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Train to Reims

I am arriving early for the Best of Eastern France in 14 Days Tour and am traveling from CDG to ST. Nazaire to visit a correspondent. Then I will travel by train from St. Nazaire to Reims for the start of the tour. I think I use the SNCF site to find a train. That is so confusing! Part of the trip requires transport between trains by car and requires multiple steps by train and bus. I am not really sure how that works. My specific question involves arriving in Reims. What train station is closest to our hotel? Any information about this trip would be so helpful! Thanks!

Susan

Posted by
14580 posts

I want to see if I understand your query correctly.

You want to go from St Nazaire to Reims, right? That involves going through Paris, using two different train stations.

First leg: St Nazaire to Gare Montparnasse in Paris.

Second leg: Paris Montparnasse to Gare de l'Est in Paris, from which you catch the train to Reims. Montparnasse is a large station, all remodeled, refurbished, spruced up, etc.

You can choose different options to reach Paris Est., take the Metro (I don't prefer that with luggage in tow).

Bus # 91 connects the two stations, the terminus (I think) is Est. This is how I would do your route.

Several bus lines terminate or stop outside of Gare Montparnasse. One of them is # 91....very convenient.

The train to Reims is frequent enough, I took it last summer but going further east (as a day trip) beyond Reims.

Posted by
1505 posts

Rather than having to criss-cross Paris for 90 minutes to change trains, the easiest routing is to take the direct nonstop TGV InOui #5480 departing Nantes at 2:08pm. It arrives at Reims Champagne-Ardennes train station about 5:59pm with no 90-minute marathon through central Paris required to change train stations from Montparnasse to Gare de l’Est So, taking a taxi from Reims Champagne-Ardennes TGV station to your hotel completes the journey. Gare Champagne-Ardennes is about four miles from Reims Cathedral in the city center.

Posted by
20448 posts

Paris, like London has a very old rail infrastructure as far as the layout of the rail lines and stations. You don't pick what station you want. You go to whatever station in Paris the rail line takes you. Rail lines from St Nazaire end at Gare Montparnasse and the rail lines to Reims go from Gare de l'Est. Most of the stations in Paris are connected by the Metro or RER system. In your case, there is the No 4 Metro line connecting these stations. So you either go by Metro or get a taxi to get between these two stations.

It can be a bit inconvenient, but the alternative is to bull doze huge parts of this beautiful city to build a giant Central Station.

There is only one station in Reims. There is a TGV station outside of town (Champagne-Ardennes TGV), but it is connected by a local train to the Reims station.

Posted by
1505 posts

Sam, There are actually 3 train stations in Reims: Gare de Reims, aka “Reims Ville” ( Reims’ main train station); Reims Champagne-Ardennes TGV station; and Reims Maison Blanche.

Posted by
20448 posts

And picking a random date of May 8 is a TER departing St Nazaire at 12:30 to Nantes connecting to TGV INOUI 5480 departing at 14:08 to Champagne-Ardennes TGV connecting to a TER to Reims arriving at 18:22. Reims and Gare de Reims are opposite sides of the track connected by an underpassage. SNCF just refers to them as a single station, "Reims".. They are about a half a mile from the Cathedral.

Posted by
858 posts

Google directions from the hotel to the main Reims train station. RS doesn’t always stay at the same hotel but ours was about two blocks up the central town street from the station and off a street to the right. Also, when you get your list of all the hotels 30 days before your trip, they normally include the directions from the train station to your hotel.

Posted by
8225 posts

I'd sure agree to avoid a cross town transfer in Paris -- we have made that trip by taxi and it got totally bogged down in traffic.

going to the TGV station outside of Reims and then taking the local train to the center, or just getting a cab to the hotel would be a lot more pleasant.

Posted by
2109 posts

Here is a useful trick:

  • When looking up trains from st. Nazaire to Reims add a "via" to the search. (there is a button for that). Add "Marne la Vallee"

You will now get the trains that bypass Paris. You will notice that these are fewer, and that they are slower, which is why they do not turn up in a normal search.

The connection from the LGV Atlantique to the rest of the high speed rail network in Paris is unfortunately rather slow as it use the old 19th centur "Grand Ceinture", which is also used by the RER C suburban line. The French have plans on doing something about that, but this slow connection is why changing stations in Paris from Montparnasse to Est is actually faster...

From Champange - Reims TGV to the town centre you can also take the tram. May be convenient if your hotel is near a tram stop.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you so much! I will reread all of these, study the info and check the maps to find my way. IT looks complicated, but with lots of options! I appreciate your help!