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Paris to Sarlat area--train or rental car

Paris to Sarlat area--train or rental car

Feb 25th, 2013, 06:07 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Paris to Sarlat area--train or rental car

Hi all,

I have been looking into options and wanted to get some views. After 1 week in Paris (staying in the 3rd arrondissement) we need to get to our rental property in St-Vincent-de-Cosse (near Sarlat). There are no flights from Orly as this will be a Saturday. We will be with our 2 children (ages 6 and 8).

So we can either take the train or drive. The best train option seems to be the direct train from Paris to Brive where we can pick up our rental car. Or we could somehow get to Paris outskirts and pick up a rental car to drive from there (with a lunch stop in Loire area?).

Any views on what would be better with the kids? Is driving more scenic? Or train is better because of less hassle and we can get to gare d'Austerlitz relatively easily?

Based on other posts it looks like the 10 am train to Brive is best as it will arrive when the car rental office will reopen after lunch. I saw another routing via Libourne but it seems even longer (despite part of the trip being on the TGV). Mind you maybe TGV would be most fun with kids?

Lastly any tips on finding the cheapest fares? Booking directly on SNCF 3 months out?

Merci a l'avance!
jacolis is offline  
Feb 25th, 2013, 06:48 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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The train to Brive-la-Gaillarde is your best bet. The drive down is not particularly scenic. It's all autoroute until the Dordogne. Look for tickets three months in advance.
Michael is offline  
Feb 25th, 2013, 06:51 PM
  #3  
 
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re car pick-up. I'm picking up my car at the Bastille office, which eliminates the train station surcharge. This might be the closest office from the third arrondissement, but the Gare de Lyon pick-up offers an easier access to the périphérique, with fewer city streets.
Michael is offline  
Feb 25th, 2013, 07:37 PM
  #4  
 
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No, drive is a PITA. Take the train to Brive and pick up the car there. Get PREM fares 3 months out from you travel dates on the SNCF.
StCirq is online now  
Apr 8th, 2013, 07:00 PM
  #5  
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Hi all

We are now ready to book as we are within 3 months. How do you access the PREM fares? Do you enter that as a code somewhere on the sncf website?? Or they automatically apply when you search? We are seeing a fare of 177E for the 4 of us (2 adults and 2 kids)

Merci!
jacolis is offline  
Apr 8th, 2013, 07:35 PM
  #6  
 
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You go to www.voyages.com and stay in French (don't do English and get shifted to the Rail Europe site). If you choose english, you pay dearly.
StCirq is online now  
Apr 9th, 2013, 12:20 AM
  #7  
 
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I think StCirq meant to say www.voyages-sncf.com
rosemaryoz is offline  
Apr 9th, 2013, 02:40 AM
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The center of France thru which you pass on this trip is a vast breadbasket with all the scenic interest of Central Indiana. The train goes through this much faster than you can drive it. Who knew there was this much corn in France!
Ackislander is offline  
Apr 9th, 2013, 03:47 AM
  #9  
 
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thank you very much for this information. Can I add on a question and ask ...is there a way to take a direct train from the international airport in Paris to Brieve?

Many thanks
crazyfamilyof4 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2013, 04:04 AM
  #10  
 
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crazy - As mentioned, for most train journeys in France you can use www.voyages-sncf.com (in French) or www.tgv-europe.com (in English). For trains that require seat reservation you need to buy at least 3 months in advance (some journeys over 3 months) to get the cheapest prices.

If you use the website www.tgv-europe.com don't forget to uncheck the box marked "Direct Trains" to see all possible options. If the TGV site redirects you to the RailEurope website then try again and enter Great Britain or Antarctic as your ticket collection country. Other countries may also work but just try to find a country that doesn't get you redirected to RailEurope. The RailEurope website often doesn't show all the trains and generally has higher prices but you can check just to compare. For trains that require reservations you can buy tickets up to 3 months or more 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.

Here is a website that will tell you how to navigate the TGV website:

http://www.nickbooth.id.au/Tips/FrenchTrain.htm

An excellent website to learn all about train travel in Europe is www.seat61.com.

There are no direct trains from CDG or Orly to Brive. Some trains go from CDG to Brive but require two transfers and take anywhere from 6 to 8 hours. The direct trains to Brive depart from Paris (Gare d'Austerlitz) and take 4 to 4-1/2 hours.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Apr 9th, 2013, 04:44 AM
  #11  
 
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Thank you so much for this information and am I right to assume driving would take longer?
crazyfamilyof4 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2013, 05:16 AM
  #12  
 
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Yes.
jamikins is offline  
Apr 9th, 2013, 05:17 AM
  #13  
 
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You can go to the website viamichelin.com and get info on drive times and distances, toll and fuel costs and suggested routes (i.e. scenic routes). The drive times given do not consider stops (fuel, food, bathrooms) nor do they consider bad weather and bad traffic. I find the drive times very accurate when these factors are accounted for.

The time estimates can break down when you are driving in congested urban areas, like in or near Paris, due to the unpredictability of heavy traffic or traffic jams. They can also be affected on peak travel days, specifically on autoroutes leading to/from popular destinations.

Viamichelin shows the time from Paris to Brive as just under 5 hours of non-stop driving.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Apr 10th, 2013, 06:06 PM
  #14  
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Thanks for the tips all. We also checked out the man in seat 61 and as per his recommendation we actually bought 4 adult tickets which were CHEAPER than 2 adults and 2 child fares.
jacolis is offline  

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