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A Photo Guide to the SNCF/TGV Trains at Paris’ CDG Airport – Updated

The Barefoot Blogger is at it again. Lost! But this time, I confused readers of the blog. Je suis désolé

An email arrived from a reader which said:

I read your post on the CDG TGV back in June before we visited and tried to follow your instructions for our transfer to the train. I just wanted to let you know in case you wanted to post a correction to that blog entry for other travelers as there may be some confusion. It would be awful for someone to miss their train if they went all the way to Terminal 2G! The TGV is in Terminal 2, but between 2C/2D and 2E/2F. It is actually very convenient to any flights arriving in Terminal 2, except for 2G, which is the furthest away of all Terminals. I don’t understand why 2G is not called Terminal 4!

 

So here’s the updated version…

“Gare” = Train

The first thing for non-French speakers to know when looking for a train station is the word for “train station”  in French. It’s  “GARE. ” If you plant that into your brain, you can read the signs.

Next you should know that SNCF and  TGV  train lines run out of the same station at the CDG airport. They go from there to almost anywhere in Europe. Those acronyms should also go on file in your head because you need to watch for them on the signs along the way.

International arrivals

 

 

charles_de_gaulle_airport_map_paris

A better map of CDG airport from the Internet

The most important thing for you to remember is that the train station (GARE) is in between Terminal 2 (A)(B)(C)(D)  and Terminal 2 (E)(F) 

GARE at CDG airport

GARE at CDG airport

 

Arriving Terminal 2  A-F

You have it made. Head for GARE on “Niveau 2”.

 

CDG Terminal 2 and SCNF/TGV

CDG Terminal 2 and SCNF/TGV

Arriving Terminal 1 or Terminal 3

If you arrive at Terminal 1 or Terminal 3,  you have to take the shuttle from “Aeroport CDG 1” at Terminal 3 to “Aeroport CDG 2-TGV (see below)

Shuttle from Terminal 1 and 2 to the GARE at CDG Airport

Shuttle from Terminal 1 and 3 to Terminal 2 and TGV at CDG Airport


 

From Terminal 3 this is one of the entrances to the shuttle. The sign is near a rack of baggage carts.

You have to go down an escalator here. (Hope you don’t have too many bags. I have no idea where there’s an elevator.)

IMG_0023

Entrance to the GARE shuttle from inside Terminal 2B

 

After the Shuttle

 

When you exit the shuttle, signs for “Gare SNCF” will show you the way to the train station. This is a multi-level building. The station and trains are on the lower levels. See map of CDG Terminal 2 and SCNF/TGV above.

IMG_0027

Take a left when you pass Paul’s 
If you have plenty of time and you’re hungry, stop and eat. There aren’t many choices for food beyond here.

 

IMG_0011

When you round the corner from Paul’s you’ll see this huge board. Never mind it. Look for the nearest “down” elevator.

 

IMG_0019

 

Downstairs looks like this.

IMG_0021

If you’ve made it here, you’re almost there!

Look for the Departure and Arrival signs that list destinations in France and Europe.  (Trains leave this same station for destination inside Paris, so be certain you’re looking at the correct sign.)

Have a seat and wait for 20 minutes until it’s time for your train. That’s when they post the platform where you board. If you don’t see the name of your destination right away, don’t worry. The train must be within 20 minutes of so from the terminal to show up on the board. 

If you miss your train, like I did, you’ll need to look for the SNCF information office. It’s on this floor and the entrance is well-marked. The information agents help with TGV, too. Be sure to grab a ticket when you walk in the door, or you’ll never be served. The line moves quicker than you think, so don’t take a ticket and walk out. 

BUY INSURANCE – It’s really cheap to purchase trip insurance when you make your original purchase, especially when you’re coming in from an international flight.

If you miss your train, you’ll get a full refund deposited into your bank. Unless you have lots of time at the station, don’t worry about getting a refund on the spot. The attendant at the information office will help you buy a new ticket and you can get a refund for the missed train from the insurance company later. Ask for a duplicate of your new ticket so that you can send it to the insurance company if they request it. You have five business days to file for a refund.

SNCF Information at CDDG


How to find the right train car. 

Since I make every mistake possible, I’m going to assume you’re as uninformed as I am about trains and how to board them.

On the ticket pictured below I’ve circled the train car number and the seat number. VOITURE = CAR #         PLACE ASSISE =  SEAT #

“Depart” and “Arriv” are self explanatory — except remember you’re on a 24 hour clock!

 

IMG_2687

 

All that’s left to know is the platform where you meet the train. You find that out from the board inside the terminal about 20 minutes before the train’s arrival. (See above.)

Assuming you’ve found the correct platform, you’ll find electronic displays on the platform indicating where each car of the train will be located for boarding. You can use this chart to find the mark on the platform corresponding to the car you would like to board. Don’t hesitate to ask another passenger or railway agent for help. Even if the person doesn’t speak English, you can show them the “car” and “seat” number on your ticket and they’ll point the way.

First class or second?

I like to pass on budget-conscious tips to others when I can. Having traveled in France by train, both first and second class, there are a few distinct differences: crowds, space, noise. Everytime I’ve traveled first class I’ve had a place that seats four all to myself. This time, on second class, all four seats were filled. There were also lots of children and babies.

If you can deal with these differences, the cost of second-class vs. first class is sometimes as much as half. They both arrived at the same place at the same time. 

 

Second class train car Paris to Avignon

Hope this has been helpful.   

For more information, this TGV post has more photos, videos and explanations

Stay tuned for more adventures traveling in France! 

 

 

11 replies »

  1. We will be traveling to CDG Airport next month. I’m glad I found your post. We’ll be traveling on the RER B to the Metro Line 2 then Line 13 to get to Marie de Clichy. Can we buy tickets for the train as well as the metro in the train station once we arrive?

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    • Janice I have never bought Metro tickets at CDG but I understand you can. I’m staying near where you’ll be because I’m on Metro Line 13, too. I used it yesterday to get to my meeting place for the ride to Château de Ville d’Alvrsy. It’s a breeze. I took a taxi when I arrived at CDG because I didn’t want to haul my stuff on a train. Have fun on your visit!

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  2. Deborah this is fantastic and should be made available for all travelers!!! I personally thought your first map was great as it defined all the words and signs that it made moving about the airport simple and easy by just following the signs–good job!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Next time I go back through CDG I’ll take more photos. I know how it feels to be exhausted and then to try to figure out how to get around in airports. Glad you think this might help. Thanks for writing to me and so happy you enjoy the posts.

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  3. If anyone is staying in France for a while or will be doing a lot of traveling and you are over 60, get a senior carte, you will save a lot of money and sometimes first class is just a few Euros more than second class

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful, wonderful post! It is VERY confusing to find the TGV trains in the Charles de Gaulle airport and this guide will be very helpful to even the most experienced travelers. I help people plan trips to Paris and Provence and I will use it often. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope not too many people were lost from the previous post. I really researched this one hoping to make up. I’m so glad it will be helpful to you and your guests. Let me know if there are others routes you might need to know. Thanks for writing to me!

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