Train a Grande Vitesse (TGV)

On our ‘Savoring France’ river trip, we start in Paris, but finish in Lyon. Returning from Lyon on One World using miles involved BA, and LHR terminal five, both of which I try to avoid. So I booked a Paris round trip on AA. The plan: return to Paris CDG by TGV to take our four PM flight out of Paris. Looked easy. Then AA moved the flight to a two hour earlier departure time. I thought my plan was down the drain until I called Tauck and they told me the boat arrives in Lyon the night before, so we can leave any time in the morning that is necessary. I’ve done a bit of research and found the official TGV website not that easy to use. Has anyone here booked a TGV on your own? Can you buy a ‘Prems’ fare and upgrade it to First Class? I read somewhere that the Trainline website is easier to use than the SNCF website.


  • We left the river boat in Lyon at 3 am for a an early flight to Paris at the end of our cruise.

  • edited February 28

    Did you book the TGV yourself? We are not early .. 2:00 PM … so we need to be on the 8;30 AM TGV. That probably means leaving the boat around 7:30 AM. But it is not easy to get the website to cough up the infor for the train we want to take. I give it the date we want to travel and it offers afternoon trains until I scroll down and it says do you want tomorrow’s trains. Then it will show the morning trains that I need. It is too early for booking our train, but I want to know how to use the website at the appropriate time around four months out.

  • Sealord - have you looked at ?
    It's a great site for all questions about trains - we use it often. You can even email the owner of the website and he's great at answering questions.

  • edited February 28

    Thanks terrilynn. Yes, I’ve been reading seat61. He’s got a lot of good info. I’ve travelled on the TGV before, and will travel on it again before our return from Lyon, but I’ve never bought tickets. The last time we had a private car, but got invaded by a few who did not know it was a private car. We made them welcome. Actually, Tauck probably has someone who does all of their TGV bookings … that could be an interesting chat.

  • edited February 29

    I've taken the TGV a couple of times. One time I bought the tickets at the ticket office a day or so in advance and the second time I bought them on-line. I don't remember any problems.

    The TGV can take you directly to Charles DeGaulle Airport (actually, under it). Just make sure you get on the correct train. Some of them only go to Paris and don't continue to CDG.

    [added note: It's a fairly lux train in any class.]

    [A note for other people who might use the TGV to CDG: There'a an Ibis hotel directly at CDG. The rooms are very small, but you're mostly just waiting for your plane the next morning. When you leave the Ibis, you can walk underground to whatever terminal you need.]

  • We have used a number of high speed trains in France. The websites are fairly easy to use. I would recommend a first class tickets. You know where your seats are and won't have to choose seats once on the train. Seats are great. Sometimes they have an option of the quiet car but that most first class cars are fairly low key. It can be hard to figure out if you are facing forward or backwards and some seats are quad seats with a table in between. We try to avoid those just because of the leg room. Some of the trains have two levels and other just one.

  • I prefer to purchase train tickets for France directly from the source...the SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français). They are the national railroad system for France of which TGV, the high speed train, is a part of. My prior employer used them exclusively for business trips within France and I have as well since retiring. I believe their schedules to be the most up-to-date.

  • I just saw this thread. I’ve no idea why it took so long for me to notice. Yes, use Trainline. I’ve used it, and it is easy. When booking your seat, it is pointless to sit on the upper deck. Your luggage will be stored on the lower deck anyway and it’s best to book seats near or close to the luggage racks just to keep an eye on your luggage. . Carrying luggage up to the second level on a train is quite challenging. I’ve used Trainline recently from Nice to Marseille, FR without a hitch. Easy peasy.

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