Getting Around France

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Most Viewed Transportation in France

  • balhannah's Profile Photo


    by balhannah Written Apr 11, 2013

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    Air France may be good for short flights, but for LONG HAUL, I wouldn't consider them.

    It wasn't the service, that was good, and so was the food, it was the seating.
    On a long, overnight flight, what is needed, is COMFORT, this was lacking.
    In ECONOMY CLASS, the seats were quite small and narrow, making it very difficult to eat my meal. I had to keep my arms as close to my side as possible. The seats were not that comfortable and as they were so narrow, it really was hard to get in a comfortable postion for sleeping. To add to the problem, was the small amount of leg room.
    So my opinion is....................
    If you are taking a LONG HAUL FLIGHT, then choose another Airline, I certainly will be next time!

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    Fuel Up at the Supermarket

    by pedroswift Updated Feb 26, 2013

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    During road trips in France, we have found the Supermarche chain stores have fuel at the cheapest prices.
    They have cash only (or credit card) pumps where one pays at a kiosk after self-service and pumps taking credit cards in the pump itself. The later are available 24 hrs a day. See photo.
    We have found that our Australian issued cards never seem to work in the machines so we go to the cash pump and give our credit card to the attendant. Have never had a problem doing it that way during business hours.
    Be aware of the opening hours of the supermarkets. Most close for lunch and open half days on Sunday. See Photo.
    If you have a diesel car (usually more fuel efficient), get the right pump - gazoil.

    photo 1: Opening hours of Supermarket (typical)

    photo 2: Pay with cash or card at the kiosk.

    photo 3: Pay at pump with credit card 24 hours. (Your o/s card may not work!)

    photo 4: cash pump : pay at kiosk during normal opening hours.

    One feature of a web based mapping & route plan system that you may like - Get a map of the town you want - click the graphic of the fuel bowser in the top-right box. Mappy displays locations of garages on a map & lists current fuel prices at each place in order from the least expensive to the dearest. You select type of fuel required. How good is that?

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    by pedroswift Updated Feb 25, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    click to open
    Check out the travelogue which is aimed at first time car renters & leasers looking to travel to the ANZAC Day Dawn Service
    It's equally applicable to first-time road trippers in France!

    Travelogues are at the bottom of the intro page

    Tips and comments are equally applicable to first time road trip to any part of France

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    Renting a Car? Cover your A*s*! Insurance?

    by pedroswift Updated Feb 13, 2013

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    We have rented automobiles several times in France (and elsewhere) for periods less than the minimum required to "lease" a car (our preferred option). see tip above.
    A quarter of a century ago we were happy to forgo taking out "extra insurance" to limit the excess liability in the case of an accident or damage to the car....with age comes wisdom!!??
    We no longer take that approach - preferring to limit our liability. I suggest you do too!
    The usual deal when picking up a hire car is to present a credit card which leaves the hirer open to having arbitrary amounts charged to that credit card account if the car company deems it necessary because of damage.
    Read most contracts & you will find an "excess clause". You could be liable for several thousand Euro. Most companies offer insurance to reduce the excess - charging a daily rate which, in some cases, nearly doubles the cost of the hire.
    We usually hire through an Australian broker, paying Australian dollars and pay an upfront amount (approx. $60) to remove the excess.
    I was very glad to have done so with a week's hire of a people-mover in France in 2008. The van was in less than pristine condition and had a crease in the bodywork in front of the driver's door below the left hand windscreen pillar plus damage to wing mirror and numerous scratches to body work elsewhere. Pick-up point, Never, had no alternative vehicle available so we were stuck with it.
    As I usually do, I used my digital camera to photo graph every damaged area. Yes!I also ensured the contract had the damaged areas marked as well.
    On day 6 of an 8 day hire, a crack developed in the windscreen bottom centre. After returning the vehicle, my credit card was charged over 800 Australian dollars to cover the damage to the windscreen.
    I was able to recoup this excess in total via the Australian broker. I sent photos of the prior damage to the vehicle with the proposition that lateral pressure from that damage could well have caused the windscreen crack & to fix the damage to the car body the windscreen would have had to be removed any way.
    Lessons to learn:
    Take out the extra insurance
    Take photos of any damage to vehicle before you drive away
    check out this VT discussion on Hire Company hitting credit cards for huge amounts

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    Bus or Metro is the best way..

    by Stentorian Written Nov 6, 2012

    Buy the 10 ticket booklet for getting around Paris. You can save some money and you can use the same ticket for bus and metro. For going out of Paris buy separate ticket, and for that you will not have to use the regular ticket.

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    To GPS or not to GPS

    by Beausoleil Updated Oct 14, 2012

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    Update: Here's another reason to take a map along. One very cloudy week in a rather remote area, our GPS could not locate a satellite. We fortunately had a GPS on the car and it was fine but we kept our own on just to see how long it would take to find the satellite. The last day of a 7-day stay in the country it finally found a satellite and came to life . . . in exactly the same place we'd been trying it all week. It was a nice clear day!

    Original tip:
    The GPS is fine but take a decent map. It's not just losing the signal (which happens everyplace including in our home driveway); it is the GPS being programmed incorrectly. I think of the peoples' driveway we ended up in three times last spring in France, and being sent to the wrong address in our own town this past week. There are programming mistakes because all of this is input by humans and humans make typos.

    There is the famous case of a couple last winter lost in a blizzard because their GPS was programmed incorrectly and they survived by eating some energy bars they had taken along. The local joke is, "don't forget the energy bars" when someone says they are using their GPS.

    We are never sorry to have our map long. It is particularly important when you don't speak the language because way out in the boonies, people may have a second language but it may not be English . . . or Spanish . . . or Italian . . . or German . . . or whatever it is that you speak. With a map, you can all just point and find the right road.

    Just a thought.

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    car rental at train stations-France

    by gwened Updated Aug 15, 2012

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    both the local train and TGV has car rentals at the gare or stations so all you do is walk over, very easy,no problems.
    you can have booked before arrival at
    brokers who deal with many car rental companies.
    Hope it helps

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    leaving luggage in French train stations

    by gwened Written Aug 3, 2012

    no, there is left luggage at many French railroad stations and their use change according to the govt vigipirate anti terrorists organism.

    GARE D'AUSTERLITZ : it is by the cour museum, porte 27 open 7H00 to 23H30 everyday
    GARE DE L'EST : manual storage at level or niveau - 1 in the central hall facing the toilettes, open from 6H00 to 23H45 every day
    GARE DE LYON : manual luggage and automatic machines for storage available at level of quai L, open from 6H15 to 22H00 every day
    GARE MONTPARNASSE : automatic and manual storages at level or niveau + 1 open from 7H00to 23H00 every day
    GARE DU NORD :automatic and manual storage at level or niveau - 1 next to the car rental counters and exit to taxis open from 6H15to 23H15.
    STATION RER CHESSY MARNE LA VALLEE PARCS DISNEYLAND : automatic luggage keepers open from 7H00 to 22H00 every day
    PARC DISNEYLAND, to the entrance on the right of the ticket counter to Visitors relations or Relations Visiteurs over the overhand to DHL to the right. open from 8H00 to 45 mn after the closing of the park
    PARC WALT DISNEY STUDIOS, to the right of the 13ème ticket counter or guichet.Open from 10H00 to 17H00,open the days of heavy visitors attendance.

    These are the areas I know, but they are many others in France, just verify with the SNCF. Carcassonne just happenned not to have one.

    hope it helps

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  • TGV PARIS NICE (purchase from US)

    by Mariloo95 Written May 28, 2012

    I am french, living near Paris. No you can't use your Credit card at an electronic kiosk. (A visa, mastercard with chip & pin is necessary).
    To book your ticket from US you should purchase with Rail Europe or to call 0033 8 92 35 35 35 from 7 AM to 10 PM or to connect to I'am afraid there is no other option except to ask your french friends to purchase the tickets for you and to sent it to you.
    Bests regards

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    bus to Orador from Limoges

    by gwened Written May 17, 2012

    Oradour sur glane ,nice historical town , you got the links for buses. Enjoy the trip
    in French

    this is Bus 12 they suggest, schedule in pdf file

    and more on the same site

    hope it helps

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    bus and taxi at Chalon

    by gwened Written May 10, 2012

    a very overlook town, great memories buying toys for my kids just over the river there in CsS.
    you can get the train from Chalon to lyon part dieu train station then the bus Rhoneexpress to lyon airport

    or take a taxi all the way

    you have all taxi companies in Chalon and some have webpage, i drive my car but they are all ok by law

    hope it helps

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    by pedroswift Updated Mar 18, 2012

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    There is a long tradition of outdoor walking in France. In French - randonnée pédestre.
    If you walk south from Kilometre Zero* of the French national highways system, located in central Paris on the square facing the main entrance of Notre Dame cathedral on the Île de la Cité, you will join the Rue Saint Jacques. This was the starting point for medieval (5th to 15th century) pilgrims leaving Paris to make their way along the chemin de St-Jacques that led eventually to to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried.
    There are many other long established routes taken by pilgrims from other towns and countries on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Many of these ways have been maintained as walking paths and now a new tradition has emerged: hikers using the routes for enjoyment and for a challenge – to tread the lands through which their forefathers did centuries ago and maybe get to Spain (even if it’s done a bit at a time) . Four main pilgrim routes through France
    As well as these long beaten paths, there are literally hundreds of thousands of kilometers of well maintained designated hiking trails throughout France.
    Google “randonnée pédestre” and you will find links to over 3000 French hiking clubs and a wealth of information.
    For example - Check an overview of the Long distance Footpaths (Les Sentiers de Grande Randonnée) before checking specific trails.
    This is a site with Google Maps of the Long Distance Footpaths - click on the one that interests you
    The best maps for walking are provided by The Institut Géographic National (IGN), France's national survey agency.

    Each summer, villages and towns organize short, themed walks for all of the family (to check the budding of the grape vines for example). The local tourist office will list such events.
    Keen to walk in France?
    You might like to seek guidance from the Lonely Planet Guide – “Walking in France” which as well as general info on France and planning walks describes a multitude of specific walks in nearly a dozen French areas including Corsica. Many are mountainous areas. Mont Blanc – anyone? click for review
    By the way, the best way to see Paris is by walking: perhaps with a bus or metro trip thrown in to get back to base camp at the end of the day.
    Some books that I have read which may inspire you to go walking in France:
    “Walking in France" (a Lonely Planet guide-ISBN:1 74059 243 3)
    “From the Camargue to the Alps: a walk across France in Hannibal's footsteps” by Levin, Bernard : (2009, ISBN 1840247428)
    “The man who broke out of the bank and went for a walk in France” - Moreland, Myles .
    "Walking in Provence" - (1996, ISBN:0 7028 3132 8) - 30 walks of 3 to 13 kms length, graded easy, moderate or strenuous....detailed navigation descriptions.

    Personally I am not a keen walker but I have seen much of rural France at or just above walking pace from the deck of a canal cruiser. I can recommend the tow paths of the French canal system (over 5,000 kms) for both cyclists and walkers. Originally, boats using canals were towed by men or horses so there is a well graded path (chemin de halage) on at least one side of each canal. It’s used in modern times by lock keepers and canal maintenance workers plus recreational fisher-folk. Because water remains level, the tow paths do likewise. Flat footpaths usually only rise or fall at the locks. Of course there may be many locks in hilly regions. More importantly for walkers, there is little motorized traffic. Most have villages a day's walk apart.
    So check out the canal system in France before you plan a walking holiday....has interactive linking to individual canals listed lower down the page.

    photo 1: typical canal tow path - flat until the lock. In this case, the next stretch of path will be about 3 metres higher.
    photo 2: tow path here passes through memorial gardens

    ## Location Kilometre Zero* marker: 48.8534°N 2.3488°E on the Isle de la City

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  • Matchello_Lulu's Profile Photo


    by Matchello_Lulu Written Jan 24, 2012

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    Me and my wife bought 1st class rail passes for traveling around France for up to 9 travel dates. What we didn't know is that France rail system is REALLY BAD and that most long routes are covered by private companys. Well, I bet you can't see the problem yet... So here it is: private companys (all tgvs) reserve less than a handfull places for railpass holders! To get one of those few places you have to make reservations ages before your trip!!! Of course if somebody didn't do it before you! Also you will find yourself always having to go in those trains cause most routes you may have to go through are not covered by the regular ones!
    So after paying a considerable price for our 1st class rail pass (Rail Europe) we found ourselves having to buy ultra expensive last time 2nd class tickets to go where we wanted (and had hotel reservations) to. And since all that wasn't enough... we had to watch the guy and his fellow girl at Annecy railway desk laughing really loud about us having to pay all that money to buy new tickets. He was really unpolite and sarcastic.
    Such a lovely land with such a bad surprise...

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  • pedroswift's Profile Photo

    Booking trains in France

    by pedroswift Updated Jan 4, 2012

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    The online France Train Booking Site is France Rail :

    The site is in French.
    If you choose the English option (by clicking the British Flag) it invariably transfers you to another site which charges higher prices and does not offer every train schedule option.(tvg dot com ; RailEurope or some-such)

    For advice on how to use the sncf site (which is in French) :
    There is a "Quick Guide" and a more detailed "Step by Step" how-to!

    I last used and the advice offered by the trip advisor site to book a return rail journey from Strasbourg in France to Stuttgart in Germany in May/June 2010. I used the option to pick up my tickets at the station in Strasbourg before departure. In fact, I did a reconnaissance of the station a couple of days in advance so we would know the layout of the station on departure day & picked up the tickets then.

    By making the booking on-line well in advance, we received cheaper fares than buying on the day of departure.
    See my other tip on rail tickets paid for by credit card (above).

    Another site which is very useful is the national German Railway site. It is great to check out schedules for both German internal rail and other European countries including France. Fares and facility to make payments may not be available but the schedules are. The site is much more user-friendly for speakers of English (than some other national web sites).

    German Rail :

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    best site for snow info and al.-France

    by gwened Written Dec 14, 2011

    try Chamonix
    for all options on train, or plane. I send my kids there flying again near there next month; there is bus connection see also
    its in English
    hope it helps

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