Let's talk about how to get from the airport to central Paris with minimum hassle. Most travelers get from the CDG airport to central Paris by taxi. It's the easiest way to get from the airport if you haven't arranged a private car or shuttle – and requires no advanced booking. After you land (most likely at Terminal 2A or 2E of Charles de Gaulle Airport), you go through customs & immigration, then follow the signs to baggage claim, where you can grab a luggage cart.
If you are approached by anyone posing as taxi driver when leaving the baggage claim area, just ignore him and walk to the taxi line-up. These are scam artists who will charge you many times the usual fare.
After that, follow our handy advice below to find the taxi queue nearest to your exit gate. Paris taxis are regulated and are generally clean and convenient. The downside is that the wait for a taxi is sometimes long – either the lines are long or taxis are slow in arriving. When you're coming off 8 or 12 or 20 hours of travel, this can be trying. That's one reason we always use a private car service for our trips into Paris from the airport. It makes our arrival in Paris so much the better.
To catch a taxi, get into the taxi line-up at your terminal, there's only one line-up at each terminal and you simply follow the signs to get there.
These days, most of the taxi line-ups have attendants helping to move the line along. It can be a bit hectic, but also kind of fun! Although, as we said, be prepared to wait a while, especially if a number of flights have just landed.
Here are where you find the taxi lines at the terminals of CDG: they are all relatively close to the baggage areas —
If you have a small child or are disabled, you don't need to wait in the taxi line-up (or, for that matter, almost any line-up in France). Make yourself known to the queue attendant and he will whisk you into the next available cab. One tip is to have your infant in the stroller so you are easily noticed.
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Many Paris taxi drivers do not speak English, but we have seen this start to change over the past few year. French courtesy means that you should greet your driver with "Bonjour, Monsieur". Even if you don't think your pronunciation is very good, it will get you off on the right foot.
If you don't speak French (or if your accent is as bad as ours!), we recommend that you hand the driver a piece of paper with the name of your hotel and the address. (Prepare this before you leave home). Be sure to say "Merci, Monsieur, au revoir" after your ride.
Taxi fares are posted on the passenger window and are easy to interpret. A recent innovation has been flat rates for getting from Charles de Gaulle to central Paris. From the airport to a Right Bank address the rate is €50. To the Left Bank the rate is €55. You might want to clear this up with your driver before you leave the airport by saying "fifty euros?" or something like that.
Taxis cannot charge extra for up to four passengers, but a fifth passenger will entail an extra charge. Also, there are no longer any additional charges for luggage. There is no charge for wheelchairs. Remember, you don't need to tip your taxi driver in Paris, it's already included in the price, but it's polite to round the fare up to the next Euro.
Most Paris taxis still don't accept credit cards, so be sure to have about some euro cash with you. (Get it before you leave home.)
Only get into taxis that are in the line-ups at the exit doors we listed above. Available taxis can be identified by the light on the roof of the vehicle — if the light is on, it's available. And, as we said, we find that most taxi lines these days have an attendant who helps to move things along.
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