France arrive at CDG - first night stay, where do you suggest?

My travel companion and I will be taking a bike tour in haute Provence this June. We'll take an overnight flight to CDG on Saturday, June 1, arriving Sunday morning. We need to arrive at the tour starting point (Vaison de Romaine) sometime on Monday, the 3rd. At the end of our bike tour on June 11, we'll return to Paris to tour for 3 days. We are wondering what to do Sunday onto Monday before we absolutely must be in Provence. Thus far, the options might be to 1) head south right away on the TGV to a stop somewhere south, 2) stay the night somewhere near or in Paris (where might that be?), catching the TDV on Monday, or 3) something we've not thought of. What do you suggest we do upon arrival in France - Sunday / Monday? We're appreciative of all your suggestions. Thanks!

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7958 posts

Since you're going back to Paris, no sense hanging around there. Provence is pretty neat and you won't see all of it on a bike tour by a long shot. After you walk around the airport a bit, you're going to be stupid tired and wanting a nap. Right downstairs in Terminal 2, there's a handy-dandy TGV station that will get you to Orange or Avignon in a couple or three hours. Hmmmmm......maybe lunch in Provence?

Posted by Adam
Boston
2628 posts

Ed's got the right idea. Sure, a train trip following a redeye flight is grueling, but less so than a jet-lagged day in Paris followed by a train ride.

Posted by Chery
Ojai
18 posts

Yes, thank you both for the suggestions. I absolutely agree with hopping on the train upon arrival at CDG. Sleeping on the train works for me! I'm now looking into Avignon. I was unaware of know how interesting a place it is until Ed mentioned it. Thanks again.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
398 posts

Avignon is nice. You can see the famous bridge. Do you know the song?

Posted by Chery
Ojai
18 posts

Yes, I do I know the song "sur la pont d'Avignon" and now I'll get to see it! Happy day!

Posted by Adam
Boston
2628 posts

You'll probably hate this advice, which you didn't ask for, but sleeping on the train when you arrive is one of the worst things you can do. Especially if you sleep for the whole trip. If you do you will prolong your jet lag. You'll be confirming your body's suspicion that it is 2 am at the moment that you most need to convince it that it is 10 am. It's miserable to sit awake on a long train ride like that, and you probably will succumb at one point, but the longer you can hold out the better off you will be the next day.

Posted by steven
white plains, ny, usa
649 posts

Adam is right ,might be a good idea if you think you might clock out , set your phone ( or clock ) to go off and stick it in your pocket near your ear so you don't sleep all the way down . By the way , watch out for ED . He's a pied piper . He'll get you thinking about great places you didn't know existed .

Posted by Dave
Stamford, CT, USA
25 posts

I agree with prolonging not sleeping as with air travel. It's a matter of adjusting to a new time zone etc. By train, not a new time zone, but by sleeping the whole trip, you'll probably be over tired as you probably had a good sleep the night before. If not a little catching up won't hurt, but just take a little cat nap. No more than that!

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7958 posts

Hah! I want everybody to see everything, right now. Slip down to Marseille and have a beer in a bar that scares the britches off you. Take the afternoon off and hop over to Ethiopia and see how much that place is improving (you can snag a visa at Bole in two seconds on the way in). Take the little walk at Vaucluse and see the source of the Sorgue. The more you see, the more you know. Skip the dumb bridge, it's a stub hanging off the left bank.

Posted by Chery
Ojai
18 posts

Okay, you guys - I promise to take only a nap - and I do like the phone-near-ear trick. And while we are on the subject - since we'll be training to and fro Paris, which type of train ticket will probably make the most sense? France Rail pass or point-to-point tickets? Without discounts, the point-to-point tickets seem to be around $360 RT. Rick Steves quote on the rail pass appears to be $208 for 3 days' travel (2nd class, saver). Am I right that the rail pass is looking good?

Posted by Chery
Ojai
18 posts

You're sounding a little cranky, Ed. I may have to see the bridge just because - it's there! I do like all your worldly suggestions.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7958 posts

I ain't ever cranky. Life is too much damn fun to waste the time. Go see the bridge. Wear your Maurice Chevalier mask. Hum a Pilaf tune. Wear a beret. Don't matter, you've still got to get pretty close to see it. Walk out on the next bridge downstream for the best view, you can't see squat from the abutment.

Posted by Chery
Ojai
18 posts

You are making me laugh, always a good thing! I will follow your suggestions, especially the Maurice Chevalier mask if I can find one. I'll also look for the other bridge.

Posted by Dave
Stamford, CT, USA
25 posts

Have you seen the bridge....where's that confounded bridge?

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2821 posts

Chery: If you are seeing prices in dollars, you're on the wrong train website. You should be using http://www.tgv-europe.com/. Choose Great Britain as your country, and resist all efforts to be redirected to Rail Europe. If you book in advance and get non-exchangeable, non-refundable tickets, you can save a bundle. If you get a railpass, be aware that on the TGV's, you still have to buy a passholder reservation, and the number of these is limited. There are reports on this Helpline of people with railpasses who had to buy a whole new ticket (day of travel, so full price), because there were available tickets, but not passholder tickets. Since the cheap tickets lock you into a specific train, for your arrival day, you'll either want to spend the money for a last minute ticket upon arrival, or allow a lot of time after your plane arrives, to make sure you don't miss your pre-booked train if you plane is late.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7958 posts

The bridge is just north of the old part of Avignon. East fork of the Rhone. There's two bridges that cross from Vaucluse to Gard. You can see it from the upstream/northern one. It goes out to about midstream.

Posted by Chery
Ojai
18 posts

Harold, I can see the train question has no easy answer. The TGV site won't let me book for another few days re: no earlier than 3 months from travel date. If we decide to go the rail pass route, I'll definitely make a note to do the passholder reservation. Thanks for the reminder.

Posted by Kim
Paris
537 posts

Since you're going to be able to book when the tickets are released, you'll probably be able to do better on price than the rail pass option. Try to give yourself a window in case your plane is delayed (a real drag if your plane is on time and you're sitting there thinking -- I coulda been on that train! but a lot better than being on your late plane thinking crap, I've gotta buy a new ticket, I'm not going to make the train I bought the ticket for!!

Posted by Chery
Ojai
18 posts

This train planning is tricky business. Thanks, Kim, I'll book a large window. I've got to say the ability to have a flex pass of some sort is very appealing.

Posted by Dave
Stamford, CT, USA
25 posts

Chery, I agree with the flex pass, but only if you're arriving by air on the first day of use. Otherwise, you probably won't have to consider it and worry about when your flight will arrive. Best to start using a Eurail pass a day or so after your arrival and using a standard pass, so not to spend the extra money. A flexipass, if you're in Europe for a couple weeks or more can really add up in cost. Might be best to purchase an separate Eurail ticket for the first day (depending on your plans) if you can do it. Since you will not know exactly if your flight will arrive on time. The second+ days should be fine, so getting a Eurail standard pass should be fine. What do you think?