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Train Travel Assistance

My wife and I are taking a 'bucket list' trip to France in two weeks and I need help with our final travel details
We arrive in CDG on American 146 on Sunday, 28 May and traveling to Beaune, via Lyon, for one week and returning on Sunday, 4 June. So, here are my questions:

  • What terminal does American fly into CDG?
  • How far is the American terminal to TGV train station at CDG?
  • Where can I download a map of CDG?
  • How long should I estimate for immigration/customs, baggage, bus/walking to TGV station?
  • Should I buy my TGV ticket from CDG to Lyon in advance?
  • Where can I download a map of Lyon TGV train station?
  • I'm planning to rent a car in Lyon train station and drive to Beaune. (I'll sleep on train!)

Any other suggestions are welcome!

Thanks in advance for your support!

Posted by
3210 posts

American arrives at terminal 2A and it's about a 10 minute walk to the SNCF station. Here's a link to the maps at Paris Aeroprte. The wait for immigration/customs depends on the congestion at the time of your arrival. One of the chances you take with the TGV is if there any seats available. They do sell out. If you buy your ticket in advance, you're guaranteed a seat. But if you miss the train, you lose the ticket. Here's a link to the SNCF website showing departures and prices. So you'll have to guess when your flight will arrive (past few days it's been between 35 minutes to 90 minutes late) and how long the immigration/customs line would be.

Since you're going to Beaune, my suggestion would be to rent the car at the airport and drive. It's about about three hours on highways vs. waiting for the train, a 2 to 3 1/2 hr rail journey to Lyon and then a 1 1/2 hour drive to Beaune.

Posted by
4132 posts

Hello Ken. Let me caution you about a few things.

Sleeping on the train in the morning of your arrival is a very bad idea that will likely prolong the effects of jet lag. Jet lag is not caused by lack of sleep and sleep per se does not cure it.

You can be in Beaune quicker if you do not go via Lyon. Moreover, there is only one direct morning train from deGaulle, are you certain you will be able to make it?

On the other hand, I think that spending several nights in Lyon would be an attractive idea; it is a marvelous place. But if you want to be in Beaune your first night, go directly there. You can rent a car there or in Dijon. You will certainly want a car if you are spending an entire week in Burgundy. Beaune makes a fine base.

On many routes, including the TGVs, the sooner you buy your tickets the cheaper they will be; on the other hand it is late in the game so you might do as well buying on the ground, or nearly so. Just factor in the risk of missing your train if you are delayed.

What is your plan for how you will get to the airport on the 4th?

Posted by
3791 posts
  1. Terminal 2 A
  2. See It's not far. Both are in terminal 2. Though terminal A is large terminal, you can walk from 2A to the TGV . The TGV leaves from beneath 2C/2E. Just follow the signs for "Grandes Lignes."
  4. No one knows, but my guess is an hour is typical including time to get luggage. I have read recently of a 3 hour wait. Plan for a train that departs from CDG at least 3 hours after your ETA, but there is that recent story (on TripAdvisor) of a monster wait but those people arrived on May 1, which is an anomalous day.
  5. At this point for travel on May 28, all of the non-exchangeable low fare tickets are sold out so the cost savings of buying tickets early are not as great. Yet you may want to buy fully flexible tickets now because some trains to Lyon on May 28th are already sold out.
  6. There are two stations in Lyon and both accept TGV trains but trains from CDG go to Part Dieu so here is a link to that one:
  7. Good for you. I hope you sleep on the train, do not have jet lag, and have a safe and pleasant drive.
Posted by
20441 posts

I am still with the rent at CDG and drive.

Otherwise, I'd take the RER to Gare de Lyon after an easy cross platform change at Les Halles from the "B" to the "A", or take Le Bus Direct to GdL and then take a TGV to Dijon, then TER to Beaune, check into the nice hotel next to the train station and rent a car Monday morning at the Enterprise location by the train station.

Posted by
176 posts

I would join the suggestion to spend a few days in Lyon. We just spent a week there, and had a very good time. we stayed at a hotel near the Parc de la Tete d'Or (which is a great park to wander around in), and found a great Italian restaurant (and I mean great - we spent two years in Italy and this restaurant was just as good as what we found there) near the park, called le Toscane. The public gtransport system in Lyon is good, so it is pretty easy to get around. Peter

Posted by
10349 posts

Sam's idea of going into Paris to take the TGV to Dijon makes sense. If you aren't planning to stay in Lyon, that's way out of the way and puts you on the road North on a very high traffic and travel day. As you've seen, some trains are already sold out, so taking a morning TGV is best. You are hitting the return day of a four-day holiday weekend. Just clear out of Paris as early as possible and avoid Lyon to Beaune on the autoroute.

Posted by
95 posts

Thanks everyone for your quick response! I appreciate all the detailed information and suggestions. Phillip and Sam suggest that I just rent a car at CDG and drive to Beaune, so I'm considering that idea. My wife and I just returned from a driving trip in Barcelona and Languedoc region of France, so driving sounds practical and flexible with our touring style. Also, you can rent a car for the week for the cost of a One-way TGV ticket! Thoughts? Any suggestion.

P.s.,please don't post about jet lag and driving! I'm a seasoned world traveler and know when to pull over and stop. Thank you.

Posted by
20441 posts

I'm with you. When I was a working stiff, my boss just said, "Get the next flight to Paris and rent a car and drive to X and take of it." He was not too concerned about my jet lag.

Posted by
95 posts

Thanks Sam, you're right!

Any suggestions for stops along the A5 or A6 through the Burgundy region?

Posted by
10349 posts

Because it's Sunday morning driving south, you should have no traffic problems. You could stop in Sens (1.5 hr) Auxerre(2+ hrs) or at the Auxerre Sud exit, it's only 14k to Chablis, which has a great Sunday morning market.
One hour out of Paris is the charming village of Barbizon.

Posted by
14580 posts

Getting through Immigration (passport check) I would count on 20 mins., sometimes less, sometimes more. Baggage claim can be much longer, depending on how long you are waiting for the first bag to be thrown out, then how long will it take before yours are thrown out. Calculate 30 to 45 mins.

When I take a train on arrival day, within a couple of hours, say from Frankfurt to Berlin, or Munich, I try to sleep on the train, and more often than not, do sleep on the ride.

Posted by
270 posts

It sounds like a lovely trip! FYI, you are arriving on the Sunday of a long weekend. Thursday, May 25 is a holiday and many people will be returning from trips away. You may encounter delays at each stage in the airport and traffic until you are well south of Paris. Generally, the roads are going to be busier than they normally would be.

We have friends in Paris who took 3 hours to get home from Fontainebleau at Easter. It normally takes them one hour.

Posted by
10349 posts


We have friends in Paris who took 3 hours to get home from
Fontainebleau at Easter. It normally takes them one hour.

Driving into Paris from any direction on a Sunday afternoon of a four-day holiday weekend (or any Sunday afternoon, really) is always to be avoided. However, that's different from driving around Paris before noon and heading down to Burgundy. You won't encounter any jams. With in-laws in Burgundy, I've done both drives many times. FYI, I now schedule my arrivals at CDG for Sunday mornings because it's so seamless compared with any other day.

Posted by
4132 posts

I would detour to Chablis and have lunch at the Bistrot des Grands Crus.

Bon voyage, et bon apetite.