Train travel to and from Paris

Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 08:57 AM
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Train travel to and from Paris

My wife & I will be in Paris at the end of September. We want to leave Paris on the 1st of October and travel via train to Reims. I don't want to deal with driving to and from Paris. At Reims, we plan to rent a car and spend 3 or 4 days visiting (via rent car) WW1 American, French, & British battlefields. After that, we would return to Paris and take the Eurostar back to London.

Do any of you have thoughts about the difficulty of getting luggage from our hotel to the rail station? Also, how difficult will it be to return to Paris via train and transfer to the Eurostar?
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 09:05 AM
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You can buy your Paris-Est to Reims ticket online at www.voyages-sncf.com or at station on the day though some trains may be full.

Take a taxi to stations and all is easy. Metro could be tough depending on how much luggage you have.

Paris-London is via Eurostar from Gare du Nord - close to Gare de l'Est but still several blocks by foot - can take metro but taxi would again take you right to near the Eurostar check-in at Gare du Nord.

You could also hit say Vimy Ridge - a primo WW 1 site especially for Canadians -and then drive to Lille-Europa station and catch Eurostar from there.

Book Eurostar far in advance for best fares - www.eurostar.com. If you do not know much about booking trains or trains check www.seat61.com for great advice on discounted tickets; for general info - www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

You could also return car at CDG Airport and take RER into Gare du Nord - easiest way maybe all in all.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 09:09 AM
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>>Do any of you have thoughts about the difficulty of getting luggage from our hotel to the rail station?>Also, how difficult will it be to return to Paris via train and transfer to the Eurostar?
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 09:10 AM
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was posting the same time . . .
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 09:28 AM
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I just took the train to and from Reims last week... very easy. It's simple to take a taxi from Gare de l'Est to Gare du Nord. I would not bother with the metro with luggage.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 10:00 AM
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The difficulty of hauling luggage anywhere depends on how much luggage you have. I don't bother with métro/RER in Paris when I have luggage, even though mine is always small and light. For the distances you're traveling, I'd just find a taxi or call a G7 one in advance. They have an English line if you need it. There will be a small surcharge for picking you up. You should be buying your Eurostar tickets now.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 11:29 AM
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A taxi is fine for getting to/from train stations, but you have to be able to manage all of your belongings getting through stations (no luggage carts), on and off the trains, and keeping track of it all. Even where there are escalators, those are often narrow and congested and can be a struggle if you have too much.

It's bit of a hike from Gare de l'Est to Gare du Nord, even though they look close together on a map.

For sure, picking up a car in Paris may be the far better bet than "dealing with" too much baggage.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 11:47 AM
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Yes the two stations practically touch each other and though there is a short cut to walk via it involves stairs but not for you but others with light luggage on wheels maybe it's an easy 5-minute walk. I would to advise just renting car in Paris and returning it to Gare du Nord or maybe Lille-Europa for Eurostar trains. Sundays are noticeably much easier driving in Paris.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 01:21 PM
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Another solution - return the car at CDG Airport and take a TGV train to Lille-Europe or Brussels to catch Eurostar trains without having to change stations - CDG is relatively easy to drive to and reach car rental returns.

Changing stations in Paris may not be fun! There can even be long queues for taxis - leave lots of time between arrival by train in Paris-Est and getting to Eurostar check-in at Gare du Nord (must check-in 30 minutes or so before the train).
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 10:12 PM
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I would recommend going at least 1 hour before you get to Eurostar.
You can only access your train using your ticket by the upstairs gate at Gare du Nord 30 minutes in advance.

You will need to fill out immigration forms, so bring a pen.
Then, agents will question you and then, you'll have to go through airport-type security.
There are sometimes problems with large families travelling together, so I'd maybe go a little earlier.

There is a big lounge after you go through security, with food, and an ATM. You can eat and drink on the train, including alcohol.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 11:03 PM
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Yes, my recent experience checking in to Eurostar at Gare du Nord is that they really do feel the pinch in terms of lack of space and personnel to get everyone through quickly, depending on how full the train is likely to be. My train was about 20 minutes late leaving because of the delays clearing people through security. (On this occasion I can't say I was wildly impressed with the buffet car service on the train either, two counters but only one assistant on each, and one of them had no functioning coffee machine - I must have hit a bad day - but it's only two hours to London).
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Old Jul 24th, 2017, 02:08 AM
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I wouldn't return to Paris. You can catch the Eurostar from Lille to London.
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Old Jul 25th, 2017, 04:44 AM
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www.parisbytrain.com
You have to haul your bags onto the train, not so easy if you are upstairs on a double-decker train. Then you have to find space to store the bags, not always easy for big suitcases. Only guaranteed solution is to cut down on how much you are carrying.
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Old Jul 25th, 2017, 06:04 AM
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To clarify my post a bit -- I wasn't recommending taking the Metro. I was just listing the options for getting to the station. In Paris Metro or taxi (or walking if you pack sensibly), in Reims taxi (or walking).
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Old Jul 25th, 2017, 06:05 AM
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Yup again driving to Lille-Europa station and returning car and hopping train will be infinitely easier than taking train to Paris and changing stations.
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Old Jul 25th, 2017, 09:35 AM
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After reading all of this, I think the best options for us to consider are:

1. Rent a car in Paris and drive to Reims. Then we could turn in the car in Lille and catch the Eurostar back to London. I would want to make sure the car rental offices in Paris are open on Sunday.

or

2. Take the train from Paris and rent the car in Reims, do our local traveling and then turn the car in at Lille, etc.
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Old Jul 25th, 2017, 09:41 AM
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Sundays the drive out of Paris should be a breeze. And you can take side roads along the Marne River via Chateau-Thierry for the American WW 1 Memorial/cemetery there and end up in Reims for the night. From side roads along the Marne are neat - lots of small Champagne cultivators en route.

Or take the autoroutes to Ch-Thierry.
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