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Fun Ideas for your Layover in Paris
Planning a flight with a long layover in Paris? Although Paris is the biggest city in France, it is compact and easy to navigate on foot, by metro, or bike. So if your next flight includes a Paris layover, don’t hesitate to go to the city and experience some of the unique things to do in Paris.
Paris is always a good idea, even if you can only visit for a day or less!
It’s unusual to have a long layover in Paris Orly Airport, as most long-haul flights are via Charles de Gaulle Airport. This article, however, covers Charles de Gaulle Airport layovers (CDG) and layovers in Paris Orly Airport (ORY).
- Paris Layover FAQ
- Transportation Charles de Gaulle Airport – Paris Overview
- Transportation Orly Airport – Paris Overview
- Layover in Paris – What to Do
- 5-hour Layover in Paris
- 6-hour Layover in Paris
- 7-hour Layover in Paris
- 8-hour Layover in Paris
- 10-hour Layover in Paris
- Long Layover in Paris (12-hour Layover in Paris or more)
- Overnight Layover in Paris
- Hotels near the Airport for your Overnight Layover in Paris
- Things to Do at Charles de Gaulle Aiport
- Things to Do at Orly Airport
- Long Distance Flight Tips
Layover Paris FAQ
Layover in Paris, Do I need a Visa?
Depending on your nationality and destination country, you may need to have a Transit Visa to make a connection in a foreign airport or cross through a foreign country.
In Paris, Transit Visa is necessary for passengers from non-Schengen countries willing to transit through two Schengen Countries. Also, note that a Schengen Visa is needed for all connections between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly Airport.
Do I need a Transit Visa for Paris?
See the answer above.
Can I leave Charles de Gaulle Airport during a layover in Paris?
YES, except if you are a national of a non-Schengen country and only have an airport transit visa. An airport transit visa allows you to travel through an airport’s international zone without entering the country’s territory.
Can you leave the Airport during a Layover in Paris of less than 5 hours?
From your landing in Paris until your next flight, these are the things to consider:
- To be on the safe side, add some extra time in case your first flight is delayed.
- Transportation time from the aircraft to the terminal.
- If you want to leave the airport, you will also spend some time going through the border control when you arrive in France and when you leave France.
- Also, keep in mind that if you booked your flights separately with different flight companies, you would need to pick up the baggage at the Paris airport and do another check-in. Allow extra time to do all this.
- Getting from any of the two Paris airports to the city center usually takes between 40 min to 1.5 hours (depending on the means of transportation).
How much time is left to enjoy Paris?
Considering all the things mentioned above, we don’t suggest going into the city unless you have a minimum of a five-hour layover in Paris, and even then, your time in Paris would be very brief.
Transportation Charles-de-Gaulle Airport – Paris Overview
Taxi CDG Airport
Transportation Orly Airport – Paris Overview
Taxi Orly Airport
Layover in Paris – What to Do
How to spend a layover in Paris? Here’s a list of things to do on a layover in Paris of 5 hours or more. Our proposals include sightseeing, strolls around the city, must-attractions, and a Paris layover tour. Remember to keep 2 hours for the transportation airport to Paris and back. Therefore, a 5-hour layover in Paris, for example, will mean 3 hours available to visit Paris.
For an overnight layover in Paris with a second flight early in the morning, we have included a list of hotels close to the airports, so you are sure not to miss your second flight.
5-Hour Layover in Paris
What to do on a 5-hour layover in Paris? A short Paris layover can be a great opportunity to tick off a few items on your Paris Bucket List.
Option 1. Book a Paris Layover Tour
With 5 hours in Paris, get out in the fresh air and enjoy some of Paris’ top sights with this top-rated Paris Layover Tour proposed by Viator.
At the desired time, an experienced English-speaking professional driver will pick you up from the airport in a private vehicle, ready for a little adventure in Paris. During the trip, he will share the historical facts, the necessary information about the sights, and some anecdotes about Parisians and life in Paris to immerse you into the Parisian lifestyle.
The guide proposes a sample Paris layover tour that includes stops at the Sacré-Coeur, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Tuileries Garden, Louvre Museum, and Notre Dame. Still, this Paris layover tour is completely customizable at no extra charge.
This popular Paris layover tour for a group of up to 9 people lasts from 5 to 7 hours (transportation time airport – Paris – airport included). It includes the pick-up /drop-off in the airport – Click here to book this Paris Layover Tour.
Option 2. Visit the Eiffel Tower (Duration: 2 hrs)
The distance from CDG to Eiffel Tower is 31.5 km via highway A1, around 40 min by car. Click here for all the ways to get from CDG Airport to the Eiffel Tower.
The distance from Orly Airport to the Eiffel Tower is 17.6 Km, around 20 min by car. Click here for all the ways to get from Orly Airport to the Eiffel Tower.
Can you climb up to the Eiffel Tower with 5 hours in Paris? In theory, YES, but only if you book skip-the-line tickets online in advance. When you buy a skip-the-line Eiffel Tower ticket online, you will pick a specific date and time slot, so you don’t waste time waiting in line – Click here to buy your Eiffel Tower Skip the Line Tickets.
In case you decide not to climb up to the top, here’s the list of some fun things to do near the Eiffel Tower.
Option 3. Visit the Louvre – We tell you How to Do it in 2 hours!
Other people may consider a visit to the famous Louvre Museum. Being one of the world’s biggest museums, the Louvre can be very time-consuming… unless you have a plan.
Check out our best Louvre skip-the-line tips. Louvre skip-the-line tickets are paramount if you want to visit the Louvre Museum during your Paris layover. These skip-the-line tickets have a specific date and time slot, so you are sure to enter the Louvre in 30 minutes or less – Click here to buy your skip-the-line Louvre tickets.
6-Hour Layover in Paris
With a 6-hour layover in Paris, things get slightly better. If you concentrate on one small area with several attractions, you can feel like you’ve seen a lot of Paris.
Option 1. Take a Unique Stroll though the Banks of the Seine River (Duration: 3 hrs)
As big as Paris is, it is a surprisingly walkable city. One can spend a day on foot and not tire of the sights. Since you have 6 hours in Paris and Paris has not the world’s most exciting airports, head out for a unique stroll in the City of Light.
At the airport train station, take the RER B and get out at Saint Michel-Notre Dame station. Cross the bridge that connects the Seine’s left bank to Ile de la Cité, the heart of Medieval Paris.
Admire Notre Dame’s main facade; this cathedral is a jewel of Gothic architecture and one of Paris’ main sights.
Walk over to Seine’s right bank and start walking north-west, downstream, always having the river on your left side. Check out the bouquinistes on the right bank of the Seine. They sell books, art, and souvenirs. It feels so Parisian to peruse them!
On your way, admire sights like the Conciergerie, the Pont Neuf, and the river facade of the Louvre Palace. At this point, we recommend leaving the Seine behind to have a look at the Louvre’s glass pyramid, located on its inner court.
Enjoy a pleasant walk through the famous Tuileries Gardens. Designed for Queen Catherine de Médicis in 1564, Tuileries Gardens are the oldest public gardens in Paris. If you need some rest, the gardens’ two ponds are perfect for relaxation.
At the other side of the Tuileries Gardens, visit Place de la Concorde, with the Egyptian Obelisk in its center. This is the square where King Louis XVI and later Queen Marie-Antoinette were beheaded during the French Revolution.
Finally, cross Pont Alexandre III to Paris 7, on the Seine’s left bank. The golden dome just in front of you belongs to Les Invalides, a military hospital and Napoleon’s final resting place. Walk West, along Quai Branly, to reach the Eiffel Tower for some of the best photo spots in Paris.
By now, it’s probably time to go back to the airport. Take the metro at École Militaire station to board on your last flight.
7-Hour Layover in Paris
With a 7-hour layover in Paris, you can take it easier. If you have 7 hours in Paris, we suggest combining one of the above proposals for five or six hours in Paris with a few of these (but not all of these!) proposals below if they catch your interest.
If you have an 8-hour layover in Paris, you can also use this chapter for inspiration.
Option 1. 5-Hour Layover Proposals +Unique Views of Paris (Duration: 5+ 1-2 hrs)
Again, a skip-the-line ticket will be your best ally; you don’t want to waste your precious few hours in Paris waiting in line!
Option 2. 5-6 Hour Layover Proposals +Visit Sainte-Chapelle (Duration: 5-6 +1 hrs)
This gothic-style royal chapel is home to some of the most intricate stained glass designs in Europe. Sainte Chapelle’s stained glass windows depict scenes from the Bible, and they are amazing! The Sainte-Chapelle is located close to Notre-Dame in Ile de la Cité – Click here to book your skip the line ticket to Sainte Chapelle
Option 3. 5-6 Hour Layover Proposals +Spend Time in a Parisian Café (Duration: 5-6 +1 hrs)
Order your favorite drink and have a rest in a café-terrasse, reading a book, or people-watching; it’s one of the locals’ favorite pastimes!
10-Hour Layover in Paris
If you have 10 hours in Paris, you can combine one of the proposals for 5 or 6 hours above with a stroll around the quintessential neighborhood of Montmartre.
Option 1. 5-6 Hour Layover Proposals +Enjoy Montmartre’s Bohemian Atmosphere (Duration: 5-6 + 3 hrs)
Stretch those legs before getting back on your last plane and visit the city’s most famous ‘quartier’ with this self-guided Montmartre Walking Tour.
Enjoy Montmartre’s bohemian atmosphere; the neighborhood has everything we imagine when we think about Paris: street painters, yummy crêperies, some picturesque corners, and the enchanting sound of the accordion on the streets.
The proposed self-guided walking tour covers Montmartre’s main sights and tells you the stories behind these places. For something more off the beaten path, check out our secret map of Montmartre. At lunchtime, stop at one of the restaurants in Montmartre for a quick meal.
Long Layover in Paris (12-Hour Layover in Paris or More)
During a 12 to 18-hour layover in Paris, you can follow this one-day in Paris itinerary or combine some of the previous proposals with a lunch or dinner in a typical Parisian bistro or brasserie to taste the Paris food.
With 12 hours in Paris or more, you can also think about using 1-2 hours to visit a small museum or walk the covered passages in Paris if the weather is not good.
Overnight Layover in Paris
What do you do during an overnight layover in Paris? Overnight layovers are a great opportunity to get a taste of the nightlife in Paris.
For your overnight layover in Paris, we recommend checking-in in a hotel near the airport and taking a train or private transportation to the city center to enjoy Paris at night.
Option 1. Unique Dinner & Drinks in Paris
Do you have an Orly or CDG layover during dinner time? If you found a great deal on a connecting flight through Paris, skip the airport restaurants and head into the city.
For a unique meal on your layover, Paris won’t disappoint. Head to Les Ombres, a restaurant located on the rooftop terrace of Musée du Quai Branly in Paris 7. Apart from tasting some famous foods in Paris, the unique view over the sparkling Eiffel Tower will delight you.
Maybe you are just looking for a unique place to have a drink and wash down that terrible airplane food? With only a layover in Paris, it can’t just be any bar.
In the summertime, the rooftop bars of Paris are the locals’ place to be. Try Le Perchoir du Marais (37 rue de la Verrerie, Paris 4), Paris’s most fashionable terrace with breathtaking views. Or Up on the Roof in the heart of the Latin Quarter (4 rue Danton, Paris 6), with a view on Notre-Dame, the Palais de Justice, and the Seine.
Option 2. Can Can Dance & Bubbles in a Parisian Cabaret
Another oh-so-Parisian option for your overnight layover in Paris is a Parisian cabaret. Cabarets are a popular tourist attraction in Paris at night, and nowhere else in Paris will you find such a choice of quality cabarets.
A cabaret show in Paris usually lasts around 90 min, but it can be longer if you book it with a dining option. If you are interested in a cabaret in Paris but don’t know which one to choose, check our guide with the best cabarets in Paris. Book online and in advance.
Option 3. Take a Unique Seine River Night Cruise
A Seine River dinner cruise can be the perfect way to spend a unique overnight layover in Paris. As the sun sets and the city lights up, step on board and get ready for an awesome soirée out on the river.
Have a look at the best Seine River Cruises in Paris to find the perfect boat tour for you. Night river cruises come with or without dinner. For an unforgettable night in Paris, we recommend the full experience.
Hotels Near the Airport for your Overnight Layover in Paris
If you have an overnight layover in Paris with an early flight the day after, consider sleeping in one of the hotels near the airport. Sleeping in a hotel close to the airport eliminates the stress of waking up early in the morning and getting a taxi during the rush hour.
Paris Layover – Things to Do at Charles de Gaulle Airport
In general, your experience will vary based on what terminal you will be spending your time in, but basically, this is the list of things to do at Charles de Gaulle Airport:
Shopping: CDG airport has many shops, from duty-free shopping to gastronomy or exclusive fashion stores. If you want to know what to buy in Charles de Gaulle airport during your layover in Paris, check this link with the list of all the Charles de Gaulle Airport Shops.
Eating: unfortunately, CDG airport does not have a big choice of restaurants for lunch or dinner, plus the prices are high. If you have enough time to travel to the city, you will have a better culinary experience than in the airport. For short layovers with no time to go to Paris, here’s the list of restaurants in Paris CDG.
Arts: Espace Musées proposes regular art exhibitions in Paris Charles de Gaulle, Terminal E. Check this link to see the current exhibitions and their exact location in the airport.
CDG Luggage Storage: for the passengers visiting Paris on a CDG layover, the CDG luggage storage in Charles de Gaulle Terminal 2 can keep your carry-on for a few euros. For more information, exact location, and prices, check their website here.
Massages: Be Relax proposes to passengers a wide range of relaxing services like massages, manicures, pedicures, etc. Check their seven available Spas located in Terminal 2, their proposals, and pricing.
Kids Entertainment: there are games and spaces for kids all around the airport.
Shower facilities at CDG airport: There are no shower facilities at CDG Airport unless you can access one of its Airport Lounges. Not all the Airport Lounges at CDG have shower facilities, so we recommend checking the Airport’s Lounge Review for more information.
Paris Layover – Things to Do at Orly Airport
Don’t expect too much from a layover in Orly Airport. The good news is that if you couldn’t do any of the suggestions above, it means your time in Orly will be short. This is the list of things to do at Orly Airport:
Shopping: Orly airport has many shops, from duty-free shopping to gastronomy or exclusive fashion stores.
Eating: you will find many places to drink coffee and eat snacks or sandwiches. There are also a couple of restaurants offering from a quick lunch to a chef’s meal.
Entertainment: depending on the time available, you can go to the hairdresser or play the latest PS4 games. At the end of the departure lounge, there’s also a piano to play.
And there you have it, what to do in a layover in Paris. Depending on the time available, a Paris layover can be fun!
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