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Paris to Provence via flight or TGV to Marseille?

Paris to Provence via flight or TGV to Marseille?

Jan 13th, 2010, 01:17 PM
  #1  
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Paris to Provence via flight or TGV to Marseille?

Planning a week in Provence in April. Flying from Boston. Would love to hear from those who've flown from CDG to Marseille, as well as from those who've taken the TGV from CDG to Marseille. We'll ultimately be renting a car, so I'm guessing that if we take the train it would be best to take it to Marseille airport, as they'll have rentals. Just trying to flush out the pros & cons of each transport choice (flying versus training to Marseille from CDG). Thanks in advance.
Clarin is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 01:55 PM
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We've taken the TGV to Provence many times. Much more enjoyable than an airplane - plus you can see out the windows. We've taken a flight from Marseilles to elsewhere. I'm pretty sure that the on-time record for the TGV is much better than the airline. We've never taken it as far as Marseilles - just Avignon several times, Aix twice and we'll take it to Nimes this year. The only reason I would consider flyin is if the airline is the same carrier that got you to CDG (in case your US flight is late, perhaps more reliabale baggage transfer) and it doesn't cost very much (TGV PREMs are cheap).

I didn't know that the TGV went to the airport - only St Charles station. I'm pretty sure that there are rental cars available at St Charles.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 13th, 2010, 01:57 PM
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I've flown there, and I haven't taken the TVG to Marseille, but I have to MOntpellier.

I think the choices are pretty basic -- just based on cost and time. I flew Air France to CDG, so adding on Marseille didn't cost me much. I needed to rent a car and then drive to my hotel near Aix, so I don't think that would have been possible if I took the train. Also, since the airport isn't really in Marseille, it was very easy to drive from it to Aix, the main highway to Aix is easy to catch from the airport.

I'm sure the train station will have car rentals, also, they did in Montpellier so I'm sure they would in Marseille. The selection may differ, don't know.
Christina is online now  
Jan 13th, 2010, 02:10 PM
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Where in Provence are you basing? Most major train stations will have car rentals. So, unless you are staying near Marseille, you may want to take the train to somewhere near your base.
zoecat is online now  
Jan 13th, 2010, 02:44 PM
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>>I needed to rent a car and then drive to my hotel near Aix, so I don't think that would have been possible if I took the train.<<

Why is that??? We took the TGV to the Aix TGV station, rented a car, and drove to our gite near Aix.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 13th, 2010, 03:39 PM
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When I have spent my time in Provence and skipping Paris, I have connected to a flight to Marseille, picked up my rental car there and that was it. A small airport with convenient auto rental. I found it to be very convenient.

If spending time in Paris ane then a trip to Provence, I would take the TGV.

Enjoy..

Joan
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Jan 14th, 2010, 04:22 AM
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>>Where in Provence are you basing? ... you may want to take the train to somewhere near your base.<<

Ahhh, good tip, zoecat. I've read many posts about landing in Marseille to begin a Provence trip, so that's where that came from. The house is 3km from both Aubignan & Beaumes de Venise but I don't see them on the train schedule. It's also 9km from Carpentras, which is on the schedule, so I'll see if Carpentras offers rentals. (House is also 30km N of Avignon, for what it's worth)

Yes, Stu, we could fly AirFrance from Boston to Paris & then continue with them to Marseille. But since zoecat made me realize that Marseille is not particularly close to our house, flying might not be too clever. What do you mean by (TGV PREMs are cheap)? PREMS?
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Jan 14th, 2010, 07:07 AM
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>>I needed to rent a car and then drive to my hotel near Aix, so I don't think that would have been possible if I took the train.<<
<>

The reason why it wouldn't have been possible is the timing, that's all, as well as the hours without sleep. It would have taken too long and I would have arrived at the train station too late in the day to do all that, or even at night, possibly. I also would have been doing things that required energy for many many hours, on top of jet lag and no sleep for a long time due to the transatlantic flight. I don't have any interest in trying to drive in an unknown area in a foreign country in the dark after perhaps having not really slept for possibly 24-48 hours, plus throwing in jet lag to boot. I can't imagine anyone would want to do that, but if they do want to do it, they should not for safety reasons IMO.


PREMS are discounted advanced purchase train tickets. You have to buy them over the internet and read French.
Christina is online now  
Jan 14th, 2010, 07:10 AM
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Regarding car rentals in Provence - in 2003, Mimi wrote:
<< one thing to know is that if you rent from here(if you live in the states) it is Much less expensive.>>

Is she suggesting that if you live in the states you should not book your rental in advance, but instead should deal with it upon arrival ("rent from here")? Confused.
Clarin is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 07:11 AM
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Thanks for the PREMS data, Christina. I will challenge myself by looking into that further
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Jan 14th, 2010, 07:15 AM
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I would strongly recommend taking the TGV from Paris to Marseille over flying. If you book the TGV in advance the tickets are quite cheap (we paid something like 20 euros in 2008). The train takes 3 hours which is much less than flying when you factor in the time it takes to get to the air port and that you need to arrive early, etc. There are multiple car rental agencies on site at the train station in Marseille. Overall it is a much more civilized way to travel than by air.
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Jan 14th, 2010, 07:18 AM
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Yes, you should definitely book your rental in advance (she meant from the USA when she said "from here"; it will be much cheaper and more reliable than renting on the spot.

PREMS are deeply discounted fares available 3 months out from your date of travel. Go to www.voyages-sncf.com to find them and put your country of pick-up in as France even though you won't be picking them up, but rather printing them.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 14th, 2010, 07:32 AM
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<>

She is saying to make your car rental arrangements from your home in the US prior to your trip. It will be cheaper than waiting until you arrive in France. Two good rental companies- kemwel.com or autoeurope.com.

I originally thought you would be spending time in Paris before moving on to Provence. I now realize that this is not the case. It sounds like you are considering these 2 options (if I'm wrong, please correct me)-

1. Fly Boston-Paris-Marseille (all on the same day) and pick up the car at the Marseille airport. Drive 2 hours to your rental house.

2. Fly Boston-Paris and then take the train from Paris to Carpentras to pick up the car.

If these are your choices, I suggest #1. The drive is almost entirely on the A7, which is easy to drive. Access to the A7 from the airport is simple.
zoecat is online now  
Jan 14th, 2010, 07:41 AM
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Carpentras does not have an "active" train station. There is a SNCF boutique at the old station office.

The Avignon TGV station is less than 40 mins away from your location near Beaumes de Venise. LOTS of rental cars available there. No reason to go to Marseilles unless you like driving in large European cities.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 14th, 2010, 07:48 AM
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Here is a link to great info on renting a car in France-

http://www.slowtrav.com/europe/car_rental.htm
zoecat is online now  
Jan 14th, 2010, 04:23 PM
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Thanks everyone for clarifying the car rental confusion. Now that I understand what she was saying, I don't know how I could've misunderstood it in the first place.

zoecat - yes, you've got it right: not spending any time in Paris. Thank you for the car rental companies & the bonus link!

Stu - thanks for the tip about the phantom Carpentras station. That's helpful. No, driving in large European cities is not high on my happiness list.

If I understand the PREM ticketing deal correctly, I believe the tickets for April 15 will go on sale tomorrow?!? I'm just starting to hash through the flights & get squared away w/the rental company on the dates, so the PREM option may slip away before I can jump on it.

PREM ticket purchase questions, if I could impose:
Departing from: "Aeroport CDG 2 TGV (95)" ?
Going to: "Avignon TGV" ?

It appears that these tix are non-refundable, etc, which is semi-disconcerting as our plane could be late or we could be held up in Customs. Not a good start to be worrying about missing our non-refundable train for the first 6 hours of the trip. Thoughts?

(Thanks so much to EVERYONE for chiming in w/your insight & experience. I so appreciate your help.)
Clarin is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 05:07 PM
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>>I believe the tickets for April 15 will go on sale tomorrow?!? <<


They went on sale 3 hours ago - at 6:05PM ET Jan 14, which is 00:05 Jan 15 in France.

You have the destinations correct.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 14th, 2010, 05:08 PM
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Make sure you notify your CC company about a foreign transaction.
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Jan 14th, 2010, 06:22 PM
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Thank you for your continued assistance, Stu. You are a wealth of information.
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Jan 14th, 2010, 08:36 PM
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We have a shared property in Beaumes de Venise and we have travelled to and from Paris many times. My vote is for the TGV from CDG to Avignon and pick up your rental car there - the car rental company offices are just 20-30 metres from the platform and clearly visible. Leave a decent gap between your scheduled arrival time and the train departure time and you should be fine for the connection. You need to drive through Avignon but there is a by-pass - just follow signs for Carpentras and take the exit for BdV or Aubignan depending which town your accommodation is closest to. I'd be curious to know just where you're staying if it's not private accommodation. You'll love the area.
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