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Sunday, 9 June 2013

Day 1: Navigo Decouverte, Museum Pass, Gare du Nord, Hotel Cambrai Paris

(First day in Paris, continued from my earlier post...)

We cleared the immigration and custom without any glitch, and about half an hour after arrival we were out from the terminal, ready for the next move. Thankfully we did lots of information gathering prior to this trip, so we had the basic idea where we should go from this point onwards.

From Terminal 2A, we turned left and walked towards Terminal 2C. Our destination was the airport train station located adjacent to 2C. Took about 15 minutes to reach there, but not difficult at all because clear signboards available all the way. Just follow the "RER Paris par (by) Train" signage. On the way there, we dropped by at the airport Tourist Information Office to buy the Paris Museum Pass. We bought 4 days pass at EUR 54 each. It was a smart decision and we highly recommend it. Within the four days, we visited many attractions such as Louvre, Orsay, Pantheon, Arc Triomphe, Versailles, Invalides. A la carte ticket will cost us more than what we have paid for the Museum Pass.

Paris Museum Pass, Navigo Decouverte, brochures

We reached Terminal 2 train station, named Aeroport Charles de Gaulle 2 TGV. Must be careful on the station's name, or else you'll end up at different place. For example, train station for Terminal 1 has almost identical name, "Aeroport Charles de Gaulle 1". Wrong station. This is a common mistake by tourist, and we did it on several occasions too. Its okay when you're on sightseeing, but imagine if your return flight is early in the morning and you took the wrong train...

to the train station

Train between CDG to the city of Paris is served by RER-B line. Normally, single way cost EUR 9.5 but we had a different plan. Travel pass "Navigo decouverte", provides unlimited travel from Monday to the following Sunday midnight. To buy it, we went to the ticket office because it is only available over the counter. Also brought from Malaysia a small size photo (2.5cm x 3.0cm) to be attached on the card. We bought a week pass for zone 1-5, which not only covers journeys from airport to Paris and within the city, but also to Versailles a few days later. The price is EUR 39 including smart card. After the trip we keep this card as our Paris's memento.

inside the RER train

RER-B train available every 10 minutes intervals, sometime less. We took the soonest available. With two big trolley bags with us, we chose seats located at the rear of the car to avoid inconvenience on other passengers. Journey was about 30 minutes, and passed through suburban areas surrounding Paris. We disembarked at Gare du Nord, because our hotel is very near to this station.

Outside Gare du Nord

Gare du Nord is located at Paris 10th Arrondisement and one of its major train station. The area is busy, and you'll find people with various characters here. We read many trip reports before we came, thus we were well prepared for this place. When the first stranger approached us and asked in English "May I help you?", we just replied with "Non, merci" and didn't make eye contact at all. Sound a bit unfriendly maybe, but high chance he was one of the con people preying on tourist. This proven to be true, because later we saw other tourist had to pay money to these people, in return for their "assistance". And I am not talking about coins.

Nevertheless, 10th Arrondisement is not that bad. We just need to exercise caution especially with our belongings, and this is applicable to everywhere we went during this trip. Out from the station's building, I immediately recognize the street, thanks to Google Streetview. We walked to our hotel, 5 minutes by foot from Gare du Nord.

Hotel Cambrai, Boulevard Magenta Paris

our room

view from balcony


Hotel Cambrai is a 1 star hotel, small and basic but provides decent place to sleep for the two of us in expensive Paris. At EUR 65 per night, we had a double room with private shower, TV, and balcony. Bed was okay, room and toilet were in clean condition, cleaning service and towels change were done on daily basis. Our room was located at fifth floor, but elevator was available and spacious enough to accommodate two people with heavy bags. Wifi only works at the lobby area. There's also vending machine for hot drinks and snacks. Nearby, there's plenty of restaurant available, some serving halal foods. A popular grocery chain called Monop is just across the road, where we bought our daily supply (mineral water, snacks etc.) and later, bags of candies/ chocolates to bring home. Few blocks away, there's laundromat where we washed our clothes before went to London. Metro stations around this hotel are Gare du Nord (line M4), Poissoniere (M7), and Barbes Rochechouart (M2). All are within 5 to 10 minutes walking distance. Hotel Cambrai was not a luxury experience, but at least we can use those spare money for something else.

Hotel Cambrai, lobby

hallway to elevator


It was 30 minutes past 11 in the morning, still early for check-in. We left our trolley bags there (for free) and headed outside to start our Paris exploration!

Next: Pont Neuf, Notre Dame, Galleries Lafayette, Eiffel Tower


  1. I care for such info much. I was looking for this particular information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

    1. Hi there, thank you for visiting this blog. We are happy to share useful tips with fellow travellers like you!

  2. Dear Ramli,

    May I ask the Navigo Pass is for unlimited rides including transfer between Metro to RER line as well as buses throughout the week right?Monday to sunday

    Thanks !

    1. Hi there,
      Yes that's true, it is for unlimited ride for metro, RER and buses within the designated zone (depend which zone coverage that you purchase). Weekly pass valid from the week's Monday till the following Sunday.