Paris Airport Taxis: How to Use Them (& Avoid Scams)

Last Updated on May 16, 2024

paris airport taxis: how to use them and avoid getting overcharged by unscrupulous drivers
Not all airport taxi services serving Paris are created equally. Learn to identify potential scams.

I still remember my first (and last) scam taxi ride from Charles de Gaulle Airport. I was returning home from a visit with family in California, lugging around suitcases so heavy I thought I might give a Paris airport taxi a try. In the past, I’d simply taken the RER B commuter-line train from the airport to Gare du Nord– an hourlong ride that was sometimes a bit tedious, but perfectly fine.

I somehow managed to miss the official taxi queue outside the arrivals gate at my terminal (full disclosure: this was somewhere around 2004, when the airport signs were not quite as clearly marked).

Blame it on jetlag, naiveté– or both. I ended up climbing into a taxi after two guys vigorously waved in my direction, ushering me inside their cab.

At only 23 or 24, I had little experience with this sort of thing– and assumed the taxi would be equipped with a meter to accurately and fairly calculate my fare.

And from my recollection, there was no illuminated “taxi” sign on the car’s rooftop. Hmm….can you imagine how this all turned out?

My Cautionary Tale About Paris Airport Taxis

It's important to be familiar with some of the common scams employed by drivers masquerading as authentic Paris taxis.

My trust was, as it turned out, entirely unwarranted. About 15 minutes into the trip, I asked how much it would likely be so I could prepare my cash. I presumed it would be something in the range of 35 or 40 Euros (remember, this was the early 2000s.)

The driver tersely responded. “Tout dépend du trafic!” (It all depends on the traffic!) “Oui, bien sur”, I answered, still calm, “but can you at least give me an estimate?”

Oh, probablement 50, 60 Euros. On verra!” (Oh, probably 50 or 60 Euros. We’ll see!”

Guess what? I only had a 50 Euro bill in my wallet. I started to panic a bit. After asking why there was no meter, the driver told me (again, in clipped and annoyed tones) that they weren’t “that sort of company.”

In other words? They weren’t a legitimate taxi company— and I’d been scammed.

A legitimate, non-metered taxi or shuttle would have given me a fixed-price fare before the ride, and asked me to agree to it or pay it in advance. And even then, that quoted fare should correspond to going rates– not exceed them.

Related: How to Avoid Typical Tourist Traps & Scams in Paris

Luckily, I managed to scrape together a few coins at the bottom of my bag, and paid the vastly inflated fare. I told the driver that I was unhappy, and obviously gave him no tip.

Of course, he didn’t care: other unsuspecting tourists at the airport would likely climb in the cab as naively as I had.

He and his colleagues would reap the rewards of ripping off people who had no idea they might be taken advantage of in a place like Paris.

How to Spot Legit Airport Taxis (& Steer Clear of Scams)

A taxi waits outside Paris' Orly Airport, South Terminal. Always find the official taxi queue and look for an illuminated "taxi" sign on the rooftop of the car.
A taxi waits outside Paris’ Orly Airport, South Terminal. Always find the official taxi queue and look for an illuminated “taxi” sign on the rooftop of the car.

I offer this cautionary tale to help you avoid repeating my mistakes when using airport taxis to and from Paris (and around France more generally).

You probably already understand that to avoid getting overcharged and taken advantage of by unscrupulous “taxi” drivers, you should do exactly the opposite of what I did.

{Yes, It’s Still Safe to Travel to Paris– Here’s Why}

Still, let’s spell out some basic principles and tips so you make sure to get in the right cab. Of course, these apply to taking shorter rides around the city, too.

1. Get in an official taxi queue.

Paris taxis in a queue

This is the first, and probably most essential, step when choosing a taxi for a ride to or from the airport.

If you haven’t pre-booked a cab, make sure you only accept rides from taxis in the official queues outside your terminal (or around the city, if you’re headed to the airport).

At Charles de Gaulle Airport, official and licensed “Taxis Parisiens” (Parisian taxis) park in queues outside the baggage claim areas of each terminal.

Follow the signs inside, and look for taxi queue signs outside your terminal, at streetside. At Orly Airport, follow signs in the arrivals area to the taxi queues.

2. Only get in a taxi with an illuminated rooftop sign and a meter.

Unless you pre-order a ride from a reputable taxi or shuttle service, make sure you only accept rides from taxis that both have illuminated rooftop signs reading “TAXI Parisien” and are equipped inside with a meter.

If you get in and notice there isn’t one, you can tell the driver you don’t wish to continue with the ride. He or she may protest. No matter. Passengers have rights.

3. Know the going rates.

According to the Parisian Airports Authority (ADP), going rates for taxi fares to and from Charles de Gaulle to the city center currently range from around 56 to 65 Euros each way.

From Orly airport, which is much closer to the city, your fare should cost somewhere between around 36 to 44 Euros, depending on whether you’re going to the left bank or the right bank, respectively.

These standard fares are accurate as of mid-2024. You can see updated information on using taxis from Charles de Gaulle at this page from ADP. See info on getting a taxi from Orly Airport at this page.

If you arrive at your destination and you’re charged fares are much outside these ranges, even on a meter, contest it and refer to the going rates quoted above. This is unlikely to happen– but be prepared to cite your rights just in case.

4. Don’t accept rides from anyone urging you to use their service.

Remember the mistake I made all those years ago? Reputable taxi and shuttle companies don’t hang out in baggage claim or arrivals areas and urge travelers to use their service.

Nor do they lurk outside on the sidewalks. Ignore their entreaties or promises of special rates, and find the official queue. Alternatively, call a trusted taxi company (see my next tip.)

5. Reduce stress by pre-booking a ride with a reputable company.

G7 is a trusted company who accept pre-bookings for taxi rides to and from Charles de Gaulle, Orly and other airports outside of Paris.

If you’d prefer to pre-order a taxi to or from Charles de Gaulle, Orly or other airports around Paris, make sure you choose a trustworthy and highly-rated company.

G7 has a fleet of over 7,500 taxis in the Paris region, and the Paris Airport Authority recommends them. You can easily book online and lock into fixed-price fares.

Welcome Pickups is an airport transfer company with a 4.9/5 Trustpilot rating, English-speaking drivers, and rave customer reviews. You can easily book a ride here.

In addition to airport transfers, this company also offer sightseeing rides around Paris, which can be a good way to sit back and enjoy the scenery.

I also recommend reserving a ride to or from the airport with TaxiLeader, a company that offers private transfers to and from all major Parisian airports. Book a ride online here, or enter your booking details into the widget below.

What About Uber?

Some may prefer to use Uber, but I personally wouldn’t recommend it for a ride as long as the one from Charles de Gaulle. If you do choose to book a ride with Uber, pay attention to user reviews and don’t get in a car with a poorly-rated driver.

Always share your ride with someone close for added security. I also advise women and unaccompanied minors to avoid Uber. There have been scattered reports of harassment and even assault. Even if these are rare, why take the risk?

How long does it take to get to Paris from the airport by taxi?

This will depend largely on traffic conditions and your final destination, but on average, the ride should take 35 to 60 minutes from Paris Charles de Gaulle to the city center, and 15 to 40 minutes from Orly.

Do I even need to take a taxi from the airport?

Roissybus is a bus service connecting Paris Charles de Gaulle airport with the city center, near the Opera Garnier.

In two simple words: absolutely not. There are many options that are far less expensive. Most people will be just fine taking public transportation such as the REB B commuter train, which gets you to central Paris at Gare du Nord (you may also get off close to the Latin Quarter, at Luxembourg).

Others may prefer the Roissybus, a regular and inexpensive city bus service that drops off and picks up passengers nearby the Opera Garnier.

There are also fancier coach services from the airport, for those who prefer perks like free wifi, increased luggage storage, strong air conditioning and more comfortable seats.

{Read related: Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a Trip to France}

Visitors with limited mobility, young children, or many heavy bags may end up deciding that taking a taxi is the best and most convenient option. Even having a monstrous case of jetlag or needing to get to the city more quickly are perfectly good reasons to go for a taxi ride over navigating public transport.

My bottom line? It’s a personal choice. But if you do decide to hop in a cab, make sure you don’t fall victim to the scammers lurking at the arrivals gate and outside the terminal.

And if you’re planning a debut trip to the capital, consider reading our top Paris travel tips for first-time travelers.

Like This? Pin & Share

A full guide to taking taxis from the airport when visiting Paris-- and tips on avoiding common scams. Paris Unlocked/All rights reserved

Editor’s Note: This article contains a few affiliate links. Booking taxis or other services through these helps to support more free, in-depth features like the one you’re reading. Thank you.

11 thoughts on “Paris Airport Taxis: How to Use Them (& Avoid Scams)

  1. This reminds me of my first arrival in Athens by taxi from the airport. It was late at night and very dark and I had actually picked up the taxi at the legitimate taxi queue at the airport. My friend, who lived in Athens had suggested what it was likely to cost and I quickly realised it was actually going to cost every penny I had with me. In those days Greece had very strict currency controls and I think you were only allowed to bring in the equivalent of £20 from abroad. I quickly ran out of funds. The driver just dumped me somewhere in the suburbs. I was terrified.Luckily, that rarely happens these days. First of all, there are fixed fares from the airport to various locations in Paris and if the driver doesn’t quote you the correct fixed fare, you don’t get in. Also, there is now a very efficient metro service from the airport that drops you in the center of the city, near taxi ranks that are always full, day and night. Taxi scams are the worst all over the world.
    And, I agree 100% about avoiding Uber as a single woman or a minor in a strange country.
    Good piece and thanks for the Paris tips.

    1. Thanks for this feedback. What a terrible ordeal you had in Greece– such a shame! Of course, in every country you visit, there are ways to avoid the unscrupulous who prey on tourists. Glad these tips were helpful.

  2. The blog post is really appreciated. Hiring a taxi in a new country for the first time is very difficult to get and also to face that situation. It will be much helpful and ease if one would browse the information in advance for the place to travel and accordingly know the effective facility to roam in the city. I was not aware Taxi2airport transfer works in Paris too.

  3. Gracias, muy Buena recomendation en especial que es mi primera visita, ya que Tengo mis reservation de hotel para los proximos dias.

  4. Thank you for this post. I’ve been to Paris a few times and always used the RER but for my upcoming trip, in my 30s with far less energy and far less sturdy knees, I’m going to book a cab.

  5. I am an English person living in Paris. At Gare dude Nord i got into a taxi with a blue light. I paid by my CIC FRENCH bank card and now see the fare was 2000 euros not 21.50! Scammed!!!! Will CIC reimburse me?

  6. I was charged 85€ for a fare from CDG to Saint Denis today! Just checked the going rate and it would appear I was scammed

  7. On brain overload. Do the hotels help? They are 9 of us going this summer. Want a ride to a market and then get another cab back to the hotel to pick u our luggage. Have shuttle booked (outrageous cost).

  8. I have just been through the mine field of trying to pre book a taxi from Gare Montparnasse to Gare du Nord with a return journey I have to speak as I find but I did not find G7 particularly helpfull
    In the end I pre booked with France Transfers they are English speaking. Extremely courteous and very professional, and of course their prices are most competitive and in my case this includes a driver waiting with a board at my train arrival platform, couldn’t be more pleased and would highly recommend them for simple hassle free pre booking procedure. I would ad that the price that I paid was less than UBER quoted

  9. I got scammed, jet lag my young daughter with me. Seemed super suspicious but once we were in the car with our bags in the truck I didn’t feel safe enough to make a fuss or get out. Luckily it’s just some euros and a lesson learned.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *