Ski resorts by train

Crossing Paris by RER

Tue 25 February, 2020


Daniel Elkan

I recently travelled back from the wonderful resort of La Clusaz, by train. The closest station to La Clusaz is Annecy, from where there are several direct TGVs to Paris, a journey of four hours. Very nice, and very easy. 

The TGV from Annecy arrives at Paris Gare de Lyon.  To reach the UK I needed to cross Paris to Gare du Nord, from where I'd catch the Eurostar back to London. Travelling by myself, I chose to take the RER.  

TThe RER is a bit like the Paris Metro, just a slightly different suburban underground train.  Paris Gare de Lyon to Paris Gare du Nord is only two stops, and the travel time on the RER is only ten minutes.

I thought it would be useful to time the journey, between the TGV arriving at Gare de Lyon, and me reaching the Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord, in order to provide an example of how long it takes to transfer this way.

I'd bought my RER ticket from one of the ticket machines located by the RER. It costs 1.90€ and you can pay by cash or card.  Eurostar sell 'carnets' of 10 from their cafe bar, by the way, if you are travelling the other way and there are enough of you to make it worthwhile.

RER trains come about every six minutes. I boarded the RER with my snowboard and bags. Read my book for ten minutes. And then the RER arrived at Gare du Nord.  Pretty simple.

The thing about the RER, unlike the Metro, is that you never need to haul your luggage down or up any stairs. There are lifts and escalators throughout. You just have to look for them and not start walking up the first set of stairs that you see.

I looked at my watch.  It had taken me 42 minutes between the TGV arriving, and me entering the bosom of the Eurostar check in welcome desk.  Since I've done it before, I am probably faster than the first-timer at navigating.  But I did stop to take photos, which probably added to my journey.  Plus I had a lot of luggage for one person, because I don't know how to pack light!

You can find out more about how to change station in Paris in our various guides:

How to change from Paris Gare du Nord to Paris Gare de Lyon
How to change from Paris Gare de Lyon to Paris Gare du Nord
How to change from Paris Gare du Nord to Paris Gare d'Austerlitz
How to change from Paris Gare d'Austerlitz to Paris Gare du Nord

The excellent Seat61 website also has a video showing how you cross using the RER from Paris Gare du Nord to Paris Gare de Lyon.