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CDG to Montparnasse - A Question of Timing

Time of past OR future Camino
May - June 2024
Good day! I am looking for feedback/opinions on timing. I fly into CDG from the United States, landing at 07:05 AM CET. I plan to take the train from Montparnasse to SJPdP via Bayonne. The train leaves Montparnasse a little after 10:00 AM CET.

Is three hours enough time to comfortably get through customs at CDG and get to Montparnasse in plenty of time to catch the train?

Thanks in advance for your patience and feedback!

Steve
 
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A Treasure Trove Of Interesting Pilgrim Hacks! Learn & Share Your Own Too!
Maybe, if all goes well. My flight landed at 6 am. US/Canada immigration line just opened so only 15-20 minute wait. Wait for baggage was about 20-30 minutes. At 7 am it may be much busier depending on when you will be traveling.
I took RER to the Denfort station then 20-minute walk to Montparnasse and arrived before 9 (even with delay due to everyone having to get off the train at Gard du Nord that day for some reason). I booked the 1pm train just in case more things went wrong or slower than expected but I could have easily made the 11 o'clock train. Due to AM rush hour, RER or taxi will probably take about same time (taxi may be longer due to having to drive through Paris to get across river to Montparnasse).
 
Last year my plane landed at CDG at 10:39 am. It was more than an hour before I got an Uber at 11:48 (I did spend time getting cash from an ATM and figuring out where the Uber would pick me up - probably 15 minutes). The Uber dropped me off at my hotel near Gare Montparnasse at 12:46 pm - just over two hours after I landed. So I guess that it's possible to catch a train three hours after arrival. But I enjoyed spending a couple of days in Paris first.
 
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SideWinder: this is from my Facebook post of April, 2017. It is my somewhat cautionary tale of what happened to me trying to get from CDG to Montparnasse station: "Arrived late afternoon in Bayonne. Sunny, but cool. Plane was delayed out of Seattle. Paris immigration took 45 minutes. A normal 40 minute taxi ride from CDG to Montparnasse was 1.5 hours. The 4 hours I budgeted for plenty of contingencies to get to my train on time dwindled to 15 minutes. Note to self: next time budget a couple of weeks to get from CDG to a Paris train station. Had my first Basque beer while sun was still bright on the Nive River. Cathedral is highlighted in photo. Soon to bed. Long day including squalling babies--my favorite!"
 
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Thanks all for the great advice. As suggested, I decided to stay the night near Montparnasse and take the early train to Bayonne. Less stress is better!
Im just coming over from the uK by train and I will stay overnite close to the Montparnasse Station. If it helps the hotel im staying at is Hotel Le Fabe curtessy of Booking.Com and is a 15 minute walk to the Station. Buen Camino
 
Im just coming over from the uK by train and I will stay overnite close to the Montparnasse Station. If it helps the hotel im staying at is Hotel Le Fabe curtessy of Booking.Com and is a 15 minute walk to the Station. Buen Camino
Thanks for the info, Mark! I found a hotel close the station on booking.com and plan to take the early train to Bayonne the next morning. Buen Camino.
 
SideWinder: this is from my Facebook post of April, 2017. It is my somewhat cautionary tale of what happened to me trying to get from CDG to Montparnasse station: "Arrived late afternoon in Bayonne. Sunny, but cool. Plane was delayed out of Seattle. Paris immigration took 45 minutes. A normal 40 minute taxi ride from CDG to Montparnasse was 1.5 hours. The 4 hours I budgeted for plenty of contingencies to get to my train on time dwindled to 15 minutes. Note to self: next time budget a couple of weeks to get from CDG to a Paris train station. Had my first Basque beer while sun was still bright on the Nive River. Cathedral is highlighted in photo. Soon to bed. Long day including squalling babies--my favorite!"
Another cautionary tale! I appreciate the benefit of learning these lessons without all the stress. Thanks, John!
 
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The benefit of EasyJet flight to Biarritz is that you never need to leave the airport and is faster than the train.


-Paul
 
Hi @SideWinder and Welcome
Seems your mind is made up to stay and I for one am very big on spending that 'arrival day' in Paris, but just to add a little of my personal experience:
(from my FindPenguins): Landed about 11am local time and simply breezed through Passport Control and no Customs at all.
The entry was made about 12:40 and I just got on RER B, so its still took say 90 mins to get on the other side, get the checked-in bag, stop at ATM, find my way to RER and buy a ticket (although all easy).

it is so much better to take your time, unwind and enjoy a nice afternoon & evening in Paris. Your choices as to what to do are endless (I for one explored Cimeterie Montparnasse before settling for dinner)
next morning it was a pleasant 15 min walk to the Gare and the rest is Camino History!
(I stayed at Aloha Hostel)

Good luck and Buen Camino
 
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Hi @SideWinder and Welcome
Seems your mind is made up to stay and I for one am very big on spending that 'arrival day' in Paris, but just to add a little of my personal experience:
(from my FindPenguins): Landed about 11am local time and simply breezed through Passport Control and no Customs at all.
The entry was made about 12:40 and I just got on RER B, so its still took say 90 mins to get on the other side, get the checked-in bag, stop at ATM, find my way to RER and buy a ticket (although all easy).

it is so much better to take your time, unwind and enjoy a nice afternoon & evening in Paris. Your choices as to what to do are endless (I for one explored Cimeterie Montparnasse before settling for dinner)
next morning it was a pleasant 15 min walk to the Gare and the rest is Camino History!
(I stayed at Aloha Hostel)

Good luck and Buen Camino
Thanks @CWBuff, I appreciate the feedback. I'm looking forward to a relaxing afternoon in Paris, a good meal and an early ride to Bayonne.
 
I thought about this, @pjacobi, but I'll be flying back to Paris from Santiago and wanted to enjoy the train. Thanks for the feedback!

I like trains, too! But sitting on a train for 4 hours after a 6 hour flight was not appealing to me. In my opinion, the time is better spent in SJPP. Save your train ride experience for somewhere in the Swiss Alps.


-Paul
 
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I thought about this, @pjacobi, but I'll be flying back to Paris from Santiago and wanted to enjoy the train. Thanks for the feedback!
I thought about this, @pjacobi, but I'll be flying back to Paris from Santiago and wanted to enjoy the train. Thanks for the feedback!

So good to hear you will choose the slow travelling! The environment thanks you.
 
I like trains, too! But sitting on a train for 4 hours after a 6 hour flight was not appealing to me. In my opinion, the time is better spent in SJPP. Save your train ride experience for somewhere in the Swiss Alps.
And I disagree with you entirely. After a 10 hour flight I mostly want to lay down somewhere! A hotel in Paris allows me to do that, plus walk around doing some sightseeing. Then after a night (or two or three) I can enjoy the train ride, which is much more comfortable (and interesting to me) than a flight. But we are all different and have different preferences.
 
I can only dream of a passenger railroad system that is as countryside appealing, welcoming, and dependable, as what has been my experience in Europe. So, when I have a chance to be on a train, I'm all aboard! My ride from Montparnasse to Bayonne was spent in and out of cat naps. 50 days later, I returned to Paris from Santiago. The route retraced some of the Camino I had just been on a few days earlier. Only now, I was relaxed with a copa of Rioja in my hand, and gazing nostalgically out at the land I was passing through. The train stopped in Hendaye to adjust to the different track gauges between Spain and France. It was a pleasant overnight in Hendaye, the small French town just on the other side of the Pyrenees, where Ernest Hemingway worked on The Sun Also Rises. Early the next morning under a clear blue sky, we tracked through small villages along the Bay of Biscay before heading inland. Paris was waiting.
 
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Agree with above posts. My childhood was spent on trains vs planes and even a 28hr trip to Moscow from my city was magical (ok granted I was in a coupe)...
Given that for a better part of our married life my wife was absolutely terrified of planes (thankfully she got better) all our vacations had to be a road destination. And while she was joyfully enjoying the ride looking out the window, I was the one who provided it. So, yeah, I'll sit on a train however slow and enjoy the scenery gliding by.....
...and an extra night in Paris...or two...😊
 
Good day! I am looking for feedback/opinions on timing. I fly into CDG from the United States, landing at 07:05 AM CET. I plan to take the train from Montparnasse to SJPdP via Bayonne. The train leaves Montparnasse a little after 10:00 AM CET.

Is three hours enough time to comfortably get through customs at CDG and get to Montparnasse in plenty of time to catch the train?

Thanks in advance for your patience and feedback!

Steve
I think that's very tight. Rush hour traffic into Paris from CDG can be agonizingly slow. Customs is usually pretty quick. The Montparnasse station is big and sometimes you have to walk a long way to your train. A noon to 1pm departure would be better.
 
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I think that's very tight. Rush hour traffic into Paris from CDG can be agonizingly slow. Customs is usually pretty quick. The Montparnasse station is big and sometimes you have to walk a long way to your train. A noon to 1pm departure would be better.
Thanks, Cindy. The overwhelming majority of feedback suggested I RELAX and spend the night in Paris. Sounds good to me!
 
Good day! I am looking for feedback/opinions on timing. I fly into CDG from the United States, landing at 07:05 AM CET. I plan to take the train from Montparnasse to SJPdP via Bayonne. The train leaves Montparnasse a little after 10:00 AM CET.

Is three hours enough time to comfortably get through customs at CDG and get to Montparnasse in plenty of time to catch the train?

Thanks in advance for your patience and feedback!

Steve


I opted for the overnight in Paris, both for reduced stress and for jetlag recovery.

We landed in CDG at 7AM, 90 minutes to get through Passport control. A little over an hour on the RER train to Gard de Nord, maybe 45 minutes on the Metro to our hotel next to Montparnasse.

We would not have made the 10 AM TGV.

The next morning we had a nice leisurely breakfast at the hotel, a 1 block walk to Gare Montparnasse and started meeting backpack wearing Pilgrims on the platform!
 
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My experience with traveling via Paris/CDG is that you should always budget more time than you think you will need as things can get a bit hectic. I tend to budget extra DAYS, not hours as I have had flights flat out canceled. Also, you never know who will be on strike in France. My most recent flights in/out of Europe have been through London, Munich, and Amsterdam without issues, but I still budget some extra time just in case.
 
My experience with traveling via Paris/CDG is that you should always budget more time than you think you will need as things can get a bit hectic. I tend to budget extra DAYS, not hours as I have had flights flat out canceled. Also, you never know who will be on strike in France. My most recent flights in/out of Europe have been through London, Munich, and Amsterdam without issues, but I still budget some extra time just in case.
Please be advised that there are numerous strikes here in France and in Europe, principally agricultural sector that is angry with governments. The French railroad system is expected to strike next weekend when many French people leave for winter vacation or return from winter vacations.
The farmers protests are European demonstrations and these are expected to grow in intensity as many governments refuse to accede to their demands.
Protests are currently in Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Poland and of course..France.
So..plan for the unexpected.
 
Last edited:
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Please be advised that there are numerous strikes here in France and in Europe, principally agricultural sector that is angry with governments. The French railroad system is expected to strike next weekend when many French pe pôle leave for winter vacation or return from winter vacations.
The farmers protests are European demonstrations and these are expected to grow in intensity as many governments refuse to accede to their demands.
Protests are currently in Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Poland and of course..France.
So..plan for the unexpected.
Noted and thank you for the insight!
 

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