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Taking the RER to Paris from the Airport

Taking the RER train from Charles De Gaulle Airport into the city for the first time and finding my youth hostel.

My first "backpack" trip out of the United States came a little late at 27 years old. The flight from the east coast arrives in Paris at 3:30 a.m. New York time, so a little disorientation is commonplace.

I had heard that taking the RER (the Parisian light rail system) is the cheapest and definitely the coolest way to go to and from the airport in Paris. Finding the rail station was actually quite easy. Just follow the RER signs that seem to be posted everywhere.

The train takes you through the Parisian suburbs. The Paris suburbs are interesting in the fact that the rough areas are outside the city not in the city center. Half way through you pass the Stade de France which is where the 1998 World Cup Soccer final was held. Along the way you pass many charming houses that look out of place with the strange gobs and gobs of graffiti that adorn almost all of the non-residential walls of the suburbs.

Finally your train arrives at Gare du Nord (Gare means station in French). I was staying in a residential area near the Eiffel Tower at the oddly named Aloha Hostel, so I had to switch to the subway at Gare du Nord. A few stops later I was walking around the Paris I had always envisioned. People on bikes with a baguette sticking out of their grocery bag (no kidding), cafe after cafe, little restaurants and friendly (believe it or not) attractive people. I had arrived.

A couple of notes about the RER and Paris Subway

When you but a RER ticket you can use the same ticket to enter the subway to complete your journey.

Do not throw your ticket away until you leave the subway/train station.

Wait for an express train from the airport into Paris it is safer and much faster.

The RER runs once every twenty minutes from Charles de Gaulle to Gare du Nord and costs around $13.

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