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Easier to fly or take the TGV

Old Jun 16th, 2015, 03:17 AM
  #1  
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Easier to fly or take the TGV

Hi. I am planning a trip to France in September. Before I do my final booking I would like your advice on whether I should take a flight from Paris (CDG) to Marseilles or take the TGV? My final destination is Aix. I would also like to know, on my return, if I should take the TGV from Marseilles (where I will spend the last two days) back to Paris or a flight. Your advice would be much appreciated?! Karen
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 03:40 AM
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Is there some major price difference between flying onward to Marseilles vs. claiming luggage, going through Immigration/Customs, making your way to the station, waiting, taking the train to city center?
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 03:45 AM
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Will you already be AT CDG to take the flight or train?

The reason I'm asking is that I'm seeing roundtrip fares for as low as $131 by air for a flight that is around 1.5 hours.

If you count the hassle of going through security, then the time you must devote to getting there increases.

If you are already THROUGH security at the airport, arriving from somewhere else, then you've reduced the hassle a bit and the time savings ends up being considerable when one considers that...

For the TGV train, I'm seeing estimated roundtrip fares of $100 to $160 in second class but with a travel time of around 4 hours.
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 03:51 AM
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I will be flying into CDG from South Africa, so either way Ill have to clear customs. The reason I am asking is that there is hardly and price difference in flying Johannesburg to Paris, then onto Marseilles by flight as apposed to taking the train. Which would be the quickest, taking into consideration, timewise between connections to fly to Marseilles or the train?
Thanks for taking the time to respond to me.
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 03:52 AM
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Of course, you are thinking about when you get to Marseilles to get to Aix.

True, you can transfer to the local regional train (which is not a matter of just stepping to another track, though) and then take the 39-minute train to Aix for very little money.

Or you can take a bus straight from Marseilles airport OR the TGV station (looks like the same bus!) to Aix-en-Provence for about 7 Euros. It's around a 1/2 hr journey. http://www.marseille-airport.com/acc...ix-en-provence
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 04:01 AM
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Thank you AlessandraZoe for your response. The money is not the issue, its whether its better to fly or train from Paris to Marseilles/Aix?
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 04:02 AM
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It seems obvious that if you end up staying IN the airport and your luggage is checked through to Marseilles it would be easier to simply fly onward rather than hauling the luggage over to the train station, waiting for the next train and assuming your in bound flight is not late, and that you get through Immigration/Customs in a timely fashion and that you make your way to the train station in time, etc., etc.

Are you not aware of the train schedules? You keep asking about the time difference? Have you LOOKED at the train schedules?

Time for YOU to do more than sit back and wait for all the answers IMO.
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 04:09 AM
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Haha Dukey, thank you. I will check out the schedules which I haven't done yet. Will sort the flights out first.
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 04:46 AM
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If you are already IN Paris - as in staying there - I would do the TGV as easier than a trek to the airport - plus more comfortable than flying.

If you will not be IN Paris but only at the airport it might be just as easy to fly.

Caveat: For anything 5 hours or less I almost always do train just for the greater comfort.
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 04:55 AM
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We have taken both the TGV from Marseille to Paris AND flown. The train arrives in Paris at Gare de Lyon. You will then need to make your way to CDG, assuming you are flying out of Paris that same day. I would leave a LOT of time just in case there are delays/strikes.

If you fly, you eliminate the the trip from Gare de Lyon. Depending on time of year, you could face weather issues.

All things equal (if you are leaving same day) I would fly. Otherwise, if you were spending a few days in Paris, I'd take train

iDTGV fares just went on sale today. You can get tickets for 19€ each. If you are traveling before if December. These are limited seats.

Just a thought - we have friends who fly annually from MRS to South Africa (CPT, I think) via British air. The flight is via London, but that may be something to consider on one of the legs or both, depending on whether you were spending time in Paris.

We have taken the bus from St. Charles in Marseille to airport and it is easy and inexpensive and departs regularly. We have taken the bus from MRS to Aix TGV station, also easy, frequent and inexpensive. You'd still have to find your way into town.

One last possibility is to use Montpellier as entrance and exit to get to Aix.
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 05:15 AM
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The bus from Marseilles airport goes both to the Aix TGV station and to the bus station in town. I took it last year and it was a comfortable coach.

Unless price is a concern, in which case you simply have to compare the costs, normally I would fly if I were in/going to the airport, or take the train if I were in/going to town. But I would want the flights on the same ticket. If they would not be on the same ticket, and since there are trains direct from CDG TGV to Aix TGV I might be inclined to take the train in this case.

("The train arrives in Paris at Gare de Lyon. You will then need to make your way to CDG, assuming you are flying out of Paris that same day."
Unnecessary - there are trains to/from CDG.)
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 05:42 AM
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Sorry, I was referring to iDTGV.

And yes, the bus does go on into town. My bad.
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 05:49 AM
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Hy
I'm like Ny : anything below 4 hours of train, I take train.
I find it much more relaxing, I can sleep, work, read, eat, all thinks I can't in a plane.
I've been to Marseilles Airport and TGV station, TGV is in the city, and airport is hours away.
I remember going from TGV to airport actually and I had to wait ages to get on the bus which took a lot of time to go to the airport.
So for me depends on where you go after : city to city : train, airport to airport : fly. Airport to city : well ...
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 06:20 AM
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Trains from CDG to Aix-en-Provence TGV station take 3 h 45 minutes and leave from the airport TGV station every two hours (9:44; 11:44; 13:44, etc)

But fares vary wildly on TGVs - buy far in advance and you could find something cheaper than flying but full-fare is really expensive - discounted tickets have restrictions - like non being able to change the ticket nor refund it and when coming by air you never really know when the plane will land, clear customs, etc. so with a cheap discounted ticket leave plenty of fudge factor time or if you miss the train you'll lose the ticket then have to buy a full fare one - anyway for lots of great stuff on French trains - www.seat61.com - great advice on discounted tickets; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com. www.voyages-sncf.com and www.capitainetrain.com are booking engines for the same trains and same fares - the latter is easier to use many say.

So check fares and times and if convenient take the TGV from the airport and be in Aix in about 4 hours and see the lovely French countryside as you blow along at speeds of up to nearly 200 mph.
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 06:35 AM
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"I remember going from TGV to airport actually and I had to wait ages to get on the bus which took a lot of time to go to the airport. "

Buses to/from the airport run every 30 minutes. From the Aix bus staion they take 35-40 minutes depending on the time of day. From the TGV station to the airport takes a mere ten minutes. At least that's what the schedule says.
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 06:37 AM
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Oh, were you talking about Marseille's TGV? We're talking about Aix.
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 07:40 AM
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If hopping the train be sure to book a seat on the mianly Duplex trains - double-deckers - in the top level for ultimate nice views - the lower level views are often blocked by guard rails, embankments of the rail bed, etc. Think when booking a ticket you can chose your seat.
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 08:36 AM
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Yup, I was talking about Marseille.
When I go to Aix, I'm nearly almost with my car. Love this city.
If I may add a perfectly subjective opinion, Marseille is the only city I've to in France that I don't want to return to. I've asked my neighbours to bring me there when we are in the south but I still have to be convinced it is a nice city.
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 09:41 AM
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Compare the fares from South Africa to Paris to the fare from South Africa to Marseille. On distances like that, often the "add-on" fare for the connecting flight can be free or almost free. And then there are other cases where it can be totally outrageous. So be sure of that first.

If the train is a better deal, pay attention to PalenQ's advice about finding a good fare from CDG to Aix.

As for Marseille, I have always liked it very much, and I found that it had become even more fantastic when I returned last year when it was the European capital of culture. the new MuCEM museum on the port is outstanding and the whole Vieux Port area is now dazzling. Public transportation is also excellent, because the tickets are valid for one hour and you can take the metro or the bus at will in any direction and even back to your starting point without having to use a new ticket (unlike Paris).
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Old Jun 16th, 2015, 11:51 AM
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You have all been so amazing. I never expected this huge response. Thank you all sooo much. I will book my flights tomorrow and of course keep in touch with my plans. Thx again and again x
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