Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > TravelBuzz
Reload this Page >

Rail in France questions

Rail in France questions


Old Apr 1, 05, 11:34 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: YYZ
Programs: HHonors Gold
Posts: 336
Rail in France questions

Hi All,
I'm going from IAH to MAD(via MIA) on 5/8/05 I'll be in Europe till 05/21, and looking to go to France(05/11) in the interim. Basically I want to be able to see Paris again, and also take some trains in southern france. I'm looking in to flying from MAD to ORY(cheapest way I found to get to France while avoiding CDG), and then take the highspeed to Marseille after a day or so in Paris. From Marseille I would like to go to Nice, and then Possibly rent a car and drive to Monaco(and maybe over the Italian border to get another country under my belt. Of course I'll eventually work my way back to Paris and fly back to Madrid(5/17 or18).

Here is what I would like to know:

1. Rail Europe is showing $111.00 each way from Paris Gare Lyon to Marseille. This seems a bit high to me but honesly I don't know.

2. Is renting a car a driving from Nice to Monaco feisable(map quest shows the drive as 21 min). Btw, I have no driving experience in Europe, I drive 5 speed so that is no problem, and I have tomtom navigator

3. If driving is feisable what borders cities in Italy are worth visiting?

4. Anything else someone with more experience in this could offer.

Thanks for any suggestions
andrewsheehan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 2, 05, 1:30 am
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Benicia CA
Programs: Alaska MVP Gold 75K, AA 3.8MM, UA 1.1MM, enjoying the retired life
Posts: 30,874
Did you mean to post this in Travel Buzz? It's not going to get much of a response in the Talk Board forum. Maybe a moderator can move it out of here.

I've done rail when in France, and a flexible pass is pretty reasonable. You can also get a pass to combine France and Italy. You'll just need to sort out if this is cheaper than point to point tickets, depending where you might end up.

I just hopped over to Imperia, Italy for a few days from Menton in France (pretty close to the border), and bought a local Italian ticket to supplement my French rail pass. That worked out fine if you wanted to jump over to Italy.

Nice to Monaco is as little as 13 mins by train, depending on the type of train you take.
tom911 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 2, 05, 8:28 am
Moderator: Coupon Connection & S.P.A.M
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Louisville, KY
Programs: Wild Wild Life, TSA Disparager Diamond (LTDD)
Posts: 57,196
Off to Travel Buzz this goes.
Spiff is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 2, 05, 9:12 am
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: London, England.
Programs: BA
Posts: 7,292
If you don't need the car for other reasons (like you always wanted to drive along the Corniche) then you'll find there's an excellent train service along the coast from Marseilles through Nice and Monaco and into Italy.

If you just want to set foot in Italy then Ventimiglia, the border town on the railway, is certainly Italian. If you want to get to a significant city and have the time the obvious choice is Genoa. The entire train trip from Marseilles to Genoa is full of interest out of the window.
WHBM is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 2, 05, 10:34 am
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: NYC, IST, CDG, NCE
Programs: DL DM
Posts: 2,459
I have spent a good bit of time down in that region, and I can think of ups and downs for both driving and taking the train .

The obvious downsides to driving are the cost of the car, tolls and gas, but it does give you freedom to see some fantastic little towns along the way. To answer your question, it is certainly driveable, but if you're trying to do it straight, I'd allow at least 3-4 hours from MRS to Monaco depending on how fast you drive, roadwork and tieups in Marseille, Aix, Cannes, and Nice

The train will get you to larger towns and save you some money and stress.

What I always tell people going to the region is that if you are going to try to take advantage of small towns drive, if not trains are great.

But look further than Rail Europe. That $111 is not totally unexpected for a full fare changeable ticket, but I don't think they let you know about any specials. There are something called Prem's for advance purchases available on the SNCF/French rail company website. Much cheaper if you are flexible and can find one that works for you... Just looking at the website, I'm seeing MRS-NCE for 25E for most of May.


As far as where to go, Monaco is fun just to have been there. A few years ago I was down in Provence with a friend and a day to kill, so we decided to drive to Genoa to buy a salami ... we were disappointed by both the city and the salami, though we did find a good place for lunch right near the port. Another option that I liked was San Remo, on the coast.

Have fun.

remyontheroad is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 2, 05, 5:13 pm
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: KBOS
Programs: BAEC Gold
Posts: 860
If you are in Nice or Cannes, you do not need to rent a car to go to Monaco or visit the Italian border town of Vintimiglia. There is a commuter train that runs along the French Riviera towns of St-Raphael-Cannes-Nice-Vintimiglia.

Another reason to avoid driving in Nice apart from the cost of gasoline is parking: your trip to the Riviera coincides with 2005 Cannes Film Festival (May 11-22). Good luck finding a hotel room.

Last edited by Peregrine415; Apr 2, 05 at 11:44 pm
Peregrine415 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Apr 2, 05, 9:21 pm
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: NYC, IST, CDG, NCE
Programs: DL DM
Posts: 2,459
Originally Posted by Peregrine415
your trip to the Riviera coincides with 2005 Cannes Film Festival (May 11-22). Good luck finding a hotel room.
Very good point... We call that the time when the circus comes to town. I'd simply stay as far from Cannes as possible, unless you're into standing behind ropes and being jostled by crowds while trying to catch fleeting glimpses of celebs...

The rest of the area should be fine, but do expect crowds, security and random foolishness at NCE around the opening and closing days of the festival as well.
remyontheroad is offline  
Reply With Quote

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread