After a wonderful few very sunny and warm days in Bordeaux (more on the Bordeaux trip here: Walking Tour of Bordeaux, France), we headed north to the region of Pays de la Loire to visit my sister, Leslie.
We purchased our tickets at the Bordeaux train station, aka Gare de Bordeaux-Saint-Jean, about an hour before departure. We made sure to skip booking way in advance using a USA-specific site such as Rail Europe (read more about the best way to book a French train ticket in advance here: How-to: Booking French Trains (RailEurope vs SNCF)).
We were able to book our tickets for 37.30 euros each (~$46.43 USD); in contrast, the RailEurope version of the [...]
After doing our research ahead of time and researching how to buy tickets (SNCF vs RailEurope.com post here) and then arriving to Charles de Gaulle airport and making our way to the train station (post: Taking a train from Paris Airport CDG-Charles de Gaulle), it was time to begin our first train journey of the trip.TGV service/review
We were scheduled on the 16h21 train (that’s 4:21pm to you Freedom-fry-loving guys in ‘Merica). Because this train didn’t originate at the CDG airport, we had to wait until about 15 mins before departure to see which track it would be on. The trip was scheduled to take 4 hours 16 mins (!) and put us at Bordeaux St. Jean right [...]
Fresh after landing at Paris-CDG, we had hoped to have a chance to check out the Air France Arrivals Lounge at Charles de Gaulle but were worried about making our train connection. So we just sucked it up and scurried out to baggage claims, but not before passing a very casual form of “Customs and Immigration” which consisted of an area with a few French police/military decked out in fatigues and submachine guns. They stopped me, seemed confused that I spoke French and then insinuated that I’d just come off the flight from either Casablanca or Cairo, when I corrected them and said that I came from New York JFK they seemed even more confused, checked the arrivals board and then waved [...]
Pros: RailEurope.com is a good resource for researching entire rail network in Europe and is the only place to book a multiday rail pass that covers numerous countries and service providers
Cons: If just booking a simple roundtrip or one-way ticket, it can cost 20-40% more than going direct to the train website
When planning our France trip, we needed to book about 3 train tickets to get us from CDG-Bordeaux, Bordeaux-Nantes and then Nantes-Paris. So, when trying to research the best way to book, we checked out all the venues, starting with RailEurope.com.
We were looking at taking the 11h05 [...]