Gare de Lyon

Jul 13th, 2004, 08:58 AM
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Gare de Lyon

We will be taking the TGV from Gare de Lyon to Marseille and already have our tickets in hand (from RailEurope). Can anyone tell me how long I should allow for finding the track, stamping tickets and boarding the train. I've heard it can be hard to navigate the station with luggage.

Thanks a lot!
LLBABB is offline  
Jul 13th, 2004, 09:23 AM
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YOu can board trains long before the last minute and a lot of people do on TGVs. It helps you get settled, get your luggage where you want it, etc.

So, there is the minimal amount to dash through the station and get in the door, versus a comfortable leeway. It's hard to say because I think a lot of it depends on how familiar you are with European train travel in general, which makes everything a lot easier even if you haven't been in Gare de Lyon. I haven't been to Paris this year yet, so am not sure if they have extra boarding security measures on the TGVs. They did when I was in Spain last March, and that added on some time, just as at an airport.

Bottom line -- I'd get at Gare de Lyon an hour ahead of departure time probably.
Christina is offline  
Jul 13th, 2004, 09:44 AM
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I would also allow 1 hour, however, the track that you need willl probably not be posted until 15 minutes before you leave. Then it's often a rush to the car!
gailscout is offline  
Jul 13th, 2004, 10:04 AM
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There's a cafe that faces the TGV tracks. Go early, have a drink and wait there.
Gretchen is online now  
Jul 13th, 2004, 10:18 AM
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An hour seems way excessive to me. The Gare de Lyon is not exactly a Tokyo Station where there are dozens of tracks on different levels in different places.

When you enter Gare de Lyon (either from the main entrance, where a taxi drops you off, or coming up from the subway), you'll see a large board marked "Départs," with the trains listed in order of the departure time. The board lists the departure time, the main cities served by the train, and the track from which the train departs; TGV trains will also have the TGV logo. The train will probably not be available for boarding until 10 or 15 minutes before departure time.

The track numbers are clearly marked; the French word for track is "Voie." For the TGV, the car number is also marked on the platform. (Your ticket is for a specific seat in a specific car.)

Being conservative and if it's your first time, it might take you 10 minutes to locate the enormous display (or one of the many TV moniotrs showing the same info), find your train on the list, and make your way to the correct platform and car. If you wanted to be ultra-safe, you could allow 30 minutes.
DonTopaz is offline  
Jul 13th, 2004, 11:53 AM
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In principal, I agree with rizzuto -- except for the estimate of 10 minutes total to do all of that. In practice, we don't know if LLBABB has ever even taken a train before. I know many people who have not, and if they don't know French either, they have wandered around trying to figure out what to do in a train station for a long time.

I was also giving some leeway as I don't know the security measures on TGVs, does anyone know current? Also, I like to get on the train early, not at the last minute, as you can get better places for your luggage and stuff. If you didn't care about that, it wouldn't matter so much.

I think they post the quais for TGVs long before 15 minutes pre-departure. At least for a lot of them, although regular trains they don't usually. I think they often have the train sitting there and the quai posted at least 30 minutes before departure.

Well, I would get to a station 30 minute before departure if I had to luggage, but even I would try to get there earlier than that for a major TGV run that was important to me, even though I'm familiar with the process. If you are on a car at the very end of the train, that alone can take 5-10 minutes to walk out to it.
Christina is offline  
Jul 13th, 2004, 01:10 PM
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Thank you all for your input. I do speak French--but very badly--and I once took a TGV to or from Geneva (I really don't remember). It was so long ago that the TGV was a new thing. So I can't really remember the protocol and am traveling with my husband and kids, so I just didn't want to blow it. So no with your feedback I can better gauge my time and I won't worry if it's 10 minutes to departure and the track isn't posted. Thanks.
LLBABB is offline  
Jul 13th, 2004, 02:30 PM
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We have seldom seen the quay for our train posted more than 15 minutes in advance, if that. If you want to be on the safe side, allow at least 30 minutes--or take the first train of the day, in which case it will be waiting there at the station and you can just get on well in advance of the departure time.

Most of the TGV trains at the Gare de Lyon leave from a separate area of tracks, off to the left from the main part of the station. So you can get yourself over there and wait for the track number to come up.
Underhill is offline  
Jul 13th, 2004, 04:38 PM
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Check the departure posters in the train station..there is no need to wait until the train pops up on the electronic board to know which track it will leave from.
TopMan is offline  
Jul 13th, 2004, 05:55 PM
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Go early and have lunch or dinner whatever your schedule, at the beautuful old Tran Bleu up the staircase from a cafe on the main floor. It's one of th most beautiful places to see.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jul 14th, 2004, 09:17 AM
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I took the TGV to Avignon the middle of May, and there was no extra security precautions, at least not from the CDG TGV, nor from Avignon back to Gare de Lyon. I had worried about not being able to use the baggage storage areas at the ends of cars, but thank goodness they were not off limits. I think 30 minutes should give you enough time to negotiate yourself around the Gare de Lyon.
Sue4 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2004, 09:29 AM
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Yup, give it half an hour. Have a swift Kir at the Train Bleu bar. Don't miss the old murals high up in the main station -- love them, and the palm trees at the end of the voies. Really lets you feel you are now leaving Paris for sunnier climes . . .
Amusez-vous bien !
ealing_calling is offline  
Jul 14th, 2004, 10:11 AM
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The TGV to Marsailles usually leaves from one of the tracks in the main hall. Be sure to stamp your tickets at the orange machines as the head of the tracks. Otherwise your ticket is not valid. Watch how the French passengers do it. It can be difficult to navigate with luggage since this is a crowded station. As a nervous traveler I try to arrive an hour in advance but they have never in my experience posted the track until twenty minutes before departure.
RJD is offline  
Jul 14th, 2004, 10:43 AM
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Trains should always be posted no less than 20 minutes before departure. Sometimes there are delays but if they are posted less then 20 mins in advance then they are generally late.

I would get there 35- 40 mins ahead. That gives you 10 mins to figure out the train station and another 10 before the train is posted. Its fairly easy. Have a great trip!
MorganB is offline  
Jul 14th, 2004, 01:43 PM
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Once again, you guys are great--lots of good ideas and planning tips. Can anyone suggest a good place to buy a picnic lunch in Gare de Lyon for the train ride or am I better off stopping by my neighborhood place?
Cigalechanta, unfortunately we're leaving in the morning so lunch or dinner at Train Bleu are out; I don't suppose they serve breakfast?
LLBABB is offline  
Jul 14th, 2004, 01:57 PM
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There are several vendors at the Gare de Lyon who sell excellent baguette sandwiches and fruit, as well as some beverages. On the TGV you'll find a snack bar from which you can get coffee, tea, cold drinks, hot and cold sandwiches, sometimes hot entrées--and at breakfast time, croissants.
Underhill is offline  
Jul 14th, 2004, 02:46 PM
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Fauchon (not in the train station) has yummy cold lunch plate options that I often get to take on the train. They include a main meal on a plastic plate such as grilled chicken brochettes with a potato and onion salad or grilled salmon with a side of vegtables. They also have good sandwiches. The meals come with a drink (sparking or still water, softdrinks wine? maybe.. can remember) and a dessert (eclair, dark chocolate mousse, fruit salade etc). You also get a small roll , plastic utensils and napkin. Prices range from around 6 to 9 euros. There are several Fauchon locations around paris so one may be close to your hotel.
MorganB is offline  
Jul 15th, 2004, 04:46 AM
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We annually travel to Avignon, usually from the Gare de Lyon. We use a porter service, fellows with red shirts, that are great. They will take you to your train early, get you to your correct car, etc. They also can call ahead to Avignon and have a porter meet you upon your arrival there. They help get a cab. You can use them on the Avignon to Gare de Lyon route as well. Cost 8 euros+. I highly recommend. Anthony
Powell is offline  
Jul 15th, 2004, 06:39 AM
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We had printed out tickets that we purchased on-line and were told we didn't need anything stamped - however, they did check our passports to make sure they matched!
nitajan is offline  
Jul 15th, 2004, 07:41 AM
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How do we get in touch with the porter service?
Underhill is offline  

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