Trains & TGV, Lyon
Travelling by train around France is the best way to move around , better than the buses.
They close at about midnight and open again at 5 AM. I had to sleep on the floor near the gate long time ago. When they opened at 5 I run to order a hot coffee and a croissant.
In March 2012 the German and French railways began running a direct high-speed train connection (only once a day at first, but still) from Frankfurt am Main via Mannheim, Karlsruhe and Strasbourg to Lyon, and then on to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille, all without changing trains.
This is a great improvement over the previous situation. On a previous trip from Frankfurt to Lyon I went by way of Switzerland, changing trains twice each way. At that time it was somewhat faster, but more expensive, to take high-speed trains on a huge detour, changing trains in Brussels (which is way out of the way) and/or Paris (which means not only changing trains but also changing stations).
For the new direct connection from Frankfurt to Lyon and Marseille they originally intended to use a new version of the German ICE (InterCityExpress) trains, but this new version had (surprise!) serious technical difficulties, as the German ICE trains tend to have, so currently the service is provided by a new double-decker version of the French TGV (“Train of Great Speed”).
The new southbound train leaves Frankfurt each afternoon at 14:01, arriving Marseille at 21:46. The northbound train leaves Marseille at 8:14, reaching Frankfurt at 15:58.
Update: In October 2012 I took this new train from Frankfurt via Lyon to Marseille. It was a fine trip, and now I have finally posted new VT pages on Marseille and Toulon. And in April 2014 I took this train from Frankfurt to Avignon and back.
Additional photos: In the new TGV train Marseille-Lyon-Strasbourg-Frankfurt.
This station was built in 1855. For nearly one and a quarter centuries it was the main station of Lyon, until the opening of the new Part-Dieu station in 1978.
In the 1970s a huge motorway and parking garage were built directly in front of the Perrache station, so the front façade is no longer visible, in fact the whole station has disappeared behind of mass of grey concrete. This was some people's idea of progress in the twentieth century, but now you would be hard-put to find anyone who approves of this "wall of shame" or "connerie du siècle" (crap of the century), as a more recent mayor described it.
It is still possible to find your way into the station, however, and there are still trains leaving from here, for instance heading for destinations to the south of Lyon such as Saint-Étienne or Vienne. Some trains stop at both stations, Perrache and Part-Dieu.
Directions: Vélo'v 2004 - Perrache / Carnot
Métro A, Perrache
GPS 45°44'53.60" North; 4°49'31.77" East
This quite new railroad station (opened in 1978) is now the main station of Lyon, where most of the TGVs and other long-distance trains stop. This is where I arrived on a (late) regional express train from Geneva, Switzerland, and I also left from here for Geneva a few days later. (On the way back all three trains were on time: Lyon-Geneva, Geneva-Bern and Bern-Frankfurt.)
The new station Part-Dieu was part of an urban development program which included numerous office buildings (including one skyscraper, commonly known as "the pencil" because of its shape) and of course a huge shopping center. This was all intended to make the Part-Dieu district "the second center of Lyon", the first being the peninsula between the two rivers.
For years I was puzzled by the name Part-Dieu, which I thought meant "part of God" or "God's departure" or even "godforsaken". But it turns out that the name dates back to the Middle Ages and means "property of God", presumably because the land was then owned by some sort of convent or monastery.
Second photo: There are two large and very busy Vélo'v stations at the Part-Dieu railway station. The one in the photo is the Vélo'v station "3001 - Part-Dieu / Vivier Merle" with 40 docking stands. Just off to the left is the station "3002 - Part-Dieu / Gare SNCF".
Third photo: A small peculiarity of the French railway system is that they don't announce the track numbers beforehand, but keep you in suspense until about ten or fifteen minutes before departure time. So in French railroad stations you often see people staring at the departure board waiting for their track number to come up. This is also the case in the Czech Republic. As I wrote in one of my Prague tips: "This last-minute allocation of track numbers is supposed to increase the efficiency of the stations, but I'm not at all sure it really does. As a passenger I prefer the Swiss and German system of allocating tracks in advance and listing them in the timetable, even though changes are sometimes necessary in case of delays."
Vélo'v 3002 - Part-Dieu / Gare SNCF
Métro B, Gare Part-Dieu
GPS 45°45'37.29" North; 4°51'33.26" East
There's 2 train stations in Lyon, Part-Dieu and Perrache. Perrache is rather for regional trains. It's also the major Eurolines bus station. Careful, before entering a train you need to stamp your ticket, otherwise you can get into big trouble.
The Lyon-Satolas Station is the terminus for the TGV trains connecting the airport to the city of Lyon.
The structure is almost 40m tall and is rumoured to symobilize a bird with spread out wings.
As you exit the airport Terminal building you will see it in front of you, and its a fantastic building indeed.
I took the TGV from Paris to Lyon and from Lyon back to Brussels, I paid 130€.
From Paris to Lyon it took me 2hours, but my seat was on the second floor and it bounces a lot, luckely I was very tired so I slept all the way.
As we were interrailing we took the SNCF train from Dijon. There is also a high speed TGV link from Gare De L'Est in Paris, which takes about 3 hours. It was quite a long journey from Dijon to Lyon and we spent the journey trying to improve my French, much to the amusement of everyone in the carriage. (You have got to hear me doing a French 'r' sound and the look of horror it gives to all the French people!)
Train was definitely my choice, with great connections (many of them TGVs) to other French cities (Avignon, Paris are just two of those) and to Geneva, in Switzerland. There's an airport as well, and a good road network.
you need to use the train it s a reasonnable price and it s the best it runs through the country it s very nice and fast you can go from paris to lyon in only 2 hours!!! intsead of 5 by car
we have an international airport so it s easy to get around by plane if you came from the United Sates you can fly from new york to lyon its the best way to come over or you can go to the paris airport then take the train to lyon thats nice too.
Lyon is accessible by train. The TGV (fast train) from Paris is only two-hour ride. Lyon also has an airport. I find it easier to take the train because it goes straight into the city.
Lyon is quite small - you can go by foot! However, you can get around by bus or the Metro (underground/subway.) The catch is you have to buy the Metro ticket from the vending machine and punch the ticket in the machine yourself to validate the ride. Or you can buy a day pass from the transport office at Bellecour.
TGV from Paris: 2h
from Marseille: 3h when the line is completed (5h now)
direct train connexions to Geneva and Torino
International Airport with TGV connexion.
Shuttle to Airport is around 6 US$ (forgot if it is 1 way or return).
Frequent bus & subways. Tramway service will start in 2001.
Some bus connections to the neighbouring medieval villages like Perouges (40kms).
A few bicycle path, but not enough.
The train ride to Lyon takes about 2 hours from Paris (with trains leaving every half hour), 3 hours from Lille and 5 hours from London via high speed train.
Base fare from Paris is about 55 euro.
I took the TGV from Paris into Gare Part Deux. I think that Gare Perrache is closer to Place Bellecour and Vieux Lyon.