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Versailles -> Mont St Michel by train?

westside,1
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Versailles -> Mont St Michel by train?

I've researched all the other legs of our trip via public transportation but have not been able to find solid information on how to get to Mont St Michel from Versailles. I'm hoping someone might be able to point me in the right direction!

Our itinerary so far is to arrive on a Monday morning at CDG, take the train from CDG to Paris, transfer at St Michel/Notre Dame to C5 and arrive in Versailles at Rive Gauche. We will be staying in a nearby hotel for 2 nights.

On Wednesday around noon we will be heading to Mont St Michel for an overnight. Originally I thought we might have to take the train back to Paris and then catch a different train to Rennes, but it looks like the line leaving from Gare Montparnasse passes through Versailles via Versailles Chantiers station, but I have not been able to figure out if the train to Rennes will be stopping there or not. I know there are only 4 trains a day from Gare Montparnasse to Rennes, and according to raileurope.com there is one that leaves from Paris at 12:25pm, but nothing from Versailles.

Will we have to buy our tickets for Rennes a few days in advance or can we buy the tickets the day of? I don't clearly know the differences between all the rail lines and companies in France yet.

As I understand it, once I figure out how to get out to Rennes by train, there will be a bus to catch for the last 90 minutes of the trip out to the Mont. We will be staying overnight at Hotel Vert near the causeway. We plan to see the Mont at night and the next morning and catch the bus -> Rennes -> Paris probably around noon or early afternoon. We will then be spending the remaining 8-9 days in Paris where things will be much simpler =)

Thanks for any help!

London, UK
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1. Re: Versailles -> Mont St Michel by train?

Long distance trains do not stop at Versailles Chantiers. You could catch a train from Verseilles Chantiers to Le Mans and there change to a TGV to Rennes. However it would almost certainly be easier and probably quicker to backtrack to Paris and catch the direct TGV train from Montparnasse to Rennes. Whichever route you take, you stand a better chance of lower prices on the TGVs by buying the tickets in advance using either www.voyages-sncf.com (in French) or www.tgv-europe.com. The latter is in English but you are advised to give your country as, say Antarctic in order to avoid getting flipped to Rail Europe.

Paris, France
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2. Re: Versailles -> Mont St Michel by train?

Do not use RailEurope as it usually does not list all the trains and normally has higher prices than the official rail websites. Use the websites listed above by railtraveller and buy your tickets up to 3 months in advance for the cheapest prices. You can compare RailEurope prices against the official websites but you are much more likely to get a better deal from the official rail sites, as well as finding more available trains. Here is a website that will tell you how to navigate the TGV website:

www.nickbooth.id.au/Tips/FrenchTrain.htm

As an example, looking at trains leaving from Paris to Rennes using the 27th of July as a sample date, when I check the official website I see 13 trains leaving from Paris for Rennes between the hours of 7AM and 5PM. The average time takes from 2 hours 10 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes.

Once you arrive in Rennes you'll take the bus to MSM. If you look at the official website for MSM you'll find info about the bus schedules:

ot-montsaintmichel.com/en/Acces-au-mont-sain…

www.destination-montsaintmichel.com/?lang=en#

Metro Vancouver
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3. Re: Versailles -> Mont St Michel by train?

"I don't clearly know the differences between all the rail lines and companies in France yet".

There is only ONE railway company for all the passengers trains WITHIN France, the SNCF (literally meaning "society for the national paths of iron").

It isn't entirely true, as there are some small regional companies that will operate a historical railway or a train to a special touristic area, both only running a relatively short distance, but for all intent and purposes, the SNCF is the big cheese.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNCF

There are 6 rail stations in Paris, each one for a specific area of the country:

…wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_railway_stations…

A very informative site is parisbytrain.com

parisbytrain.com/gare-montparnasse-photo-tou…

Edited: 26 July 2012, 12:29
Andrésy, France
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4. Re: Versailles -> Mont St Michel by train?

"society for the national paths of iron"

Is that a Google translation? A more logical translation would be "French National Railway Company"

Société = Company

Association = Society

Tampa, Florida
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5. Re: Versailles -> Mont St Michel by train?

Chemin de Fer -- paths of iron

Literal, if not very sensical.

westside,1
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6. Re: Versailles -> Mont St Michel by train?

Thanks for all the help!

That paris by train site is awesome. Especially helpful are the photo walkthrus of the station, would have been great to have something like that for the Tokyo train stations =)

I think I understand the distinctions between TGV, RER and metro now.

I was afraid I might have to backtrack to Paris from Versailles to head to Mont St Michel, but it looks like the quickest solution So then would it be easier to take the RER C5 line back to Paris and transfer at St Michel to Metro line 4 to Gare Montparnasse (Champs de Mars to line 6 looks like a long hike with luggage)? Or would it be better to catch a taxi to Versailles Chantiers and catch a train back to Gare Montparnasse if that's possible?

Also another question about the buses to Mont St Michel - I assume they are equipped to deal with luggage (probably 2 rolling carry ons or large carry on types) either in the front of the bus or in a luggage storage area?

Paris, France
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7. Re: Versailles -> Mont St Michel by train?

If you've got luggage that you don't like lugging around then go direct from Versailles-Chantiers to Gare Montparnasse so there are no transfers. You should learn how to use some of the official train websites. Here is an interactive map of the Paris métro/RER network:

www.ratp.fr/plan-interactif/carteidf.php…

Perhaps the easiest website for you to use for a journey from Versailles-Chantiers to Gare Montparnasse would be www.transilien.com, where you'll find times and prices for this journey. This train will take between 12 minutes and 25 minutes to reach Gare Montparnasse (depends on the train) and costs 3.25€.

You should be able to find info about the luggage capacity of the MSM shuttle buses on the website below. It's the shuttle website but I haven't looked at it myself to see what they say about luggage on the buses. Your hotel should be able to answer that question if it's not found on the website:

http://accueilmontsaintmichel.fr/#

westside,1
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8. Re: Versailles -> Mont St Michel by train?

Thanks! That interactive map is the one I've been using to research the train lines and is the most useful.

Metro Vancouver
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9. Re: Versailles -> Mont St Michel by train?

Logic has nothing to do with it..."chemins de fer" is a lovely name and so is "paths of iron" rather than the pedestrian--so to speak--railways....

Edited: 27 July 2012, 13:20
London, UK
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10. Re: Versailles -> Mont St Michel by train?

Chemin de Fer is in many ways similar to the American railroad. The significance of the Fer, is that before railways as we know them were developed, the use of tracks to carry bulk goods for short distances, say from a quarry or mine to a river or canal, was widespread but initially used wooden rails. France was not the only country in which the material of which the rails are made is used in the equialent word for railway - perhaps an understandable early resistance to a straight translation of the English expression.