Trains in France

The 'High-Speed' rail network

French trains are famous for their comfort, speed and punctuality, and travelling around France before or afte your cruise can be an excellent way to extend your vacation. In addition many barges begin or end their cruises at or near major train stations around France. Click on the map to the right to discover the network of 'TGV' (Trains Grande Vitesse - High Speed Trains) in France.

These world famous trains travel on dedicated lines at speeds of up to 200 mph, making them well worth consideration for those journeys which are perhaps a little too short for a flight but too far to drive comfortably.

Use the map on the right to see in more detail the lines and stations that may be of use to your during your vacation. For booking tickets you should use the website of Rail Europe.

Using Trains in France

Using the train in France does not need to be stressful or difficult. Here are our top three tips:

Ticket punching machines
Ticket punching machiness
1) Don't forget to 'composter' (stamp) your ticket before you get on the train. Do this using the prominent yellow machines that are usually found before accessing the platforms (see picture on the right). Doing this makes a ticket valid for travel and notes the exact date and time it was used. If this is not done you risk receiving a fine.

2) Trains are usually listed on station signs with their terminating destination shown most prominently- your actual destination may well not be visible at first as it may be one of the places the train stops at en route to its final destination. Information screens located on the platforms usually list all the stops of each train. Make sure that you have to hand the number of your train to avoid getting confused.

3) Some cruises include TGV High Speed Train transfers from Paris in their cruise price (usually from Paris 'Gare-de-Lyon' for cruises in the Burgundy region). If in doubt please contact us to check.

Travelling around Paris

Map of principle Paris train stations
Map of principle Paris train stations
Here at The Barge Company we are often asked about how to get around Paris- either to and from airports or using public transport to get to your hotel.

You have a huge amount of choice for travelling around France's capital city- taxis, scheduled buses, shuttle bus services ('navettes') , local railways (the 'RER' trains) and the world-famous 'métro' underground system are all available to you.

Click on the map to the right to see the principle train lines around Paris that may be useful for your barging vacation, or click here for a map of the métro network.

There are many websites that provide useful advice on using these networks- we would suggest that you type 'how to get around Paris' into your favourite internet search engine to find out more.
A good starting point could be the 'official' website of the organisation that administers the Paris public transport network, the 'RATP'.

Meanwhile, here are the Barge Companys most 'Frequently Asked Questions' on the topic:

1) How can I get from Paris Charles-de-Gaulle to the 'Gare-de-Lyon' train station?

Firstly you should check if you can take your TGV train directly from the TGV station in the airport complex. If so this could save you a great deal of trouble.

Map of Paris CDG Airport
Map of Paris
CDG Airport
However, if you are obliged to transfer to the 'Gare-de-Lyon' to catch your train then in our experience a key consideration is the amount of luggage your are travelling with. If you have a lot of luggage with you then we advise simply taking a taxi. This could be expensive though, especially if you get stuck in rush hour traffic.

A number of companies exist with whom you can pre-book a car or a mini-bus. In many cases your English-speaking driver can meet you at 'Arrivals', having checked the precise arrival time of your flight.

Take care though- taxis and mini-buses are both subject to Paris's famously difficult rush-hour traffic. Depending on your arrival time and how long you have to get to the 'Gare de Lyon' you may be obliged to use public transport.

Paris 'Charles-de-Gaulle' airport is directly connected to Paris downtown by the RER-B rail line (regional rail system) (southbound). Take this line for around 40 minutes then change to the RER-A at the 'Châtelet–Les Halles' RER/métro complex. 'Gare de Lyon' train station is one stop along this RER line A in the easterly direction.

You can buy your ticket at a ticket counter at the entrance to the RER platform- this journey should cost around €8 per adult.

There is also a bus service run by Air-France that travels directly from the airport bus-station to 'Gare-de-Lyon'. This costs around €15.

2) How can I get from Paris Charles-de-Gaulle to my downtown hotel?

All the information above on getting to the 'Gare-de-Lyon' applies for getting to downtown Paris.

In addition to the Air France shuttle bus to 'Gare-de-Lyon' ('navette' in french) there are several Air France coach Lines that travel to various destinations in downtown Paris, allowing connection to the Paris métro network.

Finally the 'Roissybus' service bus takes you from the airport to Place de l'Opéra, in the heart of Paris at a cost of around €8 per adult, taking about 45 minutes depending upon traffic levels

3) Where is Paris 'Roissy' airport?

'Roissy' is in fact the old name for Paris 'Charles-de-Gaulle' airport, and still refers to the area around the airport. The name of the airport was changed many years ago but when you are in Paris you are sure to hear it called by the old name and you may even see signs pointing to 'Roissy'.

4) How can I get from Paris Orly Airport to the 'Gare-de-Lyon' train station?

In our experience a key consideration is the amount of luggage your are travelling with. If you have a lot of luggage with you then we advise simply taking a taxi. This could be expensive though, especially if you get stuck in rush hour traffic.

Map of Paris Orly Airport
Map of Paris
Orly Airport
A number of companies exist with whom you can pre-book a car or a mini-bus. In many cases your English-speaking driver can meet you at ‘Arrivals’, having checked the precise arrival time of your flight.

Take care though - taxis and mini-buses are both subject to Paris's famously difficult rush-hour traffic. Depending on your arrival time and how long you have to get to the 'Gare de Lyon' you may be obliged to use another form of public transport...

Orly airport is indirectly connected to Paris downtown by the 'Orlyval' (an automatic métro line), that takes you on a short 8-minute journey to the RER station called 'Antony'. From there you can take the RER-B rail line (regional rail system) north, changing trains after around 35 minutes at the 'Châtelet–Les Halles' RER/métro complex. 'Gare-de-Lyon' train station is one stop along on the easterly RER line A.

The Orlyval operates between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., leaving every 4 to 7 minutes from each Orly terminal (Orly Sud (south) and Orly Ouest (west)). Tickets for this service can be purchased at a special Orlyval sales desk in Orly airport, costing around €8 for a one-way fare just to reach the 'Antony' station. Note that several changes of trains, including stairs and some walking, are needed for this route, so it may not be suitable for elderly travellers, those with limited mobility or guests travelling with a large amount of luggage.


5) What is the best way to get from Paris Orly Airport to my downtown hotel?

All the information above on getting to the 'Gare-de-Lyon' applies for getting to downtown Paris. If you are on a tight budget then in addition to taxis and rail links there are several bus services that could be useful- either to take you close to your hotel or to get you to the 'métro' network.

The 'Orlybus', which goes from Orly-Sud (south) and Orly-Ouest (west) to the métro/RER station at Denfert-Rochereau, is one such service. It runs from 5:35 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., with departures every 15-20 minutes,and travel time is about 30 minutes (depending upon the traffic) and costs around €6.


TO CONTACT US
Phone: +33 561 59 20 07, Fax: +33 561 59 23 54
Phone (Toll-Free from USA + Canada): 1-800-688-0245
Email: info@bargecompany.com
Web: www.bargecompany.com

The Barge Cruise Company Ltd, 2 Allée de Castelnouvel, 31490 Léguevin
FRANCE
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