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Lyon to Paris train or fly

Need to make flight from CDG (Paris) on sunday June 25 @ 4:15 pm. Friends I'm traveling with will be taking train to Paris but not in a hurry.. We'll be dropping off car rental near Lyon train station by 10:30.
If we can get to car rental by 9:30, I could get to Lyon airport in time to make 12:15 flight to CDG Paris which will be ample for 4:15 departure. Cked the high speed trains from Lyon to Paris and there doesn't seem to be FAST ones on sunday. If I've missed something, would you say take the fast train (~ 2 hrs) to Paris getting there around 1 and then immediately head to CDG.
Seems flight would be better
Really a matter of train availability on Sundays I think.

Posted by
16894 posts

On Sundays, direct TGVs depart from Lyon Part Dieu station at 11:00 and arrive at Charles de Gaulle TGV station at 13:00. That would be the latest departure that I'd consider. There's also a direct train at 8:00.

If the flight that you're considering is not linked to your next flight leg (e.g. partner airlines or on the same ticket), then any delay in your first flight could mean missing the second one and having to buy an expensive new ticket. I see that this route is served pretty exclusively by Air France, and they do have earlier flights.

From where will you be driving before dropping off the car? If you were visiting Lyon, then I assume you'd drop it when you arrive in the city.

Posted by
3622 posts

I have one personal experience, which admittedly is unusual, but which you may want to factor into your decision. Last May, we ended our trip by taking the TGV from Avignon to CDG. Our flight was the next morning, and we were to sleep at the Ibis. About an hour after departure, the train suddenly stopped. We were informed that there had been an "incident," and that we would be rerouted to another track. We sat for 4 hours, before the rerouting was completed and we were again on our way. The thought crossed my mind that if we were departing on the same day, we would have missed out flight. Various fellow passengers told us that suicides by train are not uncommon.
Full disclosure: I am a self-confessed worry-wart, especially when it comes to flying internationally. I like to sleep in my departure city the night before a flight. A plan that involves a car return, train, and 2nd train on the day of my flight, would be too stressful for me. At least if you fly from Lyon, there are likely to be alternatives in the event of a problem with your flight. And, you will land where you need to be, i.e., CDG.

Posted by
24 posts

Laura, thanks so much for your speedy reply (another traveler added her thoughts too)
My friends have made the arrangements for the car rental; I think they said the rental was near the train station (Part Dieu). I know the car is due back y 10:30. We will have already spent 2 days in Lyon and be just returning from 4 days in the country about 1-1/4 hrs to the SW of Lyon.
The flight I want to make is direct Paris (CDG) to JFK.
If I'm late for the 12:15 flight out of Lyon (my other optio), I think I'm in trouble. Other flights leave Lyon heading twd NY but they are not direct. One goes thru Amsterdam eg. I think the airline (KLM) is a partner of Air France which would be the carrier for the Lyon-Paris leg and then Paris-JFK
I would hope I could purchase the TGV tkt while in Lyon earlier But if you read the other respondent's thought, she mentions the risk of the train being not on schedule and thereby missing the direct flight. It is tough to combine auto-train-flight in one day isn't it.

Posted by
24 posts

Rosalyn, thanks very much for imagining what I have in mind if I go car drop-off-->train-->plane path.
I was hoping if I did the train route from Lyon, that train would go directly to the CDG airport and not require my getting from one of the train stations in Paris out to the airport.
As you may have read in another response to my query (by laura) the TGV train is @ 11 and takes 2 hrs and presumably goes direct to Charles DeGaulle (rather than center Paris) If that train truly does go to the airport, it might be best bet.
Yet I too am a worry wort All I need is for us in the 1st leg of the journey, have car trouble before turning in the car!

Posted by
24 posts

Laura, two more quick ?s reTGV....
It does go to CDG not center Paris where I'd have to take another train to airport right?
And could I buy the TGV tkt while in Lyon at the Part Dieu staion a wk before the departure?

Posted by
16894 posts

Yes, the 11:00 TGV is direct to CDG TGV station in Terminal 2, avoiding central Paris. It would be best to commit to this train and buy tickets roughly a month from now, when they are cheapest. Seats also can sell out. Make the driver of the car commit to getting you there. At, the cheapest "Prems" fare for this departure is 32 per person. Plan to pay with PayPal, which they offer for that fare category, since many US credit cards don't work with their online security system. Or, also sells the Prems fare category; Rail Europe does not, with prices starting from $60.

It's correct that Air France works with KLM. But regardless of mode of transport, allow time for delays and don't underestimate how large CDG is. Of course, it would be less stressful to sleep closer to the airport on your final night.

Posted by
10354 posts

All your scenarios require transfers. Is your return ticket already purchased? if it isn't, the Lyon-Amsterdam-JFK route is the best. If it is purchased, it may not cost much to add the leg and reroute through Amsterdam. Or add the leg Lyon-CDG to your existing itinerary.

It needs to all be booked on the same itinerary directly through the airline--Air France/KLM/Delta partners-- and not a third-party vendor.. Amsterdam is a smaller, easier to handle airport.

Either through Amsterdam or CDG, your itinerary originates in Lyon and you are in your city of departure the night before. You should be able to return your car to the airport instead of the train station if you inquire.

Posted by
24 posts

Laura Roslyn and Bets

Thank you all three for your suggestions
Finally I booked the flights on AirFrance taking into account all your thoughts. Best would have been for me to be spending the PM before returning to US in Lyon but my traveling companions and I will be 1-1/2 hrs away from Lyon the night before. So the next best bet I decided was to be sure to have flight back start in Lyon (not train to Paris and then fly from CDG).

By relaxing departure time from 4:15 at CDG, I had more options. Now I'm flying AirFrance the whole way, taking the 2:55pm out of Lyon for CDG (to arrive around 4pm) and then fly CDG to JFK on flight that departs @ 7pm. No train involved unless I choose to take the train from Lyon Part-Dieu train stn (presumably where we're returning car rental by 10:30 AM) to St Exupery airport. The other travelers didn't want to feel squeezed on car rental return so I had to move the return til a little later in the day.

I'm pretty sure this plan has enough flex in it that it should work.

btw rather than use those low airfare website like travelocity priceline whatever I called Air France and they were terrific. A couple of years ago I had a similar experience booking directly w/Alitalia when I was flying into Rome and returning from Naples.. In that case I actually had a better airfare than I would have had w/an intermediary.

You all helped me sort this through. Future transcontinental flights I'll make sure the itinerary allows for me to spend the PM before departure in the city I'll be flying out of.