I have a flight from St. Petersburg, Russia to Atlanta, GA with a 7 hour layover in Paris. I am travelling with two children. All of us are US citizens. We would like to get out of the airport and do some sightseeing. Is it worth it? Do we need to clear customs?
4Of course you'd need to pass through customs, but that just a matter of walking through the "nothing to declare" channel. Before you get that far, there's a passport and immigration check, but if you all have US passports that is unlikely to be any trouble either. Is the airport CDG? Which terminal?– hmakholm left over MonicaFeb 16, 2015 at 19:56
3I suggest the RER rather than the Roissybus. The fast train arrives at Notre-Dame in around 30 minutes. That is if we're taking about cdg. From orly everything takes longer.– JoErNanO ♦Feb 16, 2015 at 21:53
Clearing customs will be a breeze; clearing immigration however, may take anywhere from 0 to 30 minutes depending upon the queue.– Gayot FowFeb 17, 2015 at 1:01
If you before the trip plan your way from the airport to the center and the return way, then its possible.– yayaJun 10, 2015 at 13:36
Assuming you are landing at CDG, you can try to catch the fast RER B train into Paris which should take you to St Michel Notre Dame in about 30 minutes. From there the Notre Dame cathedral is a stone's throw (and a lovely bridge crossing) away. IMHO that's well worth visiting and doesn't require too much time.
The calculations the provided by the others in answers and comments seem about right, giving you a couple hours to queue up, see the cathedral, eat French crêpes in the nearby streets, and get back on the RER. Should you have time to spare you can head north for Hôtel de Ville, see the building and then go back to the RER at St Michel Notre Dame.
I think two hours is plenty to arrive before take off. Even for long haul. Still, it takes time to get out of the airport so about 1.5hrs from landing to the city and you need to be at the bus stop three hours before your flight so tops you'd have 7-4.5=2.5 possibly only two hours. With two children, this begins to sound quite risky.
1To be honest, I don't think this is that risky. Look at it the other way: seven hours is simply too long to spend in an airport, especially with kids. I am usually in central Paris within 45 minutes of touching down, although I do have an EU passport.– CalchasJun 9, 2015 at 22:40
I landed in Paris 5:40 AM and had a connection at 1:10 PM, so 7.5 hours layover. My luggage was checked through to the connecting flight, so within 20 minutes of leaving the plane I was outside. I took the Le Bus, Route 2, direct to Etoile (Arche de Triumph), 17 Euro and took about 45 minutes to get there (OK, it was Sunday, so quicker than usual). From that point, you have a few hours to walk around. Make your way down the Champs de Eleysees to Place Concorde, and there you can see the outside of the Louvre and the famous gardens. Then walk to the Opera and there is the Rossey Bus, which runs every 15 minutes direct to the terminal, for 12 Euro. SO you can easily have 3 hours in Paris, not including the bus rides, which are also sightseeing. For the price of 2 bus tickets, it's well worth it!