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How Much Time Needed Between Plane and Train?

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How Much Time Needed Between Plane and Train?

We've never taken a train in Europe. I'm very nervous about connecting to the TGV after arriving at CDG (not to mention just buying the ticket - I'm finding it all so confusing). I understand that you have to reserve ahead of time. I'd hate to miss our train because our plane was late. How much time should one allow to make the connection? Thanks.

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1. Re: How Much Time Needed Between Plane and Train?

Do you mean you just want to take the train into the city (Paris) after getting off your flight? If that's all you're asking, then no need to reserve tickets--just follow the directions to the RER (that's the train into Paris).

The TGV is the high speed train. Where are you trying to go after de-planing at CDG?

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2. Re: How Much Time Needed Between Plane and Train?

We are considering a 7 night Dordogne/3 night Paris trip, taking the TGV down after our arrival and then back up to end our trip in Paris. Now that I think about it, would it be feasible to go from CDG to Limoges or Bordeaux and then back up to the TGV station in the city of Paris instead of going back to CDG since we'd be staying in the city? Thanks.

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3. Re: How Much Time Needed Between Plane and Train?

raileurope.com/us/…

Here's some info from the website. But you need to repost your question asking for advice from CDG to Limoges. There are train experts who can help. Use a good heading for your question when you post. Good luck.

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4. Re: How Much Time Needed Between Plane and Train?

We did something like this in March. We had planned to fly into CDG and take a train to Angers. Our flight was an hour late and a piece of our luggage went missing. Our flight was supposed to land at 2:40 and our train to leave at 5:00. We missed that train but we were able to go to the ticket desk at the station at CDG and reschedule to a 6:30 train. We did incur a cost for that, but we had no choice at that point.

To answer your other question. Yes, you can take a train from CDG and return to an inner city station. In our case it was Montparnasse.

I understand your frustration with buying the tickets. I also found it really confusing. I ended up using the french version of the site and electing to retrieve the tickets at the train station. The lines at the actual ticketing desk were not bad and the agent spoke English. You must have the CC you used to book the tickets. She will swipe it and print up your tickets. There was no way we could have figured out how to use those machines as exhausted as we were.The RER line is on the left and the TGV on the right.

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5. Re: How Much Time Needed Between Plane and Train?

Getting back to your original concern--making the connection between your arriving flight and the TGV at CDG . . . it is fairly straighforward. In fact, I think it's easier than making a connection between one flight and another at CDG, mainly because (unlike departure gates) the train station is always in the same location, and there are many easy-to-see signs (that say GARE-TGV) in the terminal that guide you to the station.

I've done what you've described my last 2 trips to France, in both cases taking the TGV to another region after my arrival from the states. In one case I had purchased an inexpensive fare with a pre-printed ticket, the last time I happened to be using a 3-day Eurail France pass, which I had to get validated at the ticket window. I did have worries about missing my train, since I had reservations at a specific time, but that wasn't a problem since my flights were on time. I had approx. 90 minutes between arrival and train departure, which turned out to be plenty, though I would recommending giving yourself more time if possible.

By the way, if you're dashing to the train and haven't had anything to eat, you can grab a quick baguette sandwich at the "Paul" chain bakery outlet located on a mezzanine level as you descend to the train station, and buy some food and drink for the train trip. Of course, the offerings are not nearly as good as at a neighborhood boulangerie in any French city or town, but it's still made in France, so it is much, much better food than you can find in American train stations or airports!

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6. Re: How Much Time Needed Between Plane and Train?

I've never had occasion to do this myself, but I believe SNCF has a partnership with American Airlines, so you might be able to use their website as well. I don't know if that would matter if for example the plane was late, in terms of rebooking. Not to mention you can earn miles, apparently, as well.

There were plenty of signs for the TGV station at CDG.

Morgan's excellent thread on booking rail tickets has been rebumped up, and you can also check seat61.com. for advice.

American credit cards don't have the same chips as the European ones and generally don't work in the train machines. Need to go to a person if using that way of picking up tickets.

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7. Re: How Much Time Needed Between Plane and Train?

By the way, the TGV station for Bordeux is smack in the middle of the city, so if you've join flown the Atlantic and then taken a 3-4 train trip there, I wouldn't plan on driving your rental car out of the city that afternoon. You'll be too exhausted to do so safely. You could spend the night where ever to take the train to, and then get the rental car in the morning. I'm assuming your're getting a rental? It's a wonderful way to see all the little corners of the Dordogne.

By the way, I took the train as far as Bergerac, spent the night, then rented a car from the Europcar office directly across from the train station. But I should mention that the train from Bordeaux to Begerac is waaaaaaaaaaaay slower than the TGV!

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8. Re: How Much Time Needed Between Plane and Train?

Yes, PJHistor, I'm now thinking that it might be too much to fly overnight, take the train and then drive. Am thinking it might be better to split our days in Paris at the beginning and end of the trip (taking the train from the city down to the Dordogne and back to the city). Thanks.

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9. Re: How Much Time Needed Between Plane and Train?

I second the idea spending your first night in Paris and then catching the TGV the next day.

I am always extremely conscious of the potential for delays to distrupt my travel plans. If you want to continue on to your final destination you have a number of options:

1. Cope with the stress of hoping your flight is not delayed and be prepared to do whatever is required if it is delayed.

2. Allow very generous conection times and be prepared to wait around at the airport train station if you are on time.

3. Spend more money and buy the fully flexible tickets that can be changed to a later train if necessary.

For me the best option is to spend a night in Paris. That means your plane can arrive whenever and you just make your way to your accommodation. Have a pleasant afternoon and evening - recover from jet lag - start enjoying your vacation.

The next day continue with your travel plans. A 4 hour train journey can feel like an eternity after a long flight and then you still have to get to your accomodation.

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10. Re: How Much Time Needed Between Plane and Train?

You need to plan your Dordogne trip carefully too. While the area may look small on the map there are lots and lots of interesting towns and touristic sites. Limoges may actually be much more practical than Bordeaux as Western Dordogne pretty much start at Bergerac, relatively far from BDX by regular commuter trains that stop everywhere, while many interesting places, like Sarlat, Rocamadour etc. are way much closer from Limoges than from Bordeaux.

The train to Limoges from Paris start at Austerlitz station (one of Paris '6 rail stations) and is slower than the TGV but is likely faster than any train you have used in the USA.

Most of Dordogne interesting places are on local roads that turn and twist every which way. They aren't hard to drive but driving 50 km on these roads take more time than driving 150 km on the motorway (there are no "freeways" in France..only paying ones..) not to mention all the stops to see this and that

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