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Crazy idea? 1-day train trips from CDG??

Crazy idea? 1-day train trips from CDG??

Old Jun 22, 05, 3:35 pm
  #1  
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Crazy idea? 1-day train trips from CDG??

Hi,

We have a 12-hour layover in Paris (CDG) in a few weeks. We arrive at 8 AM and depart at 11 PM the same day.

I was wondering if anyone has a recommendation for a train expedition to a small town, village or city that would make a good train trip and create the possibility that we may be able to store our carry-on luggage somewhere while exploring the region.

Is there anywhere pretty, culturally significant that can be reached via train(s) from CDG?

Any ingenious proposals would be greatly appreciated!

-=Gary
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Old Jun 22, 05, 5:23 pm
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Day trips

Day trip to Versailles? Or to the cathedral at Chartres? Both are easily done in a day. It's been so long I forget the details; was it the metro or train? One of them in the system will get you there and with plenty of time. I do remember one crucial bit of information, FWIW: Hold on to your train (metro?) ticket for the return to Paris. Ticket is one of those you put through a machine of some type, and it appears on the other side. Keep it after going through the stile. You have to input the SAME ticket coming back, and there is no place on the return, at least at Versailles, to buy a replacement. ticket. Some people have been known to jump turnstiles to get back on the return train, having lost the original ticket. Not me, though. No, never.
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Old Jun 22, 05, 5:33 pm
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Not a crazy idea at all. I would suggest the city of Reims in the Champagne region. You'd have the opportunity to get a great lunch, view some nice architecture. The train connections are not ideal, a car would be better and faster though...

Here the timetable:
CDG RER dep 09'09
Paris-Est arr 09'54
Paris Est dep 11'16 allows you to get a good breakfast as well as store your luggage
Reims arr 12'55

Reims dep 18'34
Paris est arr 20'16
Paris est dep 20'31
CDG arr 21'16
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Old Jun 22, 05, 6:25 pm
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Another option is to head to Monet's Garden in Giverny. A wonderful trip that would be easy to fit into your time slot plus leave time to get a fabulous early dinner at one of Paris' many fine restaurants.

http://giverny.org/monet/welcome.htm
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Old Jun 22, 05, 11:23 pm
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Crazy you are not. In fact, it would be crazy to spend 12 hours holed up at CDG, one of the worst airports of any major city, IMHO. Heck, it would be crazy to even spend 12 hours at Chiangi!!!

Definitely go for the day trip.
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Old Jun 23, 05, 2:22 pm
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I'd go to Lyon. it's direct TGV trains from CDG airport and you'll get there in 2hours. it's for me, one of the most beautiful cities in France. it's city and small town in one.
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Old Jun 23, 05, 2:36 pm
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Originally Posted by gstager
Hi,

We have a 12-hour layover in Paris (CDG) in a few weeks. We arrive at 8 AM and depart at 11 PM the same day.

I was wondering if anyone has a recommendation for a train expedition to a small town, village or city that would make a good train trip and create the possibility that we may be able to store our carry-on luggage somewhere while exploring the region.

Is there anywhere pretty, culturally significant that can be reached via train(s) from CDG?

Any ingenious proposals would be greatly appreciated!

-=Gary
How about a day-trip to the capital of Europe? Thalys (www.thalys.com) takes you directly from CDG to the centre of Brussels in 1h15! Return fare (if you book in advance) is as low as Eur49. Once in Brussels, plenty of things to do (visit the European institutions, palace, museums, old town, Grande Place etc etc). Not to mention you can taste great food, amazing chocolates and delicious Belgian beer. :-)
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Old Jun 24, 05, 7:27 am
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Brussels is a great idea. As mentioned, there are trains direct from CDG to Brussels and so you don't have to travel into Paris. Brussels is very compact for walking about and you won't be disappointed with the choice of things to see, do or eat (or drink). For a list of events in Brussels, look here.
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Old Jul 3, 05, 4:33 am
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I would choose Lille (northern France, old kingdom of Flanders) due to it's proximity to CDG... serviced by Thalys and Eurostar. Brugges is also nearby.

How about a couple hours there, couple more in Brussels, etc.?

Lyon was ok, but I wasn't overly impressed by it.

Also, a little known gem (and only if you're into it)... there's a stop in the Northern lines called Haute Picard (sp?) that's just in the middle of nowhere, and serviced every hour or so. The main draw is the platform... just sit/stand there, and experience the TGV race through at full cruising speed, and feel the power! They come every several minutes and pass by Haute Picard. One of the only places to be able to feel the full effect of the TGV like this... truly unique.
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Old Jul 9, 05, 8:08 pm
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Dare I say it? The Thalys will take you (maybe even nonstop) from CDG to Paris Disneyland, I believe.

OK, you can kick me now!

It will be at least $90-100/RT to get to/from Brussels, won't it (when we did it, the Thalys was cheaper than the TGV, but equally fast, I think)? Wonder if it's worth that, but I agree it's an attainable day.
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Old Jul 11, 05, 3:03 am
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The French governemt spent millions on a direct express train link to from CDG to Euro Disney, now know as Disneyland Paris. If you are travelling with children that's what they (and maybe even you) might like the best although it is not as "cultural" as Giverney.. Versailles is a zoo during the summer and is famous for its long lines and "nickel and dime" experience as you have to pay a separate entry fee for each wing of the palace, the gardens and the hall of mirrors, etc.

On the other hand, why not just take the 25 minute express train to Paris? Just walk around without hassling in museum lines and enjoying what is possibly the world's greatest outdoor museum. Or just enjoy a lovely Seine River cruise and a baguette in the Luxembourg Park or a stroll in Montmartre...
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Old Jul 20, 05, 7:46 am
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I'd go for Lille. It's a city full of fine Flemish architecture and plenty of places to eat. It's also very compact. Most trains from the airport arrive at Lille-Europe which is not as central as the main station, but only about a ten minute walk (go south on leaving the station - across the park). There are frequent train services (eg 10 09, 10 59, 11 25), though you have to reserve a seat on a particular train, so pick your return journey carefully when you book the outward one at the airport, though you can usually change the ticket quite easily if you decide to come back earlier. (I'd suggest 17 45 from Lille arr 18 45, or the 19 17 arr 20 43 Mon to Thurs except 15th August). And check the ticket to see that you are, indeed, coming back from Lille-Europe and not Lille-Flandres (the main station in the centre of the city). Queues at the booking office at the airport are horrendous - it will take you a long while to buy your ticket. You can do so in advance online, but then you'll worry if your plane is late.

Brussels is fine also, but the last train back (Thalys dep 16 19 arr CDG 17 37) means you'll have to spend the evening at the airport. There is a later TGV from Brussels on Fridays only (at 16 56 arr CDG at 18 41).

I'd avoid a trip which means going into Paris first. The RER trains from the airport (every 7 to 8 minutes) arrive at the Gare du Nord (and NOT the Gare de l'Est as marked by the poster of the message suggesting Reims) and you'll have to change stations to go anywhere interesting. Note also that the train to Reims he suggests doesn't run on Sundays.

You won't want to spend a fortune, and tickets to Brussels or Lyon will be quite expensive as these places are a good distance away. Don't forget you can easily travel 375 miles in 2 hours on a TGV!

One final thing. Can't you have your baggage checked through to your final destination? If not, try and find somewhere at the airport to leave it, as restrictions following the recent bombs in London mean that left-luggage lockers are a rarety in Paris.

If all else fails, why not simply explore a district of Paris you don't know well? The Canal St Martin area, ten minutes walk from the Gare du Nord, is free of tourists, and is pretty. You can walk along its banks right out to the Science Museum (closed on Mondays) and just off it is the beautiful courtyard of the Hôpital St Louis by the same architect as the better known Place des Vosges (closed weekends). There are plenty of reasonable restaurants once you get away from the canal banks. Up the hill, the parc Buttes Chaumont is pretty and unspoilt. Pick up a city map from the tourist office at the Gare du Nord.

If you don't know Paris at all, then do a river trip, and see all the sites sitting down. Catch the 42 bus (the bus station is above the platforms at which you arrive on the train from the airport) and get off at the Place de l'Alma. It's 1€40 and there is a map of the route and stops in the bus. You'll pass the Opéra, the Madeleine, the Place de la Concorde and the Champs Elysées on the way. From the bus stop go down the slope to the river and take a Bateau Mouche (avoid the boats with lunch - go to a restaurant instead) and sit upstairs. You'll see everything in about an hour and come back to where you started. The same bus goes back to the Gare du Nord or you can just walk around until you drop and catch the Métro back there.

You say your trip is 'in the next few weeks.' Note that August 15th is a public holiday.

By all means ask me about train times to anywhere else you might think of. I have the current SNCFtimetables, or you can consult their website
www.sncf.com
Have a great trip.

Last edited by rangerss75; Jul 22, 05 at 8:28 am
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Old Jul 22, 05, 6:15 am
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I should have mentioned that the RER train ticket you buy to come into Paris from the airport includes travel to any Métro station (and to any RER station in Zone 1 only). There is no need to buy another ticket at the Gare du Nord, or Chatelêt, or wherever you get off the RER. Simply put the ticket through the gate entrance, and pick it up again, as you change to a Métro line. In the same way, when you go back to the airport, your return airport line ticket is valid from any Métro station all the way back to CDG.
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Old Jul 23, 05, 3:21 pm
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Last edited by Aileron; Nov 15, 08 at 5:36 am
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Old Jul 23, 05, 3:27 pm
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I second Lyon as well. It's only a two-hour trip. I lived there for a year and loved it infinitely more than Paris. It's a beautiful, intriguing city and has all the advantages of Paris but on a more human scale.

I'd move back there in a heartbeat. Lille is rather depressing. Rouen, on the other hand is more beautiful than you could believe.
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