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Best place to get train to Bayeux?

We are flying into CDG on an overnight flight from DCA in October. At first glance it looks like the least complicated option for getting a train to Bayeux is one leaving from CDG although we will have to make two transfers. Further reading however suggests traveling to St. Lazare for a direct train to Bayeux. Is one option significantly better than another? I know from a recent trip via Frankfurt that my early morning capacity is both taxed and limited by the lack sleep and sheer civility on long flights.

Many thanks -

Posted by
24823 posts

I think it's easier to change trains at a regional station in France than to switch stations in Paris. I did the latter last year, and it was not hard at all by Metro, however I was making the switch in the middle of my trip, not on my jetlagged arrival day. If I had to change stations in Paris on Day 1, I'd probably plan a connection with enough time to take a taxi. But my first choice would be to avoid Paris entirely if there was a routing that fit my schedule.

The usual advice is not to buy a non-refundable ticket for usekn your arrival day (even though it would save money), because it is too difficult to predict when you'll get through the arrival procedures at the airport. Following that advice means probably paying the full walk-up fare. You may find the fare lower if you can avoid traveling into Paris and back out again. You'll need to weigh the advantages against the possibly somewhat-longer travel time.

Posted by
2485 posts

Absent specific information about your arrival, you have found the two basic options.

The simplest option would perhaps be to take a taxi from CDG to St Lazare, 50€, and take a direct train to Bayeux.

Posted by
984 posts

The option I always use is to take the Roissybus. It leave right outside of CDG arrivals, and brings you to Opera Garnier—which is a 7-minute walk to the Saint-Lazare station. I find it simpler than hauling bags via RER and Metro (although I have yet to arrive on a rainy day). Plus you actually see the city on arrival rather than tunneling underground.

Posted by
12132 posts

My preference would be to stay at least a night in Paris, then catch a direct train from Saint Lazare. That gives you time to catch up if a flight is delayed and a night to get over jet lag.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks Acraven - I agree completely about the higher price, use anytime ticket - worth every penny. My confusion/concern now is that having looked on SNCF and Trainline, I see no direct trains to Bayeux from St. Lazare - almost all are showing two stops. If that's the case, I may as well stick with the train that leaves from CDG and not waste time/money getting going into the city. I don't object to the stops/transfers, just want to know that what I am doing makes sense. All are welcome to chime in!

Posted by
16893 posts

The 2- connection plan that you probably got from SNCF is circuitous and more expensive. They show it because their search does not reflect RER, bus, or taxi options into the city. But going into the city first is standard for this direction of travel.

The DB schedule search does reflect RER connections and estimates the whole trip at 3.5-4 hours by that route. Looking Up Train Schedules and Routes Online gives you the Deutsche Bahn train schedule link and tips for using it.

Also, I see that Friday, Sept. 28 is currently the last date for which SNCF is selling the direct Paris St. Lazare to Bayeux departure tickets. I would wait a few weeks and check schedules again. There has been construction on that route for a long time and they may not finalize schedules and put tickets on sale until closer to the travel date. If your travel is on a weekend, those are usually most affected by construction. Full fare on the route is only 44 euro in 2nd class, so cutting that price in half is not a huge savings but the discount may still be available whenever the tickets do go on sale.

Posted by
2485 posts

is the train from CDG just not a good idea?

Shouldn´t you at least consult the October schedules when they are available?

Without a doubt, the easiest option is a taxi to St Lazare and a direct train from there. All of the CDG options require at least one connection. This means unloading your luggage at some intermediate point and transferring to a different train at least once. It also means you´ll arrive Bayeux much later in the day.

If what you want is simplicity, it appears rather obvious, at least to me, that you proceed to St Lazare and take a direct train.

Posted by
129 posts

Question re Roissy Bus. When one arrives at Opera Garnier how is luggage handled? Have seen bus drivers often unload luggage quickly then free for all with people grabbing what is hopefully theirs but, concerned could be a target for thieves. If one has just a carry-on piece, canit be kept with you on the bus? Other than this query, great to know about this option!

Posted by
6691 posts

I've taken the Roissybus a few times. Patty, have you ever been on a 49-passenger long-distance bus? The luggage rack over the seats is tiny, and will not accommodate any carry-on I know of. If you were sitting next to me while holding a real carry-on, I would ask the bus driver to make you put your carry-on under the bus with all the other luggage.

I have never read a post on this newsboard from someone who had their luggage stolen from the Roissybus.

Posted by
984 posts

I don't think RoisseyBus has any under-carriage luggage storage. I remember it all being in the passenger area, and all handled by the passengers themselves. It isn't just overhead, but instead there is a dedicated luggage area mid-cabin, and towards the front. If you can handle your own luggage on the RER/Metro, you can certainly handle it on the RoisseyBus.

Posted by
14018 posts

I would suggest assuming you have the time that you take the train to Bayeux the day after arriving in CDG.

The train to Normandy departs from Paris Gare St Lazare. Then it's direct, or you may have to transfer in Caen.

I would only suggest going to Bayeux on arrival day at CDG if you knew the lay out in St Lazare (I don't, certainly nowhere as well as I know Gare du Nord and de l' Est), otherwise since St Lazare is a big station, two levels, you waste too much time trying to locate

the lockers to check in your luggage, wait in line to get a ticket for Bayeux, since the SNCF ticket machines do not take an American credit card nor cash, spend waiting time for the next train, and what about lunch assuming you arrive in the morning?

Posted by
24823 posts

Fred, are you sure that the SNCF ticket machines at Gare St.-Lazare do not take US credit cards? I used my credit card in many ticket machines in southern and eastern France last year, though I had no need to do so in Paris and cannot vouch for the specific machines at St.-Lazare.

Posted by
2485 posts

since St Lazare is a big station, two levels,

St Lazare is one of the smaller stations, certainly smaller than Gare du Nord, Gare de l´Est, Gare de Lyon or Montparnasse. I think that there are actually 4 levels at St Lazare but all of the trains depart from the top level.

Fred, are you sure that the SNCF ticket machines at Gare St.-Lazare do not take US credit cards?

Firstly, your card must have an EVM chip. The ticket machines do not have magnetic strip readers. I should think that by now, all US issued cards have a chip.

Secondly, acceptance will depend upon the processing rules established by your card issuing bank. Occasionally when purchasing a monthly Navigo fare, my US credit card is sometimes refused when using the RATP ticket machines. When this happens, I go to one of the train stations and use an SNCF ticket machine. SNCF machines always work but they also always ask for my PIN.

I shouldn´t think that using an SNCF ticket machine would be a problem with a US credit card as long as your bank has issued you a PIN but not all US credit cards have the same purchase rules.

Posted by
14018 posts

Sorry , you are right , the station does have 4 levels. On the SNCF ticket machines: they don't accept the US chip and signature credit card, which the type I have. The little, ( I mean, small enough to be overlooked), decal message says that, ie only chip credit cards are accepted. That message is in French and English.

If the SNCF machine works for you, then I must done something wrong. It never worked for me. Americans, or very few, don't have that type of chip credit card needed to work the SNCF machine.

In Germany with our chip and signature credit card, buying a ticket from the DB ticket machine and entering your PIN is no problem. The credit card pictorial shows that. The transaction will go through, not so in France.

Posted by
2485 posts

If the SNCF machine works for you, then I must done something wrong.

You´re not doing anything wrong Fred, but you might be using the wrong bank. It´s true that very few US banks offer chip & PIN cards but many chip & signature cards have wide acceptance, even at pay-at-the-pump gas stations.

However, you can always purchase at the sales window, assuming you have the time to wait in line.

Posted by
24823 posts

All my credit cards are chip-and-signature. I asume I was given PINs, but I have no idea what they are; I certainly have no plans ever to use them for their intended purpose, to get a cash advance.

I think this is just another of those you-never-know situations. The same card that worked in France wouldn't buy me a couple of tram tickets from a vending machine in Warsaw.

Posted by
2485 posts

I certainly have no plans ever to use them for their intended purpose, to get a cash advance.

I agree but the PIN is also used to authenticate certain purchases (in lieu of a signature) at unmanned locations such as ticket kiosks, toll booths, or pay-at-the-pump gas stations.

The only way cash advances come into the picture is if you were to insert your credit card into an ATM and I am sure we can all agree that cash advances on US credit cards are to be avoided.

Posted by
14018 posts

Thanks for the information.. On having to buy a ticket without having to stand in line, that 's why it can be done faster in Germany, ie last minute, using the DB machine by inserting cash, which I do at times and other times the chip and signature credit card, than it is in France since you have no choice but to wait in line so that you can pay by cash or your credit card at the counter.

Cash is even better with the DB machine since the bill shoots right through, without your having to cover the key pad to indicate your PIN at the moment it's asked for (PIN eingeben), then wait for this "sound," at which time you see appearing on the screen, " Ihr Vorgang wird bearbeitet"

You're in business, it went through.

Posted by
24823 posts

I understand, Tocard. My point was that my success in using my credit card (United Mileage Plus) in SNCF machines in France had nothing to do with a PIN, because I don't even know what my PIN is.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks everyone for the wealth of information. This is where we stand - we don't really have the option of taking a day in Paris so will opt for one long day of travel and a very early bedtime. After consulting various train schedules and clicking on numerous links I inadvertently found myself on https://en.oui.sncf/en/train-ticket. They also have a Facebook page and you can IM them with questions which they actually answer. Turns out, as of now, there is no direct train to Bayeux after September 29th. One may open up later but who knows. So, we are buying full fare/refundable tickets, booking a 12 noon train as a cushion and if we can get an earlier train we will. Now to book our Overlord Tours - the bait that will eventually get me to the Champs d'Elysse!

Posted by
14018 posts

@ acraven...I am going by what happened at Gare de l'Est where the SNCF machines have a "sticker" saying in French and English that only a chip card would be accepted. This was back in the first week in June. Buying a train ticket in Paris, I have always had to get it at the counter.

Posted by
24823 posts

My credit cards all have chips, and have for the last 3 years, but they're chip-and-signature cards. I didn't know there were any US credit cards without chips at this point.