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When to arrive at the train station?

How soon before our scheduled departure on the TGV train from Paris should we be at the train station? We are leaving on a Friday out of Gare de Lyon around 10 a.m. and traveling to Dijon. I've never been to Paris and don't know what to expect at the train station as far as crowds, how long it takes to board, etc.

Thanks for any assistance!


Posted by
8512 posts

Give yourself plenty of time to find your way around. Many train stations have several levels. I like to go early, find the track where the train is leaving, where my car will be stopping, and then go buy a coffee and a croissant. Relaxed and no hectic. Once the train gets in, you just hop on.

Posted by
12040 posts

Also consider- do you have to buy your tickets, do you have them already printed, or do you have to pick them up? If you still have to buy the or pick up the tickets, add 10-15 minutes.

Posted by
503 posts

We tried to arrive at least 30 minutes (45 preferably) at the stations especially the big ones. We hadn't been to any of them. We then followed Jo's advice and found the track the train was leaving on and then got something to eat/drink. Was much less stressful that way. It also gave us some extra time if we missed a metro transfer or got on the wrong line by accident. Happy travels!

Posted by
632 posts

Gare de Lyon...easy to get around in (not that large, and only one level)...20 minutes early is plenty...but, unless you are staying near the Gare, you probably don't want to cut it too close (you can count on Paris traffic to be heavy at that time of day on a Friday).

Posted by
40 posts

Thanks for the tips, every one!

We have already purchased our tickets on the SNCF (?) website and will pick them up a few days before our departure.

Not sure exactly how far our apt. is from Gare de Lyon (we are in the 7th, on Rue de l'Universite, not very far from the Eiffel Tower). Does anybody know if we are within walking distance, or should we take the bus/metro/a taxi?

Thanks again,