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First-timer questions answered

First-timer questions answered

Old May 14, 09, 10:43 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2004
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First-timer questions answered

I just returned from France, so I thought I would follow up to my earlier thread and let you know how things went. Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions.
Transfering from CDG to Gare de Lyon via RER was a piece of cake. We spent our first two nights in Beaune and loved it. The city was charming, we learned a lot about wine (even though there is a great deal we don't know), and the countryside is beautiful. We rode bikes through Volnay, Pommard and Meursault -- marveilleux!
Our next stop was to be Giverny, but I arranged it so we would have a few hours in Paris between trains and took a bus to the Marmottan. After seeing some of his paintings we were ready to see Monet's home. We took the TER to Vernon and stayed in a B&B in Giverny. If you love his art, you will be moved by his gardens, a work of art in themselves.
We went on to Rouen, which I also enjoyed and stayed in a hotel on the cathedral square. Took the TER back to Paris for the balance of our trip, five nights, staying in an apartment. We saw a great deal, although of course we only scratched the surface.
Regarding my specific questions: the transfer to Gare de Lyon was easy and quick, the RER was not crowded at 0815 and there were adequate overhead luggage racks.
Burgundy, especially Beaune, is beautiful. If you love wine, I can't imagine going to France and not including it somehow. Since it was mentioned, we ended up touring a mustard factory (actually more of a museum -- one hour) in Beaune and enjoyed it.
Second class seats are only a bit smaller than first IMHO, and much more comfortable than coach seats on aircraft. Luggage racks are much smaller than first.
Backpacks are less common than here, but not rare. Having said that, the one I brought was too big and bulky to carry most days when we only needed to pack a camera and a couple water bottles. We did get approached by panhandlers and scam artists but were ready.
We did not do the Segways. We took the basic river cruise with vedettes-pontneuf. Convenient and inexpensive, if a bit chilly.
In Giverny, we had dinner at the creperie at La Musardiere.
The TER is more of a local train, making more stops so slower than the TGV. It only has second class. So we took the TGV to Dijon, transferred to the TER to Beaune.
I bought the train tickets here on the SNCF site, knowing I would have to pick them up at a ticket window. The queue at Gare de Lyon took about two minutes.
In addition to the river cruise, the bus #63 from Gare de Lyon to the Marmottan was a good overview of the city.
I think that addresses most of the issues that I raised in my previous thread. Thanks again to all who volunteered suggestions. I hope I can do the same for others.
DennyO is offline  
Old May 18, 09, 10:41 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Seattle, WA
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Posts: 3,395
Thanks for the trip report. Sounds like you had a great time. I particularly liked your positive comments about Beaune.

I have used a backpack for shorter trips. I often will pack a small daypack inside the larger backpack. It doesn't take up much room and I can use it when out touring. It's more comfortable and less visible.
Jeeves is offline  

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