I am a senior citizen traveling alone and am taking the TGV from Gare Montparnasse. I could use assistance getting on the train with my bags. Is there help available at the station for seniors?
Yes. The service is called Access Plus. You can reserve for free 48 hours in advance Here is a link to all the details in English
Also there is always someone on the the platform in uniform.
Many thanks for this ... just what I was searching for.
This is an excellent reference; thank you. One point: I can't tell if there are simple porters available on the platform to help carry bags to the train for those who need no other assistance. Any thoughts?
Southam, I have never seen porters waiting at any station in France or anywhere else in Europe. They are long since history (Orient Express?).
According to this SNCF webpage they exist at Gare de Lyon, I have never noticed them: http://www.sncf.com/en/services/luggage
Some large stations have luggage trolleys, these need a coin (€1) and must be returned to the racks to get your €1 back again.
The service linked to by Jazz+Travels ( http://www.sncf.com/en/services/passenger-assistance ) is primarily for disabled passengers and must be booked in advance, not for those who are just having problems carrying their luggage.
I think the conclusion is the old mantra - pack light.
There are no porters at train stations. There are sometimes thieves and scam artists who may aggressively 'help' and demand money or who may just walk off with the bags. There is a move towards blocking platforms to all but those who have tickets but last time I took the train in Paris that was not yet in effect. (In Spain there is airline like security to access platforms) Generally you should not travel by train with more luggage than you can handle yourself; if you are disabled the special services can apparently be arranged. My husband has occasionally helped elderly people with their bags as a fellow passenger but you can't count on that from other passengers.
I've seen porters even in this day and age, and I'm not subject to hallucinations.
There is also a SNCF door-to-door luggage service.
Follow this for more info: Passengers / Passenger services / All passengers / Before your trip / Luggage, vehicles & pets /
Or here's the link: