Few Hours Layover in Paris CDG Airport? here’s what to do!

Paris Charles-de-Gaulle Airport (CDG), also known as Roissy Airport, is one of the world’s principal aviation centres, as well as France’s largest airport. It is named after Charles de Gaulle (1890–1970), leader of the Free French Forces and founder of the French Fifth Republic. It is located within portions of several communes, 25 km (16 mi) to the northeast of Paris. The airport serves as the principal hub for Air France. In 2012, the airport handled 61 million passengers, making it the world’s seventh busiest airport and Europe’s second busiest airport (after London Heathrow) in passengers served. Read more about Paris CDG Airport in:

Paris - Charles de Gaulle (Roissy) (CDG - LFPG) AN0844044

Oh, Paris, the city of lights… or are these just the runway lights? You are in Paris, but only for a few hours, in an airport layover. How should you best use this time? well, that depends on the layover duration, time of day, time of year… the most important factor is the duration of your layover, that will dictate the nature of your layover, from a stressed run for your flight to a relaxed semi-vacation.

Please note that these are just general recommendations. It is always best to consult with your airline and booking agent, so take these recommendations as they are – general guidelines…

Layover of 1, 2 or 3 Hours in Paris CDG Airport

You will most likely be spending your time rushing through corridors with your hand luggage to your next flight… Keep in mind that arrival time is the time that your flight has reached its parking position in the gate, and you will still need to wait until the crew has opened the doors, you left the plane and walked all through the terminal to board your next flight. CDG airport also has 3 terminals, each with its different structure, and terminal 2 in particular is a maze of mini-terminals. Other travelers commented:

  • “I got my wife a business class ticket… She had 2.5 hours and nearly missed her connecting flight to Toulouse…” (Yelp)
  • “My experience is that 2 hours is a reasonable minimum time for transfers at CDG…” (FlyerTalk)
  • “…all you have time for with 2 1/2 hours at CDG is to get to the gate for your next flight…” (Yahoo Answers)

For more specific information, this map of the various possible routes for Terminal 2 and their expected durations may be helpful, as well as this map of the entire airport.

Layover of 4, 5 or 6 Hours in Paris CDG Airport

So you have plenty of time to make it to your next flight, but you’d still like to make the best of these hours. The security lines in CDG airport may be long and irritating at busy times, and the terminal has some long stretches of walking, while taking the RER train into town would take you approx. 30 minutes each direction (not including time to buy tickets and wait for next train). So with a layover of 6 hours or less, it will be best to spend your time inside the terminal and enjoy what it has to offer.

In general, your experience will vary based on what terminal you will be spending your time in. If you have the time, you may travel between terminals, especially inside terminal 2, just be careful not to get lost – The airport plan can be quite confusing!

Paris Airport

Shopping: CDG airport has a reasonable number of shops, including duty free shopping, with plenty of fashion stores. You may want to browse through the list of shops and either plan a route through them, or find the terminal that appears to have the best selection for you, then head there. See the selection of stores in this link (note that the airport site returns information also for Orly, so make sure to look at CDG results only).

Dining: as much as you’d expect good food in France’s capital, food is not one of the airport’s advantages. Travelers complain about the lack of dining options, the quality of food and the steep prices. Eat well on your incoming flight, and set your expectations low for dining during your layover. You would be better off bringing your own food, or at least making sure to purchase some food before going through passport control. See the full list of dining options in the airport website (again, make sure the venues you find are located in CDG).

Storage: if your luggage is inconvenient to wander around with, you could leave it with the baggage storage service in terminal 2, see more details on this website.

Kids: besides play areas for the little ones, the airport also offers free Playstation terminals(!), and coin-operated game tables. This should certainly keep the children (and children-at-heart) entertained during their wait. See more details and locations on this page. If you are travelling with a baby, the airport’s website lists useful information such as location of changing stations, and where to find baby pushchairs for moving in the terminal (free-of-charge, currently in terminal 2E only).

Art and entertainment: in early 2013, an exhibitions hall was inaugurated in terminal 2E. It hosts various artwork, usually in partnership with a major museum, with admission free of charge. See more details and exact location in this dedicated website. In addition, the Playstation booth in terminal 2E also includes a small lounge for watching 3D movies from Sony’s collection.

Lounges: if you are eligible to enter one of the airport lounges, this will surely ease your wait. Check your ticket class and airline’s lounge terms for eligibility. If you are not eligible and would still like to use a lounge, the airport offers the ICare lounges for a fee of €30 per person. You may find this worthwhile if you were planning to spend a similar sum anyway for some refreshments and WiFi access. For a full list of lounges and their amenities, have a look at LoungeReview.

WiFi: CDG airport offers free basic WiFi connectivity, with faster rate plans for a fee (read details here).

Massage: from a manicure to a Thai massage, this will surely help relieve flight stress and provide relaxation, if you have the time and money to spare. Look for the B-Relax stations in your vicinity.

Layover of 7 Hours or more in Paris CDG Airport

If you’d like to use your longer layover to take a rest, you could consider taking a room in an airport hotel such as the new Yotel or the Ibis, but for a budget travel you could also just take a nap in the airport. For more information visit the CDG page at SleepingInAirports.

If you would like to use the layover time for a quick experience of Paris, visit the official Paris tourism site to review the main attractions and plan your time. If you are looking for a more unique and guided experience, you may want to also have a look at what ToursByLocals or WithLocals have to offer in Paris.

Do I need a visa in order to visit Paris during my layover?

If you are only transiting through CDG, you probably do not need to have a visa issued, unless you plan to physically leave the airport (which may happen, for example, if your next flight is from a different airport in Paris). There are exceptions to this rule for some nationals who require a visa even for transit, read the details in this French government info page.

You may need to issue a short stay visa in advance in order to leave the airport during your layover. The answer depends primarily on the passport you carry, and whether or not your destination is within the EU (Schengen area). Check your personal case in this detailed official visa information page.

Note: we get many specific visa-related questions in the comments. Please understand that visa rules are quite complex and we cannot answer most of these questions, as the focus of this site is on the airport stay itself. Preferably you should consult with your travel agent or the local French consulate in advance, but you could also start by visiting a dedicated website such as VisaHQ.

Enjoy your trip!

67 thoughts on “Few Hours Layover in Paris CDG Airport? here’s what to do!

  1. i booked flight DL8649 for 5th sept from new delhi to paris and from paris to newark (usa) thu flight no. DL271. my layover time in paris is more thatn 7 hours
    .kindly adivse me whether i need transit visa as i am indian national.

    • Hi Balkar,
      We’ve added a link to the French government page on visas. In general, a transit visa is just for making a connection in the airport without leaving it, and most nationals get it automatically (there is an exception list in that page). A Schengen visa is what’s required if you want to leave the airport and tour Paris for a few hours, and for this most nationals do need to get one.

  2. I have a layover of 7 hours on the 13th January 2016 at 13:00 en route to South Africa on economy class. Please advise me of a lounge where I can relax for this time as well as the fee payable. Can I make a reservation in advance.
    Thanks and regards
    Judy Smith

  3. Hi! I’m going to layover in Paris CDG from 9 – 13:30.
    I have like 4 and half hours, and I’d like to have a lunch with my friend who is in Paris.
    Is it possible to go out from the airport?

    • With 4.5 hours of layover, you would probably not want to take the risk. Taking into account the time to leave the airport, time to travel into Paris, and then the way back plus security lines, you will probably not make it on time, or have to head back as soon as you get to your meeting. You may want to consider arranging with your friend to come to the airport, so that you meet there and you are spared at least the travel into Paris and back.

  4. I am a Canadian, passing through CDG on a layover of 7.5 hours out of terminal 2E on Saturday February 6. My flight is expected to arrive at 6:10 AM Paris time and depart at 1:45 PM.

    I want to make a quick trip into the city. Do you recommend leaving the airport with this layover timeline and if so, do you recommend taking the RER or Taxi?

  5. Hi, Thank you for a great website! I will be travelling through Charles de Gaulle on my way from Boston to Billund, Denmark. I land at 06:10 and fly again at 13:10 (both times with Air France) which means I have a layover of 7 hours. I am a Danish national so VISA is not a problem. Do you advise that I leave my bags (if so, where?) and go to the city for a quick brunch with friends? I plan on taking the train into Paris so that’s roughly 30 minutes each way.
    Thank you in advance for your help.

  6. Hi. Just want to ask if I will be required for a visa for connecting flights to Montreal Trudeau (Canada) for a short layover of 5 hrs. I do not intend to go outside Charles de Gaulle airport during my layover. I’m a Philippine passport holder.

    Would appreciate a reply. Thank you.

    • Hi Ms. Garcia,

      Just wanted to ask if you were able to pass through the airport for your connecting flight without the Transit Visa? I have the same situation as yours, it;s just that my dad is coming from Saudia Arabia (holding a Philippine Passport), lay-over is Charles de Gaulle airport, then to Toronto. I would really appreciate your response. Thank you.

      Mr. Camacho

  7. Hello Ms. Garcia,
    Most travellers do not require a visa just to transit through the airport (which is called a transit visa). You can see the list of exceptions to this rule in this link: http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/getting-a-visa/article/what-type-of-visa-do-i-need-to
    It seems that in your case you do not need one, but you should read in detail to make sure that’s not the case as there are several possible scenarios.

  8. Hi, just want to ask if my dad needs a transit visa if his stop-over or lay-over is in Roissy-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) connecting flight to Toronto Pearson International Airport. He’s not planning on going outside the airport, his lay-over is only 4 hours. He’s a Philippine passport holder, he’ll be coming from Saudi Arabia. I will appreciate your response.


    Ms. Francisco

    • The link at the end of the article leads to a page with all the visa information. For all visa matters, it would be best to check there for your specific case, as there are several exceptions. If none of the exceptions are relevant for your father (which is the likely case), he will not need any visa issued.
      Happy travelling!

  9. Hi
    i fly into Charles de Gaulle (CDG) from india and have a connecting flight to spain within 2 hours. will i have to go through immigrations before i transit to my next flight ? Even if i don’t intent to exit the airport?
    thank you !

    • Hi Shreya. I am thinking about booking a 2 layover. Did you have enough time getting through 2 hours? the next one is 5 hour layover.

  10. I have an 11 hour and 10 minute stop over going from Israel to the USA. I land in Paris at 5am and will be taking off again at 4:10pm. What can I do with that time? How can I best maximize the time? I will be traveling on a USA passport.

    • Hi Sarah! With 11 hours and an American passport (which eliminates the need for a visa), the choice is all yours. You may choose to relax in the airport after your night flight and towards your long distance one, perhaps even taking an airport hotel room and catching some sleep. Or you could use the opportunity to go on a morning excursion into Paris and still have plenty of time to be back on time for your next flight. In any case, some suggestions for both options are in the above article. Enjoy your layover and have a safe flight!

  11. I am a Nigerian passport holder travelling to USA with air france, I have a 24 hour layover in Paris. Is there a hotel inside the airport where I can sleep?S

    • If you have a visa to leave the airport, there are plenty of hotels in the airport’s vicinity, including the Ibis (see link in the article).
      If you don’t have one and are looking to remain airside, and if your flight is in July or later – you may be in luck! A new Yotel, right inside the terminal, opens in July and is an excellent option in such a case: http://www.yotel.com/en/hotels/paris-charles-de-gaulle-airport

  12. I am a South African travelling back from Costa Rica with a stop in Paris for 8 hrs then back to RSA. When i get to CDG where am i allowed to go ?i am travelling airfrance both flights. I do not wish to leave the international zone and go through customs..do not have a visa and am.on a tight budget!!is there places in this area to get food?

    • Hello Caren,
      If you do not have a visa then you will indeed be spending your layover in the airport. Scan all the options that our post lists under layover of 4-6 hours, and you will find links for entertainment, relaxation and dining. We hope you’ll have a pleasant time!

  13. Hi. My mother and her friend (both in their 70s) have a 7 hour wait in Charles de Gaulle airport, arriving from Barcelona to Aerogare 2, Terminal F, around 12pm, early September. Are there any lounges that would be suitable/available (one-off payment). Any suggestions for making her wait more comfortable, much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hi Carol – CDG airport is a very complex one, with several separate terminals, complicated access rules, and long walks/shuttles between the different parts of the airport, often involving going through security. You would best be looking up the departure terminal as well, and then check the options on the LoungeBuddy app, through which you can also book access if possible: https://www.loungebuddy.com/
      Good luck!

  14. Hi There
    I have a layover of 16 hours at CDG. I hold a South African passport, with no Schengen VISA active. I would love to potentially book into a hotel for a few hours to numb the wait, are there any hotels potentially based inside the transit area that i will be able to gain access to? I will not be able to leave the airport….
    Many thanks

  15. Hi,
    I hold an Indian Passport and visiting Rio from Bengaluru via Paris. I have 15 hours of lay over at CDG. Is it possible to visit Eiffel Tower within this time? What type of visa do I need for this?
    Best Regards,

    • Hello Raghavendra,
      You could certainly do that, a RER train into town from the terminal will take about 40 minutes, so you have plenty of time, given that it’s the right time of day.
      You would need a Schengen visa, follow the link to the visa information page at the end of the article to learn more.
      Enjoy your layover!

  16. I am coming to CDG airport on the way to sweden, I am landing to Terminal 1 ( 7.10AM) and I have to travel from Terminal 2F ( 16.00) to sweden By Air france flight.both are business class. Can you please guide me how to reach terminal 2F from Terminal1. How I can spend the time in the airport.

  17. Hello there,

    I am an Indian citizen flying back to New Delhi from Casablanca in November. I have a 12 hour layover (10 pm to 10 am) at the CDG airport. May I know if I’ll have access to the entire airport during this time? Also, is it possible to book a hotel room nearby the airport without a schengen visa?

    Many thanks.


  18. Good Morning.

    I am flying from Dubai to Colombia with a stopover in Paris for 4.5 hours. My bag will be checked in directly to Colombia from Dubai, as well as I will be holding my Paris to Bogota boarding pass. Is it possible that I can get out of the airport and get back in on time? or like somewhere near the airport or somethign? I dont need visa.

    • Hi Ana – sounds like you have it all worked out. In that case, 4.5 hours might just be enough for a quick jump out and back in. However, CDG is a complex structure of terminals and you will want to check the specific terminal and route to it upon return. It would also be best in your case to ask at the information desk upon arrival how long in advance they recommend to be back in the airport for your flight, to make sure there are no specific delays just on that day. Good luck!

  19. Hey guys, hope you’re enjoying the holidays. I have a 7 hr 45 m layover in CDG and a US passport, but the catch is that I arrive at 5:30 am. Do you think I’ll get to see anything if I take the train into the city (supposedly a 35-minute ride)? Thanks in advance.

    • Hello Omar! thanks, and we hope you too are enjoying the holidays… Indeed a long enough layover but much of it is quite early in the day. Take into account that sunrise in Paris is quite late at this time, around 8:45 AM right now. That would leave you with less than two hours of daytime before you would have to head back to the airport (even less if it’s an especially busy day). So you would want to consider either spending your layover relaxing in the airport itself, or heading into town after a couple of hours in the airport in order to watch the sunrise from some monument along a short excursion afterwards. Either way, enjoy your layover!

  20. Hi there. I am a South African citizen traveling from Belarus to South Africa with a 10hour layover at CDG. Do I need a transit visa is it do not intent leaving the airport. My terminal of departure to SA is 2E.

    • Hello Kyle – if you purchased your flights as one ticket then this was all taken care for you, you will not need a transit visa. For more information see the link in the last section of the post.

  21. Hello! I am taking a flight from Oslo to Amman and will layover for 5 hours and 40 minutes in CDG. The plane will land on CDG at 8:45 AM on 22nd Feb Terminal 2G and the flight to Amman will be at 2:25 PM Terminal 2E on the same day. Do you think I can make it to see Eiffel Tower and Champs-Élysées?

    Thank you 🙂

    • Hello Hani, and thanks for stopping by.
      5:40 may be a little tight for an actual visit. Considering that travel time to the Eiffel and back can be as much as 3 hours, and counting the time for disembarking and and going through security and customs on the way back, will mean you spend most of your layover commuting. You’d be best either spending it in the airport (and as we show there is plenty to do there), or take a quick hop to a much nearer, smaller destination.
      Enjoy your time!

  22. Hello
    I am canadian and will have a layover of 7 hours 30 min in Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport on May 20, 2017.I will be in Paris at 6:30 am and my flight to Toronto will be leaving at 13:50.
    What can I do in or preferably out of the airport

  23. hi

    we are travelling with our 2 year daughter and have a layover at Paris for 9hrs and 50 mins(8am till 6pm). Is it possible to get out and visit a few places in Paris.

    How much would it take to visa and get out of the airport? we have Australian passports

    • Hi Anu,
      See the link at the bottom of the article to the French government site, where you can see that Australian nationals are exempt from issuing a short-stay visa.
      Enjoy your layover!

  24. Hi we have a flight from split to CDG that arrives at 1105 am and then leave for Australia at 10pm the same day , we are flying business class would be happy just to use the lounge for the whole time but not sure how early we can check in we are flying Etihad, would be happy for any suggestions from you many thanks donna

  25. Hi, I’m an Indian passport holder travelling from Montreal. I have a layover of 5hrs in Paris CDG connecting to Bangalore flight. May I know how much does it costs for a schengen visa for a quick jump out to Eiffel Tower and then back?

    • Hello Chetan,
      Issuing a Schengen visa is best done in your home country before you start your trip, and certainly not in the airport itself. You would probably want to enquire in the French embassy early enough so the visa is issued in time for your journey.
      Enjoy your trip!

  26. Hi, I am a Nigerian passport holder travelling to UK with air france, I have 10 hours layover in Paris. Is it possible to go on a quick tour of the Eiffel Tower without a Schenghen visa? Or is there a procedure to get the visa at the airport, as the time frame to acquire a schenghen visa in my home country wouldn’t meet up with my travel date.

    • You are out of luck I’m afraid. Even if you had a visa, there isn’t enough time to get there and back. I tried last year this time but was also advised against it. The roads are very busy and there is the hassle of your luggage which will need to be claimed when you leave the international section of the airport not to mention trying to get it booked in again once you return and you need to be back at the airport 2.5hours prior to your flight leaving.

  27. Hi, Good Afternoon.

    I am flying from Dubai to Colombia with a Layover of 7 hours in Paris. My bag will go straight to Colombia, and I dont need visa in France. I will be landing at 6:30 am, and my flight departs at 1:30 pm. Do you think I have enough time to go to the city for breakfast near champ elysee or somewhere hype and come back?

      • Don’t know if still relevant, but you definitely have tons of time on your hands. They also write here in the article that 7 hours are definitely enough. Trains run from very early in the morning into Paris.

  28. Hello I am travelling to Mexico on 5 april 2018 from New Delhi India I have a connecting flight from Paris to Mexico via Air France and the lay out for the same is 3 hours do I requried a transit visa for the same

    • Please check the links we have provided in the last section of the article for visa information. Unfortunately we cannot advise on visa-related issues.

  29. Hello I am traveling from Montreal to New Delhi and I have layover of 12 hours in CDG Paris. I want to take quick tour of the city. For that I know I required short stay visa. I just want to know whether there is any kind of facility at CDG airport that provide short stay visa at airport itself so that I can step out from the airport.
    Please help me in this regard

  30. I am arriving at Terminal 2A at 8:30 AM and my colleagues are arriving at 11:30 an 13:30 Terminal 2E and we are all taking the train to St Pierre de Corps at 4PM . Where is the best place to wait for them where I would be able to access the internet and do some work

    • You will have wi-fi access across the airport, but CDG is not a hospitable airport to wait in, especially landside, so you should consider other options too… you may want to take a room in one of the cheap hotel airports (like Ibis), refresh there and wait for the others who can join you there, before you all get going. Alternatively, you could leave your baggage in a locker, and just hang around in a food court or in the train area while you wait.

  31. Good afternoon I would like to know if I am required to have a transit visa when I land in Paris de Gaulle France my layover is 3.40 hours while waiting for my flight back to South Africa. I do not wish to leave the airport. Could you please shed some light on this it would be appreciated.

  32. Hi guy i’m alita
    I want to ask guy if I need transit visa for layover for 4 hour in air France my final destination is in bamako Mali do I need to apply for that visa just to lay over in france airpo i’m not leaving that area i’m also Philippines passport holder I be traveling through manila and I have layover in france airport! Please guys I need asnwe I really appreciate it thank u!

  33. Hi, I am from Madagascar, flying to Canada, and I have w-1 visa type. I arrive from Air Mauritus, at charle de gaulle airport Terminal 2E and need to take my luggage and go to my connecting flight to Terminal 3 with Air Transit. Is Terminal 3 part of international zone? Do I need transit Visa? My layover is 4hrs. Thanks!

    • Hello Colette,
      The terminals in CDG (1-2-3) are not directly connected, and travelling between them means you are exiting the international zone. Therefore, you will need to go through passport control, and will need a short-stay visa.
      Safe travels!

  34. My wife and I will have a 12-hr lay-over and a 13-hr lay-over at DeGaulle airport, both in January, 2020. How much time after security out, security back in and check-in times would we have to ride around Paris? Will we need the Schengen visas for this and, if so, can they be obtained at your consulate and what ID is required?
    Are there baggage lockers or an area to leave baggage inside the secure area at CDG?
    Thanks for the help.

    • Hello Cullen, and thanks for stopping by. 12+ hours are certainly more than enough, but the exact time will vary based on the terminals you land and take off from, the queue to send your luggage, and how busy the terminal may be on the specific time you are there. CDG is a complex airport, and walking between its parts can take quite some time. To be on the safe side, you may want to assume as much as 45 minutes to leave the airport, and 2.5 hours to re-enter, though the actual times will hopefully be less. You can only store your luggage landside (outside of the secure zone), as mentioned under “Storage” above, and indeed you will need a Schengen visa, which you should issue in advance in your home country.
      Enjoy your layover!

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