Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Short Taxi Ride in Paris - Problem? (

Richard_Davies Aug 8th, 2016 11:36 AM

Short Taxi Ride in Paris - Problem?
We will be traveling by train with a transfer in Paris. We arrive at Paris Gare Lyon and have a little over an hour to get the next train from Gare Montparnasse. If we go on the Metro, we need to get on both the M4 and M14 lines, changing at Châtelet. This seems like it could be a problem for people with luggage, unfamiliarity with the train and Metro stations, speaking little French, etc.

Will we find a taxi driver that will take us on that short ride between stations? I’ve had experiences in the States where cabbies would say no to such a small fare. Any advice?

travelhorizons Aug 8th, 2016 11:55 AM

My own experience with the Gare de Lyon suggests that you could potentially have to stand in a taxi queue for quite awhile to even get a taxi... and in the worst case scenario, you could miss your connecting train.

If you don't want to deal with getting your bags up and down stairs at various Metro station, the alternative would be to book a limo. Seriously — you don't want to miss you train.

Otherwise, just bring 22" carryon size luggage and deal with the stairs. Do you studying in advance — know the "end point" of the each line you're taking (for the direction you're taking it) ... and just follow the signs for those end points. You really don't know need to know a lot of French.

You will have to purchase Metro tickets. If this is the extent of your time in Paris, buy two individual tickets. If you'll be back, purchase a carnet.

greg Aug 8th, 2016 11:59 AM

This is not a "short" distance. You are talking about 6 km. That is one half of the diameter of the inner core circle of Paris. I have done it. No issue from the driver. We were entertained by a friendly poodle sitting on the front passenger seat.

nytraveler Aug 8th, 2016 05:45 PM

Agree that your potential problem is the length of the line of people waiting for taxis. If it's a 10 minute line you're fine - if a long line you may have a problem.

No driver would turn down that fare. esp with luggage.

spaarne Aug 8th, 2016 07:34 PM

<i>Short Taxi Ride in Paris - Problem?
Posted by: Richard_Davies on Aug 8, 16 at 3:36pm
Posted in: Europe
We will be traveling by train with a transfer in Paris. We arrive at Paris Gare Lyon and have a little over an hour to get the next train from Gare Montparnasse. If we go on the Metro, we need to get on both the M4 and M14 lines, changing at Châtelet. This seems like it could be a problem for people with luggage, unfamiliarity with the train and Metro stations, speaking little French, etc.</i>

You have chosen to change trains in one of the biggest and busiest Metro stations. Why not take line 14 direction Bibliothetique F. Mitterand and change at the first station, Bercy, to line 6 direction Ch. de Gaulle Etoile? Signage in Paris Metro stations is excellent. You do not need to speak French. If you can't manage your luggage you have too much luggage.

JAMH Aug 8th, 2016 08:17 PM

If you want to avoid mass transit and the worry about the possibility of a wait at Gare de Lyon, you can try the fixed price car service that SNCF offers. You can reserve it at I have used it a couple of times at Gare de Lyon for trains arriving late at night when I was concerned about having to deal with long waits at the taxi line. It worked great. The driver meets you at the train and also the service is coordinated with the arrival of your train so that trains delays are not a problem. See

StCirq Aug 8th, 2016 09:35 PM

Yes, pre-arrange the taxi with SNCF. Taxi lines at the Gare de Lyon can indeed be a problem. We waited more than 40 minutes last time we were there.

Agree that if you are traveling by train in France, do what the French do and keep your luggage to an absolute minimum. You don't need half the stuff you think you do. And give yourself more time between train connections. The distance between the train stations is not your problem.

fuzzbucket Aug 8th, 2016 10:49 PM

A lot depends on the day and the time of day you're arriving.

The average fare would be about 23 EU for 4 passengers and their luggage. There is no longer a charge for luggage in the trunk.
The average length of time would be 25 to 35 minutes, depending on traffic.
Bring euros - many drivers still don't accept credit cards.

Write down "Gare Montparnasse" and hand it to the driver, so there won't be any confusion.
Your train will be announced 20 minutes before departure, so you'll have to hurry to find the right platform in time to board.

It is a very good idea to book ahead with idcab.
And a very good idea to limit the amount of luggage, since you'll have to haul it and load it on the train yourself.

f1racegirl Aug 9th, 2016 02:10 AM

The bus 91 runs between the 2 stations, but IME can be slow. I was on that bus recently and everyone had to get off because the bus had a flat tire.

I think a taxi is your best bet. On a recent arrival at Gare de Lyon I used a taxi stand that was on the lower level of the station on the rue de Bercy side ( I followed the signs as I left the train). There were taxis waiting and no one in line.

Southam Aug 9th, 2016 04:45 AM

JAMH: Thanks for the information on the SNCF taxi reservation service. One more tool to keep on file.

Southam Aug 9th, 2016 05:00 AM

You can take a regional train -- RER -- from Paris Nord to Paris Montparnasse without any changes.

The RER runs underground just like the Metro, using the same tickets. Be patient; the RATP website can be slow.
It estimates journey time at about a half-hour. However, there is a surface walk from the RER Montparnasse station to the main-line station that takes a stranger like me a little longer than estimated. provides photo tours of both the Nord and Montparnasse main-line stations.

JAMH Aug 9th, 2016 08:48 AM

It's not a big deal but it is not regional train but the metro that one can take from Gare du Nord to Gare Montparnasse. The underground walk from the metro station to the train station is about 750 meters. The OP is looking for advice for a trip from Gare de Lyon in any event.

RonZ Aug 9th, 2016 10:32 AM

Take the 91 city bus:

Richard_Davies Aug 10th, 2016 06:16 AM

Thanks for all the replies. I've booked a ride with idcab, seems like the most foolproof. Regarding luggage, we are smart enough to travel as light as possible, but you don't know our requirements. We're part of two bike tours, so need biking shoes, clothes, nice evening wear. We also will will be spending a few non-biking days in between where neither bike clothes nor evening wear will be appropriate. So, more luggage than we'd like, but we won't have multiple suitcases each. So, thanks for the advice, but isn't very helpful.

Dukey1 Aug 10th, 2016 06:54 AM

Here's one thing you really should do (as "oh, of course we will" as it might sound to you) gather all your luggage and move to the door of the car BEFORE the train starts to slow down and be one of, if not THE first people off the train.

We recently arrived at the same station and had to transfer to another. Fortunately we had more time to transfer than you seem to. The taxi line (people waiting) was enormous the day we arrived and our train car was at the far end of the platform.

I don't care how little luggage you have the Paris Metro bought as many staircases as were available when it was built not to mention all those underground passageways.

You wouldn't have needed to know ANY French to use the system however and I suspect given not only what you have said, and what it says about you, the booked transport was the best decision I suspect.

fuzzbucket Aug 10th, 2016 08:07 AM

You made a good choice.

Don't forget to "compost" your tickets in the machines on the platform, and again when you change trains. Otherwise, you risk a fine.

If you don't know which wagons you'll be in, you should take a look at this site in advance, because you won't have much time to find the platform and board the correct wagon with all your stuff:

You should not lock your luggage together in the storage racks, but should keep an eye on the larger pieces. Keep small luggage in the racks over your seats and keep an eye on them, too. Always keep valuables well-hidden.

Get your stuff together and head for the luggage racks about 10 mins before the train arrives at the station, so you'll make your connection. Hopefully, you'll have enough time to do that.

Christina Aug 10th, 2016 08:45 AM

Getting a taxi from Gare de Lyon to Montparnasse shouldn't be a problem, that isn't too short a distance. I have, however, had taxis refuse to take me from Gare Montparnasse to some area in the Latin Qtr or St Germain, as I recall. Legally, I don't think they are allowed to do that, but they do. The distance was probably bout 1.5 miles.

fuzzbucket Aug 10th, 2016 11:56 PM

Legally, taxis cannot refuse to take you even one short block - but they often do, because it's just not worth it to them.

I've been loaded down with too many home improvement supplies, and had to take a taxi two blocks to my apartment. The driver apologized for having to charge me the minimum fare of 7 EU, but I was glad to pay him.

Michael Aug 11th, 2016 12:16 AM

If possible find out from which Gare Montparnasse your train is leaving. I believe that the TGV leaves from gare de Montparnasse 2, rue Pasteur, and the walk there is quite long from the front of Paris Monparnasse.

Christina Aug 11th, 2016 09:15 AM

oh, BTW, I would also ix-nay the idea of the 91 bus as a sure thing. I usually stay in Montparnasse when in Paris and use that bus all the time. It does take a long time, but also one of the last times I used it in July, it also stopped short of the final destination and we all had to get out and wait for another bus. I don't know why, it didn't have a flat tire.

It also depends on time of day, as with many buses in Paris, there are certain times (like rush hour, I guess), when they are so packed full you cannot even get on them hardly, let alone luggage. I know the 91 is.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:45 PM.