More information on Wikitravel
There are three terminals:
Terminal 1, Terminal 2 (which is huge and subdivided into 2A through 2G), and Terminal 3 (formerly T9). The newest exception is terminal 2G which is a separate building and is only reachable via navette/bus in 10-15min (bus leaves every 20min) so allow extra time. The free CDGVAL shuttle train connects the terminals together.
Everything at this airport is very expensive, especially food. If you’re travelling from Terminal 1 it’s also worth noting that the food court is located at the CDGVAL floor, before the security check. There are hardly any benches around. There are no public shower facilities in the airport. Air France lounges have such facilities, and the departure lounges have showers. Lounge access is included for Air France business and first class travellers. The members of the Air France and cooperating frequent flyer programs may gain access with sufficient status. There is a possibility that some lounges may grant access to travellers on their flights for a fee. If you consider paying for access to the lounge, inquire when checking in for your departure. If you must have a shower and your frequent flyer status (and charm) are insufficient to gain entry to a lounge, the airport hotels generally have rooms available (in Sep 2009, the Sheraton in Terminal 2 at the train station charged €155).
When you arrive at CDG, you should note what terminal you arrived at (2A, 2D, etc.), because when you come back to the airport to depart at the end of your trip, the RER subway train makes two stops at CDG to cover the three terminals, but there are few indications of which airlines are at which terminals. Have a close look at your air ticket to figure out which terminal you are departing from. Air France and associates leave from Terminal 2. The RER B has the airlines serviced by each terminal on a not so obvious chart posted by the door of the train.
There are quite a few points with power outlets specifically for charging passengers’ laptops/mobiles, both down by the food court and by some of the gates
Terminal 2 E
VAT Tax refund: First, have your tax refund papers stamped at the tax refund counter in the main terminal area, before you check in with your airline. Although displaying purchase is officially mandatory, it’s usually only required for high priced items.
To locate the tax refund counter in the terminal, look for the signs or ask any airline employee for directions. Don’t be confused by a single queue splitting between currency exchange and tax refund office: choose tax refund if you prefer euros–while currency exchange refunds only in USD or your national currency, both buy at a robbery rate (and with no rollback to the refund window after you realize the rate).
The line can take a long time, expect several minutes per customer. At either office, you can also receive refund for your spouse if you have their passport and refund forms.
Duty-free shopping: There are no shops before security check zone. When you shop in post-security check zone, it’s not genuinely taxfree, as you can receive a tax refund for those purchases as well.
Contrary to what one may expect, there is no L’Occitane; cheese is limited to soft sorts (and there are no ripe varieties); wines starts at €11 and some popular sorts like Chinon can’t be found; the sausage selection is extremely limited.
There are no mid-range clothes or shoes stores, only luxury brands.
The automated ticket machines accept Euro coins of €2, €1 and 50, 20, 10 cent denominations and give change…Euro notes not accepted. Credit card payment is OK on this machines though. There is one separate automated machine which changes €20, €10 and €5 notes to €2 and €1 coins. However, due to the high demand, the machine frequently runs out of coins. There are currency exchange centres, but they explicitly state notes will not be changed for coins. Alternatively, except for some non-European credit cards, many smart-chip credit cards can be used on the ticket machines. Because of these limitations, purchasing tickets from the ticket office may seem to be an attractive method. Although there are many counters, the queues can be very long. On Sunday at “lesser” stations, don’t count on its ticket office being open. Although it is a nuisance, the fastest way to get some tickets is to take a lot of Euro coins with you. It is also possible to explain the situation to a European buying a ticket with a working credit card, and ask them to buy one for you in exchange for a paper note.
Trains for Paris usually leave from platforms 11 and 12. Look for signs saying “RER B” or “All trains go to Paris”. When using the ticket from and to the airport (as with tickets for the RER commuter trains in general) you have to use it to enter and to exit the train. Always keep the ticket handy as the SNCF officials sometimes check for tickets, and if you are without one you may be fined €40. This means that after you put the ticket into the entry gate and are cleared to pass, you must retrieve the ticket from the machine and keep it with you until you leave the train system including any connections.
There is also a TGV station in T2 for high-speed connections, mostly towards Lille and Brussels, but there are also some trains that head west to eg. Rennes and Nantes, bypassing Paris.
Be careful when using buses to get to CDG. There are frequent traffic jams on the motorways leading to the airport – the Air France bus normally may need 50 minutes to get to CDG, but it may take 1½ hours as well, your best bet for arriving on time with the buses is to take them very early in the morning or during other times when there isn’t much traffic.
Air France buses offer two stops in Paris (Porte Maillot, Montparnasse) from CDG with a 50 min ride. To reach a specific address into the city, this shared shuttle service costs €19 per person.
Other transfers are also available and can be booked on-line:
In addition to public transport, Air France operates shuttles (Les Cars Air France) between Charles de Gaulle and Paris (€17), Orly and Paris (€12) and between the two airports (€20). Discounts apply for young/group travellers and online booking. Note that if you have connecting Air France flights that land and depart from different airports, you would still generally need to collect your luggage after landing, catch either the Air France shuttle or a taxi (readily available at all airports) to the other airport and check-in again. This altogether could take up to 2 hours particularly if traffic is at its worst. It is also common to lose time during disembarking, as passengers often need to get off at the tarmac and get on buses which will bring them to the terminal building. Be sure to have sufficient time between flights to catch your connection. Note that check-in desks usually close 30min before the flight departs, longer if flights are international carriers.
You can buy Les Cars Air France tickets online (note: don’t worry about barcodes not showing up on your tickets, although the website mentions them – the driver didn’t care – 2014), on the bus, or at the automated machines in their waiting area at CDG. There is a designated, well-labelled stopping spot for each shuttle line, so make sure you’re in the right place. Someone will take your luggage, ask you where you’re going, and put it in the appropriate compartment. Then, at the destination, a porter will take out all the luggage destined for that stop.
If you want to take RER B and catch an early flight, make sure you bring enough change, because you can only buy tickets at the coins-only machines before the counter opens.
If you arrive to CDG Airport at night you’ll need a Noctilien bus to get to the city centre. The bus stops in all three terminals (in terminal 2F it will be the second level in departure section – it is very difficult to find, but it really exists). The bus leaves every 30min after 12:30. The buses you’ll need are N121 and N120; the price is €7.