I am currently working out plans to visit Provence summer 2014. Flights to Marseille are quite expensive, even flights to Paris have really gone up lately. I was wondering what the process of flying into CDG and taking the high speed train to Avignon. Does it involve going into Paris or can you get the direct train at CDG? If anyone has any other ideas, I welcome other ideas as well. Thanks in advance.
Lisa, There's TGV station right at CDG (Terminal 2?). If you can connect with a direct train from the airport to Avignon, the travel time is a bit over 3 hours. I believe Avignon has more than one station, so be sure to check your destination before buying tickets. You may want to have a look at the excellent Paris By Train website, as I believe they have some information on the stations at CDG. Happy travels!
You can leave from the station below T2 at the airport and go straight to Avignon. Some runs won't even have a change down at Lyon. It'll take just over three hours with no change, closer to four with.
On my first trip to France a few years ago, this is exactly what we did. Arrived at CDG, walked down to the train station and rode straight to Avignon. If you book your TGV tickets ahead of time, you can also save quite a bit. It's a very easy trip. There are also lots of car rental agencies at the train station in Avignon.
It is too early to buy tickets for that time now but it looks like the cost is about $100-$128 each way for tickets in a month or so for comfort or 2nd class. I found some info at trip advisor that says buy from the SNFC website but it seems to transfer me back to Rail Europe. I have plenty of time to figure this out. Anyone know what the best rate should be and how far in advance can you buy the tickets?
Lisa, if you buy your tickets well in advance they are quite cheap. I tried 60 days out and they were 25-37 euro each way, direct trains; the amount depended on what time of day. Use the website: tgv-europe.com and where it asks for your country use Great Britain so it won't shunt you to Rail Europe. I found buying my tickets on this website very easy. If you're renting a car for Provence, you can do so at the Avignon TGV station. I found it very easy to p/u and d/o there. Have a wonderful time in Provence.
The above is all good advice, but as the date approaches I would continue to check an open-jaw flight into Marseilles. You might find that the price normalizes to something comparable to Paris RT + train fare, and that it gets you there sooner. If not, the TGV is a great option.
If you are flying Delta-KLM-Air France it's a good bet that your trans-Atlantic ticket can connect at CdG to either Nice or Marseille. It will be just about the same price as stopping in Paris. Then you can work your way back to Paris for the flight home. It is a great train ride, but doing it one way should be enough.
You could do it in reverse, returning from those southern cities, but it will involve an early-morning flight to make the CdG connection.
We have now booked our flights to Paris using miles, we had to travel on 2 different airlines, we arrive an hour apart but are both nonstop, but better than spending over $3000 on two tickets to CDG or over $4000 by flying to Marseille. While it is still too early to book the TGV tickets about how long from arrival time should we book the train? Is 2 hours enough? I remember 1 time waiting over an hour for my luggage to come at CDG (no option for carry on only as my cameras and MacBook Air are my carry on, clothing must be checked). Also as Nancy mentioned above tickets for €25-€37 but when I search the sites now for upcoming trains in the next 2 months I get about $128 or £72-£90 each way for second class to Avignon. Any more info on this? Also I think we would like to travel the middle comfort class I have seen on some sites, is that available on all trains? Thanks in advance.
Are you using www.sncf.com/en to look for ticket prices? The low prices that you mention are for non-refundable tickets purchased 90 days prior to travel. Tickets go on sale 90 days before the travel date so to get a sense of prices look at the prices for tickets 90 days from today. On the SNCF website that I refer you to, enter France or Antarctic as your country and choose the print at home option. If you enter Great Britain or USA, you will be routed to RailEurope. In my experience the ticket prices are generally higher on Rail Europe but you should compare the prices at both sites to be sure because I have heard that at times RailEurope can be the same or even less than the price offered at SNCF. To avoid having the charge declined when you are ready to purchase, you should probably notify your card issuer of your intent to make the charge.