France - training from Toulouse to Avignon

Okay, all you savvy travelers, I need your help. The scenario: Travel partner and I will arrive at the Toulouse airport 8 AM. Must get to Avignon. How best to do that? I imagine it's by train so here are my questions - 1- How long does it take to get to the train station and by what means would we get there?
2- The train route to Avignon looks to be by TGV and/or Intercity. Am I correct in thinking we'd obtain our tickets there at the station, day-of? Or do you suggest we pre-book? Your advice and experience is VERY much appreciated. I'm sure the answer to question #1 can be found in the RS guidebook for the Toulouse area, but I didn't pick that one up, as we will be spending our time in Provence and Paris. Thanks!

Posted by Nick
Budapest
18 posts

Ojai, if you ok paying full fare for the ticket (which appears to be 52 euro), then you can definitely buy the ticket at the station before departure. On the contrary booking in advance can allow you to buy discounted prem's ticket (for like 25 euro instead)
Also if you don't get the ticket in advance, then on the day it's cheaper to travel using TER (regional) trains or Intecity+TER instead of more expensive (however faster) TGV

Posted by Chery
Ojai
18 posts

Thank you, Nick, for the excellent information. I understand what to do now, how to look at the options - which is exactly what I was hoping for. Thus far, we are leaning towards pre-booking due to convenince. We'll arrive jet-lagged and attempting to navigate the train ticketing system at that time may be a bit of a challenge. I had a renowned-among-my-travel-friends misadventure on a previous European trip of losing my credit card even before leaving the USA. It became a problem as soon as we landed in Italy when I discovered the loss. Although I've sworn to them I'll chain the card to me this time, they are promoting limited jetlagged interactions. Can't blame them! Again, many thanks for offering your expertise.

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8646 posts

According to the official Toulouse airport web site, the Flybus Airport Shuttle runs every 20 minutes and will take you to the train station in about 20 minutes. You can travel Toulouse-Nimes-Avignon, departing at 09:48 and arriving at 13:19. The first leg is on a TGV and the second leg is on a TER (regional) train. Or you can take a direct TGV, departing at 10:54 and arriving at 13:55. What's your travel date? If it's a ways off (up to three months), you still may be able to get a discount fare by booking ASAP.

Posted by Chery
Ojai
18 posts

Thank you, Tim, for the shuttle info. I didn't think of checking the airprots website. We'll arrive on Sunday, June 2 (8AM.) Sounds like the TGV direct option may work well, assuming we arrive on time and get through customs quickly. As for making the booking, you'd do it now through www.tgv-europe.com ?

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8646 posts

You're welcome, Chery. I just checked tgv-europe.com and discovered that the direct TGV doesn't run on 2 June. If your plane arrives on time, you should be able to catch the 09:48 TGV to Nimes. However, I don't recommend booking a discount fare ticket for that leg. The ticket would be non-exchangeable and non-refundable. If you miss the train because your plane is late, you will be out the price of the ticket. You would be safe booking a full fare ticket on tgv-europe.com because it is exchangeable. Your next option would be an Intercites train to Arles departing at 11:49 and a regional train from there to Avignon Centre arriving at 16:15.

Posted by Chery
Ojai
18 posts

Tim, thanks for that update on the TGV schedule. No TGV direct for us on Saturday! And booking full fare for the 10AM-ish TGV route makes sense. If we end up not making that train, we can exchange and catch the later Arles intercities/regional. More questions: 1- TGV full fare tickets: Are they exchangeable or refundable? Hoping to get the full fare cost back to book the next train.
2- Intercity/regional trains: Do they require reservations? I'm used to the Italian train system, in which intercity requires a reservation but regionals do not. Is it the same in France?

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8646 posts

If you book a full fare TGV ticket, you can exchange it for a ticket for the next train you will need to get from point A to point B. Tickets for regional trains are good on any regional train on the route covered by the original ticket. Reservations are not required on Intercites trains. If you book your tickets on tgv-europe.com, uncheck the "Direct routes only" box. To avoid being bumped to the US Rail Europe site, choose Great Britain as your country of residence. Then choose to stick with tgv-europe rather than being directed to the UK Rail Europe site. Choose France as your ticket collection country. Choose "Retrieval in a French station" as your ticket retrieval choice. (Only chip & pin credit cards will work in station ticket machines.)