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How much in advance to you need to get to a train station?

How much in advance to you need to get to a train station?

Feb 25th, 2008, 12:06 PM
  #1  
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How much in advance to you need to get to a train station?

How much in advance should you get to a train station- ie. going from Avignon to Paris. Train leaves at 6:40 am. What time should we get there?
maddi is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 12:14 PM
  #2  
 
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Be at the train door at least 2 minutes before scheduled takeoff

recently in France there were signs that train doors could close 2 minutes before scheduled departure

As the Gare de Lyon is a huge station with some platforms in different locations leave about 15 minutes to figure it all out.

Don'tforget to compost your ticket - cancel itself in the trackside machine if it's the type that needs validation

there are announcements on trains, in French only usually, warning passengers to have composted their tickets before boarding or if not to find the conductors before they find (and perhaps fine) you if you have not done so
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 12:25 PM
  #3  
J62
 
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The TGV arrives at Avignon at 6:37am, stops for 3min, and then departs at 6:40. You need to ready to board when the train pulls into the station, and board with grande vitesse.
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Feb 25th, 2008, 12:30 PM
  #4  
 
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Well now it's obvious that the 2 minute door closing rule is for trains originating in a station - like in Gare de Lyon for Avignon but obviously not for trains stopping for just a few minutes, which not aytpically could be a running late

sorry i mixed up you departure - yes in Avignon be at the track side and look at the Composition des Trains boards on that platform which should clearly indicate where each car of the train will stop - look for the car or voiture number on your ticket.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 03:44 PM
  #5  
 
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it's not like an airport... you need only be there as your train arrives, at the correct track, ready to hop on it.
suze is online now  
Feb 25th, 2008, 03:47 PM
  #6  
ira
 
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Hi M,

If you know what you are doing and have a reserved seat, 06:35.

You might want to be there at 06:15 to get oriented.

ira is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 04:47 PM
  #7  
 
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I would say at least 20-30 minutes ahead of departure. It's a very large station, and usually the track number is not posted until the last minute - so you really need to familiarize yourself with the location of the various blocks of track numbers. It may be a bit of a hike to your track, and even farther to your car.

You'll also want to allow time for the rest rooms and to purchase a bottle of water, coffee, snack, for the ride.
djkbooks is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 05:25 PM
  #8  
 
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If you are worried about having to go through a US TSA style security check, don't be, because there is not one. The main concern I have is to be at the station in time to find the correct track for the train I want.

The advice about getting there in time to buy any provisions or reading material you might want is good. You will either bring your own drinking water or buy it on the train.\

TGVs usually have a snack car if not a dining car.

I do not know the Avignon station for departures, but I can tell you now that Gare de Lyon gives me pause.

Other large stations don't bother me, but that one does. Munich for example has a large main station but never have I had a moment's pause finding my train,


bob_brown is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 08:05 AM
  #9  
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Thanks everyone for the great info. One last question. I was unable to print my PREM tickets (long story). I need to pick them up at a ticket station. Anyone have any problems with this? Should I do it a day before?
maddi is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 08:09 AM
  #10  
 
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You can also pick them up at dozens of SNCF Boutiques conviently located in city centers.
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Feb 27th, 2008, 08:21 AM
  #11  
 
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If you ever forget to compost your tickets because you're late, jump into the train and search for a controller (ticket collector?)to get no penalty (this is what I did last week)
cocofromdijon is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 08:25 AM
  #12  
 
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I think some respondants are describing the Paris station - not the Avignon station. The Avignon station is small and easy to navigate - compared to the Gare de Lyon.

I'm assuming you will have a car to return. As you enter the station complex through the large gates, the rental car area will be in back of the station. Bear right and go around the station. I think you need to look for lot #3 - but the car return directions are well marked - up to a point. Once arround the station - DO NOT take the road immediatly next to the station. This road is where cars drive to drop off passengers - and it is usually backed up around departure time. It will also not get you to the car return lot. If you take this road, you will have to circle the station and make another attempt to drive into the car return lot.

Once you've returned the car, it's about 30 meters to the station from the return office. The car return office will probably not be open at 6:40, so just drop off the keys.

Finding the correct track is very easy - don't worry about it.

Definately pick up the tickets days ahead of time at any station or SNCF Boutique. There is a boutique in Carpentras, and I think in Apt also. There is a station in Cavaillon, and another in Pernes/L'Isle sur la Sorgue (but I've never visited that one). Also stations in Arles, & just outside of the medieval walls of Avignon.

I often advise people to do a dry run to the Avignon station ahead of time. It's a little difficult to find and you don't want to discover this at 6am.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 27th, 2008, 08:32 AM
  #13  
 
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Stu - you are talking about Avignon-Ville intown station or Avignon-TGV station from which most but perhapsnot all TGV trains depart?
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Feb 27th, 2008, 08:36 AM
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TGV station in Cortine.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 27th, 2008, 08:38 AM
  #15  
 
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Courtine - not Cortine

Stu
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Feb 27th, 2008, 10:50 AM
  #16  
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Stu-

will we have any problems just dropping off the keys of our rental car in the morning? Any problems with getting billed later for scratchs and dents like I have read before?

Thanks.
maddi is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 11:03 AM
  #17  
 
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Park the car in the lot. Purchase a newspaper. Take a picture of you with the front page of the newspaper (to prove the date) in front of the car, and with the station or rental office in the background. Take pictures of all areas of the car - including the license plate. Take a picture of the rental office with the "Ferme" sign plainly visible. Take a picture towards the sun with something identifiable in the background so you can prove that's it's morning. Take a picture of the clock in the train station. You could probably figure out more shots to take to prove date & time.

If problems occur, send the pictures with your train ticket (copy) to AutoEurope if you rented through them, or whatever agency/rental firm you used.

I've dropped the keys in the box 3-4 times with no problems. Nobody has ever inspected my car at the Avignon TGV station office (returned 4-5 cars there). I returned 3 cars last year (Avignon TGV, Nice (train station), and Rennes). Only in Nice did anyone inspect the car.

Stu Dudley
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