Charles de Gaulle is located 16 miles north-east of Paris, in the village of Roissy-en-France, from where the airport takes its informal name, Roissy. Because of its huge size, it straddles three départements (regional governmental bodies similar to councils), namely Seine-et-Marne, Seine-Saint-Denis and Val d’Oise. The site is so large because the airport authority anticipated the airport’s huge growth from its very establishment.
AddressParis-Charles de Gaulle Airport BP 20101 Roissy-en-France 95711 France
Unlike most airports, CDG has a dedicated complex containing hotels, offices and shops, known as Roissypôle, located next to terminal three. It has a stop on the airport’s free CDGVal train shuttle, connecting it to the rest of the airport, and a station on line B of the RER (Réseau Express Régional, a rapid transit train network connected to the Paris Métro), called Aérogare 1, which links to central Paris. It takes about 35 minutes to Gare du Nord.
Passengers staying at one of the many hotel airports can also get to their accommodation by shuttle bus. There are seven different hotel shuttle bus lines serving over 30 hotels; they are colour coded to make things a bit easier. Buses usually stop at the farthest door of the terminals. Check with your hotel when booking.
Travel around the airport
The free shuttle train at the airport, CDGVal, has five stops, connecting the three terminals, Roissypôle, and the airport’s two long-stay car parks, PR (for terminal 1) and PX (for terminals 2 and 3). The CDGVal stops at terminals 2 and 3 also connect with the RER Line B, for trains to central Paris. There is only one stop for the seven buildings of terminal 2, so free shuttle buses operate between them.
If you are on a connecting flight and need to transfer between terminals, make sure that you leave enough time to get to your departure terminal before your flight. The different sections in Terminal 2 can be reached on foot, but the quickest way is the Aéroports de Paris shuttle train. The easiest way to find out the route between terminals is to check this handy timetable and route planner, which works out the easiest route between all Charles de Gaulle terminals.
For a general airport map and interactive maps of each terminal click here.
Sleeping at the airport
CDG has suffered from something of a negative reputation for overnight stays in the past, but with a range of new facilities planned for 2012 things seem to be looking up slightly for airport sleepers! If you have a long stopover planned and don’t want to travel into Paris/don’t possess the correct visa to do so, you have a few options for sleeping at the airport:
1) The classic – find an empty seat in any of the terminals and hunker down for the night! The airport is open around the clock so you don’t have to worry about being kicked out, and there are various seating areas dotted around each terminal. Make sure you are within a reasonable distance of your departure terminal, although terminals 2E and 2F are newer and reportedly cleaner, with better facilities and more comfortable lounge chairs.
2) Book a ticket for one of the private lounges run by airlines with a base at CDG. Prices are not cheap, but if you want to snatch a few hours of comfort not squashed into a small metal seat you might want to consider it. The Icare Lounge in Terminal 1 has comfy armchairs and sofas as well as free WiFi, drinks and meals, and is available at a rate of €30 for 3 hours. The American Admiral’s Club in Terminal 2A charges €38 for a day pass, and other airlines will allow those flying with them to upgrade for an additional fee dependent on their ticket.
3) Check into an airport hotel at Roissypôle. The more expensive option, but arguably worth it for long layovers.
4) Try and pass the time by tracking down some of the newer developments for passengers – the Soundcorner opened in Terminal 2E in 2011, and there is a Sony HD Viewing Room in the same area. A free Light Therapy section is planned for 2012.
One small point to remember is that there are sadly no free showers within CDG, which can be a bit unfortunate for delays of more than 12 hours. The exception is the Air France lounge, but only premier flyers are allowed access.