France train

Discussion in 'Basic' started by ian cruz, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. ian cruz

    ian cruz New Member

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    Hi everyone, I’ve got a few questions about my upcoming holiday. My idea is to do a trip around France and, because I’m not a big fan of the ever-rising fuel prices, I’ve come up with the idea of doing it by train. So my plan is France train travel in 4 weeks of my summer holidays. I thought that way I get to see all of the country and their TGV is pretty fast, so won’t be spending too much time travelling (probably less than if I’d go by car). So…I wanted to ask if anyone has any valuable tips for me, like any special places I should go and see, maybe some interesting small villages that aren’t crowded with tourists? Also, has anyone done this before and can recommend journeys with a scenery I can’t miss etc etc. Would be grateful for any information you can give me and will do my best to follow all recommendations.
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Taking the train is not allways the fastest way to get somewhere. Even the TGV makes stops. Sometimes these trains make a lot of stops and then what would take a car 2 hours to drive now takes the train 3 hours.
     
  3. Arsenal VG-33

    Arsenal VG-33 Member

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    Ian,

    There are generally two lines offered for specific routes. For long distances, you can have a non-stop direct trip. If you're going to do a lot of stop-and-go in a single region/area, a car will be your best mode of transportation. Yes, fuel is expensive, but in those tiny little rental cars you can go a long, long way. Just be careful - If you do not specifically ask for a direct train ticket, you may get regional stop-and-go train.

    There are a variety of options to choose from, you may wish to do some more research on this as you go along. This site, among others, may help:

    France train information from Rail Europe

    Are you traveling alone or with a friend? What are you most interested in seeing? War sites, castles, museums....

    ...topless beaches? ;)
     
  4. Parmigiano

    Parmigiano Member

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    France is beautiful, I had several 'gipsy' vacations there.

    Going by train is probably not the best option if you want to visit the countryside, you may want to evaluate the mixed option to set as milestones 2-3 big cities to reach by train and then rent a small car for wandering in the countryside.
    You can then drop the car at the next train station and continue to the next milestone by train.

    As areas that I would recommend, I say Normandy, Bretagne, Beaujolais, Camargue (ate wonderful fish) and the Alps regions. Definitely Provence if you go in springtime.
    I was not greatly impressed by the Cote d'Azur.

    For attractive places, you can rely on the French: they are usually very good in advertising places of interest with signs along the road.

    I always find great accomodations with this guys:
    Logis de France : Leisure escapades and Logis for hiking or other sport activities

    It is an association of small family-run pensions normally with a more than decent restaurant attached (although is very easy find a good cheap restaurant or bistrot in any small French village)

    I would suggest to buy their book and decide day by day where to stop for the night.
    It worked very well for me: I used to book the night during lunch, and plan the next day route after dinner.
    The best for me was by motorbike, always driving quietly in the country roads, spotting a nice place and just go there: i have found many unexpected little jewels, like antique villages, church, towers etc.

    have fun!
     
  5. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Avoid taking a sleeper train. Tried it and it was like trying to sleep on a washing machine. Lousy. Only guy in the whole train that got any sleep was the conductor.

    Train from Metz to Milan overnight.
     
  6. ian cruz

    ian cruz New Member

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    Thank you for all your comments guys!
     
  7. ian cruz

    ian cruz New Member

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    Lousy train makes our trip inconvenient. Thanks Tim.
     
  8. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I took the US Army Duty Train from Frankfurt, Germany to Berlin back in the 80s. It was an overnight train ride because of the border crossings between East and West Germany.

    It was the most lousiest sleep I have ever had...
     
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