it, I’m sorry), and by the time you arrive at the Hall you’re aiming at, your plane is but a distant memory. Coming back, after two exhausting days, we again approach the bus queue and are taken on the endless, winding journey from Hall F (where our inbound plane landed) to Hall B (where we check in for our outbound flight to sunny Manchester). Smart readers will be way ahead of me. After a long, dispiriting journey, we sit about, and then, when we have done security again, we get on another bus, which takes us all the way back to a plane which is sitting outside Hall F, where our flight is departing. So why couldn’t we have
a gate in the Hall where our plane was flying from? C’est un mysterie. Co-ordination, organisation, efficiency, just some of the things that BAA or the German airports could teach CDG. Obviously, if you want to visit Paris, you may feel that you have to go to CDG, given that this is where virtually all airlines bound from the UK will take you. But a-ha, I have a solution for you: Go somewhere else. Outside the capital, France is a lovely place: the people aren’t snotty, the food is better and cheaper, and you can’t get tempted to queue for the Eiffel Tower, which is crap anyway.
Having never been in Charles de Gaulles airport before & expecting it to be like most other airports, my family & I looked forward to our new experience. We flew from Belfast International Airport (Aldergrove), to London Heathrow & then transferred to our flight to Charles de Gaulles. Our flights with British Midlands International were all on time & rather uneventful, which was nice & we arrived at Charles de Gaulles on time. Things were looking good & we were looking forward to getting a taxi to our hotel. (I had visited the CDG Airport website to familiarise myself with the layout, which would speed up our journey to the hotel once we located our luggage. The website was great & I was pretty confident that I could navigate the airport easily! .. Once there, things can quickly change!) Once the BMI flight landed & we disembarked, we made our way through the tunnels (perspex ones) to try to find our luggage. We made our way slowly, but surely, watching the various signs to where we had been informed our luggage would appear on one of the conveyor belts (Number 34). After exiting the terminal building, I began to think that a mistake had been made somewhere & had a horrible vision of our luggage being somewhere else. I was not alone here as most of the passengers from our flight were wondering the same thing as we looked for belt number 34. Dorothy had an easier time locating the Emerald City when she ventured into the Land of Oz than we did were having finding our luggage! Determined that we would reclaim our baggage I made my way back into the terminal building (followed by the rest of the flight passengers) & then slowly retraced my steps along the yellow brick road until I got back to my starting point. I had barged back through a one-way system & realistically shouldn't have been able to re-enter the arrivals section, but I did (& so did the others!). I had asked for some help from a couple of rather relaxed loo
king gendarmes along the way, but they just gave me a rather bemused look & then walked away. Undeterred I looked again at the monitor that had pointed us to belt number 34 it still said number 34. Realising that there must have been some mistake I began wondering where the BMI info desk was, but then to my surprise the info on the monitor changed! The belt number changed from 34 to 24! I had noticed number 24 on my travels & set off to find it again & see if our luggage was there. Within a short space of time & several circles of the terminal, I found belt 24! Lo & behold, our luggage started to miraculously appear in front of our eyes on this belt & that was the best moment that I had had in this damn airport! Luggage on a trolley, I set off to find the rest of my family who were waiting at the terminal exit. Next was to grab a taxi (minibus type) to take us to our hotel. Again, this was easier said than done, because the moment I exited the terminal with our luggage we were set upon by taxi touts who wanted a few quid quickly! After beating off a load of touts it was time to try to find a real taxi driver with a good sized taxi. After another short space of time & a few more touts I found the perfect taxi! Luckily the driver spoke reasonable English & I gave him the hotel address & we agreed a price for the journey. (I had previously e-mailed the hotel to get an idea of the fare from the airport to the hotel, so that I wouldn't be too much out of pocket!). 20 minutes later, we arrived at the hotel & I paid the agreed fare. (With the airport farce behind us we enjoyed our holidays.) We were not really looking forward to returning to the airport, but the day of our departure came & we got a taxi from the hotel to the airport. Once at the terminal building we got our luggage onto a trolley & then it was time to find the BMI check-in desks. It took about 10 minutes & several complete laps of the terminal before we noticed
the BMI desks down a type of lane in the terminal. There was a large crowd gathered there so I left my wife & kids with the luggage trolley whilst I went to see if this was indeed the check-in desk for our flight & I also wanted to find out what time we could check in at. Eventually my turn came & I asked my questions & was happy that it was the right place to check in, but bemused that I could check in there & then! Basically, regardless of the time of your flight, you could check in when you wanted to. All the luggage from all the flights operated by BMI were checked in at the same desks, which made me wonder how they managed to get the right luggage to the right flight! Either way, I went back to get my family & luggage & we checked in. Not sure how to feel about the luggage system, we left the check-in desks & made our way to the departures area. Soon, we came to the adventure training area of the airport (the moving walkway!) which looked rather daunting. The walkway was flat to start with, but soon we noticed the first of the hills that we were to encounter! The walkway moved us closer & closer to the hill & then it suddenly started to go up, which is where some people toppled over as they lost their balance. After regaining composure & balance we thought that we would be on the flat again, but that soon proved wrong as we suddenly started to go downhill & again people lost the balance & some toppled over. This went on for another few goes, until we finally got to the flat again & then the end of the adventure training area! Once off the conveyor belt of doom, we regained composure & balance for the final time & thanked our lucky stars that no one had really hurt themselves! As we found the appropriate seating area for our flight (well, for BMI anyway!), the kids soon quickly found ways of occupying themselves. As there was time to spare (a few hours), I decided to have a look at our transfer boarding passes for the flight from H
eathrow to Aldergrove. This is when I noticed a really nasty surprise! The check-in lady had booked us into the flight OK, but she had just seated us all over the plane, which was no good to us at all! I noticed that we were in 6 different rows of seats, which were all over the place. There's no way that I was letting my kids (1 x 7, 2 x 8 & 1 x 9) be seated anywhere but with my wife & I! Rather annoyed I went to the BMI desk in the departures where I pointed out this grave error to the supervisor there. He took the transfer boarding passes & told me to wait till he called me back again. 30 minutes later the guy called me over & gave me new boarding passes, which seated us in one row. He apologised for the previous error, but couldn't explain the clerk's lack of attention to the seating of a family. The kids got a few bits & bobs from the little shop with the compliments of BMI & my wife & I sighed a huge sigh of relief! After that little drama, we got on our flight (delayed by an hour by some dipstick leaving his luggage where he shouldn?t have) & thankfully left the mishap of an airport behind us! Charles de Gaulle airport might have been the in thing when it was designed & built, but it is totally unacceptable in this present day! The circular terminal buildings are like polo mints/tyres & the perspex walkways to the plane are rather daft looking. There's a total lack of information anywhere in the airport & finding things is another thing! Then, you get pestered by taxi touts who want to make a quick earner. If you are caught in the car with a taxi tout you will be arrested too! If at all possible .... avoid having to use Charles de Gaulles airport! We flew into Paris on July 26th 2001 & left again on August 1st 2001) Marks out of 10 would have to be 2! & that's being rather generous at best.Thanks for your valuable time! ... ... Tom
Paris Charles de Gaulle airport is a shocker, no two ways about it. If you are travelling through it make sure you read up about it in relevant travel guides or you'll find yourself going round in circles. Problems - If you are transitting it would appear to be a) a lottery as to whether your luggage ever transits with you; and b) a lottery if you make the connection because the buses are hapless and the help staff provide non-existent. If you are heading by train into the city, best of luck in finding how - the directions are appalling (and I read and write perfect French). The security is appalling - my mother once wandered into the departure lounge without having checked in, shown her passport or been through a security check. The only advantage is that the place gives the strange impression that you are in a real-life architects drawing from the early 1970s - most odd but peculiarly pleasing.
I've passed through this airport (Terminal 1) a few times, twice very recently and once as a child. The only thing that struck me this time was that it looked the same as ever and I think that says something. On the plus side, the airport is very well connected to Paris city centre. The excellent suburban rail (RER) train goes to both terminals from Gare du Nord and there are many bus services from various places throughout the city. When you arrive at the airport RER station a free shuttle bus serves all terminals. This service is very good and very frequent. It is all plain sailing until you get inside! I found the airport really badly signposted. When I got inside it took a few minutes to work out where the Aer Lingus check in desks are. The departure boards are not very plentiful either so it's even a task in itself to find out if you flight is even operating still. The layout of terminal 1 is messy, like many of my reviews! =) It's a circular building that looks the same everywhere you go, so it is quite disorientating. Toilets or restaurants are quite dirty looking. In honesty the whole place looked dirty and dreary looking, I'm sure all it needs is a lick of paint! When you go to board the flights you have to go to 'satellite' buildings. They are connected to the main terminal by moving walkways, almost all of which are uphill which feels like climbing Everest if you have a lot of luggage. The baggage reclaim area is very cramped which is very noticable when a lot of flights have arrived at the same time. In general the airport is very hot, overcrowded and badly designed and after passing through you feel thoroughly worn out. Air travel is not the favorite pastime of many people, but without a doubt, this place is enough to make us all want to stay at home forever. I haven't used the other terminals yet but I'm curious to know is it any better over there?
Happily after all that hassle I had a lovely flight and really really enjoyed it! =)
I have travelled via many airports in the world but have not had any experiences as bad as the ones that happened to me at Paris CDG in July this year. On arrival had problems finding baggage recovery area, very poorly signed. When finally found it after walking a great distance over floors and corridors covered in litter that did not look as if they had been cleaned for weeks. Arrived at carousel and found that that particular one was being used for three simultaneous flights that had arrived within a few minutes of each other, so there was three times the number of persons crowded around it than normal. You just could not get anywhere near to it, when my baggage arrived I had to actually force my way through a crowd some 5 or 6 deep around the carousel to reclaim it. It goes without saying of course that ther was not a luggage trolley in sight. I then spent a long time trying to find a signpost to the railway station but finally discovered from a fellow traveller on the same flight as me who had been before that it was a ten minute bus ride away at the other side of the airport. Following him I was able to find the correct bus stop. But still no signs advising what to do officially. The few members of the staff I spoke to in my efforts to get sorted out were adopting a very low profile. In the main they said, in perfect English, that they could not speak or understand English!!!! This is a place to avoid. If you have to fly via Paris try going via Orly Airport the other side of the City.
Charles de Gaulle Airport is situated about 15 miles outside of Paris. It is quite a large airport probably on-par with Gatwick. On my last trip their we arrived at terminal 2 with British Airways. The flight over was excellent but unfortunatly the airport was not. We found the general appearance to be dirty and the useual arrogance of the french staff didn't help when we wanted directions, all they did was ignore us. It is a strange layout as when you have collected your bagage you go down these strange escelators. They are like conveyor belts but they go up and down hill. This means your luggage trolly tries to run away from you or crush you depending on if you are going up or down. It was a real struggle holding onto the lugge without it falling off everywhere. Also when you get into the main public arrivals hall area **BEWARE OF PICKPOCKETS AND TAXI TOUTS** the police arrest both the driver and the person taking the business!! Be warned!! There is a very good coach network which links you with the City. It cost us about £5 each to get from the airport to Montparnasse Station which was were our hotel was. The journey took about 45minutes as it was rush hour. You pay for your ticket from one of the kiosks before you get on board. Returning to the airport, the check in area is quite crushed and it is also badley signed. The signs are in both French and English at most points but they do mislead you. It took us 1hr to find the British Airways Executive Lounge which was down some steps away from the main departure area. The Duty Free shops are also quite expensive compared with the UK and better deals can be found on the high street. Overall we found the airport to be well connected but let down by bad signage and a dirty appearance.
Charles de Gaulle Airport is located 16 miles (26 km) northeast of the centre of the city. Depending on where you are staying in Paris, there are multiple options for the trip to the centre. There are plenty of taxis from CDG. Fare is about 200 francs; higher after 8 P.M. The trip can take around 45 minutes to an hour to the centre. It could be travelled in less time, but the traffic during normal business hours is usually bad. The "B" RER (Suburban Express) train goes from CDG to the Gare du Nord, Chatelet, St. Michel, Luxembourg, Port Royal, and Denfert-Rochereau stations. The RER train leaves CDG every 15 minutes and has plenty luggage space; it is a very easy way into the city. A shuttle bus connects CDG's main terminals with the RER station. Travel time to the center of Paris is 30 minutes, and the fare is 5 francs, including a Metro connection. The train is the only way around the traffic and is the best way to get to the centre on schedule. Air France runs a good and comfortable bus service from all terminals. Buses stop at the Porte-Maillot Metro station (at the Air France City Terminal), and the Palais de Congres (Convention Center next to the Concorde-Lafayette and Meridian Hotels), and also at the Place Charles de Gaulle Etoile (near the Arc de Triomphe). The buses leave every 20 minutes and the trip takes from 40-minutes to one hour. The fare is 48 francs. A shuttle bus runs about every 20 to 30 minutes to Orly Airport from 6 A.M. to 11 P.M. The fare is around 60 Francs. Travel time one hour to 90 minutes, depending on the traffic.
I have been travelling across Europe and America on business, on average, at least once a week for the past three years. After a while the novelty wears off and it becomes a pain in the neck. Nevertheless you accept it as an 'occupational hazard'. The one place that I still haven't learnt to accept, though, is Charles de Gaulle airport. The main terminal at Charles de Gaulle airport is circular in shape with a hole in the middle, similar to a polo mint. Some unkind souls might liken it to a doughnut, others with a more creative imagination might suggest that it was inspired by the shape of an atoll, designed to calm and ease the comings and goings of the weary traveller. I tend towards the doughnut theory myself as the airport always engenders a totally opposite effect to calming. If I never hear that infuriating electronic 'jingle', that preceeds tannoy announcements, again it won't be too soon. It absolutely drives me beserk. Then, of course there is the way that all of the check in counters are arranged around that ridiculous goldfish bowl affair. I have never been able to find a plan directing you by the shortest route to your desired counter. As a result I invariably end up walking 359 out of the 360 degrees that make up the circle before I find my check in desk. Having checked in, you make your way through the perspex connector tunnels that criss cross the goldfish bowl to reach your gate, not forgetting that you have to travel through another concrete lined tunnel which gives you the impression of being 'journey to the centre of the earth' before finally arriving at the gate. This is ok until the moving walkway breaks down and you end up having to negotiate the incline up to the lounge which seems to go on for ever. The facilities are absolutely appalling and the staff about as friendly as a rabied dog. I once tried to get a taxi to Emerainville, a small town not too far fr
om Eurodisney. Of course in Emerainville, there is little chance of getting a return fare and I ended up sitting in 5 taxis with each driver shrugging his gallic shoulders and claiming never to have heard of it. It would be like a London cab driver saying that he'd never heard of Windsor, for God's sake!! It might cost the earth but at least he'll take you there. There is a train service into Paris but it doesn't go from the airport, the station is a 10 minute bus ride away and the bus stop is inevitably on the other side of the terminal to the one you exited on so once again you end up on a long hike to get to it.