If you do not live close to the airport and there is limited public transport to the airport, a car is likely to be your only option. However, if there is no one to drop you off, you will have to park your car somewhere.

In this guide you will find all the practical information you need about airport parking. You'll find our tips on how to save money easily on airport parking, we explain the difference between official and private car parks and how to compare them.

Why book airport parking in advance?

As with train and plane tickets, airport parking is subject to what is known as "yielding". This is a very common practice which consists of raising prices when demand is high, and lowering them when demand is low.

For example, if you book a train ticket 6 months in advance, when all the seats are still available, you will be entitled to a lower fare. Conversely, if you try to book the same seat the day before departure and the train is almost full, you will pay a much higher fare. In itself, supply and demand determine the price, that's nothing new!

For airport car parks, the logic is the same. Booking in advance gives you access to a more attractive rate. But that's not all: to get the best price, it's also important to make your reservation during an off-peak period. Airport car parks also tend to increase their prices as they approach a period of high demand, because they already know that the spaces will all be reserved. So it's best to book your car park outside peak periods (particularly summer and December). If possible, the best thing to do is to book your car park once you have booked your flight, when you know the exact dates of your journey.

Official car parks vs. private car parks: what are the differences?

When booking parking at the airport, you have two options: you can either book an official car park on the airport's website or a private car park on the outskirts of the airport, close to the terminals. Many travellers look no further and simply book an official car park. However, private car parks sometimes offer better deals in terms of price and service.

To explain the difference briefly, official car parks are the parking areas managed directly by the airport. These car parks are usually located on site, within walking distance of the terminals. Private car parks are operated by a variety of service providers and are usually located further away from the airport.

The first major difference between these two options is the price. Official car parks are generally quite expensive. This varies from one airport to another, but most often you have to pay more than €100 per week in a car park within walking distance of the airport. In contrast, private car parks are much more affordable, and depending on the time of year and the airport, it is possible to find car parks for less than €50 per week. In short, proximity to the terminals pays off.

To give you a better idea, at ParisIt is possible to find car parks at Orly airport for about €60 per week, with shuttle transfer, booking in the middle of summer. Whereas the cheapest official parking at Orly airport is over €150 per week for the same period.

The second difference will be how you reach your departure terminal. In the case of an official car park, you can simply walk. But if you choose to book a private car park, you should know that they will always provide you with an included link to the airport. This is most often in the form of a shuttle bus on demand to your terminal. Although a little further away from the airport, private car parks are usually less than 10 minutes away from the terminals.

Finally, you should know that some private car parks also offer a more upmarket service: valet parking. The concept is simple, rather than parking your vehicle in a car park and then driving to the airport, you can simply drive directly to your departure terminal where a driver will be waiting to collect your vehicle. This is the ideal solution for those who don't want to waste time with parking. It's also very convenient if you're loaded, for example if you travel with small childrenincluding a baby and all that it implies (travel bagprams, prams, etc.).

Compare airport car parks using a specialised platform

It is not always easy to find the different offers to compare them. For France's largest airports, this can quickly become a headache, with a dozen official car parks and just as many, if not more, private car parks.

To make your life easier, the best thing to do is to consult a specialised site that will allow you to compare the offers available at your departure airport. In this way, you can easily compare parking areas according to a number of criteria such as price, opening hours, whether it is a covered or outdoor car park, the distance from the airport or the transfer method. Finally, the other advantage of these platforms is that you can consult the opinions of other users. This way, you can be sure to avoid unpleasant surprises if a car park does not live up to its customers' expectations.

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