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TheGastons Feb 13th, 2005 01:31 PM

Where to stop between Paris & Aix by Train
 
Hi. Our family will be traveling from Paris to Aix by train and are wondering where a good place to stop for four nights would be. I'd like it close to the train station (not sure which train will take us down- I'd love it if someone knows that too...) so it will be easy to get off and on - we are traveling with two little ones. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Catherine Gaston

ira Feb 13th, 2005 01:44 PM

Hi CG,

The quickest way to Aix is on the TGV (3 hr) No stops.

Another TGV (3:30 hr) requires a change of trains at Avignon. You buy a ticket to Avignon and another ticket Avignon/Aix if you want to stop in Avignon.

The slower train (4:00 hr) goes by way of Marseilles.

See http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en
for schedules and
www.sncf.com fr tickets.

((I))

indytravel Feb 13th, 2005 02:03 PM

Train station, little ones, 4 nights.

Normally I'd recommend a couple of stops in 2 towns for you to get a taste of small town France. But with your requirements Lyon would do quite nicely.

You could stay right outside the Part Dieu station at the top of the Meridien Hotel for wonderful view. It's a bit of a modern area but still fine.

Or you could stay outside the Perrache train station on the Presqu'Ile with the established of Place Carnot. The old town area just across the Saone River is close by too.


StuDudley Feb 13th, 2005 05:03 PM

Here are some interesting towns we've stopped in between these two cities. I'm not sure if you want to stay 4 nights in 1 place, 2 nights each in 2 places, etc.

Dijon - stay at the Jura hotel, just 50 yds from the station. Very nice town and nice hotel also.

Beaune - there is a hotel directly across from the train station (we got the name from the tourist office), but it was required to dine there also. I wanted to dine at the Jardin des Remparts (and glad I did) so we walked 20 mins to another hotel. We went from Avignon to Lyon, changed trains & went to Beaune. Then Beaune to Dijon & changed trains to Paris.


Lyon Perrache, like indytravel said. Part Dieu is not near the most interesting parts of Lyon. We arrived at Part Dieu, waited 20 mins, and then took a 10 min train to Perrache.

Avignon - take a shuttle/taxi to the old center of town from the TGV station.

This June we plan to take the train from Avignon to Chambery & stay overnight. Then the next day to Lyon, change trains, then to Paris.

Personally, I would not stay all 4 days in any of these places. We spent about 4 hours touring Beaune and saw all we wanted to see, 6 hours touring Dijon, and 1 full day touring Lyon. We stayed overnight in all these places also. Been to Avignon so many times that I don't know how many days we've spent there.

Stu Dudley
San Mateo (San Francisco), Ca.


TheGastons Feb 13th, 2005 07:21 PM

Thanks, all. I think because of our young kids, we don't want to move around any more than necessary. So, one place for the four nights is what we need to do. Stu, what about staying in Avignon for four nights? Do you know of any nice hotels near the train station there? Although, I think they have a big festival going on in July (which is when we will be doing this) so it might be really crowded.

Art_Vandelay Feb 14th, 2005 04:12 AM

Staying in Avignon seems like a good idea, BUT:
1) Yes, in July you have the Festival d'Avignon, which is the world's largest theater festival, so it will be quite crowded
2) Avignon's TGV station is 5 miles from the city center, so you'll have to take a shuttle to downtown to find a nice hotel
3) Avignon is doable from Aix anyway, since it's only 50 km or so from Aix, so stopping there would be a bit useless.

Dijon is OK, but a bit small to fill four full days (even if you can rent a car and do the vineyards, then Beaune). Plus the options to proceed to Aix are a bit thin on the ground (only one TGV a day, if I am not mistaken). Lyon can be envisaged, there is enough to do, but it's a relatively big city, so I don't know if it's suitable for your kids. Another solution, if you are travelling before July 14 (still reasonably not too crowded), is to go a bit further South and spend a few days on the Riviera (stop at Toulon or Saint-Raphaël), then go back 150 km to Aix. Or, on the other end, you can go north from Paris to Brussels, spend a few days there and in Belgium, and take one of the many direct TGVs from Brussels to Aix. Actually, France's train network is not as centralised as it used to be, and there are direct TGVs to Aix from Nantes, Tours, Rouen, Lille, etc. so you might choose one of these cities to spend your four days, and then train direct to Aix.

TheGastons Feb 14th, 2005 07:27 PM

I love these suggestions, Art. Do you know any good hotels or little towns on the coast? I've looked into Cassis, as I've heard good things, but can't find any places to stay. Again, we really plan to hang out a lot rather than see everything. (Which is hard, but fair to our boys.) Thanks.

Art_Vandelay Feb 15th, 2005 05:58 AM

Sorry Catherine, I am not familiar with the hotel situation on the Riviera. I can just tell you that if you want to save yourself some bus transfers (since you obviously don't want to rent a car) between the train station and your holiday destination, you'd better choose Saint-Raphaël (for Saint-Raphaël itself or nearby Fréjus), which is more family-oriented, or Cannes, which is more upscale. BTW, what do you mean by "can't find any place to stay" in Cassis? There are plenty I am sure. A good guide for good value accommodation and restaurants around France is the Rough Guides' "Hôtels et restaus de France", the translation of the "Guide du Routard", the guide book that the French use most when vacationing within their own country.


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