About Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)
Address: Charles De Gaulle Apt Terminal 1 Niveau Arrivee Porte 26, Niveau Arrivee Porte 26, Roissy En France, 95700
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) is the world’s fifth largest airport by surface area (32 km²) and the second busiest airport in Europe. As the primary air travel entry point to the City of Lights, (CDG) is located 25 km (16 mi) northeast of the city center, and served by a big city roster of major airport car rental providers — from Avis to Dollar to National to Europcar — located in the arrivals area of Terminal 1, 2ACD, 2E and 2F.
Despite the prevailing wisdom that nobody drives in Paris, you’ve probably already made up your mind to rent a car. And there are a number of solid reasons why you might want to go against the grain of reliance on public transportation — or price gouging taxis. Despite the mega-city challenges of traffic and parking, there are plenty of great reasons to drive in Paris.
If you plan on visiting as many attractions as possible — including trips outside central Paris — public transportation is comprehensive but very slow across longer distances. For sights within the city’s central 1st arrondissement like the Louvre — yes, parking somewhere on the outskirts and taking the Metro is probably a wise decision. But you can drastically reduce travel times by driving your car hire between the Palace of Versailles and the Gothic city of Chartres, or the castles of Fontainebleau and Vaux-le-Vicomte.
Meanwhile, for traveling with family or groups, hustling the crew on and off the buses and trains is stressful and problematic — you could easily wind up headed the wrong way out of town, or worse, lose track of somebody. In a car rental, you know where you’re going and assured that your passengers are accounted for.
Choosing your car
Choosing your car doesn’t have to be complicated. In a place like Paris, bigger isn’t always better, so travelers with a busy itinerary might want to look at compact and economy cars from Volkswagon and Fiat. With a couple of travelers in tow, an intermediate Citroen is roomy and economical. For families with a fair amount of luggage, a Renault estate wagon or Jeep SUV might make better sense. And for large groups with a platoon of roller bags, a 7-9 seater Peugeot minivan has your name on it.
Tips and advice
Car rental offices at (CDG) are open from the first to the last flight — roughly 6:00 AM to midnight.
Traffic rules in Paris are comparable with the rest of France — and probably your home country — with the notable exception for roundabout navigation. You must yield for vehicles entering the circle.
Driving in central Paris requires your car rental to be equipped with a Crit'Air badge pass to anti-pollution standards withstanding in certain zones of the city.
Drivers can’t use cell phones and other mobile devices while the car is in motion. Hands-free devices are prohibited, too.
Traveling outside of central Paris will most likely involve toll roads (autoroutes). Major credit cards are accepted as payment, in addition to cash (Euro coins/notes) and a complex electronic transponder (télépéage) system.
There are a surprising number of underground parking garages in central Paris — look for "P" signs against blue backgrounds.