Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Catch a train or fly from Montpellier (France) to Colgne (Germany)?

Catch a train or fly from Montpellier (France) to Colgne (Germany)?

Reply

Mar 11th, 2011, 11:22 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 4
Catch a train or fly from Montpellier (France) to Colgne (Germany)?

I am planning to go to Besancon then maybe to Montpellier in May before going to Cologne. I am not sure if I should travel by train from Montpellier to Cologne or Fly. I am in NZ and never been to Europe before. Some people suggested to fly but some suggested to travel by train.l am also not sure if I should buy the train ticket in advance? Some people also said if I buy in advance and I could get discount. But some said don't worry as I can buy it once I am in the train station. I would love to get some advice:

- If I don't go to Montpellier, and will go from Besancon to Cologne , is it best to go to back to Paris by train and catch a train again from Paris, or fly?
- If I go to Montpellier, the same question as above
- Is it best to buy the ticket now online? Can anyone suggested the website.

Many Thanks
ijt_007
ijt_007 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 12th, 2011, 12:41 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2,505
There are no flights to Cologne from Montpellier airport.
From Besançon there is no need to go back to Paris : you can take a train to Basel/Mulhouse and another train to Cologne or fly from Basel/Mulhouse to Düsseldorf with easyjet. Dûsseldorf-Cologne is a short journey.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 12th, 2011, 01:30 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,653
Hop on a train from Montpelier to Paris, then a train to Cologne.

Book at www.tgv-europe.com, as two separate journeys preferably with at least 1 hour to chnage trains and stations in Paris, and say you're from Canada if you're from the USA to avoid being bumped to Rail Europe.

The Montpelier-Paris trip only takes 3 and a bit hours or so, and is very scenic, along the Rhone Valley. Paris-Cologne on a Thalys also takes about 3.5 hours. All centre to centre, stress- and airport-free, bring your own bottle of wine along for the trip (it's allowed, unlike with flying!)

www.seat61.com/Paris-metro.htm explians how to cross Paris from Paris Gare de Lyon to Paris Gare du Nord.
Man_in_seat_61 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 12th, 2011, 01:57 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 51,926
can't do any better than the man, ijt.

train travel is the only form of travel that still has some romance about it, and the montpellier to Paris trip sounds lovely.

BTW, I was on the train between Plymouth and Truro yesterday - the stretch that goes over the Tamar across Brunel's bridge must be one of the best in the world. why do I ever drive if I need to go to Plymouth? and it's so cheap - off-peak day return was £10.10; the petrol would have cost about 3x that at least. even 1st class was only £20, and you get a free drink, snack and newspaper, each way.

let the train take the strain!
annhig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 12th, 2011, 03:32 PM
  #5
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 4
thank you all for your reply.
ijt_007 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 13th, 2011, 03:30 AM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 4
I am from New Zealand, not Canada.

Can anyone please let me know, I am a bit confused whether to get point to point tickets or rail passes. And also which website is best to buy these tickets from. I have seen quite a few and very confusing for first timers.

5/5 Paris - Besancon
9/5 Besancon-Paris, Paris - Frankfurt
12/5 Franfkurt - Cologne
14/5 Cologne - Amsterdam

So this would consider 4 days passes for 3 countries.

I am also a bit worried about how to get to train station and if I would be able to find the train easily and if there will be announcement when the train almost reach the destination. I heard stories people get on the wrong train and didn't get off at the right destination, etc.

Also any advise on where to stay at reasinable price hotel with good neighbourhood in Frankfurt? I have 3 days to kill before going to Cologne, and not sure whether I should stay 3 days in Frankfurt or go somewhere else. and what to do for that 3 days.

any help would be much appreciated.
ijt_007 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 13th, 2011, 09:41 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 51,926
firstly, I don't think you don't need passes - they are only for extended travel in one country, you just need ordinary tickets.

secondly, i don't know how early your can/should by your tickets. this is a good website to consult:

www.seat61.com

you could ask there about the passes too, just to make sure.

BTW, if you aren't sure about Frankfurt, why not stay in Paris and go straight to cologne from there?

don't worry too much about getting your trains. all the big stations have large departure boards and information desks, where usually someone will speak english. as for not getting off the train at the right place, well your timetable should show you where it stops and how long it takes - so you just have to count off teh right no. of stops and keep an eye on the time. also you would normally have enough time to get off once the train stops even if you weren't ready for the stop, as these are big stations with lots of people getting on and off.

and what's the worst that can happen ? - you stay on one stop too many and have to get off at the next stop and come back!
annhig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 13th, 2011, 10:15 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,148
If you've never been on a train before, which it seems, you will find out how to do some things when you see things, but I would not take it so casually about missing a stop. First, you will owe money if you try to take extra journies in a direction without a ticket (if you are caught, granted you may not be), and who knows how long you may have to wait for a train coming back (and you'd have to know if it will stop where you want).

I did actually get on a train once going the wrong direction in the Czech Republic which was kind of stupid of me but the Czech trains weren't marked that clearly where they were going, as I recall, and while I was on the right platform for my train, somehow I got on a different one that stopped about the same time. After a few stops that I didn't recognize, I figured out probably what had happened and talked to a conductor. Luckily I knew a little Czech as he did not know English, of course, and we were kind of out of the main city centers. So I did get off at the next stop and then had to figure out the next train going in the direction I wanted and that stopped where I wanted. And in this little Czech town no one spoke English, so it was good I knew a little Czech. In short, I had to pay for a ticket, of course, to go back and this took up about 3 hours extra I hadn't planned on and luckily I had enough Czech currency to do that (as I was going to Germany). So my friend who were waiting for me several hundred miles away and a long wait.

Anyway, my point is this is not trivial, in my opinion, and should be avoided. When you are on a train, you will see the name of the stops out the window outside the rail station when you are approaching and when there. You have to really keep a lookout for these signs, and then know which one is just before the one you want so you are ready to get off when appropriate. I would pay attention to the stops you see out the window (the signs on the station and approaching next to the train tracks) rather than just depending on a timetable. I also would not rely on hearing or understanding an announcment (as you can't understand them most of the time, at least I can't).


I've taken the train from Paris to Montpellier and wouldn't have described it as particularly scenic. It's mainly the TGV that goes down from Paris to Provence and you pass some rather flat farmland for the most part. It's okay, but I wouldn't recommend it for a scenic train trip.
Christina is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 13th, 2011, 11:38 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2,505
"9/5 Besancon-Paris, Paris - Frankfurt"

Why are you backtraching to Paris if you want to go to Frankfurt? You could take a train from Besançon to Strasbourg and change in Offenburg or Karlsruhe.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 13th, 2011, 02:59 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,653
From Besancon, it does start to make sense going via Strasbourg rather than Paris.

Book Besancon to Strasbourg using www.tgv-europe.com, then book Strasbourg to Cologne at www.bahn.de. Allow 45 minutes to an hour to connect in Strasbourg in case of delay.

Booking opens 90 days in advance, book early to get the cheap deals.
Man_in_seat_61 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 13th, 2011, 10:53 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2,505
Why book separately? It is much easier to book the whole journey to Cologne from Besançon.
Assuming there is a delay, it will be SNCF responsibility to put you on the next train whereas if you have two separate tickets they won't care if you miss your train in Strasbourg.
45 minutes to an hour to connect is too long. Half an hour is enough.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 13th, 2011, 11:17 PM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 4
Thank you so much to all who have responded and gave me good advise. Much appreciated.
ijt_007 is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:10 AM.