TGV station south of Reims
This is the new TGV station on the outskirts of Reims, for high-speed trains that stop here only briefly or not at all. This station is called “Bezannes Champagne TGV” on local maps, but “Gare de Champagne Ardenne TGV” on the railway websites.
When I left Reims I took the shuttle train which gets from the main station to here in eight minutes. The shuttle train is the blue one-car train on the far right in my first photo.
From here I took a TGV train to Strasbourg (not quite two hours) and changed there for another TGV to Frankfurt am Main (just over two hours).
Second photo: TGV train making a short stop. The two tracks on the left, without platforms, are for the many trains that barrel through here at over three hundred km/h without stopping.
Third photo: The façade of the station, complete with an ugly parking lot.
Fourth photo: The last stop on the tram line B, just downhill from the TGV station. The last two or three kilometers of line B have only a single track so far. This is enough for the time being, but a lot of new housing is planned for this area, so the right of way has already been prepared and a second track can be installed at quite short notice, as soon as it is needed.
Back to my first Reims review: To Reims by train
Back to my Reims intro page
To Reims by train
The characters in Rossini’s opera Il viaggio a Reims never did get to Reims, and for a few minutes I thought I wasn’t going to get there either, because my TGV (train de grand vitesse = train of great speed) came to an unscheduled halt shortly after leaving the Paris East station.
Before long there was an announcement saying that because of an ‘incident’ on the high speed TGV line, our train was being re-routed via the traditional ‘classic’ rail line to Reims. So we did arrive there after all, but it took an hour and a half rather than the scheduled 48 minutes.
Second photo: Our TGV from Paris, on arrival in Reims station. Each day there are several direct non-stop trains from Paris-East to Reims station, in addition to the trains that stop at the new TGV station just south of Reims.
Third photo: An old steam engine on display in the station.
Fourth photo: The shuttle train to the new Bezannes Champagne TGV station on the southern edge of Reims.
Address: Place de la gare, 51100 Reims
Directions: 49.253811° North, 4.034042° East
Next: The Mars Gate
Look Ma, no wires!
An unusual feature of the new Reims tram line is that when the tram approaches the center of the city it suddenly loses its overhead wires and gets its electricity from an electric rail in the middle of the track.
At first sight I found this rather alarming, since I was reminded of the ‘third rail’ that I used to see on the Chicago elevated system when I was a child, a high-voltage electrified rail which brought instant death to anyone who touched it or stepped on it. But it turns out that the new ‘APS’ system used in Reims (and in other French cities such as Bordeaux, Angers and Orléans) is not a danger to pedestrians because it is divided into eight-meter segments which carry electricity only when they are completely covered by the tram. This APS system (‘Alimentation Par Sol’ = power supply from the ground) is rather complex and had huge teething problems when it was first tried out in Bordeaux in the early noughties, but now it seems to be working smoothly, at least from what I saw in Reims.
The reason for using the APS system is to prevent the city center from being cluttered up by overhead wires. So you can still take photos of the cathedral (and the opera house) without any wires getting in the way.
Outside the city center the trams get their electricity from conventional overhead wires, which are much cheaper to install, operate and maintain.
Reims claims to have two tram lines, A and B, but in fact they are identical for most of their route from north to south. Only at the south end does line B branch off towards the new railroad station “Bezannes Champagne TGV” while line A goes straight on to the Debré Hospital.
The trams were designed especially for Reims and come in nine colors. The front is supposed to look like a champagne glass.
In retrospect, the surprising thing about the Reims tram line is that there was a lot of opposition to it before it was built, despite the overwhelmingly positive effects that the new tram lines have had in other French cities such as Strasbourg, Nantes, Grenoble, Montpellier, Lyon, Nancy, Orléans, Bordeaux and even Paris. Now that the Reims tramway has been in operation for almost three years, nearly three-quarters of the residents say they are satisfied with it and would like to see it extended.
Next: TGV station south of Reims
TGV, nothing compares to you
Our trip from Paris to Reims was on board the fantastic TGV, extremely fast, this trip lasts only 45 minutes, once departed from la Gare du Nord, when your are founding the best position of your comfy coach is when you're arriving to Reims.. well, enjoy it.
I recommend to take a train before the noon then you will arrive in time for lunch after dropping baggages in your hotel.
There are several options with different tariffs, when more earlier more cheaper, even you can find out good prices for first class, we did it and it is great.
Nothing more to add, all the words have been said about this train, and they are true.
- Budget Travel
The city of Reims has a fancy modern transportation, the tramway named Citura has two lines, A and B, crossing the city with a frequency varying from 4 to 10 minutes, through the most outstanding and interesting points of the city.
The cars are colored with an attractive design, comfortable, efficient, silent and modern, you can take a ride crossing the city enjoying it a lot. Cheap and easy to use, this around way of transportation is highly recommended.
- Budget Travel
Reims, for the most part, is very walkable, but it has a sleek tram system called Citura which features lovely new tram cars which run on a pretty frequent schedule. There was a stop right across the street from our hotel which was convenient. Tickets were 1.80€ for a single trip or 3.70€ for a 24 hour pass. For maps and schedules, visit their website: http://www.citura.fr/le-voyage/les-plans/
TGV to Reims
Often asked question on Reims in the VT Travel Forum:
"I want to do a day trip to Reims from Paris! Is it do-able???"
It is. Not that I'd try it myself ....one day (with connections included) is just not enough time to get the Best Of Reims tourism sites plus a Champagne House visit into your quality "been-there-done-that' travel diary.
Please be aware that there is a TGV station serving Reims, the Champagne -Ardenne Station, which is located 7-8 kilometers from the centre of town. If you select a train which only stops there, a bus or taxi will be required to get into the city centre or a connection with a local train (TER). Selecting "REIMS GARE" as your destination will save the hassle of the extra connection.
Paris Station is "PARIS EST" and regular TGV services cover the route.... about an hour between departure times early in the morning starting around 7am. Trip takes 48 minutes to Reims Central (40 mins to Ch-Ardenne). Check out the timetable below and you will see at least four TGV services prior to mid-day (one of which requires transfer at Ch-Ardenne). There are a couple of direct return TGV s in the evening.
Be aware that Sunday ('D'imanche) and public holiday (jours feriés or 'F'etes) timetables will differ. Check timetable headings for days of week. Check notes at bottom of timetable for exceptions etc. see next link for assistance to read same.
Check tip on non-TGV timetables for decode of French phrases.
Link to Reims - Paris L'Est - Train Time Table
URL for timetable: http://telechargement.ter-sncf.com/Images/Champagne_Ardenne/Tridion/Web_REL_1V_du_20_11_2012_tcm-18-16138.pdf
Easily reached by train
Getting to Reims by train is quite easy. Whether coming directly from Paris or as in our case, coming in from Epernay, trains run frequently and are reasonably priced. The train stations are centrally located and easy to get back and forth from.
Machines inside are multi-lingual and the people at the ticket booths are also quite helpful.
Both regular trains and TGV trains stop at the station. Our TGV journey took about an hour and delivered us to Gare d'Est in Paris.
When your track is announced, be sure to validate your tickets in the yellow machines before getting on the train.
- Budget Travel
Getting to Reims
Reims lies east of Paris on the super fast TGV Est railway (train à grande vitesse). The frequent trains take merely 45 minute from the French capital, and tickets are fairly inexpensive (€29 each way as of Nov 2010). Reims thus makes a great day trip, or a weekend trip, from Paris. Although a full day may be sufficient to glance at the highlights, a weekend would probably be best for seeing everything more leisurely. When arriving at Reims by rail, do not fail to admire the beautiful Neoclassical façade of the railway station. It was originally built in 1877 upon the completion of the first railway connecting the city with Epernay, but was almost completely damaged in WWI and reconstructed in the 1930s identically to the original structure.
Busses in Reims and around
While not supper frequent (a bit scarce during week-ends), Reims has an extensive bus network (greenish-yellow busses with purple markings) ans stops are well marked.
Very convenient if you have to reach sites 'far ' apart or are tired.
The prices are resonable : 1€ per journey (tickets can be bought on board).
The Citadines 1 and Citadines 2 lines are doing round trips around the center town and can be used as sightseeing busses.
The line K goes to the Champagnes-Ardennes(Bezannes) TGV station.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Trains to Reims
The best way to reach Reims from Paris (or from most other french cities) is by train.
Since June 2007, Reims is served by TGV : the journey is 45 minutes from Paris (1h50 from Strasbourg, 50 minutes from Roissy-CDG).
There are also (slower) conventional trains.
Be aware that there are 2 TGV stations for Reims : Reims (in the city itself) and Champagnes-Ardennes (in Bezannes - 5 km from Reims) and that many TGV stop in Champagnes-Ardennes and not Reims.
To reach the town, 2 solutions : either the TER (local train - 8 minutes , direct, 2.10 €) or the bus, line K (20 minutes, 1€)
THE BEST WAY TO RECH REIMS IS FROM PARIS. tHE TRAIN LEAVES ALMOST VERY HOUR STARTING FROM 6:30 IN THE MORNING TILL 9:30 IN THE EVENING. SO THERES A TRAIN ALMOST EVERY 1-2 HRS.
YOU HAVE TO CATCH THE TRAIN FROM PARIS EST, OR GARE DE L'EST STATION.
Train from Paris
The train from Paris (Gare d'Est) to Reims was very quick but it was also expensive. The tickets were 40.6E round trip per person for 2nd class seats. The ride took about 1:40.
There were 12 trains per day going during the week, less on the weekend, but there was a large gap of around 3 hours between the early morning trains and the train we caught at 11:16 so be sure and check the train schedules before you go.
The train station in Reims is within a 10-15 minute walk of the central attractions of Notre Dame, the tourist office and the Palais de Tau.
We wer running short on time and the champagne house of Veuve Clicqout is a fair distance from the center of town. There is a cab stand near the theatre and fine arts museum. The cab ride cost about 6E.
Just to let you know that I took my chances and succeeded hitchhiking from Paris to Reims, I must say that I really liked the country on the way and met few people that were very nice and try to help.
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