|Choosing an RER B Train to Paris|
|All RER Line B trains from Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport go to central Paris, but some go more quickly than others, with less crowding. Here's how to choose a faster, more comfortable one.|
It's good to remember that you can board any RER train at CDG Airport's Aérogare 2 and it will take you to central Paris. (See the list of central Paris stations below.) But you'll get there faster and more comfortably, with less chance of crowding, on a train that makes fewer stops.
Reading from left to right, first comes "RER"(for Réseau Express Régional), then "B" for Line B, then the 4-letter route code identifying the train's route and stops.
The fastest trains from CDG to central Paris have route codes beginning with KA (KALE, KALI, KAPE, KARE, etc.) or JA (JAMI, JANO), or UL. Other trains make more stops.
(For your return to CDG airport from central Paris, look for train route codes beginning with E, because all trains beginning with E go to CDG. The express trains are ERIC, EROC, ERIO, ERSE, EDME OR EDDY.)
Then comes the departure time (in 24-hour time), the destination and perhaps some station information, and finally the track number (11 or 12).
The fastest trains, with codes beginning with KA, JA or UL, depart Aérogare 2 and stop only at Aérogare 1 (Roissypôle) and perhaps the Parc des Expositions before entering central Paris at the Gare du Nord (Paris-Nord RER). Here's an example, a KARI train:
Other trains may be more crowded, and make a half-dozen other stops between Parc des Expositions and Paris Nord, making the trip slower.
If several trains are scheduled to depart within a few minutes of one another, I prefer to wait a few minutes for a KA, JA or UL express train making fewer stops. The other stations are not particularly attractive, so there's no reason to take the slower train for the view. But if there are no KA, JA or UL trains shown on the monitor for awhile, board any train.
Boarding Your Train
Having chosen your train, look for the doors marked:
PARIS PAR TRAIN
(See the photo in the right-hand column of this page).
(Don't go to the TGV tracks or you may end up in some other part of France, or even in some other European country!)
Insert your ticket in the turnstile, retrieve it when it pops up on top, keep it with you—you have to have it to exit the station at the end of your journey—, and descend by stairs or elevator to the tracks.
Check the monitor for the track (voie)number and the 4-letter route code for your train, check the clock for the departure time, board your train and ride.
RER Line B Central Paris Stations
On the Right Bank of the River Seine in the very center of Paris near the Louvre, Hôtel de Ville and Le Marais, this station is the heart of the Paris Métro system. It's the largest Metro station in Europe—vast and confusing.
This intersection of major boulevards in the southern part of Paris is an important transport nexus, with connections to Paris-Orly Airport.
Which Station to Choose
If your hotel or apartment is in the center of Paris, you'll probably want Châtelet-Les Halles, St-Michel Notre-Dame, but from any of these stations you can transfer to the Métro or a taxi (minimum fare 7€) to reach your final destination.
From Paris to CDG
Going to the airport from central Paris, board any RER B train with destination of Aéroport Charles-de-Gaulle (CDG). Remember, all trains with route codes beginning with E go to CDG.
Do NOT board a train with a destination of Mitry-Claye!
The train line divides at Aulnay-sous-Bois, with one branch going to Aéroport Charles-de-Gaulle and the other to Mitry-Claye. If you board a Mitry-Claye train by mistake, get off the train at or before Aulnay-sous-Bois and wait for the next train with CDG airport as its destination.