Generally speaking, when you’re planning a trip to Paris you start by doing research on flights to Paris, and that’s for a very simple reason. Once you have your flights squared away, it’s much easier to plan the rest of your trip more realistically, from reading up on what to do in a France travel guide or seeing if you can score a great deal on cheap Paris hotels.
But even though hunting for Paris airfare might seem straightforward, I’m going to suggest that you do a little bit more work on the search before you accept what the big booking websites tell you are the cheapest fares. Don’t worry, I’m going to make that extra work easier by telling you exactly what it is.
Here’s my suggestion – in addition to looking at flights into the biggest airport in Paris, why not look at flights to alternate airports in Paris as well?
Travelers to Paris are lucky in that there are a few big international airports that serve the city directly, and many big booking websites let you search all of them in one go. But because Paris is such a huge city that’s so well-connected to other big European cities, it’s possible that you could take advantage of the cheapest flights to Europe (even if those flights aren’t to Paris). If, for instance, you find a killer deal on a flight to London or to Amsterdam, you can then get on a short flight either into one of the big Paris airports or (if you find it’s cheaper) into one of the smaller airports outside the city. It may take more planning on your part, but if you save a big chunk of your travel budget, then maybe you can splurge a little on a swanky hotel instead of sticking solely to Europe hostels for your trip.
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When you’re looking for the cheapest fares on flights to Paris, here are the airports to check. They’re listed in order starting with the one that’s closest to Paris and ending with the one that’s furthest away.
Airports In or Near Paris
- Paris Orly Airport (airport code ORY) – Although Orly isn’t Paris’ largest airport, it does happen to be the one that’s closest to the city itself. It’s roughly 9 miles from Paris, and is a secondary international gateway for the city and the region. Orly isn’t as large as Roissy Airport, but it is served by some of Europe’s budget carriers – including easyJet, Jet4You, Transavia.com, and Vueling Airlines.
- Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (airport code CDG) – This airport, also known as Roissy, is Paris’ largest airport and primary international gateway. If you do nothing else when you’re looking for Paris airfare on booking websites, you’ll be shown fares to CDG. Paris is about 15 miles from the airport, and some of Europe’s discount airlines fly into Charles de Gaulle – including bmibaby, Flybe, easyJet, Air One, Air Transat, Jet2.com, Smart Wings, and Windjet.
- Paris Beauvais Tillé Airport (airport code BVA) – The Beauvais airport may bear the name “Paris” in its title, but it’s actually in the town of Tillé which is about 43 miles from Paris. It’s a very small airport, with only a few airlines serving it, but they’re all budget airlines – Blue Air, Ryanair, and Wizz Air.
- Caen Airport (airport code CFR) – Caen’s airport is a very short distance from Caen, but it’s 125 miles from Paris. It’s a very small airport, only served by a couple of airlines (Air France and Airlinair), so it would probably have to be a really spectacular deal into Caen to make flying into this airport worth the time it would take to get from there into Paris.
- Lille Airport (airport code LIL) – The Lille airport may be small compared to the big airports in Paris, but it’s the 12th busiest in France and has service from several airlines (including Ryanair). It’s about 127 miles from Lille to Paris, roughly the same distance as Caen is from the French capital, but because Lille’s airport is a larger French hub you might be able to find a better deal into Lille than Caen – although you’re still looking at quite a distance to cover to get into the city.