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Charles De Gaulle Airport

The main airport for most international travelers headed to Paris is Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). It’s one of two big international airports serving Paris, and although the other – Orly Airport (ORY) – used to be Paris’ only international airport, Charles de Gaulle has since taken over the title of biggest Paris airport.

Orly Airport is favored by some travelers as it’s closer to the Paris city center than CDG, but Orly doesn’t offer as wide a selection of airlines or destinations served as Charles de Gaulle does. Depending on where you’re flying from, you may be stuck arriving at Charles de Gaulle Airport for your trip to Paris. That’s not bad news, however, as CDG isn’t all big legacy carriers – there are also a number of budget airlines flying to Paris that serve Charles de Gaulle, so you might get lucky with a choice of a discount carrier or two for the route you’re flying.

Here are some things to know about Charles de Gaulle Airport before you arrive.

About Charles de Gaulle Airport

  • Charles de Gaulle Airport is also commonly called Roissy Airport.
  • There are three terminals at Charles de Gaulle, simply called Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and Terminal 3.
  • CDG Airport is roughly 16 miles northeast of Paris.
  • The RER trains connect Charles de Gaulle Airport with Paris on the RER B line.
  • There’s also a TGV station right inside Charles de Gaulle, in case your destination is somewhere other than Paris
  • The RATP (Paris’ transportation system) runs a bus from CDG to Paris as well.

>> Here’s everything you need to know about how to get from Charles de Gaulle Airport into Paris, or vice versa.

About the Terminals at Charles de Gaulle Airport

Before taking a flight, be sure to confirm which Terminal you’ll be using with your airlines. This is obviously most useful for your departures, but also for arrivals if you’re looking for your car rental company or shuttle service to Paris.

Terminal 1
If you’re departing from Terminal 1, be sure to also ask your airline company for the door number, i.e Terminal 1 Porte 21. This will make it easier for a taxi to drop you off as close as possible to your airlines’ check-in – and some shuttle companies have service to several doors at the same terminal. Otherwise you can circumnavigate the entire terminal a few times before getting to your check in gates.

Some of the gates are connected to the main terminal by long tubes, through which you can walk quite a distance on moving walkways at bizarre inclines. You may think this is a form of built-in airport workout facility – but it’s what passed for avant garde design in the seventies. Beware that your roller carry-on doesn’t roll away from you as you start climbing the moving walkway to heaven.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 is subdivided into alphabet city – Terminal 2A, 2B, 2C, etc. You need to know your alphabet letters as well as the terminal number if you’re going to be dropped off by a shuttle bus. The drop off can be confusing, too – for instance, you may get a call for 2A and 2C as the first drop off. Listen to the letters to avoid getting off too soon or too late.

Terminal 3
Terminal 3 is a ‘budget airlines’ terminal, so if you’re flying in or out of the country from another country (or well outside Europe) it’s unlikely you’ll be headed for this terminal.

Airlines Flying to/from Charles de Gaulle Airport

This is by no means a complete list of the airlines serving CDG Airport, but it should help you get started with trip planning. Some of the cities each airlines serves are listed in parentheses.

  • Aer Lingus (Cork, Dublin)
  • Aeroflot (Moscow-Sheremetyevo)
  • Aeromexico (Mexico City)
  • Air Canada (Montreal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver)
  • Air China (Beijing-Capital, Shanghai-Pudong)
  • Air France (Aberdeen, Abu Dhabi, Algiers, Amman, Amsterdam, Athens, Atlanta, Bamako, Bangalore, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Barcelona, Belgrade, Beijing-Capital, Beirut, Berlin-Tegel, Birmingham, Bologna, Bordeaux, Boston, Bristol, Budapest, Buenos Aires-Ezeiza, Cairo, Caracas, Casablanca, Chicago-O’Hare, Copenhagen, Dakar, Damascus, Delhi, Detroit, Dubai, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Florence, Geneva, Guangzhou, Hamburg, Havana, Hong Kong, Houston-Intercontinental, Istanbul-Ataturk, Johannesburg, Kiev-Boryspil, Kinshasa, Lisbon, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Lyon, Madrid, Manchester, Marseille, Mexico City, Miami, Milan-Linate, Milan-Malpensa, Montpellier, Montreal-Trudeau, Moscow-Sheremetyevo, Mumbai, Munich, Naples, New York-JFK, Newark, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Nice, Oslo-Gardermoen, Pisa, Prague, Rabat, Rennes, Rio de Janeiro-Galeao, Riyadh, Rome-Fiumicino, Saint Petersburg, San Francisco, Santiago de Chile, Sao Paulo-Guarulhos, Seattle/Tacoma, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong, Singapore, Sofia, Stockholm-Arlanda, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv, Tokyo-Narita, Toronto-Pearson, Toulouse, Turin, Washington-Dulles, Venice-Marco Polo, Vienna, Warsaw, Zagreb, Zurich)
  • Air India (Delhi)
  • Air Tahiti Nui (Los Angeles)
  • Air Transat (Calgary, Montreal-Trudeau, Quebec City, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver)
  • Alitalia (Milan-Linate, Rome-Fiumicino)
  • All Nippon Airways (Tokyo-Narita)
  • American Airlines (Boston, Chicago-O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New York-JFK)
  • Asiana Airlines (Seoul-Incheon)
  • Austrian Airlines (Vienna)
  • bmibaby (East Midlands)
  • British Airways (London-Heathrow)
  • Brussels Airlines (Brussels)
  • Cathay Pacific Airways (Hong Kong)
  • Continental Airlines (Houston-Intercontinental, Newark)
  • Delta Air Lines (Atlanta, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City)
  • easyJet (Barcelona, Belfast-International, Biarritz, Bristol, Casablanca, Catania, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Glasgow-International, Geneva, Helsinki, Ibiza, Krakow, Lisbon, Liverpool, London-Luton, Madrid, Malaga, Marrakech, Milan-Malpensa, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Nice, Porto, Prague, Split, Tangier, Toulouse, Venice-Marco Polo)
  • EgyptAir (Cairo, Luxor)
  • El Al (Tel Aviv)
  • Emirates (Dubai)
  • Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi)
  • EVA Air (Taipei-Taoyuan)
  • Flybe (Belfast-City, Birmingham, Exeter, Glasgow-International, Jersey, Manchester, Southampton)
  • Icelandair (Reykjavik-Keflavik)
  • Japan Airlines (Tokyo-Haneda, Tokyo-Narita)
  • (Leeds/Bradford)
  • KLM (Amsterdam)
  • LAN Airlines (Madrid, Santiago de Chile)
  • Lufthansa (Berlin-Tegel, Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Milan-Malpensa, Munich)
  • Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur)
  • Meridiana Fly (Cagliari, Olbia)
  • Scandinavian Airlines (Copenhagen, Oslo-Gardermoen, Stockholm-Arlanda)
  • Singapore Airlines (Singapore)
  • Smart Wings (Prague)
  • Swiss International Air Lines (Zurich)
  • TAM Airlines (Rio de Janeiro-Galeao, Sao Paulo-Guarulhos)
  • Thai Airways (Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi)
  • United Airlines (Chicago-O’Hare, Washington-Dulles)
  • US Airways (Charlotte, Philadelphia)
  • Vueling Airlines (Alicante, Granada, Madrid, Santiago de Compostela)

photo by Chloester