France

France

Q. A few weeks back, you answered a question regarding getting between Charles de Gaulle and Paris. But a friend of mine mentioned in the past something about a shuttle service that's cheaper and more convenient. Are you aware of this?

A. The Paris airport shuttle (+011 (33) 1 53 10 37 00) provides service between both Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports to Parisian hotels, without having to transfer luggage or involve a taxi. It's a great way to be picked up and go back to the airport from your hotel, and perhaps more importantly you won't have to worry about work stoppages, which have affected the Air France coaches I mentioned previously. Prices start at 25 euros for one person one-way, 19 euros per person for two or three traveling together, and 17 euros per person for groups of four or more. They use vans that hold up to seven passengers. You also have the option of hiring a private shuttle if you don't feel like sharing, with prices starting from 70 euros per van carrying one to three passengers.

Q. I'm flying Ryanair from Shannon to Paris Beauvais airport in June. I did this trip a few years ago and it was very convenient. When I got off at Beauvais airport there was a Greyhound type bus waiting to go into Paris for 10 euros. We then just took the nearest metro to our hotel. Now on the Ryanair website, they only list a shuttle van service into Paris than is much more expensive. I can't image a shuttle van service can manage a full plane load of passengers. Also, I am leery of shuttle van services. I once took a shuttle van service into Paris from Charles de Gaulle, and the van was late, the driver rude, I had no seat belt and was almost killed. After that, I took the train to Charles de Gaulle.

A. I'm not sure what your definition of expensive is, but the Beauvais Airport Shuttle (run by the same company that operates the Paris airport shuttle), offers rates of 25 euros per person one-way, if there are two or more traveling together. If there's only one person traveling, the rate is 35 euros.

Since you are leery of private shuttles, the bus service you're talking about can be found on Beauvais Airport's Web Site. The shuttle costs 13 euros per person one-way ( 15 after taxes and fees) , and drops you off at Hotel Concorde Lafayette, in the heart of the city, a close walk to the metro. You can purchase the ticket from the ticket counter at the airport, or online through the airport Web site. On the main page, just click on the link that says "Transfer Paris Beauvais."

Q. My daughter and I will be spending two weeks in Europe in July. Our Icelandair flight arrives in Paris at 9:35PM. We've already booked a hotel in the city but find that a taxi from the Paris airport will be very expensive. I'm afraid public transportation (which I know to be very good) won't be the best idea with luggage at that time of night. Should I cancel the first night at the city hotel and opt for an airport hotel, or is there an option of which I'm not aware?

A. I think what I'd do is take the AirFrance coach into the city and then hail a cab to your hotel from where the bus lets you off. The coach costs 12 Euros each-way or 18 round-trip and will take between 45 to 50 minutes. The number 2 bus drops off at Porte Maillot and the Arc de Triomphe, and departs every 15 minutes between 5:45AM and 11PM. T he number 4 bus drops off at Gare de Lyon and Montparnasse railway stations, and departs every 30 minutes between 7AM and 9PM. You can buy tickets from either the Air France Coaches ticket counter or directly from the driver. Since you'll be arriving with Icelandair, it's most likely you'll be at terminal 1, and you can catch the bus at gate 34 at the arrivals level. You can find more information about the coach from www.airfrance.us under "Information and Services" > "Practical Information" > "Air France Coaches."

That's the best combination of convenience/cost. I would not take the RER/Subway.

Q. My partner and I want to take our mothers to Paris for four days. They're both in their 70s and one has limited mobility. Any suggestions as to resources and good travel packages would be appreciated.

A. There are several companies that offer escorted tours of Paris, but most of them tend to be part of a longer tour. However, some companies, such as Gate 1 Travel (800/682-3333) have a six-day package tour of Paris starting from $449 per person, including round-trip airfare between New York and Paris, four nights accommodations, and daily continental breakfast. This package is designed so you can either spend the time exploring at your leisure, or you can opt for various tours at additional cost. For example, for $109 per person, you can take the tour of the Eiffel Tower with dinner at the Altitude 95 restaurant, followed by a cruise on the Seine River.

Another option is Trafalgar Tours (866/544-4434), with their Paris Week package, starting from $2,025 per person, including round-trip air from New York, seven nights in a Hilton Hotel, a half day sightseeing tour including views of Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysées and Notre Dame Cathedral, a Seine River cruise, a visit to the Fragonard Perfumery, and a half day excursion to Louis XIV's Palace and the gardens of Versailles.

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