Trains to and from Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG)
Paris CDG is the second-largest airport in Europe, and an extremely important gateway to various destinations in France, in particular, Paris, a large city located just 25 km, or 16 miles south of the airport. The airport is a hub for Air France, Delta Air Lines and Easyjet, as well as for the cargo carrier of FedEx Express, and handles over 58 million passengers per year, from a variety of terminal buildings. Being such a large airport, Charles de Gaulle train connections are extensive, and are available 24 hours a day. There are two main train stations at the airport, referred to as the Paris Charles de Gaulle 1 and the Paris Charles de Gaulle 2 – TGV, and trains also provide a link for passengers transferring between the airport terminals.
There are three large terminals at the airport, of which Terminal 1 is the main and older of the buildings, consisting of numerous floors and facilities, as well as seven satellite buildings for boarding and arrival operations. However, Terminal 2 is where the main railway station of the airport is found, below the common area linking halls 2C – 2F. The multiple buildings of Terminal 2 are known as 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F and the newer and separate 2G. There are two types of train stations at Terminal 2. One is the TGV railway station operated by SNCF, the French rail authorities, and the other handles all RER B trains to Paris. Terminal 1’s RER station is located at quite a distance from the passenger facilities, and must be reached by using the CDGVAL light rail services, while Terminal 3’s railway station is found approximately 300 metres from the terminal. Terminal 3 is a single hall, and handles all low-cost and charter airline companies.
Trains play an important role in the transport of passengers at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, as the new CDGVAL automatic light rail system connects all the terminals. The CDGVAL system replaced the SK6000 project, which was the first option for transport at the airport in 1999, however, due to testing which was unsuccessful, the CDGVAL was launched in 2000. The airport’s new transport system opened in stages during 2007, and consists of two lines, which provide a connection to all three terminals, the RER and TGV stations as well as the remote car parks. It travels a distance of approximately 3.5 km, and is free for use by all passengers. Over 10 million journeys per annum are now made on the new CDGVAL.
RER train services
The Paris Charles de Gaulle integrated train system was one of the first to provide services at a major airport in Europe, and has proved to be highly successful. Millions of passengers travel on the RER B line to Paris every year, and it is the most cost effective and convenient way to travel. The centre of Paris can be reached in just forty minutes, and Euro Disney is just a ten minute journey away. The RER B is the regional train line, and connects the airport to Paris and its suburbs. Some of the stations at which the train stops are the Gare du Nord, the Châtelet les Halles, St Michel/Nôtre Dame, Luxembourg, Port Royal, Denfert-Rochereau and the Cité Universitaire. Passengers can also continue south to the other main airport of Paris, known as the Paris-Orly Airport. The RER B trains from the airport operate between the hours of 05:00 and midnight, and are frequently available. During off-peak hours, or over weekends, train services may only make four trips an hour into Paris. Currently however, there are construction works on the railway line, and the latest train available is at 10:58 (Monday to Friday). Construction works are expected to continue until mid-2012. Travellers in need of a train after these hours will take a shuttle bus to the Aulnay-sous-Bois station, from where the train runs to Paris as usual.
The RER train station at Terminal 2 can be accessed by moving walkways from Terminals 2C, 2D, 2E and 2F, but from 2A and 2B, it is recommend to take the line 1 shuttle. From the separate 2G terminal, the N2 shuttle bus is available for transport to entrance 4 of Terminal 2C, and from here the train station is nearby. Big blue overhead signs indicate the direction to the train station, and are written in French and English. They also note the average time it will take to get there from your area. If possible, make use of the moving sidewalks, as they are much quicker than walking.
The RER station of the other two terminals is found nearby Terminal 3, at the Roissypole area of the airport building. Roissypole is an area with hotels, shops, restaurants and company offices, and is accessible by the CDGVAL. Take note that Terminal 3 is located between Terminals 1 and 2, therefore, when travelling from west to east, Terminal 1 is reached first, then Terminal 3 and then Terminal 2. The trains first stop at the parking garage Pr, then Terminal 3/Roissypole, and then move on to Terminal 2. Passengers travelling to Paris-Charles de Gaulle should therefore not get off to early, and listen carefully to the announcements made at each stop.
The TGV trains operated by SNCF are the long-distance train services in France, and many cities can be reached by train from the airport. The TGV trains are also high-speed rail services, and can travel at a few hundred kilometres per hour. The airport’s TGV station at Terminal 2 is on the LGV Interconnexion Est high speed line, and there are direct services to French stations such as Dijon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Strasbourg, Nantes, Poitiers, Le Havre and Lille, as well as to Brussels in Belgium, which is approximately an hours journey.
Charles de Gaulle train services are extensive, and a vital form of transport to and from the airport. Further information is available from the SNCF website, at http://www.sncf.fr, or from the information desks within the terminal buildings.