Travelling to Paris (mostly) in Style Part 3: Arrival in Paris

The flight time to Paris from Heathrow is short; a significant portion of quoted flight times is actually just an allowance for congestion at Eitger airports (mostly Heathrow) – this is clear from our almost-on-time arrival at Charles de Gaulle despite a 20 minute wait at the terminal and 10 minute taxi to the runway when leaving Heathrow.

It has to be said that, while Terminal 5 is probably Britain’s finest airport terminal, Terminal 2 at Paris CDG is not the country’s finest entry point. The terminal is tired and tatty and, while we complain that Terminal 5 is just a glorified shopping mall, the retail offering is pretty poor (though admittedly I only saw the arrivals hall). Luggage took around 15 minutes to arrive on the belt – one of the disadvantages of being at the front of the aircraft, and of having checked-in luggage is the wait for bags on arrival. Passport control was thankfully brief with only a minute’s wait and then there was a lengthy walk to the railway station to catch the RER to central Paris.

There was a lengthy wait for a train (I must have just missed one I think) and the RER was full for much of the way into Paris. We passed a few Eurostars stabled in the depot north of Gare du Nord before plunging into a tunnel to cross under Paris.

The hotel I chose for my 1 night stay was close to Gare Montparnasse on the south side of the city, and so a quick change onto Ligne 6 was required and then a short walk to find the hotel right next door to the Mercure hotel I stayed at last year. The M Hotel Paris was a decent choice for a quick stopover and, although I didn’t venture out, the Montparnasse area is busting in the evening. It’s close to the Paris Catacombes too, should guests have a spare few hours to visit them.

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