Train to South of France?

(30 Posts)
JammieDodgem Wed 13-Jul-16 20:51:31

We have been invited to stay with friends of DH's next year, they are inland from La Rochelle. I am considering taking he train as I'd rather not drive the whole way with 3 DC aged 1-7! We would hire a car once we got there.

Has anyone done anything similar?

Am also considering a stop over in Paris either side and possibly Disney some sightseeing..

EverythingWillBeFine Wed 13-Jul-16 20:56:25

The TGV now runs from London to Marseille.
You can then either take a rental car from Marseille to La Rochelle (about 1h30 if I remember@ well??) or take a regional train up to there and then a car.

Stop over can be done easily. TGV from Marseille to Paris (either the station at Disney or Paris town center spending on yr interest) and then again TGV from Paris to London.

I've done both and it can be a bit long but very easy compared to the car.

One word of advice, book yr tickets very early and you will get some fantastic prices (we paid £69 for one way, 1 adult, 1 teenager, 1 child. Much cheaper than any other system)

JammieDodgem Wed 13-Jul-16 21:13:11

Fab advice, thank you! I think driving seems so unappealing we'd end up not going tbh but I quite fancy the train.

We could poss stop
I'm Paris both ways for a night either side and do culture one way and Disney the other...

CocktailQueen Wed 13-Jul-16 21:18:57

Yes, I'd recommend it. We took a train to South of France and Spain last summer, and are doing the same again this year.

You can only book tickets 3 months in advance iirc.

If you change in Paris, I'd recommend getting a cab from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon as the RER B line trains are only every half hour and horribly busy.

La Rochelle is fab too. The aquarium is good, but gets vvv busy.

Bellie99 Wed 13-Jul-16 21:46:55

Train to the south is dead easy! We did it last year with 3 children and worked like a dream. We went to Cannes and would definitely advise a taxi across Paris for ease and stress levels for connections.

JammieDodgem Wed 13-Jul-16 22:23:11

I'm getting into this plan now! Definitely considering a one night stop for eurodisney in a non Disney hotel too.

It's hard to prove up the train this far in advance!

Sadik Wed 13-Jul-16 22:29:44

I've not done south of France (though DH has, and said it was very easy), but I've done train to Spain a couple of times with dd & it's lovely, such a nice way to travel.

Do mark the 1st possible booking dates in your diary - as a pp said you can get very good prices, esp with children.

CocktailQueen Wed 13-Jul-16 22:38:45

Check the sncf website for first booking dates.

It is lovely - travelling at 300 km/h with a cup of tea at your table smile

JammieDodgem Wed 13-Jul-16 23:40:17

Thank you for all this.

I'm not sure why this had not occurred to me before - I've always been put off by the driving. The idea of being able fingers the children, take them to the loo and let them stretch their legs occasionally sounds much better.

LowDudgeon Wed 13-Jul-16 23:59:23

Isn't La Rochelle on the W coast? Or are there 2 of them?

(If it's the W coast one, nearest TGV stop would be Angouleme I think)

LowDudgeon Thu 14-Jul-16 00:04:04

in fact there are direct TGVs to La Rochelle from Montparnasse - even better smile

LifeIsGoodish Thu 14-Jul-16 00:27:38

Consider a different way of travelling by train: overnight. Why waste the night sleeping in a hotel and then use up part of the day travelling, when youcan get the travelling and the sleeping done at the same time?

We took a sleeper train from Paris to the S of F, and it was excellent. We booked a 4-berth couchette cabin for the 3 of us (2- and 6-berth cabins are also available), bought a picnic in Paris and had a lovely, relaxed journey.

MrSlant Thu 14-Jul-16 00:30:27

You can actually book your car on a train and have it waiting at the other end for you if you would rather? I looked into it earlier in the year and you can Eurostar with the car over to France, drive to Paris, put your car on a train and meet it at the other end 24 hours later! Brilliant way to take loads of stuff if you have three children.

JammieDodgem Thu 14-Jul-16 05:29:38

MrSlant - sounds tempting!!

JammieDodgem Thu 14-Jul-16 05:30:08

LifeIs-sounds a great idea and the kids would love it!

BigGreenOlives Thu 14-Jul-16 05:41:13

Please read LowDudgeon's comment & look on a map before you book anything.

JammieDodgem Thu 14-Jul-16 05:57:56

I will, lots if research to do!

they're not especially close to La Rochelle, they're inland by some distance. I'll get in touch with them properly before I plan anything concrete.

JammieDodgem Thu 14-Jul-16 06:02:09

I should have put 'south IN France' not South OF really.

Am loving knowing all is possible though - I've been so put off travelling by driving (and to a lesser extent flying) that the train option is opening up new avenues. Maybe we will go to the south of!! grin

Bellie99 Thu 14-Jul-16 11:13:13

Mr slant - we wanted to do that but they do not accept 4x4's !

Pinkheart5915 Thu 14-Jul-16 11:16:04

Me and dh went on the Eurostar service from London direct to Avingnon it was very good.
I believe they go to Lyon and Marseille as well

Camembertie Thu 14-Jul-16 11:29:50

We've done this a couple of years, but slightly differently. We've done ferry/drove to Paris then put the car on the overnight train and had a lovely night in Paris, then got train/TGV down South. You can do it to Bordeaux or Brive which are likely the most useful for you? We did it to Toulouse one year and got the overnight sleeper train, we are a family of 5 and SNCF in their wisdom but a young single man in the sixth berth rather than any of the rest of the empty compartments in the carriage. None of us got much sleep that night so last year we stayed in Paris and got the TGV to Avignon to meet the car the next day, only 2.5 hours - much better way of doing it and only 180 Euros for 2 adults and 3 children first class (look at idtgv - it's the SNCF trains with separate IDTGV rolling stock added, so much cheaper)

It is great fun, wish we were doing it this year but our times/places didn't work out so well for it

Nyborg Thu 14-Jul-16 11:40:15

We're in the countryside outside La Rochelle at the moment. If you took the long ferry crossing to Caen (Ouistreham), it's only about 4 hours drive down perfectly straightforward motorways. We've done it in a day from Portsmouth very easily, with a 2yo. If you can get to the south coast without too much difficulty, I'd just bite the bullet and drive, and I say that as someone who's often done long French train journeys. If they're not in the town, you'll almost certainly need a car to get a round.

Nyborg Thu 14-Jul-16 11:40:49

Btw, I'd say the opposite if you were going to Provence, for example, but La Rochelle isn't really southern France.

ChoudeBruxelles Thu 14-Jul-16 11:42:07

La Rochelle is on the Atlantic coast. Train to paris then go across to Montparnasse and get the TGV to Nante and hire a car there to drive down.

Camembertie Thu 14-Jul-16 11:58:34

Oh and it depends what station you are going to as to whether you can take 4x4s, it varies

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