Plane, Trains & Customs

Old Feb 14th, 2016, 08:16 PM
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Plane, Trains & Customs

We will be arriving at CDG from the US at 6:45 a.m. Plan to take an 8:30 a.m. TGV train to Aix en Provence (thru Marseilles). Is this enough time to get luggage, go thru customs and make our way to the station?

The next train isn't until 10:00 a.m., and would include a bus from Marseilles to Aix.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
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Old Feb 14th, 2016, 08:45 PM
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If your flight arrives on time, you should be able to make the train as long as you have your tickets in hand upon arrival. If your flight is late or you have to stand in line to pickup tickets, you may not have sufficient time.

If you miss the train, depending upon the type of tickets you have, you could be holding worthless tickets plus you´ll need to purchase new tickets at walk up prices.

It´s a roll of the dice.
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Old Feb 14th, 2016, 08:47 PM
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You have plenty of time unless the plane is substantially late. You will change trains at the Avignon TGV station. The next train at 9:58 is direct.
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Old Feb 14th, 2016, 09:02 PM
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CDG is a hell hole . . . sometimes. And sometimes it isn't. No one on earth can say if that is enough time or not. It isn't Customs you have to worry about -- it is Immigration and (possibly) luggage retrieval. The best thing to do is pay extra for changeable train tix so if you are delayed you can catch a later train.
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Old Feb 14th, 2016, 09:15 PM
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Which web site are you looking? I agree with RonZ's assessment.
According to www.voyages-sncf.com, the two trains you mentioned:

Train $1
8:31-11:48 TGV5110 CDG - Avignon
12:24-12:44 TGV6107 Avignon - Aix-en-Provence

Train #2
9:58-13:34 TGV9801 CDG - Aix-en-Provence

While the later train leaves 87 minutes after the first, the 9:58 train does not require change at Avignon and arrives 50 minutes after the earlier train. Neither goes to Marseilles.
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Old Feb 14th, 2016, 09:16 PM
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I can only say what I'd do in a similar situation, or more precisely, what I have done. I'd book the later train. There's nothing I hate more than concern that I'll miss a connection. So I give myself plenty of wiggle room and, knock on wood, never have. It's a choice between reading for an hour over good coffee and a sandwich, or low level anxiety from the moment I buy it and the fall-out from, as Sarastro says, missing it & having to pay top euro for a new ticket, since I always go for the cheap nonrefundable tickets bought early online. My goal is to avoid anxiety wherever I can.
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Old Feb 14th, 2016, 10:54 PM
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Actually the final destination for both the 8:31 and the 9:58 is Marseille St Charles, multiple stops along the way. That's why you always look for the train number on a departure board.
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Old Feb 14th, 2016, 11:50 PM
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Definitely the later train.

Your plane may be delayed.

It may park at a hard stand from which you have to be bused to the terminal.

There may be immigration delays, though much less likely than at Heathrow in my experience.

You may be delayed getting your luggage; though better than Rome, not great.

After an overnight flight, you may not be up to a run to the TGV station,

Why worry?
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 01:10 AM
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I have taken well over 150 trains from CDG to points south, and never in a million years would I buy tickets for a train that leaves less than 3 hours from the stated landing time of my train. And I never check luggage, so there's no concern about time waiting for baggage.

Take the later train.
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 02:23 AM
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Last time I arrived at CDG on a flight from the US, there was an hour wait for baggage. In this case, you would be running to make your train. Not my idea of fun.

I too, would take the later train. This will give you time to stop and freshen up and have a better breakfast than what's served on the plane.
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 03:10 AM
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If you happen to be arriving this Friday, expect to wait two our more hours at Passport Control. The unions announced a "work to rule" slowdown for that day.
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 03:33 AM
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Immigration (and emigration) lines at CDG have often been extremely lengthy ever since the Paris bombings. This is in part due to extre scrutiny of arriving passengers, and, as Jeff801 mentions, also due to an ongoing work action by the unions.

I agree with those suggesting the later train. If it were me, I would buy a flexible ticket for the later train, then switch to the earlier train when I arrive if there's time to make it.

I would not buy a flexible ticket for the earlier train. If you're delayed en route and cannot change the ticket until after your scheduled train has departed, it's my understanding that your ticket loses all of its value.
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 03:45 AM
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My daughter landed at CDG last week at 6 15 am (overseas).
I had made a reservation on the TGV leaving at 8 am.
They had plenty of time.

I never understand people saying that CDG is hellish. Been there for several years and albeit I still cannot find my way (but I got lost in the Monoply street recently), I find it extra easy to follow the signs. Lots of them.
And 'trains' translates into 'trains' and Gare SNCF means SNCF station, so I don't think the language is much of an issue.

On the subject of catching the late train, can OP not take a 'flexible' ticket that allows boarding one train later ? (I can for free but I think it is due to my frequent traveler status).
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 05:36 AM
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If you are flying trans-Atlantic and haven't bought the ticket, look at a multi-destination ticket to Marseille, changing at CdG for Marseille Provence airport (use the mutli-city search function.). Your return trip can be from Paris. It won't cost you any more and saves time, money and hassles. There is an easy shuttle bus from the airport to Aix without going into central Marseille. http://www.marseille-airport.com/acc.../shuttle-buses
If you must take the TGV south, note that the stations at both Avignon and Aix are on the edge of town rather than the old central stations.
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 07:22 AM
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We have done in reverse what Southam suggests: into Marseille, out of Paris. We took the train to Aix and flew back through Marseille to our connecting flight from CDG.

Works very well because the Navette (bus) connects the airport to the bus station in Aix, stopping by the TGV station on the way. This isn't quite as close to the center of the city as it used to be back in the day, but it is pretty convenient.
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 08:50 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions/input. I think I'll go for the later train because we will be exhausted from the flight and it's hard to think clearly when tired; and we're not accustomed to train travel so just navigating the train platforms and trains themselves is a bit overwhelming. Do-able, just a bit overwhelming.

Will purchase the tickets in advance, and when I was looking at the websites (SNCF, Rail Europe, and ?? -this was late last night) there doesn't appear to be many seats available.

*****
apparently I took a break and forgot to post this - and in the meantime ...


Ok, so I just checked flights from CDG to Marseilles and less expensive than the train ... and a lot faster! I think I may just book flights.

Thank you so much for your time in responding and researching. It is greatly appreciated!!!
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 08:57 AM
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>>>Ok, so I just checked flights from CDG to Marseilles and less expensive than the train ... and a lot faster! I think I may just book flights.

Are you thinking of sequencing two uncoordinated flights?
>>>We will be arriving at CDG from the US at 6:45 a.m
seems to indicate you already have a ticket from US to CDG. So the CDG to Marseilles would be a separate ticket for which you are not protected from a missed connection. You need to build in a generous layover at CDG which negates the apparent faster trip.
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 09:04 AM
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When does this trip take place?

It's almost unthinkable that there aren't many seats left on the train(s). Also hard to believe that a train would be more expensive than a flight.

Forget Rail Europe. It's just an overpriced re-seller of tickets. I wouldn't recommend using the SNCF site unless you can easily use the French site and have a European credit card. Use www.capitainetrain.com
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 09:13 AM
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I remember starting a trip at Marseilles station and coming back to Marseilles Airport (or reverse) and I spent ages going from train to airport.

TGV tickets from Marseille to Paris are be available at 45 € if bought 3 months in advance in advance (just did a dummy reservation for 12 may) I couldn't find (yet) tickets for 4 months in advance. So if plane if cheaper, than just jump on it !

Also pay attention that you are departing from CDG - could be you you depart from ORLY (it happened to me in Rome that I had a confortable connection of about 2 hours until I realized I had booked in 2 different airports).
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 09:28 AM
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The trip is in April. I thought the same that there wouldn't be many seats available - even 2 months out.
I will check with a friend who could navigate the SNCF French site (and has a European card) for me.
The AF flight I found does depart from CDG.

I tried to book train tickets several months ago and the schedules weren't available yet ... then I forgot.

Thanks again for your help!
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