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Question on easily finding my train in Gare Montparnasse

Question on easily finding my train in Gare Montparnasse

Mar 8th, 2008, 04:44 PM
  #1  
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Question on easily finding my train in Gare Montparnasse

I will be taking the TGV from Gare Montparnasse south to Bordeaux and as I have less than fond memories of the Gare du Lyon sprint to the right carriage, I would like to know if I am likely to have to repeat my Olympic dash. Is it as confusing a station? Since my stroke several years ago, I do have some difficulty finding my way and computing information, and I surely don't run as fast as I used to! Is there any way to make this easier for me?

Your assistance is appreciated.
muskoka is offline  
Mar 8th, 2008, 07:36 PM
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I find Gare Montparnasse to be confusing because it is large and spread out. I suggest you get there as early as you possibly can so that you will have time to locate your train.

Perhaps it is my own inability to speak French that is the root of the problem, but I have found that getting help in English can be rather difficult.

bob_brown is offline  
Mar 8th, 2008, 07:58 PM
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If you know the time your train leaves, your destination, and the train number (printed on the ticket), it's not confusing at all. You go and stand under the schedule of departures and wait until you see your train listed. Then you note which quai it's going to be leaving from. Then you walk to the right quai and board. The quais are right there in the big hall where the schedule is listed. You don't need to talk to anyone at all, so language shouldn't be an issue.
StCirq is offline  
Mar 8th, 2008, 08:20 PM
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Thanks for your replies. I'm fine with speaking the language, it's the general "buzz" and rapidity with which it is necessary to find one's train that has me worried. I almost missed my train at Gare du Lyon two years ago. Pre-stroke, I could navigate quite well; now, not so much. Still worried, but there may be no solution to this dilemma.
muskoka is offline  
Mar 8th, 2008, 09:08 PM
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Get to the station at least a half-hour before your departure and just watch the board. The trains are right there next to the board. They don't announce the quai that that train leaves from normally until about 20 minutes or so before the train leaves, so it's always a bit of a hussle, but you'll be fine. At every quai there's a controlleur. If you're having any issues you can always ask him/her.
StCirq is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 04:44 AM
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Muskoka: My heart goes out to you. Here is a map of the station for starters:

http://bonjourlafrance.net/france-tr...se-station.htm

I will also see if I can find some good images. I know that with my aunt, who suffered a brain tumor at age 58, visuals help her orient well.
josephina is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 08:06 AM
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A controlleur would really ease my mind, StCirq. I couldn't locate anyone to help at Gare du Lyon. That is indeed, reassuring.

josephina: The map is helpful, but you are right: "visuals" would go a long way.

I never used to be timid about travel; now, there are some situations that throw me, i.e., train stations, labyrinthine parkades & subway stations, the sort of situation that requires me to sort out options and react quickly.

I thank you all for your help. I'll get back to France on May 27th even if it means taping to my forehead a "If lost, deposit in nearest mail box" message.
muskoka is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 10:05 AM
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Isn't the TGV platform on the avenue Victor Hugo side of the train station, i.e. behind the regular train station?
Michael is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 03:07 PM
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Muskoka: I'm not having much luck finding useful visuals.

Last year (and I am SUPPOSEDLY running on all cylinders) I had a hard time getting to my train in Gare de Lyon. I do speak enough French to get by, and I swear I couldn't get much help. So I so very much sympathize, especially if your confidence has been shaken a bit.

I wonder if there's a certain platform area from which most of the trains to Bordeaux leave. Do you think it would be helpful to post a question with that specific title: "From what area of Gare Montparnasse do the trains to Bordeaux generallh leave?" ?

Again, I looked for more helpful visuals, including various videos, but I'm not coming up with anything useful. I'll keep trying!!!
josephina is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 03:33 PM
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Try this site:

http://tinyurl.com/2gcyg8

To be more precise, I believe that the TGV leaves from Montparnasse Gare 2, Hall Pasteur.
Michael is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 03:41 PM
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The first 9 tracks or platforms are reserved for TGV's at Gare Montparnasse. I'm fairly confident in that. I met a friend coming in from Bordeaux once and their arrival was at line 8 and they departed line 7. So i'd guess it is somewhere in that area.
MrNuke is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 03:44 PM
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Also here is the only photo I can find of a Montparnasse board. It is a train to Bordeaux leaving on at line 3. http://tiny.cc/ULVAM
MrNuke is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 04:08 PM
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Have you booked for a specific seat in a specific wagon?

I have never been in Paris, but had this type of problem before. Wife and I had to board the train carrying four medium/large suitcases, while having no more than one minute to board the right wagon.

In this case, I could only recommend plenty of time before boarding and asking the controlleur for the quai and the approximate position the particular wagon is likely to stop.

This is particular important if you are taking the train in an intermediary station. Trains usually stop for only a minute or so in those stations. Don't know if Gare Montparnasse is the case.

From Italy, I remember seeing boards showing the exact position of each wagon in each train composition. This helped me a lot in those cases I was carrying luggage and had very little time to board. Don't know if this is valid in France.

Anyhow, being there way ahead of departure will probably be the starting point.
jfcarli is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 06:25 PM
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kudos, muskoska, for not letting a little setback interfere with your travels.
I do not know it it is the case at Montparnasse TGV's I have seen bulletin boards that display the configuration of departing trains, showing car numbers and how they line up. If that exists it would likely help.

Also, keep in mind that if worse comes to worst and you are unable to locate your specific car, as long as you are on the correct quai at departure time just jump on whatever is closest. The worst you will have to do is lug your bag through to the correct car once the train is underway.
Seamus is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 06:40 PM
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jfcarli said
"This is particular important if you are taking the train in an intermediary station. Trains usually stop for only a minute or so in those stations. Don't know if Gare Montparnasse is the case."

This is good advice in general, but in this case the train starts at the station.
MrNuke is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 08:03 PM
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If only the station at Montparnasse were like Avignon's: excellent schematic & no problem finding my carriage. As in '06, I'll have a specific carriage & seat, but my jumping & lugging days are well behind me, although it would be my backup plan should I fail to locate the correct wagon. Pretty sure someone on board would give me a hand, in that case.

I have written down Gare 2, Hall Pasteur, line 8 and that gives me a much better ballpark idea of where I need to be. I can't thank you all enough for your efforts. You guys bring tears to my eyes.
muskoka is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 11:50 AM
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muskoka,
Hopefully you check this topic again before you go. I can't believe I forgot to tell you this.

The key term to watch for in the station is "Grandes Lignes." After some searching I was able to find a display a photo of a display board at Montparnasse.

http://tinyurl.com/ypjn7c

Follow the signs to Grand Lignes, check the display boards, and remember you train is likely departing from Voies 1-9 and you should be in good shape. I wish you the best of luck!
MrNuke is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 12:46 PM
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Many thanks! I do appreciate the link & the advice. Help of this magnitude is invaluable to me. Actually printing the photo and remembering your directions will work very well. Not a chance of missing my train now. I'll be sure to check in on my return to let you all know how it went.

South to Bordeaux and then east to the Sarlat area are places I have yet to see in France. May 27th cannot come soon enough!
muskoka is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 01:15 PM
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Since you do speak some French, it might help to check with the controller who is behind a box-type counter somewhere between Voie (track)2-3 or 1-2 while you wait for the exact track to come up on the board about 20 minutes before departure.

At Montparnasse, We were quite confused when our train going to Rennes, with its own number, and the train going to St. Malo, with its separate number, were both posted on the same Voie at the same time. Turns out they are one train to a certain point along the line and then they separate and go in different directions

At the time with this unexpected confusion, we were getting pretty stressed because even though we had car#10 and seats reserved we didn't know if EACH train and a car#10, or if 1-12 go to Rennes and 13 through whatever go to St. Malo. Time was running out and we were too far down the tracks to return to ask, so we finally just had to get on and hoped we were on the right part of the train. I had nightmare visions of us heading off in the wrong direction! We were on the correct one, but I could have done without the stress. So next time, I'll ask ahead if our train is one that splits and if it is, if we're the "front" of the "back" so I feel more in control.

I just mention this since Bordeaux is further on down the line. Maybe part of the train separates and goes to Poitier, La Rochelle, Angers...wherever. So you might want to check while you wait.

Arrive early and you won't find it so confusing. I personally like Montparnasse Station.
klondike is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 01:28 PM
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muskoka, I was reading through this and thinking: if I were in Paris at the same time you were, I'd meet you at the station and walk along with you to the train, just to make sure everything is ok.

I'm not there 'til November, though, so it won't work, but I bet there will be other Fodorites in Paris when you're there.

Just a thought ...

Anselm
AnselmAdorne is offline  

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