Smaller and easier to navigate that its younger (and arguably fanciest) brother, the Orly Airport (Aéroport de Paris-Orly) is a typical boomer of all Parisian airports (but in a good way): it’s experienced (thriving since the opening in the early 1930s); it’s hard-working and dedicated (nearly 150 destinations in 50 countries between its 4 terminals); it’s also arguably more reliable (don’t get me started on the delays on the CDG) and definitely easier to get around — even if it’s sometimes harder to get to it in the first place.
Despite its approaching one hundred’s birthday, Orly is a vigorous old man, with sleek look and modern solutions like automated metro connecting the terminals (free and working 24h), water fountains on each terminal and video games corners as addition to the standard necessary services — so if you end up flying to or from this bad boy, you do not have a lot to worry about (except for the strikes. Strikes are always an option).
How to get to Paris from the Orly Airport:
I’M FINE WITH THE BASIC
We, Parisians, low-key love our public transport. It’s fast, vast, and pretty reliable. Sure, it has its downsides, but most of the time it’s the best way to commute, especially in the morning/afternoon rush. It’s not a rarity to see three-pieces-suits rolling down the stairs in La Defence stations (basically our equivalent of Wall Street), who know better than to spend hours in the traffic when they can smoothly (usually) spend that time reading a book. Even the super posh Passy area in the 16th Arrondissement has a few stations. Want to know more about ~what’s so special~ about the Paris public transportation? Check out our articles here.
The Orly connections are fairly easy to recognise, as they are all called “Orly-something”. No guessing game here, no hidden agenda. There are various (more or less complex sound) ways to get to Paris, depending on where you’re staying and, let’s be honest, which part of the airport you’re going to find yourself. Bottom line? I have yet to find a person who tried them all. You either pick and memorize one and use it until the end of your days, or just go easy on yourself and grab a car. If you’re not feeling up to the challenge, feel free to skip ahead this paragraph. Your tired-of-traveling mind will definitely thank you at some point.
GOOD OL’ BUSY BUS
Orlybus (warned you) is an especially good idea if you’re traveling early or late at night, as it runs longer than the other public transport options. It connects the airport with the Denfert-Rochereau metro station (lines 4 & 6) in the 14th arrondissement. It runs every 15–20 minutes and (in theory) can make it to the city within 30 minutes. It’s the cheapest option (you can use Paris travel passes on this service up to zone 4), and drops you directly by the metro; yet they tend to be pretty packed and can turn into a hell ride if stuck in the traffic. Use at your own risk.
Tramways in Paris are mostly known to be circling around the city, around its borders, dividing it from the suburban (mostly residential) areas. Some of them, however, run deeper within as a prolongation of already existing metro lines. An example here is the tram called T7, connecting the Orly airport directly with the metro line 7. The metro itself runs through the city center to the northern part of the city. While this one also allows you to use your Paris travel passes (again, up to zone 4), it has smaller capacity and runs less often than the train.
Both RER B&C train lines are connected with the Orly airport ~somehow~. They run through the city center and various suburban areas, so If your accommodation is close to one of their stations, it’s a good way to avoid pointless layovers. Line B can be accessed with the previously mentioned automated metro Orlyval (and is therefore the fastest and arguably the easiest way to switch from the shuttle to the official Parisian transportation, yet it requires an additional ticket). Line C requires tram T7 (or yet another shuttle bus) and is actually only convenient if you’re staying in the south bank. Both are good for peak hours, as the trains run as often as every 2,5 min. Line C is also good for those late late (or early early) night planes, as it runs continuously from 3:30am to 1:30am.
Still not quite getting it? No sweat. You can check the most convenient route on the official RATP site here.
It takes around 30 minutes to get to the city by cab ~in theory~, but remember that Paris tops all the “Worst traffic” lists year in, year out – so it may not always be the best idea. The prices are fixed while traveling to the airport, so make sure to check it in advance to not get scammed. While booking a good ol’ Uber may be tempting, they can’t use the bus lane here (while the ~real taxis~ can). A sweet spot? Get a G7 taxi app – it works like Uber (so you can pre-book it while waiting for your luggage or even a few hours before; and you can pay with cash tho). It’s super reliable and can use that bus priority lane, allowing you to wave to all the uncultured swines standing in the traffic while you pass them by ~like a VIP~. Taxi drivers rarely speak English, but you may easily get by with a little help from a translator of your choice. By the way, unless you’re 100% sure you know the correct pronunciation of the place you need to go to, don’t try to freestyle – it sets the French people right off ~for some reason~ (an eyeroll in english-speaker).
I WANT SOMETHING EXTRA
Arriving in the peak hours and already tired of the crowds and sitting in the traffic? Maybe you’re arriving later than planned and need to get to the city ASAP? Or maybe you just like to be just a little bit ~different~? Book a moto-taxi! As Parisians love their motorcycles (Have you heard about our house-call doctors yet?!), it doesn’t come as a shock that you can book it as an alternative to the public transport or cabs. They are super fast (will get you to the city center in half an hour, even in the rush hours, easy to pre-book and comfortable (just look at these seats). Best part – they bring you not only the helmet, oh no – they come with ~full legal set-up~, including gloves, jacket, waterproof clothing in case of the rain and a blanket-like cover in winter. And yes, of course you can store your luggage in there (cabin suitcase + laptop bag + handbag). Additional plus? No forced chitchats with the chatty Kathy behind the driver’s seat, since you can’t talk on the motorcycle anyway. For me that’s a win.
You prefer to travel in style, but motorcycles do not really speak to you? Check out our cautiously curated list of private car companies here.