Like Jerry, I am a big fan of the RER/metro system for getting into Paris from CDG. That said, I pack very lightly (one 22" carry on and a computer bag). Looking at the RER/metro map, it seems like you will have at least one change (unfortunately at the worst possible place, Châtelet Les Halles, where you often walk miles to change). If you do it that way you'd take the RER and change at Châtelet for Metro Line 1 direction La Défense for Franklin Roosevelt. I don't see any simple alternative.
However, once you're in Paris and used to the metro/RER lines, I often go further than I have to in order to change at a less crowded, smaller station that has a connection to the line I want. It ends up faster in the long run.
Besides the cost, the RER/metro will get you to Paris a lot faster than a cab unless you're traveling on a Sunday morning.
Châtelet really IS that bad -- it can often take longer than walking to the same place above ground. If you are always on the RER it's not so bad but depending on the metro line it can be an extremely long walk (and I'm a walker!), with many sets of steps rather than escalators along parts of the route.
I have never spent much time in the area where C-E is located so I don't know it as well as other parts of Paris, but the website says Franklin Roosevelt is the closest metro stop. Charles de Gaulle - Etoiles seems to be the closest RER stop, but you'd still have to go through Châtelet unless you did it in more than one stop, since there are no other direct RER connections, and then walk to the hotel.
Maybe someone who has stayed at the C-E and came in via RER can give better advice.
Here's a good metro/RER map:
I am also a walker but my kids not as much.
I think the best for us to do would take the RER from the airport to Gare du Nord and get on the RER A (red) line, which looks like a very easy transfer, and take it to Charles de Gaulle. The walk from the Arch to the hotel will be a little schlep, but the kids will be in awe when we surface right in front of the Arch.
I don't know whether a partial response went out (my cat walked on my keyboard), but your plan sounds like a good one. As long as you stay on RER lines you're under the metro, and it runs faster and there are fewer lines. As I said, I haven't ever stayed in the C-E part of Paris, so I don't know the exact length of the walk. But RER/RER is better than RER/metro when Châtelet is involved if your kids can handle the walk at the end. It doesn't look that long and that part of Paris is relatively flat.
In any case, enjoy! Just don't pack too much -- it's never worth it and it allows you to bring all that much more home.
I generally take the Air France bus to the Arc de Triomphe (Etoile) and then walk down the C-E to the Marriott C-E.
When I've stayed at the Renaissance Place Vendome, I've taken the Roissy bus to Opera, and then walked to the hotel.
Here are different ways to get into the city:
I don't like to take the RER/Metro into the city with luggage, and have to go up/down stairs. The buses are easy, cheap, and easy to get on/off of.
Five of us recently took the RER from CDG and had an easy time with limited baggage to CE. We actually bought a 3 day Metro Pass for the RER/Metro thru 6 zones (You really do not need that many zones, unless going Past Euro Disney), and it cost us around $30 US each. I actually never did do any other type of transportation and took the same RER back to CDG.
Getting to the CE was fun and easy (See pictures of my brothers and I on the train and at the CE).
We just returned from a wonderful stay at the C-E and found that the RER to the FDR metro stop was a wonderful choice. We had to give ourselves a little bit more time returning to CDG but the cost was worth the exta time. We arrived at CDG and took the RER to Chatelet de Halles and then transferred to the #1 line (Yellow) and it was relatively quick. Navigating through the Chatelet metro was not too difficult but they do have moving escalators through the largest part. One bit of advice is to stay to the right as the French move very quickly and if you do not want to get ran over :).
The C-E is only one block off of the FDR metro stop and a very nice short jaunt.
I hope you enjoy your stay on the C-E. If you are looking for a nice off the beaten path rest, try Chez Andre. The concerge can help with a res but it is authentic French and a wonderful rest.
Glad to help. I love the fact that this blog has been created so we can enjoy the fruits of our labor.
Paris was one of the most memorable trips we have ever taken and I hope the folks after us enjoy it as much as we did and got the most out of our trip.
The Marriott CE offered to arrange a meet&greet CDG hostess and limo to the hotel and we took advantage of it as we were arriving at about 4 am our home time and knew we'd be wiped with jet lag. We arrived a Terminal 2A and it was a very long walk to the baggage and customs, but the hostess got us past the huge customs lineup in minutes making the 166 euro charge for all a little more worthwhile.
Holy ****. You actually paid nearly $250 (166 Euros) for a ride to the hotel from the airport? I sure hope you had a party of 10 for that price.
Can't speak for your customs situation but when I recently arrived at CDG I went through immigration and zoomed through customs in a matter of minutes. All told, I was checking into the Marriott within 1.5 hours of arrival, and that was with splurging 40 Euros for a cab. I'm still kicking myself for not using RER.
Other Paris threads to check
http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/photoAlbums/1101 La Défense, Paris, France
SusanL (Renaissance Vendome)
Thanks & CDG to Renaissance Le Parc Trocadero (Renaissance Le Parc Trocadero)
Paris! "Never better!" (Arc d'Triomphe trip report)
Surprise (discussion on Paris sights & hotels)
Hotel and Metro in Paris (hotel airport transporation options)