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Paris - how to get off US flight on to train

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Nov 7th, 2010, 07:04 PM
  #1
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Paris - how to get off US flight on to train

We fly in to CDG in the morning from the US. How long should we allow to get to the trains and how/where do we go specifically to get a train from there to Amboise? Thanks!
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Nov 7th, 2010, 07:23 PM
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It is always difficult to gauge the required time accurately. 3 hours is a good time to allow for late arriving aircraft. Of course the question is mute if there are no trains close to your arrival time.

For Amboise you have three options:

1. CDG to Tours/St. Pierre des Corps and taxi or train to Amboise

2. Montparnasse to to Tours/St. Pierre des Corps and taxi or train to Amboise

3. Austerlitz to Amboise
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Nov 7th, 2010, 08:40 PM
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To add to Sarastro's info:

1. This would be a (TGV?) train from the airport.

2. To get to Gare Montparnasse from CDG, you would take RER B into Paris proper, then switch to a Metro line, probably Ligne 4 transferring at Gare du Nord (preferable) or Chatelet - Les Halles.

3. To get to Gare d'Austerlitz, take RER B as above, switching to RER C (direction Massy or Saint Martin d'Etampes) at St. Michel.

IMO, option 3 might be the least frenetic for a couple of reasons:
- Typically, the transfer between RER lines is less complicated logistically (suitcases through gates and up and down stairs) than between RER and Metro.
- Taking the train to Tours/St. Pierre des Corps still requires getting from there to Amboise. (The situation is improved if your intention is to rent a car there for the Loire area. But if you'll be renting a car, you might want to do so from CDG and skip public transit on this trip!)
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Nov 7th, 2010, 09:47 PM
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If I were going to Montparnasse from CDG, I think I would prefer to take the direct Air France bus.
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Nov 8th, 2010, 06:09 AM
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And you can change from a TGV train in St. Pierre Des Corps to a local line then to Amboise? Same station (since we will have a week's worth of bags)? Do I buy the Amboise ticket at CDG or buy a separate one from St. Pierre des Corps? We will rent a car but we arrive on Sunday noon and the rental place is not open, so I guess we return the next day.
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Nov 8th, 2010, 06:26 AM
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Generally the rental offices at the Tours airport are open on Sundays but you will need to confirm. The Tours to Amboise train tickets may be purchased anytime at any SNCF ticket office. Here is the current schedule:

http://telechargement.ter-sncf.com/I...00812_1246.pdf

There are TGVs to both Tours and St. Pierre des Corps so simply choose the most convenient time. St. Pierre des Corps has more trains and is slightly closer to Amboise than is Tours but the difference is really only a few minutes of time.
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Nov 8th, 2010, 07:23 AM
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Generally the rental offices at the Tours airport are open on Sundays but you will need to confirm.

FWIW, our rental return was to Tours centre-ville and the office was not open on a Sunday. If you do need to go to Tours airport, is there an easy way to get there from the train?

mckennadaniels, I am curious as to your reason for getting the rental car in the Loire Valley not at CDG. Unless you have another reason to visit Tours on the Monday, it seems a lot of back-and-forth to me, and dealing with logistics over multiple days rather than getting into the vacation!
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Nov 8th, 2010, 08:49 AM
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I am curious as to your reason for getting the rental car in the Loire Valley not at CDG.

There is a very good reason and it is found in the first sentence of the OP´s question; they are arriving CDG after an all night transatlantic flight. No one should attempt a 3 hour drive over unfamiliar roads after spending the previous night on a transatlantic flight which includes a 5-8 hour time zone change. Fatigue is a major contributor to highway accidents and taking the train to the Loire Valley is a simple exercise of good judgment.
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Nov 8th, 2010, 09:21 AM
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OP doesn't say if they have ever been to Paris (or France for that matter), know how to take trains or drive there, etc.

Your opinion is that public transit is preferable. IMO, there are pros and cons to each, and it ends up being 50-50. For example, if OP has never done any of this before, just getting to the RER in CDG, getting a ticket, maneuvering luggage on the train, etc. can be overwhelming for some - never mind the rest of the journey to Amboise. Ultimately, getting off an overnight transatlantic flight at CDG and going *anywhere* has the potential to be a challenge, regardless of method of transportation.
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Nov 8th, 2010, 09:48 AM
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We-ell, ggreen, you've made some good points, but usually getting on a train after an all-night flight doesn't kill anyone.

Two years ago, friend of mine came home and sheepishly told me that they rented car at CDG, headed to Amboise, and then fell asleep at the wheel. These are A+, great, wonderful citizens. Luckily, no one was hurt, and they found some pull-off and slept for three hours before continuing.

I'm sort of with Kerouac--get the AirFrance bus to Montparnasse and go on from there if at all possible.
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Nov 8th, 2010, 10:18 AM
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The best method of reaching Amboise will really depend upon when one arrives at CDG. The fastest might very well be taking the AF bus to Gare de Lyon, walking across the Seine to Gare Austerlitz (about a 10 minute walk), and taking the Corail train directly to Amboise. The train is slower than the TGVs to Tours but it´s one train ride only.
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Nov 8th, 2010, 10:29 AM
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Add to the list of unknowns whether or not OP sleeps well on an overnight flight / has had experience driving after one, the size of their luggage (a 10 minute walk may be quite an ordeal with typical American wheeling luggage, or not), how physically fit / willing and able they are for street walking with said luggage, how comfortable they feel navigating streets that we don't know if they are familiar with...

Driving an automobile doesn't usually kill anyone either. Even your friends, who smartly pulled off and took a nap - something I've done here in the States on more than one occasion, having not reached my destination when sleepiness overcame me.
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Nov 8th, 2010, 11:00 AM
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We got off an all night flight and drove to Rouen. Had lunch en route. It isn't impossible. I think Ggreen's points are all excellent.
And most particularly, and I am getting the impression strongly, that the OP hasn't been to CDG/France before. It can and is daunting to find the train station, get the right ticket, etc. And equally so to get the RER into Paris. I would think that the Air France bus is the easiest option for that, IF that is what needs to be done.
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Nov 8th, 2010, 07:01 PM
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We are wanting to take a train and not drive from CDG because of the fatigue issue. We have been to Paris, but not outside, and have used the metro a lot, and RER within the city. We speak a tad of french. We are fit, 40, have money but don't like to waste it, will have 10-day/1 large, 1 medium, 2 carry-ons for bags. No problem to shuffle through some train stations, but would not walk across the Seine probably. Buying train tickets seems a bit confusing when leaving Paris.

Why did someone suggest it is easier to leave the airport and go to another station in Paris? Because the other station goes direct to Amboise? We are fine with a train change in Tours, or if that is too hard and we are too tired by then, we could get a cab to Amboise, right?

Rental office IS closed on Sunday. Agree that back to Tours is a lot of back and forth. Maybe we should rent the car from Blois, so we could take the bus or train from Amboise to Blois our 2nd day, see things there and rent a car.

We figure after the trans-At flight, we'll get to Amboise in the afternoon, check in, visit the chateau, nap, eat, drink, sleep for 12 hours.
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Nov 8th, 2010, 10:08 PM
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Thanks for the additional details and preferences!

Why did someone suggest it is easier to leave the airport and go to another station in Paris?
In the first post after your OP, Sarastro gave 3 options for getting to Amboise by train: as I then clarified, two of those options require going into Paris proper. It's up to you which seems best. IMO, if I "have money but don't like to waste it", I wouldn't want to cab all the way to Amboise from the TGV station...

May I make another suggestion: What about spending that first night in Tours? There's enough cultural stuff there to keep you occupied for that first jet-lagged afternoon, you could sleep for 12 hours, pick up the car in the a.m. and head off on your journey. (We did this in reverse a few years ago after a stay in Amboise. Of Tours, I remember a gorgeous last dinner of the vacation - though not the hotel - and we hopped on the TGV the next morning for CDG.)
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Nov 9th, 2010, 08:31 AM
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First night in Tours is a good idea. The car rental lots there are huge, and you'd have a chance of getting the car you actually want. The town is highly underrated, although now that some are using this as a "commuter suburb" for Paris, that image is changing.

There's a strong business section and several charming older sections. Strolling through Vieux Tours (Old Tours) in the Quartier Plumereau, you can see lots of wood-framed medieval houses, craftsman workshops, street musicians, etc. You can find good "street food" (aka bakeries, crepes) around the Place Plumereau.

I suggest you visit the Gothic Cathedrale Saint-Gatien with binoculars in hand. It has lovely stained glass windows, which I perhaps I should not have told you. Because the city is so underrated, we walked in and were just stunned. Now you won't be. But then again, maybe now you'll visit.

My other recommendation is the Chateau de Tours. The building itself was once the residence of French kings, and now besides an aquarium (!), it houses (hold onto your socks) l'Historial de Touraine in the Tour de Guise at the Chateau. Believe it or not, it's an EXCELLENT historical background display of what you will get to see in the Loire Valley. If you are touring chateau after chateau, they start to blend. At least if you get this visual primer, it actually makes sense of your future touring.
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Nov 9th, 2010, 08:49 AM
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Somehow forgot to mention that l'Historical de Touraine in the Tour de Guise at the Chateau is a ticky-tacky waxworks museum. But I mean it when I said it was worth checking out.
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Nov 9th, 2010, 07:24 PM
  #18
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Hey! Europcar has an office in Amboise. The other agencies I was looking at did not. So, If we can get to Amboise the first day, we can get settled, sleep in in the morning, and get the car in Amboise when they are open Monday.

We plan to do option 1.

1. CDG to Tours/St. Pierre des Corps and taxi or train to Amboise
In that case, tips?

Did I mention we leave this Saturday? Thanks!
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