My hotel stay at InterContinental Le Grand Hotel Paris was easily and inexpensively accessible from Paris CDG Charles de Gaulle Airport. RoissyBus provides direct service from all CDG terminals with a direct non-stop bus designed for airport travelers with luggage for 11€ to Paris Opera.
I landed at CDG Terminal 2E at 6:15pm. The airport design of CDG Terminal 2E is cool looking and made a great first impression on me for French style. About a month ago, I saw a TV documentary on ‘brutalist architecture’, just before embarking on my American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum fast-track quest to fly 30,000 EQM. The term had no meaning to me before seeing the TV show. Since then, I recognize the architectural style all over the place and I’ve seen the term mentioned several times. British Airways September inflight magazine had a main feature on the Brutalist architecture of the Barbican in City of London that I read a couple of times during the six flights I flew on the airline in September.
The massive public school and college construction projects in California during my childhood in the 1960s and 70s created many examples of brutalist architecture.
Charles de Gaulle Paris Airport is another often cited example of brutalist structures.
Paris CDG Terminal 2E s one of the newer terminals in the 50 year old airport and not brutalist, although 2E has a brutal history. In 2004, there was a catastrophic structural failure when about 30 meters of the 650 meter long tube collapsed, killing six people. Talk about brutal architecture.
Inside Paris CDG Terminal 2E
I cleared Passport Control, no questions asked, picked up my checked baggage, out of customs after answering one question. I answered after being questioned in French with a blank expression on my face, I replied, “English?”
“Where did you come from?”
“Go.” No reply to my next question about where to get Opera bus?
Signage was very clear in the terminal. Paris Opera is Roissybus. Les Cars Air France is another option that stops across from the Arc de Triomphe at Charles de Gaulle Etoile. I’ll cover Les Cars Air France in my next post on Paris Orly transportation.
I stepped outside CDG Terminal 2E to see RoissyBus at the curb and stepped right on the bus. They deaprt every 15 to 20 minutes. No credit cards accepted, so I sat down on a seat as the bus departed and picked out 11€ in coins from my bag and purchased my ticket when the bus stopped at the next airport terminal. You can also buy your ticket online in advance. A reader commented on another article I wrote that Roissybus ticket machines in the terminal take credit cards. I must have walked right past those machines.
The ticket needs to be stamped in the machine on the bus.
Paris transportation tickets are uniformly small rectangular paper strips. I placed this Roissybus ticket on my wallet to show relative size.
My flight arrived at CDG at 6:15pm and I was on RoissyBus at 7:00pm. The reason I mentioned brutalist architecture in this piece is I got a heavy dose of concrete structural views as the RosissyBus weaved around the airport driveways and older CDG terminals for two more pickup stops before we left the airport to Paris.
The traffic going into Paris at 7:30 on a Monday night reminded me of taking the National Express bus from London Victoria Bus Station to Luton Airport during evening rush hour last July. We crawled for the next 30 minutes along the A1 highway.
The only thing to view from the bus in the Saint Denis area were a high proportion of people texting and reading their cellphones while crawling along the highway and nearly every concrete surface in sight tagged with graffiti.
Stade de France is the 81,000 seat French national stadium in Saint-Denis.
The street was trashed along a market stall section north of Paris. I think we were passing the Paris Flea Market on Rue des Rosiers, Saint Ouen. The bus detoured off the A1 highway due to stopped traffic and with the angle of my photo of the French stadium in Saint Denis, Google Maps indicates we were on the parallel Rue des Rosiers.
At least the bus was moving along the streets. Soon we were in the northern Montmartre area and then central Paris came into view as I caught a glimpse of Sacre Coeur.
Sacre Coeur image I photographed later that night.
It was good for me as the bus weaved around Montmartre bluff and I got a sense of the neighborhoods that looked inviting enough just after sundown to risk venturing out on foot. The InterContinental Le Grand Hotel was only 200 meters from the RoissyBus Paris Opera stop.
The Roissybus stops on Rue Scribe, across the street from Paris Opera, Palais Garnier. The buses can be seen in my photo taken from Boulevard des Capucines the next morning.
The train from CDG might be the better transportation, depending on your hotel location. Roissybus Paris Opera is great for close proximity to InterContinental Le Grand or W Paris Opera (next to Apple Store in map above). The reader who mentioned ticket machines at CDG also said the distance to walk to Park Hyatt Vendome is reasonable.
Palais Garnier, informally called Paris Opera is an conic structure in Paris. I described its history in my hotel review of InterContinental Le Grand Hotel. Here are more images of Palais Garnier (1861-1875), the finest example of French Second Empire Beaux Arts architecture.
Palais Garnier seen at night from the Opéra Metro station entrance on Place de l’Opera, less than five minutes walk from RoissyBus stop.
There is also the option for trains to and from Paris CDG. I have done that in the past, but my Paris Opera hotel location made Roissybus a more convenient no transfer option.