You have great suggestions for the best hotels for a London (Heathrow) stopover. Can you help with Paris (Charles de Gaulle)? We’ll be en route from Africa to California, landing at CDG in the mid-afternoon and departing at 10:30 a.m. the next day. We’ll be tired and would prefer to stay near the airport rather than going into Paris. (We’ve been lucky enough to have seen Paris many times.) But none of the obvious CDG hotel choices look that appealing.
Jane, I presume by “obvious CDG hotel choices” you mean the Sheraton Charles de Gaulle (Terminal 2), the Hilton Charles de Gaulle (Terminal 3), and the citizenM across the road from the Hilton? I’ve stayed at the Sheraton—because it’s conveniently located at the entrance to the train station where you can zip into the city center—and you’re right: There’s no real reason to stay there unless you want to pop into Paris for an afternoon and evening.
Here are four alternatives, suggested by one of my Trusted Travel Experts for France, Jack Dancy of Trufflepig, who until recently lived in Paris and is now based in Burgundy.
1. The Auberge du Jeu de Paume is an estate in Chantilly that is a 24-minute ride from the airport. It’s a Relais & Chateaux property with a two-Michelin-star restaurant and a brand new spa. “The rooms look onto the gardens of the Château de Chantilly, which is truly splendid and which, in fact, houses one of the largest French Masters collections outside the Louvre,” says Jack. “The town of Chantilly itself is very lovely. Chantilly housed the Royal Stables, and there is still a superbly picturesque race course in the town. You can visit the Royal Stables and the ‘Living Horse Museum’ quite apart from visiting the château and gardens. And nearby is the equally pretty town of Senlis, well worth heading to for lunch and a stroll.”
2. The Château d’Ermenonville, close to the town of Senlis, is also a 24-minute ride from the airport. (Take a taxi or have the hotel send a car to the airport to pick you up.) Located in a forest, it works “for a grandiose quiet night in a château complete with moat,” says Jack.
Should you feel like a little exercise between long flights, Jack can send a guide, with bikes for you, for an afternoon of biking in the Senlis area, through rolling countryside and the royal hunting forests. That way you’re sightseeing and exercising simultaneously–a nice way to spend a stopover.
3. Should you want to pop into Paris after all, stay just inside the Périphérique (the city ring road), in the 18th arrondissement (Montmartre) or the 20th, since these locations are only a 20-minute taxi ride from CDG. “I like the Hotel Particulier Montmartre,” says Jack. “You reduce your travel time to CDG compared to a downtown hotel by anything up to 40 minutes at high-traffic times (i.e., when you’re leaving for your morning flight back to North America). For a one-night stay, it can be fun to be up in Montmartre in particular because people often don’t want to dedicate a whole Paris stay to that neighborhood, but for a final night are happy to be a little out of town, especially with the added benefit of an easy departure.”
4. If you opt for the 20th arrondissement, “to experience a less touristy part of town,” Jack recommends staying at Mama Shelter. “From both the Hotel Particulier Montmartre and Mama Shelter, you can get directly onto the Périphérique, avoiding all city traffic.”
For imaginative travel solutions in Paris or anywhere in France, connect with Jack Dancy via this trip-request form (so he knows you’re a WendyPerrin.com traveler).
Enjoy your stopover!