Questions about Gare du Nord

Old Mar 11th, 2019, 05:16 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 12
Questions about Gare du Nord

Hello there !

I'm going for the first time ever in a foreign country and I'm going to visit France in April. I was wondering if anyone could provide me with tips to travel inside the station. I'm planning on taking a TER train to visit an other city in France (Lilles) early in the morning and I don't want to get lost. The plan of the station seems complicated ...

Thank you for your help !
Oleonius is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2019, 05:43 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
check schedules carefully - no direct TER train and all change at different places- so you may leave Nord on a TER train to say Laon and transfer - thus at Nord you look for TER to Laon which should be listed on board at entrance to platforms and on huge station departures board which has the track number on it.

It takes 3 hours on the quickest connection - have you considered the high-speed TGV train - if you book really early you can get some really cheap fares that may be not much more than the slow and less comfy RER trains which also can be super crowded in rush hours and may not even have reserved seats - www.sncf.oui - book your own TER ticket (possible discount) or TGV ticket - latter can again be very cheap and saves you about 2 hours each way. Some folks find www.trainline.eu easier to use and it has same fares as official SNCF (French Railways) site.

www.seat61.com has loads of advice on booking own tickets - general info train BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.

And, station personnel often speak passable travellers' English - there is also an Information kiosk that can answer any questions.

Now, why Lille - a nice large city but IMO not the best day trip around. Reims is just an hour and a nice regional town and of course lots of ornate Champagne houses to visit - and bien sur the famous cathedral where kings and queens of France were once crowned. Or Lyon, about 2 hrs by TGV, which IMO is nicer than Lille- which is OK.

Brussels would be only 1.25 hrs by high-speed train.

Gare du Nord has two stations - Grandes Lignes on main concourse and suburban train station on lower level - most trains to Lille would leave via Grandes Ligne.

It should not be hard and those who know more about details will help you too.

Last edited by PalenQ; Mar 11th, 2019 at 05:46 PM.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2019, 07:35 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,657
I think Pal made it look far more difficult than it actuallly is. No idea why he mentioned Laon.

TGV trains leave hourly from Gard du Nord. They are direct. No need to change. Check out station maps on seat 61 or just google Gare du Nord station map. Get to station a bit early so you can check platforms for your departure. They come up about 15/20 minutes before trains leave. Any questions ask at information kiosk but they are not always helpful. Really much easier than
you mught suspect.
historytraveler is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2019, 07:51 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 66,703
Please listen to historytraveler. It is very easy. Direct TGV trains from Paris Nord to Lille leave every 30 minutes and take just over an hour.
janisj is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2019, 10:08 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 22,152
Lille is a fantastic day trip. I don't even know if there is a TER to Lille -- I havely only ever taken a TGV there.
kerouac is online now  
Old Mar 11th, 2019, 10:47 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,153
If you have never been overseas and don't normally use public transport, then I don't think it will be as easy as others seem to feel. It could be quite bewildering. The station is big, with different areas, depending on where you are going. I'd suggest looking at maps online of the station, checking and double checking what sort of train and ticket you want (book ahead for a TGV to save money), and generally do some research so you will find it easier once you're there. Especially if your train is early morning and you don't have much time once you get to the station. As mentioned above, the ManInSeatSixtyOne website is fantastic, take a look https://www.seat61.com/France-trains.htm

Kay
KayF is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2019, 10:51 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 48,337
Historytraveler has it correct. There is nothing intrinsically difficult about the Gare du Nord and it's all right there on the station map online. You walk in, there's a large hall, there's a huge board listing all the trains (usually, the track you're leaving from will be highlighted with the train number and the number of the track about 20 minutes before departure). Forget trains to Laon - totally irrelevant. You will be on a TGV. It's direct. You have your tickets already, right? Don't forget to compost them. Don't pay any attention to anyone who tries to "help" you unless it's a uniformed SNCF staffer (and they won't normally offer help unless asked).
StCirq is online now  
Old Mar 12th, 2019, 02:45 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,153
You might not know what 'compost the ticket' means. Where we live compost has a completely different meaning! You need to validate the ticket right before you get on the train, there will be a yellow machine nearby, stick your ticket in and it will print the date and time on the ticket. This validates the ticket. If you don't do this, you can get fined. If you forget and are already on the train, let the conductor know.

I should say I'm no expert on French trains so hope this is all correct information for the new traveller.

Good advice too about ignoring anyone trying to be helpful at the ticket machines. I read a letter to the newspaper the other day about someone accepting 'help' and finding later they had a paid a lot of money for the wrong tickets.

Kay
KayF is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2019, 11:08 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 110
When leaving Paris by train, I always check out an unfamiliar train station a day or two in advance. Also, if using an e-ticket, no need to compost.
billandcindy is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2019, 01:00 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 6,837
My husband and I were at Gare du Nord in December and there was an English option for the ticket machine we used to buy RERB to CDG.

We had no problems navigating Gare du Nord. We just followed the overhead signs.

We also did not have to validate any tickets because you put your ticket into the turnstiles in order to get through the Gare du Nord. It is just like the NYC subway or the Tube.



Thin
Pepper_von_snoot is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2019, 01:16 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
I'm planning on taking a TER train to visit an other city in France (Lilles) early in the morning and I don't want to get lost.>

Well I was responding to what I thought they meant what they wrote - TER train or regional train - maybe to preserve their flexibility and get a cheap price - just to hop on TGV would cost a ton - and there are no direcdt TER trains and have tochange somewhere, for my example I used Laon.

And read what I wrote too:

<have you considered the high-speed TGV train - if you book really early you can get some really cheap fares that may be not much more than the slow and less comfy RER trains which also can be super crowded in rush hours and may not even have reserved seats - www.sncf.oui - book your own TER ticket (possible discount) or TGV ticket - latter can again be very cheap and saves you about 2 hours each way.

so, I covered both bases - recommended TGV. But question again was about a TER train which janis and StCirq and others obviously missed. Yet did I scold them for not answering the question and not comprehending my for example Laon change on some TERs.

Criticize when warranted but try to control your high dudgeon to criticize!

Again I stand by my response - answering OP's actual question and suggesting faster TGVs and talking about how cheap they could be, etc.

My response was completely fine yet the same old folks malign.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2019, 02:54 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,735
I also read that the OP wanted to get an early TER train.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2019, 03:03 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,657
I guess I don’t understand why one would take a TER train when TGV trains leave about every half hour and go direct. Simply makes an easy journey more complicated. In fact on some websites all you can find are TGV trains.
historytraveler is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2019, 03:17 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
www.bahn.de/en which I use for easy reference to schedules has a choice of fastest trains or local trains - default is fastest trains so I checked local for TER trains which OP clearly said they wanted though I have a feeling they may have mixed up TGV with TER?
PalenQ is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2019, 04:14 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,622
You already have the best link for advice, Seat 61. Also useful is a blog, Paris by Train, which contains photo tours of major stations. www.Parisbytrain.com

As you will read on Seat 61, travel on major lines gets more expensive the later you buy the ticket (which often includes a mandatory seat reservation.) A LOT more expensive, as you can see buy running a test on a ticket 90 days in advance.

The website for SNCF train operations -- that's the operating system -- has improved and is relatively straightforward to use:
https://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/
Southam is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2019, 04:30 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
The SMCF site is now called: www.oui.sncf though the voyages-sncf site still works.
PalenQ is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
travelchat
Europe
8
Sep 11th, 2015 03:28 PM
lilaki
Europe
12
Jun 28th, 2008 11:46 AM
maddi
Europe
16
Feb 27th, 2008 12:03 PM
judydoll
Europe
24
Dec 3rd, 2003 05:22 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO