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2019 Camino Guides

How long does the train from Paris to St Jean take?

Camino(s) past & future
Will be starting at SJPDP on the 16th May 2014
#2
About 7.5-8 hours depends where you get on at CDG or Montparnesse station - and what time of the year - you can look up rails schedules and book online


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mralisn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SdC (2005), Camino Norte-Fisterra (2010), SJPdP-Muxia-Fisterra (2012), Camino Norte w/Primitivo-Muxia-Fisterra (2014), Camino Portuguese (2016)
#4
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#5
How long does it take on the train from Paris to St Jean?
The SNCF/TGV train departs Gare Montparnasse at 12:35. It arrives at Bayonne at 17:32 (Elapsed time @ 5.0 hours)
The SNCF/TER (regional) connecting train to St. Jean Pied de Port departs at 18:06.

However, they typically hold that train as it is the last one of the evening and they KNOW there are pilgrims coming in on the "late" TGV from Paris.

The local train arrives at St. Jean about 19:32 - or about 90 minutes from Bayonne. It is a small, local light rail vehicle that makes several intermediate stops at other villages along the way. There IS a lavatory on board.

Also, you can get sandwiches and soft drinks in the Bayonne train station if the late arrival at St. Jean is after your customary eating schedule.

So, the total, elapsed time from Paris, Montparnasse to St. Jean Pied de Port is about 7 hours, plus or minus.

There are "faster" ways to get to the Bayonne train station, like via air to Biarritz, and bus to the train station. But as there are only about four regional trains from Bayonne to St. Jean daily, it just does not pay to screw around. The longish train ride from Paris is quite relaxing. The French have the train timetables coordinated so this is usually ends up being the smoothest and (IMHO) least stressful way.

I hope this helps.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#7
So it gets more busy in the summer time? Also when is the summer time there and what is the weather like?
I did the Camino last July/August. I thought the weather at that time was great and I was fortunate and it never rained on me once while walking. A couple of nights there was a little rain, but that was after I had gotten to an albergue. I would guess most of the time it was in the 80's during the day. I wore shorts everyday and had some synthetic, running/exercise shirts (Under Armour etc) to wear. One of them was a long sleeve.

Some mornings were kind of chilly, but once you start walking you don't even notice it. Same goes for the evenings. Sometimes, depending where you were, it could get chilly. A lightweight fleece jacket/pullover is nice to have then, but that's all you need during the summer, at least for me it was. And don't forget a good hat and some sunscreen.

Don't be discouraged if it seems kind of complicated to get to SJPDP. If you want to enjoy a train ride across France, catching one from Paris is the way to go, but does take all day especially when you miss your train while switching like I did in Bourdeaux, ha ha. If the train is not for you, regional airlines are pretty cheap and quick.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#8
The schools across Europe typically recess by mid-June and return around the second week in September. This largely parallels schools in the US and Canada. So, basically, once schools are out, there is a surge of college-age students, professors and administrators who have the summer off.

I suppose this accounts for a large tranche of the surge in the number of pilgrims. Also, many Europeans take their traditional long-ish summer holidays during August. So, you have that additional spike in Camino traffic.

In addition, over the past few years, the two "hip" seasons, Spring and Autumn, have become increasingly popular. During this time, one generally finds a higher percentage of older folks, as many are retired and have the time. There are also university-age folks who are in their "gap-year" or between semesters. I've even met recent graduates who were doing the Camino before hitching themselves to the career wagon, as they knew this might be their last chance.

The Spring "hip season" runs from just after Easter - through the end of June. The Autumn "hip season" starts in mid-September and runs into mid-November. After that time, some but not all of the albergues along at least the Camino Frances close for the winter season.
 
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#9
The SNCF/TGV train departs Gare Montparnasse at 12:35. It arrives at Bayonne at 17:32 (Elapsed time @ 5.0 hours)
The SNCF/TER (regional) connecting train to St. Jean Pied de Port departs at 18:06.

However, they typically hold that train as it is the last one of the evening and they KNOW there are pilgrims coming in on the "late" TGV from Paris.

The local train arrives at St. Jean about 19:32 - or about 90 minutes from Bayonne. It is a small, local light rail vehicle that makes several intermediate stops at other villages along the way. There IS a lavatory on board.

Also, you can get sandwiches and soft drinks in the Bayonne train station if the late arrival at St. Jean is after your customary eating schedule.

So, the total, elapsed time from Paris, Montparnasse to St. Jean Pied de Port is about 7 hours, plus or minus.

There are "faster" ways to get to the Bayonne train station, like via air to Biarritz, and bus to the train station. But as there are only about four regional trains from Bayonne to St. Jean daily, it just does not pay to screw around. The longish train ride from Paris is quite relaxing. The French have the train timetables coordinated so this is usually ends up being the smoothest and (IMHO) least stressful way.

I hope this helps.
Do these tickets need to be pre-booked or can they be purchased on the day we plan to use them in mid Sept?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#10
Do these tickets need to be pre-booked or can they be purchased on the day we plan to use them in mid Sept?
In order to ride any SNCF/ TGV train,ie from Paris/Montparnasse to Bayonne, you need a reserved seat. You can book these trains 3 months in advance via this French web site. The earlier you book your seat the cheaper it is. Other web sites are also available but may change a booking fee. However you can also 'wing it' and simply book and purchase the TGV ticket in the station before departure at the full price and as long as there is space available.

For the TER ligne 62 regional train from Bayonne to SJPdP there are NO reservations. However for convenience you can purchase this ticket in advance at the same time that you book/purchase your TGV ticket or simply purchase it when you arrive in Bayonne.

Bon Voyage and Buen Camino,

Margaret Meredith
 
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cynwhite

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances (2014)
#11
Also, check the time tables. I believe that the schedule between Gare Montparnasse (Paris) and Bayonne changes around Easter. I am booked for a 10:25 departure on 21 April.
 
#12
In order to ride any SNCF/ TGV train,ie from Paris/Montparnasse to Bayonne, you need a reserved seat. You can book these trains 3 months in advance via this French web site. The earlier you book your seat the cheaper it is. Other web sites are also available but may change a booking fee. However you can also 'wing it' and simply book and purchase the TGV ticket in the station before departure at the full price and as long as there is space available.

For the TER ligne 62 regional train from Bayonne to SJPdP there are NO reservations. However for convenience you can purchase this ticket in advance at the same time that you book/purchase your TGV ticket or simply purchase it when you arrive in Bayonne.

Bon Voyage and Buen Camino,

Margaret Meredith
Mspath ..... Thank you so much for the info. I'm planning on walking the Camino in Sept/Oct with my brother. I like to plan everything and have everything arranged and orderly. My brother on the other hand likes to just "wing it" every time in every case. I think we will both have to learn to lean more to the middle :) should be interesting!
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#13
I finally got a chance to check the forum. It' s been a busy day. I unpacked, reweighed every item, and repacked my rucksack for next week's departure to France. My packing is a work in progress.;)

As to the train tickets, for someone living in North America, the easiest method is to buy a ticket online at www.raileurope.com. However, and as Margaret (MSPATH) mentions, you can buy the tickets earlier on the SNCF web site, though the site is only available in French. Last year, I bought my tickets from Rail Europe. This year, I bought direct from SNCF. Here are several tips:
  1. If you are at least 60 years old, you qualify for "senior" fares on SNCF. The bottom line is that you can go first class for about the price of an second class ticket for someone 59 or younger. That's what I did this year.
  2. Make sure you contact your bank, or the company servicing the credit card you will use to pay for the ticket. I went through four, different credit and debit cards before I figured out the US side was blocking these transactions as suspect fraud. Once I contacted my Visa office, they placed a note on the account and I told them I would make the purchase in 48-hours. I did, no problem.
  3. If you buy your tickets direct from SNCF, and you plan to take the train all the way to St. Jean Pied de Port, you need to buy TWO separate tickets:
    • The first ticket you need is the SNCF / TGV ticket from Paris to Bayonne. During that transaction you select a seat.
    • The second ticket you need is for the SNCF / TER regional train that runs from Bayonne to St. Jean. It is a sort of light-rail vehicle that only goes up the line to St. Jean (also the end of the line), stopping at several villages along the way. The web site to buy the TER regional ticket is: http://www.ter-sncf.com/Regions/aquitaine/Fr/Default.aspx
    • It is only in French.
I use Google Chrome as my browser so it translates to English on the fly. The TER train in one class, and has no reservations. In both ticket cases, you end up with a printed ticket (on your home printer).

If you buy from Rail Europe, in my experience, I was only able to buy a second class ticket and THEY assigned the seat for the TGV. On the the other hand, I recall having a single, locally-printed ticket to show the conductor.

I hope this helps.​
 
Camino(s) past & future
Will be starting at SJPDP on the 16th May 2014
#14
Is anyone on the train from Paris on the 15th ?


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Kerstinh47

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 16 May - 29 June, 2014
#15
Larry from Sydney-
Good morning from the USA :) God willing, I'll be on a train from Paris to Bayonne the 15th; more than likely the train that departs in the afternoon.

Kerstin
 
Camino(s) past & future
Will be starting at SJPDP on the 16th May 2014
#16
Kerstin we are on the 12.30 train from Montparnesse so we may see you - we will have a suitcase and one if those large red white and blue bags with our back packs in it - see you on the trail


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#17
I finally got a chance to check the forum. It' s been a busy day. I unpacked, reweighed every item, and repacked my rucksack for next week's departure to France. My packing is a work in progress.;)

As to the train tickets, for someone living in North America, the easiest method is to buy a ticket online at www.raileurope.com. However, and as Margaret (MSPATH) mentions, you can buy the tickets earlier on the SNCF web site, though the site is only available in French. Last year, I bought my tickets from Rail Europe. This year, I bought direct from SNCF. Here are several tips:
  1. If you are at least 60 years old, you qualify for "senior" fares on SNCF. The bottom line is that you can go first class for about the price of an second class ticket for someone 59 or younger. That's what I did this year.
  2. Make sure you contact your bank, or the company servicing the credit card you will use to pay for the ticket. I went through four, different credit and debit cards before I figured out the US side was blocking these transactions as suspect fraud. Once I contacted my Visa office, they placed a note on the account and I told them I would make the purchase in 48-hours. I did, no problem.
  3. If you buy your tickets direct from SNCF, and you plan to take the train all the way to St. Jean Pied de Port, you need to buy TWO separate tickets:
    • The first ticket you need is the SNCF / TGV ticket from Paris to Bayonne. During that transaction you select a seat.
    • The second ticket you need is for the SNCF / TER regional train that runs from Bayonne to St. Jean. It is a sort of light-rail vehicle that only goes up the line to St. Jean (also the end of the line), stopping at several villages along the way. The web site to buy the TER regional ticket is: http://www.ter-sncf.com/Regions/aquitaine/Fr/Default.aspx
    • It is only in French.
I use Google Chrome as my browser so it translates to English on the fly. The TER train in one class, and has no reservations. In both ticket cases, you end up with a printed ticket (on your home printer).

If you buy from Rail Europe, in my experience, I was only able to buy a second class ticket and THEY assigned the seat for the TGV. On the the other hand, I recall having a single, locally-printed ticket to show the conductor.

I hope this helps.​
Just the info I needed....thanks!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances August 2014 to September/October
#18
Hi, my husband and I will be walking our first Camino starting August 23. We fly into Paris from Brisbane
Australia and I booked our train tickets before I left with flight Centre. We will be on the 12.30 train to SJPDP from Paris. I would like to book accomodation for when we arrive in SJPDP would really appreciate suggestions
Pam & David
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#19
Hi, my husband and I will be walking our first Camino starting August 23. We fly into Paris from Brisbane
Australia and I booked our train tickets before I left with flight Centre. We will be on the 12.30 train to SJPDP from Paris. I would like to book accomodation for when we arrive in SJPDP would really appreciate suggestions
Pam & David
Pam & David,

Welcome to the Forum!

Are you looking for space in a pilgrim albergue or private tourist accommodation such as a hotel or bed & breakfast (chambre d'hote) ?

Here are three separate listings from the SJPdP Office de Tourisme for
pilgrim albergues, hotels and chambres d'hotes in SJPdP itself.

In SJPdP I always stay in the municipal albergue run by the volunteers of the Amis du Chemin de Saint Jacques. At 55 rue de la Citadelle and recently renovated this is a fine place to stay, but they do NOT take reservations.

However do stop at the pilgrim office of the Amis du Chemin de Saint Jacques at 39 rue de la Citadelle. Their telephone is 05 59 37 05 09. They can provide you with a Credential, helpful info on trail conditions and if needed on site lodging assistance. They keep up to the minute lists of ALL available accommodation space throughout the SJPdP area.

Happy planning and Buen Camino,

Margaret Meredith



MM
 

Adhemar78

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014)
Via Francigena (Lucca to Rome) (2017)
Kumano Kodo (2018)
#20
How long does it take on the train from Paris to St Jean?
The train from Montparnasse Station in Paris to Bayonne direct takes a little over five hours. You then have to get a connecting train from Bayonne to St Jean. The train from Bayonne to St Jean ordinarily takes one hour and 20 minutes, but there were heavy rains in March which caused a landslide that has blocked the line. There is a replacement bus service running from Bayonne to Saint Jean, which takes one hour and 25 minutes. Here's the timetable for the replacement bus (it also shows the timetable for the trains that were running prior to the landslide):
http://telechargement.ter-sncf.com/...ies_jeu_27_mars_nouvel_avis_tcm-11-101460.pdf
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#21
Great information. THanks.

OK Dumb Question........

I checked out the TGV booking site. http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/train-ticket

But when I put in departure from Montparnasse, it asks which one I want. There are three options.
1 et 2 (75)
2 Pasteur (75)
2 Vaurgirard (75)

So what's the difference?
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
#22
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Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#23
Montparnasse actually consists of three train stations. See the map and information on the Bonjour La France website.

Bonjour la France
http://www.bonjourlafrance.com/france-trains/stations/gare-montparnasse-station.htm

French Wikipedia has a good description of the three zones that make up Gare Montparnasse.
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gare_de_Paris-Montparnasse

I think the TGV to Bordeaux and onward to Bayonne leaves from - et 2 which is part of Pasteur Hall.
OK Got it! Bit like Airport Terminals...

I wonder why then, when I was looking at booking from Paris to Bayonne, that it asked me to select which of the three halls I wanted to depart from? :confused:
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
#24
OK Got it! Bit like Airport Terminals...

I wonder why then, when I was looking at booking from Paris to Bayonne, that it asked me to select which of the three halls I wanted to depart from? :confused:
Its a quirk of the SNCF site. I get the same nonsense when I look up information about trains from CDG airport. I'll hazard a guess and suggest its probably something to do with one place having several names or nick names.

Like Pasteur hall also known as Montparnasse 2 or etape 2.

CDG, CDG 2, Roissy etc
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francès 2012
Camino Finisterre 2012
#25
All this traveling to figure out is a lot just to get to st jean. Wish there was a easier way
There is...
Did you now there is a car rental place in SJPdP. This means you also can drop a car that you picked up somewhere else.
 


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