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Please help with tgv trains from Paris to Avignon

Hi. I’m struggling with deciding on what to do about the train travel for my family this summer. If anyone can please give me some direction, It would be much appreciated!!

We are arriving at CDG from the US on two different flights (6:55am arrival and 9:30am arrival - multiple families from two different cities). There are 14 of us total. 6 of us arrive at the earlier time. We need to get to Avignon TGV on June 22. I am concerned about how long it will take to get through immigration and customs at CDG so I don’t want to miss our train(s). (We are ok taking two separate trains at different times).

Can someone shed some light on what we should do? There are a lot of us, so if we can purchase our tickets early and save some money that would be great - and we are willing to pick a somewhat later train to avoid rushing and stress to make our train... but we would like to arrive in Avignon in the late afternoon to pick up our rental cars. Any help or tips or advice on which trains to take would be much appreciated.
Thanks so much.

Posted by
20336 posts

Are you traveling on Air France so you can get tickets to Avignon added on to your airline tickets? That way it will be like an airline connection in that if a delay causes you to miss original train, you can get on the next one without any fees or extra ticket costs.

Posted by
937 posts

Immigration/passport control at CDG can take a while. The airport is also big, so it can take time to get from the gate to immigration. I’d say it takes an hour on average. I’d make sure you have a two hour cushion to your train (and hope the airline is on time.) The advance ticket discount is very significant though, so I would totally roll the dice.

Is meeting up with the other group necessary? You’ve got three hours wait until the other group arrives. When you factor in the other variables, you’re probably waiting in the airport TGV for five hours (yuck.) I feel like each group should do this separately, so you’re not dependent on each other. It’ll probably relieve stress and pressure on both sides if you just make your way to Avignon separately. You can even get yourselves settled in Avignon and be there to welcome them at the Avignon TGV.

Posted by
16894 posts

Assuming no significant delay, I'd allow 3 hours from plane landing time to train boarding time. Then add more time in case of delay.

If you have to buy a new train ticket on the spot, second-class fares go as high as $150 per person. A few of the direct trains are the budget "OUIGO" brand, equally fast and may still be relatively cheap on the day of departure (if not sold out) but tickets can only be purchased online, not at ticket machines or counters.

Posted by
43 posts

Thank you for your reply. We are planning on taking separate trains. The earlier crew does not want to wait around for the second set of families to arrive!

Do you think two hours from arrival is sufficent time? So, could the first wave of people take the 9:57 train from CDG or is that too soon?

And the second set of families could take the 11:57 train? Also can anyone say why the 11:57 train is almost 5 hours long as opposed to all the other trains that are about 3:20 long??

Thank you.

Posted by
43 posts

Sorry Laura - I did not see your post when I was replying to the previous question above you.

I was thinking three hours would be less stressful than the two house the previous poster suggested. But I also don’t want to wait around for really long stretches of time... my options from CDG are 11:57, 14:57 and 17:57. Unless I transfer to Gare de Lyon - there are more options there. But then what would be the best way to transfer to Gare de Lyon with 6-8 people at a time in ranges of age from 6-70??

Thanks for your help.

Posted by
20336 posts

You did not say what your dates are. Looking at June 13, the 11:57 shows direct in 3 hours and 11 minutes. The 9:57 has a 27 minute train change in Valence making it a 3 hour and 49 minutes.

Posted by
20336 posts

With that many people, take a taxi to Gare de Lyon. Should be able to get a taxi for 6, cost would be about 60 EUR, about the same as taking the RER with an easy cross-platform change at Les Halles. Group of 8 would need 2 taxis at 50 EUR each.

Posted by
771 posts

If you all took the 13:58 train, you could save a lot of money if you bought the tickets now. The 9:57 is $95pp, the 11:57 is $67pp, and the 13:58 is $26pp. Considering your numbers, that would be savings of hundreds of dollars.

Posted by
16894 posts

The direct OUIGO trains depart at 13:58 and 17:03, not shown on DB schedules and not sold by all agents; see www.oui.sncf for most French trains or www.ouigo.com for more info about that type.

I would prefer not to go to Gare de Lyon, but a family doing so would request a van-sized taxi from the official taxi rank. Taxis charge a flat fee of 50 euros for up to 4 people and then a little more after that.

Posted by
771 posts

I used the www.oui.sncf site that Laura mentioned to buy tickets recently for 2 upcoming train trips. When I clicked on the flag to change languages, I clicked on Great Britain for the country because if you choose "Outside Europe", it brings you to Rail Europe. You can still choose to see the fares in $US, although you are charged in Euros.
The 13:57 is a direct train, unlike some of the others.

Posted by
73 posts

Buy Ouigo tickets.
Through EUtrain app.
3 1-2 hour nonstop Paris to Avignon.
I paid 41 € per ticket. 2nd class.
Could have purchased a month earlier at approx 30€
Per ticket but didn’t want to be locked into a timeline.
Very easy to use this app.
Play with it using a few hypothetical dates to see how easy it is to navigate.
Someone a few weeks ago suggested skipping Avignon. He was absolutely right.
Stay there only long enough to pick up your rental car!

Posted by
135 posts

We are arriving at CDG and taking the train to Avignon from the airport on May 30th. I've just done a bit of searching and the best fares are posted on the en.oui.sncf.com website. Trainline.com prices are slightly higher and loco2.com doesn't list all of the options - notably, a direct train at 13:58. Our plane arrives at 08:15 and in checking the history of flight arrival times/delays on the Airportia.com website it seems that there is about a 30% chance the flight will arrive at least 1 hour late. Our previous experiences with CDG are that it can take 2 hours to collect luggage and clear immigration although we have done it in less time. So adding up all the times (+1 for possible delayed arrival; +2 to clear immigration/retrieve luggage and 30 minutes to get to the train platform) the soonest we could book to be on the safe side would be the 11:57 train. There is a good explanation here on how to get to the train station, complete with photos and estimated timing which suggests we should be able to get to the train station in 10 minutes after retrieving our luggage. The extra 20 minutes gets us to the platform with luggage in tow and personalities and good humour intact.

I think I will book the 13:58, however, because it is direct saving us from having to navigate the change after having flown overnight etc. and with the $75 we save as the fare is cheaper, we can have lunch at the airport and several espressos and still be a few dollars to the good. But if somehow we managed to get to the CDG train station for the 09:57 train I'd willing pay the change fee and get going on the final leg of the journey. I'm going to look up the post @angelina521 referred to regarding skipping Avignon. We only have 2 nights there to recover from jet lag before joining a 10-day bike trip in Avignon so it's not a big loss if it's a dud. But it will be interesting to see what makes it skippable.

Posted by
473 posts

I’m a big fan of the Trainline app. I’ve used it over the past three years with great success. No markups.

Posted by
27362 posts

I enjoyed Avignon despite being there in June 2017 when it was quite hot. I had the benefit of seeing the Palais des Papes when it held a special exhibition of contemporary African sculpture; I know some folks are disappointed that the palace is normally basically empty. But I also liked just wandering around the historic center; don't just stick to the main drag between the RR station and the palace. All told I spent about a week in Avignon, using it as a base for seeing Arles, Fontaine de Vaucluse, L'Isle sur la Sorgue (twice since it was hard to appreciate the pretty town on market day), and Villeneuve-les-Avignon.

Posted by
12 posts

All of these posts have been so helpful to me in planning. How far in advance should we be booking train travel for end of May? I have been on en.oui.sncf/en and bahn.com (sorry, can't get the hyperlink function to work, it's me i am sure) and the prices seem to be very similar. Also is the EU train app called trainline or something else? thanks.