How to Spend a Layover in Paris

May 15, 2023

How to Spend a Layover in Paris

As the founder of En Route to Rêverie, I’m of the mind that Paris is always a good idea and that there’s never enough time you can spend in Paris. But, sometimes you are just passing through Paris as a thoroughfare to greater Europe and beyond.

If you’re trying to make the most of a pitstop in Paris before you reach your final destination via connecting flights, this post should be helpful for making the most of your layover.

How To Spend A Layover In Paris

Can You Leave The Airport During A Layover In Paris?

Of course! But, before you leave the airport, be sure you’re aware of your luggage and your documents. You’ll need your passport and boarding pass to re-enter the airport and board your next flight. And be sure you leave plenty of time to clear security again once you return to the airport. The customs and security lines at Charles de Gaulle airport can be brutal.

Things To Do In Paris During A Layover

To get to Paris, you can take a taxi or an Uber or you can take public transport.

If you’d like to take public transportation from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, you can take the RER B trains. It takes between 25 and 40 minutes and makes a few stops at metro stations in the city center: Gare du Nord, Châtelet Les Halles, Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame, and Denfert-Rochereau. It costs about $15.

Once in Paris proper, you can then take the metro to your destination (keeping in mind that many stations don’t have escalators or elevators, so consider the weight of your luggage) or pop outside for a cab (also keeping in mind you don’t flag down metered taxis from any old place in Paris, but rather find a designated taxi stand and wait).

If you have a lot of luggage with you, you may want to consider using a luggage storage locker so you are free to explore Paris without your bags weighing you down. Several of the Paris train stations offer these luggage lockers. Or, if planning to spend the night, your hotel should be able to hold the luggage for you. Reason enough to do a quick overnight in Paris in my opinion!

Twelve Hour Layover in Paris

Have 12 hours? You can get a great taste of Paris!

Get to Paris city center by the RER and get out at the Saint Michel Notre Dame station. Right near the train station you can get a great glimpse of Notre Dame and then head West towards the Louvre. Be sure to walk over the Pont des Arts so you can score a peek at the Eiffel Tower.

Nearby, get a good croissant and some pastries at Castelblangeois Bakery. Walk with it over to Palais Royal to enjoy. Grab a quick photo at the Palais Royal and then head to the Tuileries. In need of coffee? There’s several Cafe Kitsune boutiques nearby. 

Related: The Best Coffee Shops in Paris.

Paris in Spring

Overnight Layover in Paris

Have more than 12 hours to enjoy Paris? Here’s how I would spend that layover.

Hop on Bus 92 to give yourself a cheap tour of some of the best sites Paris has to offer including the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. Be sure you have a Navigo card (purchased from the Metro) to tap to pay to board or you’ll need Euros handy.

Get off the bus on the Left Bank near the Eiffel Tower and take a 20 minute walk East to enjoy time exploring nearby Saint Germain. You can get in some shopping and hit up a café for some great French food while you people watch.

For your one night stay in Paris, I have a variety of hotels I work with as a luxury travel advisor and the founder of En Route to Rêverie  which means I can help you make your reservation while enjoying VIP perks and amenities such as complimentary upgrades, spa or food/beverage credits, complimentary breakfast and/or early check-in and late check out. If interested in having me help you book your hotel, reach out via En Route to Rêverie

24 Hour Layover in Paris

Two of my favorite museums have a bundled ticket and are near one another so they are perfect to fit in for a 24 hour layover in Paris. You’ll see two of the best museums in Paris and get a good dose of culture. 

The Rodin Museum and the Musee  D’Orsay‘s bundled ticket can be bought online in advance and once printed, you’ll be able to use the line for ticket holders at the Musee d’Orsay which can be a huge time saver.

The Rodin Museum and gardens are absolutely lovely to enjoy and afterwards you’re a short walk from Le Bon Marche for shopping or the Eiffel Tower. The Musee d’Orsay is the most popular museum after the Louvre and therefore expect crowds – all the more reason to purchase your ticket in advance as otherwise you will need to wait in a long line.

While on the Left Bank, I would walk to enjoy the Luxembourg Gardens which is one of My Favorite Parks in Paris

What to Buy at CityPharma in Paris

Afterwards, head to Pierre Herme to pick up some treats to bring on your connecting flight. I love the macarons in particular. I’d also hit up CityPharma for some French beauty products at great prices. Just make sure you only purchase travel size if you’re not re-checking any luggage when you return to the airport. 

Before heading to the airport, I also love to stop at PAUL to buy a baguette sandwich for my next flight. They are absolutely delicious and better than airplane or airport food.

. . .

Do you have any tips for airport layovers? I’d love to hear them below!

Heading to Paris? Book En Route to Rêverie with me and get customized recommendations based on your travel preferences to make your next trip to Paris the best one yet. I have loads more insider tips I share with clients!


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