How to Spend a Layover in Paris

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Is it worth going into Paris for an eight-hour layover at Charles de Gaulle Airport? A friend of mine recently asked me this question, so I thought I’d turn it into a post for all of you!

The short answer? Hell yes! Eight hours is enough time to get a brief taste of Paris before you catch your flight to your next destination. But you need to plan it carefully — this is not a time to just wing it.

Do you have a flight yet? If not, check out flights on Skyscanner — I find they tend to have the lowest rates.

Do you have enough time on your Paris layover?

I wouldn’t attempt going into Paris unless you had a minimum of a five-hour layover, and even then your time in Paris would be very brief. Don’t attempt a trip into Paris if you have less than that.

So, Kate, my layover is four and a half hours — would that be okay?

No! I meant what I said! I wouldn’t attempt it on less than five hours.

A five-hour layover doesn’t mean that you’ll have five hours to explore Paris — it means you have five hours minus the time it takes to go through immigration, possibly check your luggage into storage, wait for a train, take the train into Paris, take the train back to the airport, and go through security again for your next flight. And even then, it could mean you’d be spending less time in Paris than at the airport.

Things to Consider Before Your Layover in Paris

1) What’s your luggage situation? If you booked a single flight that routed you through Paris (say, if you booked an Air France flight from Boston to Rome via Paris), you don’t have to retrieve your checked luggage. It will be checked all the way through to your final destination.

If you booked two flights separately, though — say, an Air Canada flight from Toronto to Paris and an EasyJet flight from Paris to Prague, and you booked them in two separate transactions, you will have to retrieve your luggage in between and check it in once again

Whatever luggage you are taking as carry-on, whether it’s just a small bag or all of your luggage, will stay with you for the duration of your layover in Paris.

However, there is luggage storage at Charles de Gaulle Airport. It’s located in Terminal 2, across from the RER station. It’s open from 6:00 AM until 9:30 PM. Each piece of luggage is six euros ($6.50) for up to six hours and 10 euros ($11) for up to 12 hours.

2) Where are you flying to and from? If you’re flying from outside Europe, it’s obviously an international flight, and if you’re flying on to Nice, it’s obviously a domestic flight — but some flights within Europe are treated like domestic flights due to the Schengen Area.

Most countries in Western Europe (Ireland and the UK excluded) are part of the Schengen Area, which has open borders. This means that flights from Paris to cities like Stockholm, Warsaw, Florence, Barcelona, and Munich are treated like domestic flights, not international flights. You will go through security, of course, but there is no immigration between Schengen countries.

The blue countries are part of the Schengen area:

Why do I mention this? Because it can save you a bit of time. You don’t need to allow time to get through immigration if you are flying from Paris to somewhere in Italy, for example. Security, yes, but not immigration. This could save you around 30 minutes or so.

3) Which terminals do your flights arrive to and leave from? There are three terminals at Charles de Gaulle Airport. Terminals 1 and 3 are close together and share an RER train station; Terminal 2 is further away and has its own RER train station.

Write down the terminals from which your first flight arrives and your second flight leaves — this will make your life so much easier.

4) Are you arriving on a red eye? If you don’t sleep well on planes, you may be exhausted when you arrive. My advice? Have some coffee and get out there! You’re in Paris, darling! (Ask for un café for an espresso, un café crème for a latte, or un café americain for a regular coffee.

5) Do you have euros? If not, no problem — just go to one of the many ATMs at the airport and make a withdrawal. Don’t exchange money at the airport, you’ll pay terrible rates compared to what the ATM will give you.

Just be sure that you call your bank before your trip and let them know where you’ll be traveling so they don’t flag your card for fraud. Also, double-check how much you’re charged for ATM transactions and whether you’re charged a foreign transaction fee for credit card purchases.

(If you’re American and travel often, I highly recommend banking with Charles Schwab. They refund all of your ATM fees at the end of the month, even foreign ATM fees (!), and they don’t charge foreign transaction fees.)

6) Finally, how much time do you really have? Add in the time expected to go through immigration (30 minutes is a good estimate but it could be longer or shorter), walk to the train, take the train, take the train back, and go through security and/or immigration again. This will help you plan your day.

How to Get Into Paris

The easiest way to get into Paris from Charles de Gaulle Airport is to take the RER B train, which goes straight into the heart of Paris.

There are both express and local trains on the RER B. I recommend taking the express; it doesn’t cost extra. It’s about 35 minutes to the Châtelet stop, which is close to the geographical center of Paris. One-way tickets cost 10 euros ($11) per adult and 7 euros ($7.50) per child.

Alternatively, you could take a taxi from the airport, which costs 50-60 euros ($54-65) and takes 35 minutes to an hour depending on traffic.

Personally, I recommend the RER B train. It takes roughly the same amount of time, it’s cheaper, and it’s more reliable.

(It’s very unusual to have a layover at Orly Airport, as most long-haul flights are via Charles de Gaulle, so I won’t be covering it here — but there are RER trains from Orly that will take you into the heart of Paris as well.)

What To Do on a Paris Layover

With only a few hours in Paris, you can’t do a lot — but if you concentrate on one small area with several attractions, you can feel like you’ve seen a lot of Paris.

My recommendation: take the RER B to the “St. Michel/Notre Dame” stop, which is right by Notre Dame and some of the prettiest neighborhoods in Paris. This journey will take roughly 40 minutes on the express train. Once you arrive in the station, follow the signs for Notre-Dame.

Visit the cathedral of Notre-Dame. This gothic cathedral is one of the most recognizable symbols of Paris — and it’s a solemn, overwhelming place, even without the presence of Quasimodo.

The views from the towers are spectacular, with the gargoyles looking over the city and the Eiffel Tower, but the lines can be very long. Find out how long the line is before you commit to waiting. Notre-Dame is free to visit but going into the towers costs 10 euros ($11).

Check out the kiosks on the left bank of the Seine. These iconic green kiosks sell books, art, and souvenirs. It feels so Parisian to peruse them!

Walk over to Ile St-Louis and have ice cream at Berthillon. There are two small islands in the Seine: Ile de la Cité and Ile St-Louis. Notre-Dame is on Ile de la Cité and Ile St-Louis is directly to the east. I love Ile St-Louis because there are far fewer tourists and it feels like a village in the heart of the city. Rue St-Louis, the main street, is filled with lots of cool shops.

Berthillon is famous for having some of the best ice cream in Paris with many unusual flavors that you won’t find at home.

Browse books at Shakespeare and Company. It may seem strange to browse an English-language bookstore in Paris, but trust me — Shakespeare and Company is a legendary business and one of my favorite bookstores in the world. It has a rich history, writers still live in the shop, and there are some cute cats. Have them stamp your book at checkout.

Walk over to Rue de Buci in St. Germain-des-Pres. This is one of my favorite areas in Paris, with lots of cool shops and cafes. From here on, just wander the streets at your leisure. One of the true pleasures of Paris is strolling aimlessly and seeing what you find.

Spend time in at least one cafe. It’s the most Parisian thing to do at all. Cafes are perfect for whatever you’re in the mood for. A coffee? A glass of wine or champagne? Some French onion soup dripping with cheese? A crepe? A salad with roasted duck? (One very notable exception: working on a laptop. Not like I found out about that the hard way or anything.)

Sit outside if the weather is nice. Even in the winter, most cafes have heating lamps.

If You Have More Time…

I didn’t want to plan an overly ambitious itinerary because it’s easy to end up miserable if you rush your trip too much. But if you have some extra time, you could add a few of these (not all of these!) if they catch your interest.

Visit Sainte-Chappelle. This cathedral is home to some of the most intricate stained glass designs in Europe. It’s located close to Notre-Dame on Ile de la Cité.

Visit the Pont des Arts. This is the bridge that began the love locks trend around the world. These days the locks are removed regularly, but there are nice views from the bridge.

Visit St. Etienne du Mont. This is better known as the Midnight in Paris church! If you love the movie, it’s great for photos.

Have a coffee or meal at Les Deux Magots or Cafe de Flore. These two cafes, close to each other on Boulevard St. Germain, were the hangouts of Hemingway, Sartre, Fitzgerald, Picasso, and their eclectic circle of artists.

Visit the Luxembourg Gardens. Head further south into St. Germain-des-Pres and you’ll end up in these are some of the most beautiful and famous gardens in Paris. Stroll around, watch the kids with boats in the fountains, and pretend you’re in a movie.

Note: if you finish your visit here, you’ll be closer to the Luxembourg stop, which is also on the RER B line back to the airport.

What Not to Do on a Layover in Paris

Please, please, please don’t try to pack too much in. I know how tempting it is to see everything — but you can’t see the best of Paris in just a few hours. Hell, you can’t see the best of Paris in two weeks.

I’m fairly certain that one of the secrets to travel happiness is making peace with the fact that you won’t see everything you want to see.

Don’t go to Disneyland Paris or Versailles. Both are outside the city — I’m sorry, but there’s just no time to visit on a brief layover.

Tips for a Paris Layover

Bring an umbrella. Paris doesn’t have great weather; it often rains. Or choose to risk it — you can always buy one in a shop.

Don’t dress like a slob. You may have flown overnight, but don’t schlep around Paris in yoga pants and a hoodie — you will stick out like a sore thumb in a city where locals look neat and put together. Trade your leggings for slim jeans, your sweatshirt for a nice sweater, jacket and scarf.

Consider bringing a Paris guidebook or chapter. Even on a layover, this can be super helpful before and during your trip. I prefer buying the PDF version of Lonely Planet guides and keeping them on my phone. They have a Paris guidebook, but I think it’s enough to just buy the Paris chapter from the France guidebook — much cheaper, too!

Wear comfortable flats. Sneakers immediately label you as a tourist. Literally all the shoes I own come from The Walking Company — their Abeo flats have FANTASTIC arch support, which I need for my bad feet, and they’re chic enough for Paris.

Download a Paris map app to your phone. It’s the easiest way to keep track of where you are, rather than using a paper map. If you plan on taking the metro, there are lots of free metro apps as well.

Be conscious of pickpockets. Pickpockets target tourists in Paris. To minimize your risk, I recommend using a crossbody purse that zips shut and you hold in front of you, or a backpack that locks like my Pacsafe backpack. Consider getting a Speakeasy Travel Scarf — they have a secret zippered pocket no pickpocket can get into.

Make sure you have travel insurance for your whole trip. If the worst happens — if you’re pickpocketed, or if you trip and break your ankle and need to visit a hospital, travel insurance will protect your finances and reimburse you. I never travel without it. I use and recommend World Nomads.

GET BACK IN TIME FOR YOUR FLIGHT!!!!

The most important tip of all. Everything here is meaningless if you end up missing your flight to your next destination!

I like to give myself a nice, comfy cushion of time so I won’t be stressed. (Ask anyone who has ever traveled with me and has seen me freak out when we’ve cut a deadline too close.)

Get back to Charles de Gaulle at least two hours before your onward flight departs. I like to give myself two and a half. It may seem a bit excessive, but when you consider the alternative — missing your flight, being stranded, possibly fucking up your return flight as well — this is one place where caution reigns supreme.

Paris Map 

Here are all the locations mentioned. As you can see, they’re all close together!

Have a fabulous trip!


READ NEXT: 100 Travel Tips for Paris


Have you been to Paris? What would you recommend doing on a short layover?

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87 thoughts on “How to Spend a Layover in Paris”

  1. If Immigration arriving at Charles de Gaulle takes 30 minutes you’re lucky! Also, you have to go through passport control then pick up your luggage to do immigration and then drop it off again. I’ve never done that in less than an hour. I’d recommend taking a day (or more!!) and visiting in a leisurely way! Also, if you wear clean, new looking sneakers (like addidas or nikes but not running shoes) you’ll be dressed like 75% of French women now!

    1. It depends on whether you’re booked all the way through or not.

      Yes, I agree — the French only wear sneakers if they’re slim and stylish. Americans were bulky, gross, unfashionable sneakers that wouldn’t fit in in France.

    2. I was just in Paris and I noticed people wearing sneakers too- but slim ones, and a LOT of glitter and metallic sneakers on some of the younger women.

  2. Excellent, excellent, excellent. I studied abroad in Paris ages ago but revisited last spring for the first time in 13 years for work, and only had about half a day to myself. I hit up a lot of the spots on your map because it really is the best of quintessential Paris even for someone who has lived there!

  3. Excellent advice! I’ve spent a lot of time traveling to Belgium to see my brother and almost every trip I take the train to Paris, sometimes just for a day trip. I can’t get enough of it! So, I don’t have to deal with security/customs/etc I do like to see some advice for just a few short hours in Paris. It’s my favorite city in the world so when I’m close, I stop in. I’ll be in Belgium next month, maybe I’ll go again 🙂

  4. LOL I literally booked a flight yesterday with a 16 hour layover and was starting to google “Paris layovers” and was surprised when you didn’t have a post on it. Excellent job rectifying that in under 24 hours 🙂 Your advice here is pretty similar to everything else I’ve read as well, seems like a no-brainer.

    Since we’ll have time for two meals is there a great dinner restaurant recommendation (somewhat splurge worthy) you have in the area? TIA!!

      1. Apparently I didn’t have notifications set up for this. We are finally on our way to Paris and will for sure be getting some steak frites. Thanks for all the tips and your speedy reply!

  5. ‘Love the post Kate!

    I’ve been to Paris many times, and this is excellent advice. I’d still advice at least 7 hours rather than 5, as you’ll need at least 2 hours when you get back! And definitely take the train rather than a taxi as traffic (depending on the time of day) can be a right killer lol!

    And possibly doing just 3 things:
    1. Stroll along the river and around the cobbled streets.
    2. Aim to “see” rather than go into a tourist sight. And if you do go in, spend not more than 30 mins!
    3. Spend time at a cafe and have some refreshment and a glass of wine, champagne, or cup of coffee. Choice your poison!

    We’re going to France this summer, but sadly, our layover in Paris is just 1.5 hours. No champagne for us lol!

  6. Great post and lots of great tips! Notre Dame is my favourite building in Paris by far. I’ve taken a couple of short trips to Paris before and always end up sitting for a while in Champ de Mars (sp?) by the Eiffel Tower. As touristy as it is, it’s great for people watching!

  7. Was in Paris for a layover in January, I think its important to note if you are on a layover on a Sunday to keep in mind a lot of things are closed so it might not be worth going in to the city.

  8. CDG is always a mixed bag for me, time-wise. I once spent 2 solid hours in a mass of people that just pushed forward (rather than snaking like a line) waiting for passport control. I have also arrived around 9 PM, when there’s barely another soul in the airport, which is lovely. The information booth was still open and they gave me such detailed instructions on which train to take, and a woman from the airline very nicely translated for me when all plans went awry and my Couchsurfing host couldn’t understand a single word I said over the phone.

    I don’t know if I would risk anything less than 10 hours getting outside of CDG, but I think this is a great idea for a blog post and def recommend people get on out there, if they can!

  9. I have never been to Paris, but this is all great information to know! One of the places I would totally hit up is the Shakespeare and Company! There are still so many places I want to visit, but I’d have to plan a trip to Paris.

  10. I just want to add a warning about immigration control- SCHENGEN IS NO LONGER REALLY SCHENGEN!!!

    Given the refugee crisis and general anti-immigration positions being taken in all sorts of corners of Europe, free circulation is no longer a given. I’ve had to go through immigration returning to Paris from Portugal, which theoretically shouldn’t happen. European countries are using various emergency measures to not comply with Schengen rules.

    Don’t count on sailing through anymore!

  11. A few years ago my mom had a six hour layover in Paris and she ended up hiring a taxi driver to take her around the major sites. She said it was a blast to see Paris like that =o) I hope to try it one day too =o)

  12. Super useful, Kate! I love booking long layovers on purpose. Sometimes it means getting a cheaper flight AND getting to see a city, even if it’s for a brief moment. I find it fun to jam pack my day(s) on that long layover as it’s usually different than my regular traveling ways, which is sloooowww. haha. Going to Paris again for a few days next month so I’ll be able to use some of the destinations here for one of my days. Thanks 🙂

  13. This is a great itinerary. I went on a boat tour when I had a day a Paris a couple of years ago and that was a good way to see a lot in a short time and get an overview of the city. Next time I’d focus on a particular area as you suggest.

  14. Really handy tips! I especially love the part about not dressing like a slob…my first trip to Paris I was in full Aussie mode and wore thongs on my feet, the amount of stares I got was hilarious 🙂

  15. I visited Paris for 36 hours and i saw a lot in that time because of a tour i had picked out weeks before. I’d love to go back and spend more time but anytime in a country is better than no time in my eyes!!

  16. I used to live in Paris in the 1990’s, and you certainly need a minimum of at least those 5 hours. With the city being amazingly compact, you can see a few things in one area with that amount of time. The metro and the rer are excellent ways to get about. On the metro, you will find the stops are only minutes apart. If you have more time, walking around Paris is best. I’ve walked from one side of the city to the other in just a few hours. I was young though then!

  17. Just wanted to thank you for this guide, Kate.

    Definitely an action packed list but Paris was sooooo big I underestimated how much I would be able to see during my layover.

    Getting into the city center was really easy though from CDG and I also had a quick experience going through passport control.

    I think this definitely works a lot easier if you have a connecting flight since you don’t have to worry about luggage but I guess you could always jsut check it into a locker for a few hours while you head out to explore.

    Anyways, thanks again Kate! You def made my layover 100x better than waiting around in CDG (which is a pretty boring airport!)

  18. Great post Kate, with lots of useful advice. It just made me jot down ways to manage my visit to Paris. I have planned a family tour to Prague with a 9-hour layover in Paris. Your information will help me a lot. I believe we won’t have any problem there.

    Thanks 🙂

  19. This is great advice! I never get good long layovers; just a couple of hours usually, which is barely enough time to leave the airport, lol! This summer I’m headed to Paris with a 2 hour layover in Berlin…oh well, maybe there will at least be enough time to find a German Chocolate bar!! 🙂

  20. Wonderful list. Thank you so much for this list of travel blogs. These are just amazing. Keep it up with the travel journey.This is great advice! Thanks and regards..

  21. Helpful! Thanks! I have a 15hr layover in a few weeks. I was hoping to hit Musee D’Orsay but I will have all of my valuables on me – iPad, camera, binoculars etc…I understand they are making people check larger bags/backpacks now due to security so I probably won’t end up going in. But I’m sure I can occupy myself nonetheless!

  22. Hi! I will have 24hrs for a layover in Paris, but I will arrive at 8pm, Friday, and depart at 10am Saturday. Any advice on where to go? Should I still go with the routes recommended?

    Thank you!

  23. I will be going to Paris from London. I am a woman travelling alone.
    When is the best time to go
    where is the best place to stay

    ALL ON A BUDGET I’m AFRAID

  24. I will be going from Spain to Zurich considering staying one night (only) in Paris, is it worth it?
    I am a traveling with my grandmother, thought it would be cute to splurge and take here there since neither of us has ever been. If so, I am willing to splurge a little only if my hotel allows us to have a decent view of the Eiffel Tower.

    What would you say is the best place to stay? Thank you.

  25. Terence m McCorry

    I arrive in Paris from Roem at 10:30
    PM. My flight to London is at 7PM. I plan a trip to one special area as you suggest but are there cool late night spots and open all night spots like in NYC?

  26. Hello!

    I will be arriving in Paris 8am Monday morning from Toronto and our next flight is 2pm to Nigeria. That leaves is with 6 hours. I would like to plan to be back in the airport by 11am just to be safe. So in that 3 hours we just want to take a photo of the eiffle tower and grab some food. Can we do this? Reading the perious post we will use the train but where should we stop? Where’s the closest lookout? Is this enough time?

    1. If you’re going to arrive back three hours early for your flight, you won’t have enough time. Sorry. I said have a minimum of six hours with the understanding that you would get back two hours before your flight, not three.

  27. Hi,

    What would I need to do if I am flying into CDG from NY and then onto Cairo? I have an 11 hour layover and would like to explore some of Paris. I booked my flight as a single ticket, although it’s Delta to CDG and AF/Joon to Cairo but all booked at once through Delta. How much time do you think I will have to explore Paris?

  28. Hi Kate,
    I’m going to Paris next week with my two boys (14 & 12, the younger with less ability to walk for hours) and we have a total layover of 12.5 hrs (landing at 7h45 leaving at 20h15), so I figured with travel time and logistics at the airport, we actually have about 7 hrs to sightsee (taking your advice).
    The second constraint is budget. So I figured, I would get a 1 day buspass for the 3 of us, and use public transport to get everywhere. If I understand correctly both kids count as adults, so our passes will cost us 83 Euros. That is the biggest chunk of our budget for the day right there…
    Any suggestions for breakfast, lunch and dinner, along your stops mentioned in your post? Any help would be appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Monika

    1. Hi Monika —

      I actually wouldn’t recommend buying bus passes. The bus is much more complicated than the metro. Instead, take the metro, and buy a carnet (set of 10 tickets) and buy more as you use them.

      For breakfast, I recommend stopping at a bakery for some pastries. Very Parisian thing to do, and it’s cheap! For lunch, you could grab something at a street cafe or get a crepe from a street vendor. It looks like you won’t have time for dinner if your flight leaves at 20:15.

  29. Hi Kate,
    I’m with a group of six on our way to Africa. We arrive at CDG at 10:40AM and depart at 10:05PM. We’d like to visit the Eiffel Tower and the Arch of Triunph plus have lunch somewhere in between and a coffee before returning to the airport. Does that seem reasonable to you? If so, what would you recomend as far as transportation? Thank you so much!!

    1. Yes, this is definitely doable, and you’ll probably have time to meander a bit too.

      If you want to go to the Eiffel Tower first, take the RER to St. Michel-Notre Dame like I instructed in this post, but when you get there, change to the RER to Champs de Mars-Tour Eiffel. You can walk to the Arc de Triomphe if you’re in the mood, or take a cab or the metro if you’re not. I recommend walking.

      I would recommend eating in the St. Michel area since the areas around the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe are geared toward tourists, but you can do whatever you’d like.

      1. Hi Kate
        Would I be able to store my carry on luggage somewhere at the airport. I fly into terminal 2 A and fly out of terminal 2 C. My flight will land at 10 am and depart at 9pm.

        1. As it says in the post: “However, there is luggage storage at Charles de Gaulle Airport. It’s located in Terminal 2, across from the RER station. It’s open from 6:00 AM until 9:30 PM.”

  30. Hi Kate,

    Just the info I was looking for! I have a 7.5 hour layover during my flight BOS>CDG>MUC. I get into Paris at 8:15am and my flight to Munich departs at 3:40pm. Do you think it’s worth it to see some of the city? would obviously prefer to do that rather than sit in the airport!

  31. This is a really great post! Will definitely be using this as a guide during an 8-hour layover to Paris next month 🙂 Thank you!

  32. Hi, Kate,
    My 12 hour layover will be overnight. Would a single woman be safe by herself walking around and visiting sites at night? Is anything open for business?

    1. Some restaurants and cafes are open quite late — that would be your best bet, aside from visiting outdoor monuments at night. Paris is as safe as any other major city at night, just keep a close eye on your belongings as pickpocketing is rampant.

  33. Kate, we have a 5 hr, 50 minute layover in Paris in late May, 2019 on our way to Zurich. We’d like to go into the city to enjoy a quick walk around (ile de la cite) and a stop by a bakery. Would this be doable?

  34. Hi Kate- first time in Paris. I arrive 5:10 pm. 17 hour layover. Getting a hotel room at the airport. How and where should I go for a casual dinner in Paris?
    Thanks,
    Mike

  35. This is an amazing bit of information. Wow! Thank you so much! All I’ve ever wanted to do was see the Eiffel Tower and take pictures. My layover is 6 hours. I don’t need food or anything. I just want to see the Eiffel tower before I die. Is it doable?

  36. Sarah Coleman

    Hi Kate,
    We have a 10hr layover in Paris with our final destination being Cairo, Egypt. I can’t seem to find a straight answer on whether or not we need a visa to leave the airport and explore? Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Sarah —

      What country are you from? Look up the requirements for visiting the EU from your home country. If you’re from the US/Canada/Australia/New Zealand, you won’t need a visa.

  37. We have a group of 4 with a 15hr layover in May. We’re arriving at around 0800 and departing 2300. We are looking at doing a 1 Day Big Bus pass for everyone to see sights, and maybe get of at 1 or 2 places. Do you recommend the Big Bus Tours? One of the party is interested in the Louvre, but I’m afraid it may be very time consuming. Thanks for the recommendations of clothing. I would look very much like a tourist otherwise.

    1. You can do that if you’d like. It does give you a view of the city. But if you have a 15-hour layover, you have time for more than just 1 or 2 stops! The Louvre CAN be very time-consuming, or you can have a plan and decide to spend no more than two hours or so there. Museum fatigue is real, too. You can make it work.

  38. Hi I will be flying from Milan to San Francisco but will have a 12 hour layer in CDG. Help! I am flying alone but want to explore Paris. Unfortunately it is an overnight flight so what do you suggest I do? Is it too dangerous for a woman in her 20’s to explore Paris at this time?

    My travel dates will be early July. Thanks a lot! All feedback welcome 🙂 This would be my first time in both cities/ countries.

  39. Hi Kate ‘ I’m flying from YYZ to CDG -overnight flight I’ll arrive Saturday morning around seven o’clock and my flight to Cairo leaves at two pm
    I’m thinking about going to Paris shopping , my question is do you think the shop will be open by that time in St Michel.

    1. I think your itinerary is going to be very tight for shopping — you’ll have to leave St. Michel by around 11:00 AM at the VERY latest, so you may be able to hit some up between 10 and 11 AM.

  40. Hi! Just the information I was looking for… We are flying from Houston to Barcelona at the end of May with a layover from 8:15am – 5:50pm. We will take the RER to go to the Eiffel Tower. That is what my boys want to see (9 year old twins). From there we will try to follow some of your tips. If you think of anything specifically for kids, please let me know. My main concern is luggage at the airport. We are booked the whole way, on one itinerary, on Air France. My well-traveled friend insists that we will have to retrieve our luggage in Paris in order to go through customs. She says it’s a security issue. People can’t just leave their luggage sitting in an airport and leave for the day. I was under the impression our luggage would just be checked the whole way and we would see it that night in Barcelona. Do you still think we don’t need to claim it?

  41. Kate!

    Thanks for your amazing site / info

    I have an 8 hour 10 minute layover on a wednesday.

    The catch! is that we arrive at 5:05 AM, flight is at 1:15 PM.

    Going by what you said, that would mean we’d need to be back in the airport around 11:15 (i’d probably be a bit flexible for 11:30-11:45 – not sure if that’s wise in these crazy days!)

    Anyway – let’s say we arrive downtown around 7-ish

    what is there to do that EARLY? Is anything open? Galleria mall?

    I’ll be with my 12 year old son

    I’m SOOOO Sad about the Notre Dame.

    I’d like to end up at the Eiffel Tower – i thought if we get there when it opens at 9:30, we could go up and down but it’s sounding risky

    If the train takes about 35 minutes from that stop, do you know the most direct way from Eiffel tower to airport and how long it would take? and how often the trains come.

    Thanks!!!

    1. Oh, do not go to a mall. Just walk around and enjoy the architecture and beauty of the city! Plenty of bakeries will be open.

      Don’t risk going to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Just go see it.

  42. Joseph Anglo

    Hi,

    Ms. Kate, is it possible to do this but in London? I have a 7 hr layover in Gatwick.

    Thanks,

    Joey

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