Ideas for Returning to Paris by TGV

Feb 2nd, 2012, 12:56 PM
  #1  
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Ideas for Returning to Paris by TGV

In May, I will be near Montpellier but must return to Paris for my flight back to the US. My flight doesn't leave until the afternoon (1:30 pm) but I am nervous about the timing to take the TGV to CDG and catching the flight all in one day. I know it is possible, but it would make for lengthy travel and no opportunity for recovery if something should go wrong. We will have already spent a few days exploring Paris and while I know there is always something more to see, I was wondering if anyone had a suggestion of an interesting alternative location (close to Paris) that we could travel to the day prior and then make an easy connection to CDG the following morning.

Also could someone direct me to instructions/helpful tips on booking French train tickets from the US. I know it must be here somewhere, but I didn't find it. I am having difficulty navigating the website and keep getting redirected to raileurope. Is that the way it is supposed to work?
rancherswife is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 01:04 PM
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If the TGV site redirects you to the RailEurope website then try again and enter "Antarctica" as your ticket collection country. The RailEurope website often doesn't show all the trains and generally has higher prices. You can buy tickets up to 90 days in advance and the earlier you buy them the cheaper they will be. The discounted tickets are known as PREM tickets but these are non-refundable and can't be exchanged.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 01:20 PM
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Also, you probably have but it's www.tgv-europe.com.

As for places close to TGV why not just stay in Paris on your last night? They're really aren't any nice villages near the airport since you're still close to the urban agglomeration outside Paris near the airport.

However, I do know of one lovely village that has a direct bus connection to CDG and the bus takes 50 minutes. The only hitch is that when you return from Montpellier you're going to have to change in Paris to take another train to get there. The name of the village is Crépy-en-Valois and a direct train from Gare du Nord will get you there in just under 40 minutes. Here is the town website if you want to check for accommodation:

http://www.valois-tourisme.fr/

You can use the TGV website to find schedules (same rules apply if you get redirected to RailEurope) and the price is 10.80€. However, you don't need to buy tickets in advance for this train as there are no reservations. Just walk up to the window and buy it before you depart. If you want to see what Crépy looks like then have a look at this trip report I wrote and you'll see lots of photos of Crépy in the beginning of the report:

http://tinyurl.com/6snrf3q

All that being said, maybe it's just easier to stay in Paris but perhaps you've got your own reasons. Crépy is a lovely little place and if you go there you'll be the second non-French tourist that's ever been there (I was the first).
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 01:22 PM
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<>

I meant CDG, not TGV.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 01:43 PM
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Search for TGV and SNCF and PREMs on this site and you should get hundreds of threads about how to buy French rail tickets.
StCirq is online now  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 02:00 PM
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The TGV website does not ask your ticket collection country on its front page, that is the regular website (voyages-sncf.com). TGV.com asks your residence, which is why people have trouble as it redirects people to Raileurope if they reside in certain places (like North America). The regular website doesn't ask where you reside, only where you intend to pick up your tickets.

So you need to say your residence is "other countries" on the front page and then in the booking box say your ticket collection is "Antartic" if you wish to do that. I think the key thing is missing that I would not do this if you expect tickets to be mailed to you, only if you intend to buy a ticket you can print yourself which are only a couple special fares (PREM and idTGV, I think are all). I'm actually surprised they list Antartic as a possible residence and wonder what they will do if try to get tickets mailed to you and don't live there. I don't really see the purpose of that step, you can say "france" in that box just as easily and you will be in France, you could pick them up at the train station if they aren't a printable file.

The key is to pick some place on the first page that doesn't send you to Raileurope, Other Countries will do it and it is still in English, you don't have to put Antartic or anything other than France in the box about where you want to pick up tickets.
Christina is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 03:11 PM
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I think Christina is talking about the tgv.com website but I was referencing the tgv-europe.com website (the English language version of the voyages-sncf.com website), which does indeed ask for your ticket collection country on its home page. It is clearly marked in the gray shaded box on the right that says "Book Your Train Ticket".

The voyages-sncf.com website says nothing about your ticket collection country on its home page.

I think the confusion is that on the tgv.com website if you switch the language to English then you get redirected to RailEurope once you click on "Book your ticket".

At any rate, just forget about using the tgv.com website and use the tgv-europe.com website. Here is the link:

http://www.tgv-europe.com/en/?DISTRIBUTED_COUNTRY=GB
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 03:40 PM
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If you're still having problems click on the link below for great info on buying train tickets in France:

http://www.nickbooth.id.au/Tips/FrenchTrain.htm
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 06:50 AM
  #9  
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Thank you all for your wonderful responses. I shall do some homework on the village suggestion and try again for booking the trains.

Am I being overly cautious about about not taking the TGV directly into CDG on the morning of a flight that leaves at 1:30pm? If I have a reservation, are the odds good that all will go smoothly and I will not miss the connection?
rancherswife is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 07:09 AM
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"Am I being overly cautious"

No and I am afraid you have no choice : the earliest train from Montpellier to CDG arrives at 11.02 am - a bit short if your flight to the US is scheduled at 1.30 pm.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 07:16 AM
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I assume you are talking about the direct TGV which leaves Montpellier at 07:00 and arrives at CDG at 11:02. That's too late. The general rule of thumb is to be at CDG a full three hours before a flight across the Atlantic.

You could leave Montpellier at 05:24 and arrive at Gare de Lyon in Paris at 08:48. You could get from Gare de Lyon to CDG in around an hour directly on Air France bus #4 or by taking the RER D to Gare du Nord and the RER B from there to CDG. Be aware that the RER B line divides northeast of Paris so be sure to get on a train that is going to CDG.

Having said that, I'm with the others who recommend spending the last night either in your departure city or very close by. Leave Montpellier at 18:24 and arrive in Paris at 21:56. Spend the night and leave for CDG around 09:30.
TimS is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 07:21 AM
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I've stayed at CDG hotel night before an early flight out.

You could arrive early day before, store stuff at airport hotel, go into city via RER, have nice dinner,etc.. and return to CDG. Next day , leasurely breakfast, shuttle to CDG.

I stayed at Sofitel, very nice, very good breakfast.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 07:39 AM
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The standard 2nd class fare for Montpellier-Paris is €112. If you book well in advance (up to three months allowed) at tgv-europe.com, you can get a Prem's fare as low as €30. First choose Great Britain as your country of residence. Then don't allow the site to direct you to raileurope.co.uk. Instead, choose to stick with tgv-europe.com. Then choose Great Britain as your ticket retrieval country. Don't worry. You'll either be able to print your own tickets or pick them up at any SNCF station in France.
TimS is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 08:37 AM
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Do I presume at this point it is too late to postpone "spending a few days exploring Paris" to the end of the trip?
greg is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 08:50 AM
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If your flight leaces CDG at 1:30 you need to planon being there by 10:30 am. (I know that seems like a long time - but the airport is notorious and security can be interminable). So you still have to plan on leaving Pars - or wherever at 9:30 am - with reliable transit. I would only stay in Paris or right nearby - otherwise you may find yourself having to catch a train by 7 am - or even earlier.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 09:19 AM
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If you decide to stay in Crépy-en-Valois, take a morning regional train to Mitre-Claye, a RER B5 train from there to Aulnay sous-Bois, and a RER B3 train from there to CDG.
TimS is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 09:24 AM
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I would never schedule a connection like that to CDG. I always give myself 3 hours - and I could navigate that airport in my sleep. I WOULD be overly cautious. It's not so much that the train may be delayed (though that could happen, of course); it's that getting through the lines at CDG can take forever.
StCirq is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 09:35 AM
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I found a way to eliminate the connection at Mitre-Claye. You can take a regional train all the way from Crépy-en-Valois to Aulnay-sous-Bois. Take a RER B3 train from there to CDG.
TimS is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 12:12 PM
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TimS - I pointed out in my earlier post that there is a direct bus from Crépy to CDG Terminal 1 that takes 50 minutes.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 12:18 PM
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Can you change the order of your trip and save you Paris visit or last?
Judy is offline  

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