Paris or stay at CDG? - CycleBlaze

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Paris or stay at CDG?

Jacquie Gaudet

We've just booked our flights to and from Paris since it's so much easier than flying to Bordeaux from Vancouver.  We'll take the train from Paris to Bordeax; Al will do the same when he returns and I'll carry on cycling.  Wherever I end up when it's time to come home, I can get to Paris.

We've had our luggage not arrive with us more than once, so we plan to stay two nights before taking the train to Bordeaux.  That way, if our bikes don't make it the same day, it won't be a problem (because I think we'll need to prebook our train tickets if we want to take our bikes on the TGV).

So my question is:  is it better to stay in an airport hotel (we'd assemble our bikes and leave our cases there and stay there again separately before our return flights) for both nights and taking transit into Paris for a day--or should we stay one night in Roissy and move into Paris for the second night?

I guess it depends on the transportation between CDG Airport and Paris and the relative cost of accommodation but those details are kind of hard to figure out from here.

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6 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Jacquie Gaudet

Hi Jacquie,  your question spawned a bit of discussion here at Grampies' central. We don't really have our heads around the whole question, so we'll start with some facts that are just considerations in the whole plan:

1. The train to Bordeaux leaves from Montparnasse Station, which is south of the Seine and darn far (30 km)  from Roissy. That's over an hour by RER and Metro. Also, bikes on RER and Metro is dicey or impossible. We would normally bike into Paris.

2. Leaving any sort of "cases" at hotels is not a given. In London, they wanted 1 pound per day per bag. In Frankfurt at the airport others (Classens) have had good luck leaving bike boxes at a hotel. If "cases" means suitcases, then we would say - why not pack into your panniers? If cases is bike boxes or hard cases, then maybe consider an airline (like Air Transat) that will carry the bikes in plastic bags instead.

3. There is cheap accommodation not far from the airport, but it will be a sterile box with nothing but big roads around. Best to get into wonderful Paris asap!

4. Yes, we think bikes are ok on TGV, with reservation. The trip takes a little over 2 hours. We read that with a slower train it's 3 hours, but every trip we spotted was TGV direct. So bikes will be somewhat of an issue. We do not quite see bike provisions at the online booking sites, so actually appearing at the station well in advance could be a good idea. There are zillions of daily trains (ok, two dozen - one every 44 minutes). The price is about $150 - Canadian dollars per person. Booking well in advance is said to be generally cheaper, though.

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6 months ago
Keith KleinTo Jacquie Gaudet

Hi Jacquie,

I agree with Steve, mostly. What he didn't say was that to take your bike on the TGV it must be in a bag or box disassembled. You cannot roll on, and you must reserve a place for the bike in advance. A good solution is a cloth bike bag that can be folded up small and shipped to a hotel in Paris once you get to Bordeaux. But if Al will be going back to Paris from Bordeaux, then his case at least can stay there and he can reuse it on the return.

Cheers,

Keith

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6 months ago
Karen CookTo Jacquie Gaudet

Hi Jacquie,

For what its worth, whenever I have gone to Europe, and start and end at the same place, I booked 2 or 3 nights at a hotel (or bed and breakfast) close to the airport when I arrive and then 1 night at the same hotel on the night I fly out.  I have never had one say they can't keep my bike box but it is easy enough to find out, just email them and ask.  In fact, when I flew into Munich the hotel kept my full size cardboard box in their luggage room, which made it really easy to pack up on the return trip.  In London I stayed at a B&B that stored my Bike Friday suitcase in the attic.

Coincidentally, I was planning a trip to Paris this summer and looking into hotels like you are (though I changed my mind about the ride and will go another time).  I was looking for a hotel right at the airport because it would be easy to deal with the bike (or lost luggage like you said) but also because it is easy to hop on the Metro and to go to the city if I was not too jet lagged.  Then on the return I would be right at the airport so I don't have to stress about transportation the morning of the flight home.  I don't mind spending a little more on the hotels at the start and finish because I want low stress levels, especially because of the Jetlag unknown.

As for the train, in France I don't take the TVG.  For me the regional trains are fast enough and I can hop on and off with my bike.

Karen

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6 months ago
Jacquie GaudetTo Steve Miller/Grampies

Hi Steve (and Dodie)

I've been looking into booking tickets on the TGV (I'm not limited in time, but my husband is) and since I can buy a ticket from Paris-CDG to Bordeaux with no changes, I think we can leave from Roissy.

I also plan to check about leaving my bike case before I book my hotel--like Karen Cook, I am willing to pay a bit more if necessary to stay somewhere near my arrival airport for a night or two after arrival and again close to my departure airport.  In this case, we will both be arriving and leaving from Paris (because all the changes to get to Bordeaux are sure to lead to delayed luggage).

I plan to reserve my assembled bike on the TGV so I don't have to ship my case from Bordeaux.  Al needs to decide if he is going to assemble/disassemble his bike in Roissy or Bordeaux.  Since mine will be in my Co-Motion case, there's quite a lot of work involved.  Al's bike doesn't have couplers so he will use my Thule RoundTrip Pro XT (or his own if he gets one in time) which is way faster--but triggers oversize and/or bike charges when flying.

Al won't be retired yet so he has just 3 weeks, hence the microplanning.  I'm staying for 2 months!

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6 months ago
Jacquie GaudetTo Keith Klein

Hi Keith

The info I have says you can take an assembled, un-houssed bike on the Paris-Bordeaux TGV but you must have reserved and paid for its spot when you got your ticket.  If I can't manage that, then I guess I'll obtain a housse and send it back with Al.

Jacquie

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6 months ago
Jacquie GaudetTo Karen Cook

Hi Karen

We seem to think alike.  And when I've read your journals, it seems we have a bit more in common...  but I'm now retired from teaching in the Civil Engineering Department at the local Institute of Technology.

We hope to take the TGV because Al isn't retired and has only 3 weeks.   Besides, we've never taken a fast train before!

Jacquie

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6 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Jacquie Gaudet

Well son of a gun - we had no idea there was a TGV station at CDG. But there it is, plain as day  on Google Maps. By the way, it's amazing how Google Maps can sift out from a whole world of possibilities cryptic requests for CDG TGV RER.  It also shows me the airport Brioche Doree, Paul, and LaDuree bakeries, causing me to check my ticket to see how soon I will be there! (Ok, March 19)

If you manage to get a TGV from CDG, store your cases, and put the bikes on the train un-houssed, you will be showing what can be done if you just try, contrary to the cautious pronouncements of the grizzled Grampies and Kleins!

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6 months ago
Jacquie GaudetTo Steve Miller/Grampies

Well, I didn't manage to book a TGV ticket for my bike.  So plan B will be taking our encased bikes on the train and assembling them in Bordeaux, from whence Al will bring my case back with him (stuffed with his gear, of course) and leave it for me at our CDG hotel.

That (the hotel) we've booked.  We are paying a little more to stay at the Holiday Inn Express (same as we did in Geneva in 2016) and they are happy to store my case.  I think we will be too jet-lagged to notice any lack of ambience in our room.

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6 months ago
Karen CookTo Jacquie Gaudet

Great minds think alike.

Have a great trip!  Be sure to write a Journal about it.

Karen

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5 months ago