Train from Paris to Montpellier

Old Jan 7th, 2005, 04:18 PM
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Train from Paris to Montpellier

My 19 year old daughter is considering going to France over spring break to visit a friend studying abroad in Montpellier. I assume train travel would be the best way to get to Montpellier from Paris? Is there a train connection at the airport? I've never taken the train in France so am a little nervous to send her off by herself. Is train travel in France fairly good? Any advice here would be appreciated! Thanks
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Old Jan 7th, 2005, 04:28 PM
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The train trip takes about 3 hours 15 minutes from Paris to Montpellier from Paris gare de l'Est, I think. What can go wrong in 3 hours 15 minutes?

Others can advise whether it is possible to make a train connection direct from Paris CDG -- probably by changing trains mid-way.

Otherwise you would have to make the conventional airport-downtown trip via bus, taxi or RER.
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Old Jan 7th, 2005, 04:51 PM
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Train travel in France is excellent.

You can check www.voyages-sncf.com to see about trains from the airport to Montpellier. Look for the little British flag in the lower left to switch to English. If you put in "Roissy" as your starting point it will show trains from CDG airport.

Have you looked at booking airfare to Montpellier? It may or may not be as cheap as a train fare. Your daughter wouldn't have to hassle with anything other than an airport. Her friend could meet her at the airport in Montpellier.

Even if the airfare is couple of hundred more it might be worth it for your piece of mind.
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Old Jan 7th, 2005, 04:58 PM
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I checked the trains. On a weekday a few trains leave CDG terminal 2 directly to Montpellier at 7:31am, 1:11pm, 4:03pm & 6:05pm taking about 4 hours. There are others with connections. The trains may not be as frequent on a weekend.

The full fare is 87 euros. If you buy in advance you might get a PREM's fare of 25 or 30 euros.

You'll also have to worry about timing a train to get back to CDG to leave. If the returning flight out of Paris is early in the morning, it may be impossible to catch a train in Montpellier early enough in the morning to get to CDG.

In this case your daughter would need to spend the last night in Paris.
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Old Jan 7th, 2005, 05:14 PM
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Well if she's going there and back, investigate the France Railpass, which can give her 4 unlimited travel days in a 2-month period - any four days, for $164, or $41 a day - with the pass she can hop anytrain - no need to advance reserve far in advance to get 30 euro fare, which is probably non-changeable, non-refundable. Who knows exactly when planes will land. With the pass she can get on the next CDG Airport-Montpellier train (though she will need to make a TGV, high-speed train, reservation before boarding at the ticket window. Note that regular fare is 78 euros, or about $100, so the $164 four-day pass is a good deal. RailEurope sells these passes in the US or call one of their many agents - Budget Europe (800-441-9413), whom i have bought passes thru for years and highly recommend. But if absolute cheap is the criteria, go for the 30 euro advance, non-refundable online specials - OK if locking yourself into specific trains during the blue period (trains in busy times are not available).
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Old Jan 7th, 2005, 07:02 PM
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She could fly... I dummied up a flight on Orbitz using "St Louis" and "Montpellier"...Continental fare $659 r/t thru Newark and Paris for "March"...about a 3-hr layover at CDG, arriving Montpellier 12:40pm...guess it depends on how soon she could get a train after landing/clearing customs vs. the layover but short flight to M.
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Old Jan 7th, 2005, 10:26 PM
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The trains are excellent and very reliable in France. Why not consider flying her into Nice then taking a train from there to Montpellier? There are Lufthansa and Austrian Air plane connections to Nice that would allow that. Just a thought if you don't want her traveling so far solo.

BTW, the TGV Mediteranee' was one of the first scnf train routes to the south from Paris. The route is a daily, well-traveled one that is very fast and efficient. She will love Montpellier, it is one of my favorite places in Languedoc Roussillon. The shopping is excellent and the city is so charming and provincial. I would recommend her (and you!) reading "French Impressions" by John S. Littell - a hilarious account of his family's relocation to Montpellier from the U.S. for a couple years when he was a young boy growing up in the 1950s. Very entertaining and insightful reading on Montpellier and its citizens. I loved it!
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Old Jan 13th, 2005, 01:16 AM
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Hi

I don't think there is much benefit in flying into Nice.

The rail connection is not as good. With changes it could be longer than Paris - Montpellier.

Peter
http://www.the-languedoc-page.com
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Old Jan 13th, 2005, 10:17 AM
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Agree with Peter that Nice-Montpellier is probably less convenient by train (plus, she'd most likely have to make at least one plane connection) than Paris-Montpellier.

Train service in France is excellent. If she gets the train in Paris, rather than getting on at CDG, the Montpellier train leaves from Gare de Lyon.
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