We will be visiting in April and are taking a train arriving in Paris Montparnasse with our connecting train leaving from Gare Lyon. There is 56 minutes between trains. So....what is the fastest way from Monparnasse Gare to Gare Lyon?
It doesn't look like there is a good connection between the two train stations via Metro or RER without at least one transfer. With your time limits, I recommend taking a taxi.
You can't make it by metro if you don't know exactly what you're doing. The hike from the RER to the metro side at Montarnasse will eat you alive. The even longer wandering and tunnel hiking (with all kinds of places to get lost) at Chatlet will be even worse. Odds are, I could walk it faster than you could figure out how to do it. TAXI !!
Oh my gosh - Chatlet was the positively worst metro station experience we've ever had ANYWHERE in Europe. We had luggage and were attempting to get to Orly airport, but there were absolutely so many people jam packed on the metros and landing stations we literally had to climb over people to get ourselves onto the train...or miss our flight which was not an option! Avoid Chatlet during rush hour if at all possible.
You don't have to connect at Chatelet to get from Montparnasse-Bienvenue to Gare de Lyon. Take metro line 6 from Montparnasse-Bienvenue to Bercy (14 minutes). Take metro line 14 one stop to Gare de Lyon (1 minute). Of course, you'll have to allow some time to buy a ticket, get below ground at Montparnasse-Bienvenue, make the connection at Bercy, and get above ground at Gare de Lyon. I'll leave it to someone with experience to tell you how long you are likely to have to stand in line at Gare Montparnasse to get a taxi.
Waiting for taxis at Montparnasse can be long or it can be fast. Traffic jams approaching the Gare de Lyon along the quai and over the bridge can finish you off, or traffic can move smoothly. It's unpredictable. If this is a vacation, I'd change my train times and relax between the stations. BTW, metro 4 from Montparnasse and metro 1 to Gare de Lyon are in the same part of Chatelet, an easy switch. On the other hand, to get the 4 metro at Montparnasse, you have to hike a long ways, take mechanical walkways and drag your bags up and down stairs. Even the little old ladies drag those bags up and down those stairs.
Thanks to all...the Metro maps were not making a lot of sense to me. Seems like a taxi may be the best bet considering the time frame. Thanks for all your input (inputs?)
If you decide not to change one of your train times, you probably should have a Plan B for if you miss the 2nd train.
Terry, Depending on the time of day you'll be travelling, Taxi's could be affected by traffic (in addition to any wait times to even get a Taxi) so that's something to consider. My preference would be to use the Metro, following much the same route as Tim mentioned. From Montparnasse Bienvenüe, take Line 4 (direction Porte de Clignancourt) to Chatelet which should be the 7th stop. Transfer to Line 14 (direction Bibliothéque François Mitterrand) to Gare de Lyon (which should be the first stop). Under "ideal" conditions, that trip should be under 30 minutes (again, "time-of-day" will have some bearing on that). The one station that might take a few minutes is Chatelet-Les Halles which is somewhat of a "super transfer station". If the connection to Line 14 is in the Chatelet part, the transfer should be fairly quick. However, if it's in the Les Halles part, some walking through tunnels will be required (it's not difficult, but takes some time). I can't recall whether Lines 4 and 14 are in the same part of the station? Good luck and happy travels!
Terry, I'd seriously consider piecing together 2 itineraries - for example: on Apr 02, there's a train departing at 10:55, the Paris transfer is from 14:00 to 15:16, then the arrival is at 18:34. The next train's times are dp 12:28, trns 15:50 to 16:46, then ar 19:58. I would combine the two: now you depart at 10:55, arrive at Paris at 14:00, depart Paris at 16:46, and arrive at Marseilles at 19:58. Now you've got some breathing room. And never use RailEurope for planning purposes - their schedules are FAR from complete! The easiest to use is Deutsche Bahn (www.bahn.com/i/view/USA/en/index.shtml). And I'd purchase tickets in advance on the tgv-europe site. Actually, the advice given so far - To Me - assumes that you already have your tickets in hand. Those ticket lines can be extremely long... http://www.tgv-europe.com/en/?DISTRIBUTED_COUNTRY=GB From Rochelle to La Rochelle - cool ;-)
FYI, viamichelin.com gives a driving time of 14 minutes from Gare Montparnasse to Gare de Lyon. If you run into traffic congestion, it's anybody's guess how long a taxi ride will take. If you pack light, take the metro. No traffic jams to worry about. If you will have spent some time in Paris prior to the day you'll be arriving at Gare Montparnasse, buy extra metro tickets so you won't need to do that when you get off the train.
It depends on whether you are familiar with using the Metro/RER in Paris. It can be confusing, with long walks and stairs getting to trains. Then there is a few minutes between trains. I don't consider less than an hour adequate for connecting between these two stations. It can take a few minutes getting off the train, more minutes walking to the Metro, a while waiting for Metro train, however long the first Metro trip takes, minutes moving between Metro trains at transfer point, then however long that second trip takes. More time is taken up hiking from last Metro stop to train and along train to your reserved coach. I would take a taxi.
I'll revise my recommendation. If there is a short line at the taxi ranks at Gare Montparnasse, take a taxi. If it looks like you'll have a long wait to get a taxi, take the metro.
We hopefully will be traveling light. I will also look for a later train. We are travelling from around La Rochelle to Marseilles by train. The rail europe site took us back through paris to the TGV then south. I will also check to see if there is a different train route than going back through Paris.
Again, thanks for all your advice. RS travellers are always helpful.
Try routing through Bordeaux; that can give also you an interesting stopover...
Diane's idea is excellent! In fact, while the German Rail site routes you through Paris (because it's the fastest route), tgv-europe.com (a French Rail site) routes you through Bordeaux because it shows routes for which no change of stations is required. Problem solved!
I will check the German site. I tried the Rail Europe with a routing through Bordeaux...problem is the timing. ..The through Paris route seems the fastest. And there is a later train from Paris, giving us almost 2 hours to get from Montparnese to Lyon....and that looks like the easiest route for us. If we can't make it in 2 hours, somethings wrong with us!! And no, we don't currently have tickets but we will get them before we are on the train. We are going with a rail pass of some sort, have not deciced on the senior pass or the saver pass.
As Eileen said, don't use Rail Europe for planning purposes. Their timetables are incomplete. If you book well in advance on tgv-europe.com (not Rail Europe), you can get discount fares on point-to-point tickets which prpbably will be cheaper than a railpass. When will you be in France? What is your itinerary for all your train rides?
Good question....I will be in France mid April to Mid May. A friend and I rented a house in St Chamas, which is north of Marseilles. WE have some people to visit while in France...hence the rail pass. Our first visit is from Paris to Lorient, then we head to Niort, then to St. Chamas. We are also going to visit my daughter in Switzerland, plus we have to return to Paris from St Chamas to fly back to the states. I priced point to point, and we do save money by buying the saver pass for 8 days in two months. I did go to the tgv-europe . com site, but it kicked me back to Europe rail. I have time to continue researching the fares and all...figured I don't need to get a pass until early February, which gives me some time to continue looking at rates. We won't use the railpass for shorter trips, obviously, but we are looking at a minimum 7 trips using the pass....and we also plan to head to Monaco and Nice. I will check the other sites to see about point to point sales.
To keep the tgv-europe.com site in English without being bumped to the Rail Europe site which doesn't offer discount fares, choose Great Britain as your country of residence. You can book up to three months in advance. If you get a Prem's fare, you can print your own ticket. For all other fares you can pick up your ticket at any SNCF station or boutique in France.