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2 days in Lourdes - where to stay –how to travel -from Paris and to Rome

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May 11th, 2013, 01:29 AM
  #1
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2 days in Lourdes - where to stay –how to travel -from Paris and to Rome

We are a family of 4 Adults and 3 kids (aged 3, 4 and 9) will be in Paris till 21st of July. We would be heading to Lourdes for 2 days.

What is the best way to reach Lourdes without paying over the roof? Is it better to fly out from Paris to Lourdes airport (LDE) or take the direct train from Paris to Lourdes which is definitely cheaper.

the bigger concern is to reach Italy from there (which is the next leg of our journey). On Tuesday (23rd July) there is a flight on Ryan air to Milan (but far away from City). We would prefer to reach Rome(for 6 days) from Milan as the first base in Italy .

I would appreciate your suggestions and help.

Thanks in advance
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May 11th, 2013, 01:46 AM
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It all depends on how much time you have -- I prefer to take the train whenever possible.
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May 11th, 2013, 02:32 AM
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The train route I would take would be the TGV Paris to Pau, then connect with local train for the short journey to Lourdes. There are other options via Bayonne. www.voyages-sncf.com

You might want to check if there are any charter air/hotel packages Paris-Lourdes that meet your needs but these generally would be roundtrip back to Paris.

Do you want to go to Milan or directly to Rome from Lourdes? There are bus and train connections from Lourdes to Toulouse, so check flights Toulouse-Rome. Easyjet and Air France/Alitalia fly Toulouse-Rome. Trains from Lourdes or Pau or Toulouse would be long and 3-4 connections but you have that option as well.

I would not consider the Ryanaur flight to Milan unless you plan to spend time in Milan.
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May 11th, 2013, 02:50 AM
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In considering the Ryanair option, here's a good description of onward travel from Bergamo Airport:

http://www.milanairportsguide.com/be...ort-trains.htm

Ryanair flies Bergamo to Rome Ciampino. I believe they only fly point to point, no connections and baggage transfer, no compensation for missing the scond flight. So no connecting flight from Lourdes. Ryanair is fun that way.
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May 11th, 2013, 03:41 AM
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http://www.easyjet.com/ flies from Toulouse to Roma FCO
http://www.ryanair.com/ flies from Lourdes to Bergamo
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May 11th, 2013, 05:44 AM
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You can actually travel to Lourdes via TGV without changing but that service only happens about once daily. Otherwise you can leave from Montparnasse and change in Bayonne as someone has already mentioned. I would definitely take the train which would be a lot easier when all is said and done.

As to places to stay: there are a lot of different accommodation possibilities; there are several hotels very near the entrance to the grotto area but if you stay almost anywhere within the town limits you could probably walk to the entrance without difficulty.

Be prepared for lots of visitors.
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May 13th, 2013, 04:41 AM
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sorry for being away from the forum.(blame it on the long weekend here).

Many thanks to all of you for your suggestions.

Kerouac, We are looking for one full day at Lourdes.

Cathinjoetown,Dukey - As per www.voyages-sncf.com
there is night train from Paris to Lourdes arriving at 5:55AM. Is this any better option than the day time one. I believe it has couchettes(Sleepers/Berths???). Would it be comfortable for little ones.

neckervd, Thanks for the links.

I give up on Ryan Air to Milan, instead I will travel from Toulouse. Is it any better to rent a car(7 seater) for a day from Lourdes to Toulouse

If I could do the Night train from Paris, I am hoping to get the Monday,22nd July Easy Jet from Toulouse to Rome.

Appreciate your inputs.
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May 13th, 2013, 05:00 AM
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Forget to add this on the earlier, As per www.voyages-sncf.com

On Intercités de nuit trains

There are three different types of travel areas on Intercités de nuit trains:
1st class couchettes: for optimum comfort in the 1st class compartments. Four couchettes to a compartment.
2nd class couchettes: compartments of 6 comfortable couchettes, optimal space and a restful atmosphere.
Reclinable seats: with armrests, fold-away footrests and backs which incline to 45° for maximum comfort.

Please note: To facilitate your journey, Intercités de nuit also offers dedicated areas:
An Information Point manned by ticket inspectors throughout the night.
Machines distributing hot and cold drinks and snacks.
A bike area.
Compartments reserved for women travelling alone and families.
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May 13th, 2013, 06:14 AM
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There's a supposed parent/children compartment on that night train (I am getting that info from the GermanRail site BTW).

I love trains including night trains but I'd be inclined to take the very early daytime timing (yes, I realize that for some people getting up that early is difficult) and you arrive in the mid-afternoon. And yes I know you want a full day there so perhaps the night train is better.

There used to be a bus service from the railway station to the grotto entrance area.

I think a LOT is going to depend on what you want to experience at the site itself. The big "attraction" for many is, of course, the grotto itself although the lower crypt church is of interest as well as the original church up above.

There are masses all day in the crypt and there used to be a couple each day at the grotto itself which has been somewhat "sanitized" over the years (all those crutches, etc., left behind by those who were cured seem to have disappeared).

The town itself is absolutely loaded with every conceivable type of store selling every conceivable type of "sacred" object to include rosaries, holy water bottles shaped like Our Lady (think Mrs. Butterworth's), reli gious "art" clothing, etc., etc. A lot of that you can miss although those stores are jammed along the way toward the grotto area entrance.

Hopefully it will be a spiritually uplifting experience for you; it is certainly unforgettable.
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May 13th, 2013, 07:13 AM
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vjose.

It has been a long time since I've taken a night train but couchettes are fairly comfortable--padded berths/bunks. I think the kids will be more comfortable than the adults. The couchettes are arranged three to a side with a ladder to get to the upper couchettes.

Check on what's provided, I believe a blanket and pillow. With just six bunks, check that 7 are allowed. The two smallest children could probably share.

I agree with Dukey that an early train out of Paris might be a better option, but your choice really. Lourdes can be "seen" very quickly or can take a full day.

One thing about Lourdes, the options to get to Toulouse are good, I would avoid renting a 7- seater van unless there is no other reasonable way to get to Toulouse for your flight. My experience with 7-seaters is that luggage space is very limited.
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May 13th, 2013, 08:17 AM
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There are numerous trains to Toulouse from Lourdes and most timings require no changes.
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May 14th, 2013, 01:43 PM
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Dukey1,Cathinjoetown - Many thanks for your patience and continuing support.

Finally, I am moving with train/flight bookings. However SNCF site allows only 6 at a time. Accordingly I will split the booking to 2 sets. First class is cheaper than 2nd class, however it says

Conditions tarifaires : BILLET CARTE ENFANT+ SPECIAL Web : 3 euros reduction on online reservations for travel with INTERCITES NIGHT. A valid Carte Enfant+ must be shown when boarding the train. Ticket can be exchanged and refunded (administrative charge applies) before departure and cannot be exchanged or refunded after departure.


I reckon BILLET CARTE ENFANT+ is some sort of discount card. Where do I buy this? is it worth taking.

The total for all of us came out to be 478EUR.


Regards
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May 15th, 2013, 01:18 AM
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vjose,

The carte enfant appears to be available only to French residents/citizens:

Comment obtenir la carte Enfant Famille ?

Vous êtes allocataire auprès d'une Caf ou d'une MSA :

Pour savoir si vous pouvez bénéficier de cette carte, munissez-vous de votre identifiant et de votre mot de passe transmis par votre caisse, puis cliquez sur le logo de votre organisme ci-contre pour qu'il étudie votre droit à la carte.

Si votre Caf ou MSA retient que votre famille a un droit à la carte, laissez-vous guider pour faire votre demande de carte en ligne et régler les frais de dossier de 15 euros, soit par Carte Bleue en ligne, soit par chèque en joignant celui-ci aux photos d'identité des membres de la famille.

Basically, this says you have to go online with a username and password provided by your "caisse allocations familiales" (caf) or MSA, The caf is part of the French Sécurité Sociale, not sure what MSA is but I suspect another part of officialdom.

Your right to the carte is then verified (or not), you then order the carte on line, 15 euros, photos of your family, etc.

What are you trying to book? The night train? There may be other ways to get discounted tickets for the kids. If you send the details (nothing personal) I can have a look. I use the sncf website for all my bookings but am not an expert.
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May 15th, 2013, 02:15 AM
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Oops.. Thanks a ton Cathinjoetown. It is so nice of you to offer to look at it. much appreciated

I was trying to book on the Night Train on 20th July 2013. I guess the details required are our names and date of birth,right? Any other details then let me know.

How do your prefer,send an email or down here as a reply.
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May 15th, 2013, 02:34 AM
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I had a look on sncf using the 21st July night train. I tried purchasing 6 ickets at once, for the 3 year old I selected "forfait bambin." Came up with a total of 346 € for six couchettes. This was for the train leaving gare d'austerlitz at 21:45, arriving Lourdes 5:55 Monday. You will then need another ticket.

I did not go through the couchette selection process, which may add to the price.

You have the option of not paying anything for the 3-yr old (sur les genoux). This would put all seven of you in one couchette compartment (legally) but two would be sharing. The price for this came to 475€. Think I plugged in 1st class for 4 adults and two age 4-11.
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May 15th, 2013, 02:53 AM
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Ok. I will try it now.

Few questions which country to choose as "Ticket collection country" . We are living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

If I were to book 6 at once(by excluding 3 year old) then do I need to book another ticket for the year old or is it legal that they could travel with out ticket.
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May 15th, 2013, 03:32 AM
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TTT
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May 15th, 2013, 03:38 AM
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Sorry, sent second mail before I saw your 20 July date.

I didn't take the purchase far enough to see what addl' info they want i.e. names and ages.
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May 15th, 2013, 09:57 AM
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Okay, I've played around with this some more and it looks like no infomation is required for your 3 year
old. (In other words, if you say there are 5 plus one child 3 or under, they ask for details of the 5 but
nothing for the child.) But, if you reserve this way, you have to buy separately another ticket and may not be placed in the same compartment! And, worse, the 6th couchette could be sold to someone not in your party.

You want to put 7 in a six-berth compartment which you can do as one is legally non-paying. But, I can't see a way to indicate this.

My thinking, at least what I would do, is book the entire compartment with the six who must pay, 4 adults and the two children 4 and 9. The three year old would be sharing.The only thing that concerns me is that sncf might want to know there's a child travelling "sur les genoux" even though they don't ask for any details!

Two other options:

Buy six tickets together, one a forfait bambino. That way the entire compartment would be booked as
above. Buy one adult separately but still put everyone in the compartment, unless one adult wants to
sleep in another compartment.. This will cost more and I don't think it's necessary but I hope someone
else will comment.

Try phoning.

Wish I were more positive, have not encountered this before but this can't be a first time!
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May 15th, 2013, 09:57 AM
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REALLY sorry about the line breaks in my reply.
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