TGV rail

Old Mar 29th, 2010, 09:23 AM
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TGV rail

We are seniors and are planning a trip on the rail lines from Paris to Lyon, Avignon and Nice. We have heavy luggage with us. How difficult is it to place and remove them from the TGV cars?

Also, is it possible when reserving tickets to choose seats in the lower section of a duplex train car?
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 09:29 AM
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<<How difficult is it to place and remove them from the TGV cars?>>

VERY difficult. Why must you have heavy luggage?

Yes, you can reserve seats anywhere they are available. I trust you know about PREM fares and senior discounts?
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 09:32 AM
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There are luggage racks at the ENDS of those cars also so even if you end up above you could still store your luggage down below. If you want to be certain of getting seats on the lower level you may want to reserve them through a travel agent such as Budget European travel Service (ask for Byron) 800-441-2387
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 09:44 AM
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As StCirq said, try to lighten up on the luggage if you can, since you may not be able to pull it up onto the train and there may not be anyone who can help you. Generally, people are nice and will help out, but you can't be sure that will happen all the time.

I had to do this last September, and while I'm still pretty strong, I have to admit that I've been ignoring the fact that as I get older, there's things that I can no longer do as well as I used to and things I need to watch out for, like twisting something. It wasn't until this trip, where not only did I have to haul up and down my own luggage from the TGV, I had to help my mom and her friend. It was her friend's big fat, heavy suitcase that finally did me in. Maybe she had a bad back because she always packed too much, since she is my age!

On reservations, you do make reservations, but I don't recall being able to pick the seat. Agree that you should look into the PREM fares and senior discounts.

Also agree with Dukey on being able to store your luggage in the lower car's rack if you have to sit upstairs. If you get nervous that someone's going to steal your luggage, you can either walk down and watch your luggage when the train pulls into a station, or get a lock and chain and lock it to the rack.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 09:47 AM
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When booking online, you usually get the choice higher level or lower level.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 09:48 AM
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You can book your seats (I just did) for the top or bottom level. lOwer level is "basse" if my memory serves me correctly.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 10:39 AM
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Try to reduce the luggage--it really makes such a difference. You will be surprised how little you actually need and how liberated you will feel.

There are never, well rarely, any porters and not always carts. Even if there are carts, you still have to hump the luggage up the stairs. Only a few stairs to the lower level, but they are daunting when your case weighs in at 50lb.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 11:07 AM
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Yes "Salle Basse" (Low) or Salle Haute (High) if you are on French page. I don't know about today but it used be that lower level was recommended for the people who prefer to stay quiet, and higher level for the others (families, with kids..). Just recommended, no obligatuion.


You could also get a choice of face-to-face or side-by-side too.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 11:53 AM
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well, I wouldn't call it very difficult, it's as difficult as it is to move your luggage around anywhere, I don't see any difference on a train compared to other places. Yes, you have to take it up a few steps, but you often have to do that in other places, also.

It depends, some persons' "very heavy" is another's average. But if you have trouble lifting your bags at all (not over your heard necessarily, but enough to move them up a step or two), I wouldn't do this. I can handle my own bags on the TGV and I'm not that light a packer (ie, I've had 25" bags with no problem--I wouldn't take anything bigger). I do lift weights regularly, though, so I'm not weak, but I am a senior also according to some places.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 04:25 PM
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We are seniors and have learned through the years to pack lighter and lighter as we find it difficult lugging heavy suitcases on to train steps and then through the narrow aisles of the trains and then trying to find a place to put them. This year we are packing even lighter than ever with each a little roll aboard. try it and you will be glad you did.
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 10:03 AM
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We too are senior citizens and often travel to Provence on the TGV.

We hire a porter in Paris to get us to the correct RR car and help put our luggage on the train. An added benefit is that this porter will call ahead to your destination to have a porter waiting for you. They cost only 8 euros at each end
and alleviate the excessive hauling of luggage. Lighter packing is an ideal that, alas, has eluded us for 20 years!

Bonne journee!

Anthony (Powellretired)
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 11:56 AM
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Ask for some help as Anthony suggests. Even lightly packed bags can be cumbersome and heavy for people to lift if they are not used to it.

Also, just so you know, there's usually a mad dash to board the train, and it's done fairly quickly, not like in the states where they give you more time. You will have very little time once the train gate is announced. So be ready, don't dawdle, and be right up at the front so you can be one of the first to board; that way there will be room for your baggage and time for you to situate them. I'm not a senior and very agile and I find this boarding process with baggage to be challenging at times.

Also, many times I have seen people help those who are older get on board. Hopefully, you'll be lucky that way.
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Old Apr 8th, 2010, 03:12 AM
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Thank you all for your advice and assistance. If you don't mind I would like to know a little more about the TGV stations that we will stop at or depart from - Paris Gare Lyon; Lyon Part Dieu or Perrache; Avignon; & Nice.
- Are there signs or markers on the platforms to show where each car in the train will stop?
- Is there more room for luggage in first class than in second?
- Are there elevators or ramps to and from the taxis?
Thank you again for hour help and information.
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Old Apr 8th, 2010, 03:47 AM
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Yes, there are diagrams posted which show the major timings and where the various cars are in the so-called "consist" but each car is plainly marked with a number. Unless you know where to look for those diagrams, however, they can be hard to find and I'm honestly not sure they are necessarily that advantageous in SOME stations such as the Gare de Lyon...why?

You'll probably get there to find the usual "mob scene" depending on the time of day and don't be disconcerted by this swirl of humanity as it is typical in many larger Continental rail stations (you should see them during "rush hour"..it could scare you to death).

Anyway, you'll probably have to wait until the actual departure track shows up on the electronic departures board...don't worry..just look at what all those OTHER people seem to be staring at...when that track number finally does appear there will be this mad movement of a bunch of folks who are on the same train that you are...take your time...

besides those racks at the ends of the cars I mentioned there are also spaces between some of the seats (some of the seats may be back to back) and there are also spaces under the seats.

A lot depends on the SIZE of your bags, too
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Old Apr 8th, 2010, 04:43 AM
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You can google for a detailed plan of every train station in France, which will give you, among other things, a plan of the station and all its amenities.
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