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Aussie first timer - rail travel advice


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I've had a bit of a troll through the forum, but couldn't see a posting on my query. I will be walking the Camino Frances in June / July 2007. I am seeking information on travelling from Paris to the starting point of St Jean Pied de Port. My flight takes me directly to Paris (Charles de Gaulle international). I am now planning the Paris - border stage, and am intending to take the TGV train from CDG airport to Bayonne, and then a local train to St Jean. Has anyone recently completed this stage? Any suggestions? Is it necessary to pre book the train ticket, or can it be purchased on the day? All help gratefully accepted. Dave
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French TGV trains are book-in-advance with reserved seat trains so better use; typically reservations open 90 days before date of travel (though it might be 120) and if you are want a specific train you should get cracking

No need to book in advance for the local train to SJPP


New Member
I am planning the same route and after researching it decided to fly from Paris to Biarritz rather than take the train. I found an Air France flight that makes a good connection with my arrival in Paris and gets me into Biarritz much earlier than I would get there on the train. The cost is slightly more but worth it to me since it saves the hassle of going into Paris, changing stations, etc.
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I don't know if they've sorted this glitch out now but a few years ago I almost missed my train when I'd booked the TGV in advance.

I got to Gare Montparnasse, and tried to get my ticket from the machine - they ask you to insert the credit card used to make the booking. The machine wouldn't recognise my (non-French) card, so I had to go to the ticket office, queue, explain myself, explain myself again, and ended up running the length of the station to catch the train.

So - either leave plenty of time, or make sure you go straight to the ticket office and don't use the machines.


Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(2006) Roncesvalles to Leon (2007) Leon to Compostela
It's easiest to book TGV tickets through (French Rail), click on the Union jack at bottom of page. Bookings cannot be made more than 90 days in advance.

You'll find that there are really good specials called PREMS, often 1/2 price, when booking on SNCF. And the beauty of booking TGVs here is that usually you can print your own ticket at home.
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New Member
Thanks for the info - new query re swiss army knife

Thanks for all the replies, it has made the planning that much easier. As I have quite a bit of time up my sleeve, I'm happy to transit via rail rather than air, and with TGV running from CDG airport it should be a pretty painless process.
I have just heard on the rumour mill that TGV prohibits carrying a bladed implement like a swiss army knife in baggage on the train. I'm rather attached to mine mainly due to the scissors and can opener which I use almost daily when travelling, and don't want to lose it. Has anyone any experience with this? Being an aussie we don't have any such security issues with trains, only air travel. I've checked the TGV website, but couldn't find anything on the topic.
Thanks for any advice on the query.


Active Member
SCNF bookings

I booked our train tickets online and they post the tickets to you (to the UK at least) at no additional cost. They arrived very quickly. I understand they need cancelling at the station when we get there. But, easier I think, than waiting to collect them at the station - especially since time may be tight.

However, I am worried about this news about knives etc. Does anyone know any more?
there's never been any baggage check on TGV trains that I've been on. It's possible they might introduce something temporarily due to a specific security alert, but over the longer term it would be completely impractical.

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