Please sign in to post.

Paris CDG airport to Aix-en-Provence by train

My two grown daughters and I will be flying into CDG from Boston and are going to Aix for a week. I need help finding how to get to Aix (and back) by train with the least number of changes, walking and schlepping luggage. I am in my 70's and do not have the stamina I had 20 years ago. I have read that one can board the TGV at CDG as well as at Gare de Lyon where there may be more choices. Some have suggested a night in Paris to make the trip more relaxed. Suggestions?

Posted by
2480 posts

I took the TGV from the Aix TGV station (located about 10 miles outside Aix) to CDG and stayed at an airport hotel before flying out the next day. I wasn't interested in spending any time in Paris that trip. Easy to do, no train changes, if that meets your needs.

Seat 61 is a good site for train info, and where to buy tickets:
https://www.seat61.com/tgv.htm

Posted by
8173 posts

Leave 3 hours for a train from CDG and 4 if from Gare du Lyon. If you take the train from the city then take a cab to Gare du Lyon which will cost you 55 Euro. Because you have to handle your own luggage on the train pack light -- if you have a carry on style bag you can probably put it overhead on the TGV train. If a larger bag it will go in a rack at the end of the car. A carry on size bag (22 inches or so) and a day pack or tote or messenger bag for valuables, meds, cameras etc makes it easier on train. Note though that a backpack is a pickpocket buffet, so if you use a day pack use a money belt under your clothes for passports, money, cards. I use one in transit anyway so I don't have to worry about key valuables and then stow things in the hotel safe or apartment at my destination.

I would go the day of arrival rather than waste a day -- use jet lag day to get to your furthest destination. Tickets bought early on the train are cheapest (although inflexible)

Posted by
1585 posts

After a Transatlantic flight from Logan International airport to CDG, I would suggest spending the night in Paris to rest from jet lag. You can get an early morning train to Aix en without the hustle of doing it on same day you arrived in Paris. You can stay at a hotel near Paris Gare de Lyon (Place Louis Armand 75571 Paris cedex 12), where you would catch the TVG train.

The average travel time between Paris and Aix-en-Provence is 4h 27 minutes. The quickest route is 4h 10 minutes. The first train leaving Paris is at 07:19, the last at 20:19. There is an average of 6 trains a day between Paris and Aix-en-Provence, leaving approximately every 2h 42 minutes.

Posted by
8173 posts

totally a personal preference on spending a night or not. To me, having to unpack and spend a night in a hotel and then get back on a train when jet lagged is sort of miserable -- I'd rather use that first icky jet lag day to get to my furthest point and settled. Hotels generally don't allow you to take the room till afternoon and you don't want that 'rest day' to mean waiting around for your room to be ready as flights arrive in the morning. Take the train -- get there late afternoon and check in and shower and get dinner and a nice night sleep and you are off and running. Stay a night in Paris and you prolong the jet lag/logistics misery and waste the next day of your trip on logistics rather than enjoying what you came to see -- you end up wasting two days on the front end rather than one. You can nap on the train. (pick up a picnic for the train at the station -- there will be bakeries with sandwiches and such so you can come with food and drink)

I am 75 and this is how i do it.

Posted by
83 posts

I took the TGV from CDG south (to Avignon not Aix) the day of arrival and that would be my vote. A simple stroll through the airport to get to the TGV station. The train itself is a delightful ride. My family got three hours of sleep while I just watched France pass me by at 200 mph.

Posted by
5042 posts

Boston seems to have several choices as to departure times - morning, afternoon or evening. Meaning you could arrive in Paris anywhere from early morning to late afternoon. For me, an early morning or early afternoon arrival would prompt me to use the rest of the day to finish travelling. But a late arrival would have me staying overnight ( near Gare de Lyon would make sense).

There are several direct trains to Aix from CDG, but trains from Gare de Lyon are more frequent. Be mindful of which one you select. Some appear to be on Ouigo ( the discount trains) which, while cheaper, have restrictions that the TGV trains don't have. I agree that you need to allow sufficient time to catch your train - minimum 3 hours from CDG or 4 hours from GdL if travelling on your departure day.

Posted by
1585 posts

The original poster mentioned that since she is in her 70s, her stamina is not what it used to be 20 years ago and the long travel from plane to train the same day can be too much for her to bear. Everyone's body is different at that age. The fastest way would be to do it all on same day of arrival but it all depends on the health of the traveler. She will just have to see how she feels physically after landing at CDG because the train ride to aix en is another 4+ hours. She has the option to stay by Gare de Lyon if she is too tired to continue and can resume her journey the next day.

Posted by
9780 posts

Yes, departing from Boston makes this so much easier since your trans-Atlantic flight is relatively short and easy. In your case I would definitely book a train for Aix the same day.

You can check schedules for a few weeks out to see what kind of options there are. I too have seen the advice to book a train three hours after your planned flight arrival if planning to take the train from CDG; four hours or a little more if from Gare de Lyon.

Note that the taxi for the three of you will be 50€ to Gare de Lyon from CDG, since Gare de Lyon is on the Right Bank.

Posted by
1585 posts

Kim I am sure the traveler will explore her options and opt to take the train from CDG instead of paying 50€ each for a taxi.

From Paris Charles de Gaulle to Gare de Lyon, the traveler can catch the RER B line by Terminal 3, which departs every 15-20 minutes and then change to the RER A line at Chatelet – Les Halles. The whole journey takes 42 minutes. Trains run between 5:00 am and midnight, different tickets are available depending on the requirements.

Cost: Adult single ticket is €10

Posted by
8173 posts

no one pays 50 Euro each for a taxi. The cost will be 50 by taxi or for the 3 of them or 42 to take the train and then have to lug their bags up and down stairs to make the metro transfer. Why would anyone tired from a trans atlantic trip with luggage subject themselves to that to save 8 Euro? Riding the train is relaxing and allows for a doze -- if there is a train 3 or 4 hours after arrival at CDG, I would take that one; if not, I'd book one 4 hours or more from Gare du Lyon and get on with it.

Posted by
9780 posts

I don’t know why they would pay “50€ each” for a taxi — it’s 50€ for all three of them, door to door. schlepping on the RER to Gare de Lyon would cost the three of them €30.90 in total — so the taxi costs only 19€ more total, or just more than 6€ additional per person.

I know if I were in that party of three, I would plump for the taxi for such little additional cost and much more ease and comfort. Indeed, the original poster may choose the RER, but I do admit to being curious as to how you are so certain about that!

Posted by
1585 posts

Kim - The 50€ each was a typo. I get what you are saying. However, the train would cost less then the total price of the taxi for the 3 travelers. Most posters are mentioning it's best for the traveler to do the trek on one day to Aix en from an international flight. Let's wait and see what the traveler says on her next posting. I am sure before she makes her final travel decision, she will take her health into consideration at her age.

Posted by
4132 posts

I expect it is too late with this, but if mysticamper has not bought those tickets yet he or she can save a lot of time and trouble by flying into Marseilles, which is near Aix.

Posted by
5042 posts

I am sure before she makes her final travel decision, she will take
her health into consideration at her age.

RJean, I can't help wondering how old YOU are, since you keep harping about the OP's age. She only said she didn't have the stamina that she had 20 years ago, not that she's frail and on her last legs. As someone very close to the OP in age, I can attest to the fact that I can't move as fast for as long as I did when I was 20 years younger. Most people past middle age would likely feel the same. That doesn't mean I'm incapable of a long travel day, and I take umbrage that anyone would assume such a thing solely based on age.

A 4 hour train ride is much more comfortable than a similar flight. And certainly better than waiting for hours until a hotel room would be ready in late afternoon. If she's feeling tired, she can sleep all the way to Aix.

Posted by
1585 posts

CJean from Ontario Canada, wondering what my age is by typing in bold letters the word YOU is irrelevant to the topic in hand and disrespectful. I am simply stating an opinion like most of us here do when responding to questions from posters on this site. Not everyone who is 70 has the same energy level. Everyone's body is different. It's just an opinion not a fact. I hope you clearly understand the difference. Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Enjoy the rest of your day sir

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for your many suggestions. I particularly like the www.seat61.com site suggested by LizPA. Our trip is some months away so there is no real hurry. Just trying to line up options to discuss with my daughters. The time schedules could also influence which flight we take out of Boston. Carolyn in Texas

Posted by
944 posts

Do you have a compelling reason for flying in to and out of Paris CDG? As suggested before ,Marseilles MAR, which is actually outside of Marselles at Marignane, is only about 30 miles from AIX. From the airport take a cab, or the #40 lecar Bus. In your case, and depending on where in AIX you'll be staying, a cab might be the best option. Don't know what a cab would cost, but it can't be too much as it is a straight shot to AIX. Some web sites say between 40-50 Euro. The #40 Bus to Aix Gare routière leaves every 40 minutes or so, from between the T1 and T2 entrances. Trip takes about 35 minutes, depending on traffic, and this bus also stops at the TGV Station. The Bus takes you to, and leaves from, AIX's Gare Routiene (City Bus Station) which is very walk-able to most anywhere in AIX. I recall it being around 10 euro one way and you can buy RT tickets for 16 euro that are good for several months. MAR airport is a mid-sized. clearly laid out, airport, not a monster like CDG. Flying in to and out of Paris, and taking a Train to and from AIX seems like a needless complication. I strongly suggest finding out, before booking, as to if your hotel has a lift. We made the mistake of a fourth floor room with no lift. Bonne chance! :)

Posted by
9780 posts

Yes— if you are still looking at flights, consider flying into Marseille.

Posted by
80 posts

I would also fly to Marseille, take the bus to aix-en-provence from the airport to the city center. It takes 30 minutes and the bus is every 30 minutes. You could also take a taxi for 50 euros during the day, 60 euros at night.

The flight prices are about the same. From boston, the cheapest flight would be layover in Munich (lufthansa flights).

Posted by
7006 posts

I'll join everyone else who recommends a connecting flight to Marseille (booking a multi-city itinerary). Unless the price differential is too much to bear, it will be the most comfortable option. Marseille Airport is only 15 minutes further from Aix than Aix TGV Station.

Posted by
2480 posts

To me, the worst day of a trip is that looonnngggg last day flying back home westbound. Since transatlantic flights usually leave midday, flights from secondary airports to CDG leave VERY early. I choose not to do that, so the train to CDG the day before the flight works best for me. Other people may make other choices.

Posted by
557 posts

Tickets bought early on the train are cheapest (although inflexible)

I want to point out that, aside from Ouigo tickets, this is no longer true -- the SNCF simplified its ticketing structure in early May of this year and now has one standard policy permitting refunds and exchanges under certain conditions that applies to all (non-Ouigo) TGV tickets, even for very cheap tickets purchased many months ahead of time. You can do dummy bookings for trains many months out on sites like oui.sncf or Trainline, and will find the same policy even for the cheapest tickets (again, excluding Ouigo).

The policy is:

Billet échangeable et remboursable avec retenue de 5 € à compter de 30 jours avant le départ, portée à 15 € l'avant-veille jusqu'au jour du départ. À partir de 30 minutes avant départ du train, billet échangeable 2 fois maximum uniquement pour le même jour et le même trajet et non remboursable après échange. A la retenue s'ajoute l'éventuelle différence de prix entre l'ancien et le nouveau billet. Billet non échangeable et non remboursable après le départ.

Or, in English (via Trainline's translation):

Tickets are exchangeable and refundable up to 30 days before departure for a €5 fee, which increases to €15 from two days before until the day of departure. From 30 minutes before the train departs, ticket can be changed up to two times for the same day and the same journey, and is non-refundable once exchanged. Any difference in price between the old and the new ticket will be added to this fee. Tickets will not be exchangeable or refundable after departure.

Here is an original news story in French about the change.

Posted by
3241 posts

If I were doing this alone, I would take the British Airways day flight to Heathrow and then fly BA to Marseille the next morning...assuming they fly to Marseille, then train to Aix. That way you can relax and enjoy a nice meal at your hotel and then get a good night's sleep. I did not check, but assumed a BA flight to Marseille. If I were traveling with my daughter and SIL, I would still take the day flight alone, overnight, and then likely pick up one of their later forms of transportation with them. I assume your daughters do not have as much free time as you so you are planning to do the overnight flight with them.

Also, if doing your suggested route on the same day as an overnight flight, I would be afraid of falling asleep on the train from CDG to Aix and missing my stop.

Posted by
4062 posts

I've flown into Marseille Provence airport several times from North America and would certainly do it again if bound for Marseille, Avignon and/or Ax-en-Provence. It's easy to get ground transit to any of those cities. The airport has a few non-stop trans-Atlantic flights but I've always had to change planes at a bigger European gateway, not necessarily Paris. It doesn't have to be a round trip. A multi-destination search function will show you the choices for flying into Marseille and home from Paris, a real time-saver.

https://www.marseille-airport.com/

https://en.oui.sncf/en/

Posted by
8173 posts

Kim the prices of a train to Paris from CDG are going up in November and so the three of them will pay closer to 42 than 32 for the trip -- ridiculous to do that when they can have door to door service with no metro stairs for 50.

Posted by
9780 posts

Excellent point Janet, I had forgotten about the price hikes in some categories. You’re right, that makes the price differential even smaller between the train x3 or the taxi for all three. Thanks for that key reminder.

Posted by
27360 posts

If I were going to overnight in Paris before heading south, I'd absolutely take the train (about 3-1/2 hours) rather than flying. There would be no time saved by flying, given the time required to get to the airport and the necessary early arrival there for security procedures.