Flights to 'Paris-Vatry Disney' anyone?

Written by Mark Avery on Thursday, 23 February 2012. Posted in News from 2012, Mark's blog

Just don’t mention that this airport is almost 100 miles from Paris!

Ryanair is notorious for operating flights from airports that are miles away from the cities they claim to serve. The long-standing champion of the so-called "Ryanairports" has been Frankfurt Hahn – 78 miles from Frankfurt if you are driving, or a 1hr45 bus ride if you want to take the public transport option (half an hour longer than the actual flying time from Stansted!).

Ever one to believe in the mantra that records are there to be broken, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary now brings us Paris-Vatry Disney, an airport which smashes Hahn into touch by being a whopping 97 miles from Paris on slow roads - allow three hours to get into central Paris. The "fast" route takes a mere 2hrs30, but adds 35 miles onto the trip. The journey time to Disneyland is not much better – two hours on the motorway. Compare that with Paris's main Charles de Gaulle airport, which is a 30 minute train ride from the centre of Paris and just ten minutes by train from the Disney complex.

Vatry lies close to the famed Champagne wine region and the historic city of Reims. Surely it would therefore make sense to market Vatry as 'Reims-Champagne' instead? Even the snobbiest of Krug enthusiasts would happily fly with Ryanair if they offered the most convenient option for getting to the heart of the quaffing action.

Alas the no-frills giant is more cynical than that. I would assume their plan is to offer flights to Vatry from cities that have poor flight connections with Paris and are far enough away to be unable to tap into Europe's high-speed rail network, much as they have already done successfully at Beauvais, 56 miles north of Paris.

Could Vatry provide a viable alternative for Brits looking for flights to Paris who don't have easy access to Eurostar services? In a word, no. Vatry is simply too far from Paris and Disneyland to be a convenient option. Instead, it is much better to look for flights to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, which are available from most departure points across the UK. There is plenty of competition from most regions, so finding cheap flights shouldn't be a problem either.

About the Author

Mark Avery

Mark Avery

Mark Avery wanted to be a Concorde pilot, but being colour blind put a halt to that particular career path. The demise of Concorde didn't help matters either! He took up journalism instead. Following a stint moaning about Coventry City's plight for a living, the dad of two girls is now is in charge of all things editorial at

Comments (7)

  • HRB


    23 February 2012 at 17:34 |
    It looks like yet another one of's anti-Ryanair rants has been unleashed. Not everyone has the money to take expensive flights into an airport like Charles de Gaulle, and sometimes people are happy to take advantage of a bargain flight to get to somewhere else which might be much more expensive to get to -- for example have you looked at the prices of flights to Luxembourg lately? And what about flights to Strasbourg? They don't even have a direct route any more.
    You also failed to mention the it is often a lot easier to pick up a hire car in these smaller airports than it is in a vast complex like Paris Charles de Gaulle, which most seasoned travellers I know hate anyway.
    I think that with the A4 autoroute, these cities could be easily accessible from Vatry airport, not to mention heading in the other direction to Reims, with its fascinating new cultural centre. Ryanair have even offered flights to Reims before, so why would a return to this area be pointless?
  • Mark Avery

    Mark Avery

    23 February 2012 at 19:48 |
    It was not an anti-Ryanair rant, I was mearly pointing out that associating this airport with Paris and Disneyland was ambitious at best.
    You make some valid points about cities like Strasbourg or Luxembourg, but that wasn't what the article was about. You could stretch your argument further - flights to Basel are only available from a handful of British airports, so if you were planning on using Basel airport and then heading west into France, then Vatry could be an alternative to that too, and likewise for Dijon as Eastern Airways haven't repeated their flights from Southampton there this year.
    With regards to car hire, I totally agree that small airports are much easier to use, but I would always add the caveat to shop around for the best deals, and to avoid booking car hire with the same company recommended by your airline, as doing so can mean a massive queue to get out of the airport. It should also be noted that the prices for car hire on the Ryanair website are often considerably higher than you can get elsewhere through price comparison sites. Ooops, another Ryanair criticism slips in!
  • Zhang Yao

    Zhang Yao

    13 April 2012 at 10:57 |
    help. how to get to Paris from PARIS-VATRY Airport?
  • James Avery

    James Avery

    14 April 2012 at 18:24 |
    It is a very long walk! The short answer is don't fly there - if you must use Ryanair, fly into Beauvais, otherwise use Orly or CDG - within France there are enough shuttle flights to Paris to find something reasonably priced if you don't mind going at a less convenient time of day. Vatry is fine if you want to explore the Champagne region and are planning on doing so in a hire car - just don't use Hertz!
  • Mark Avery

    Mark Avery

    14 April 2012 at 18:39 |

    As stated in my blog above, Vatry airport is a long, long way from Paris. The shuttle bus from Vatry to the nearest train station (Chalons-en-Champagne) takes around 25 minutes. From there allow at least 1hr40 to get into central Paris (Paris Est) by rail. There are three hire car companies serving Vatry, but note that the quickest route into the French capital takes anywhere between two to three hours depending on traffic.
  • Thomas


    05 July 2012 at 09:06 |
    Hi mark, I found a site on the net that offers cheap flights to Paris. The site is and for me it looks reliable. I want to know your opinion about it because I am planning to go in Paris next week.
  • James Avery

    James Avery

    05 July 2012 at 18:40 |
    Hi Thomas,

    Cheapflights is a price comparison site. They are not an agent and do not actually sell flights. There are plenty of other sites offering similar price comparison tools (Skyscanner, Momondo, Kayak etc). Cheapflights don't list a number of no-frills airlines, including Ryanair, so you would be wasting your time using them if you are looking for flights to Vatry.
    It is also worth noting that there is actually very little competition on most flight routes, so your best bet would be to use Flightmapping to see who flies where and then follow the link straight to the relevant airline.



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