8/30 Navigating the trains for a weekend trip from Paris

While I love the city, any city—as I get older, I find I am called to the countryside. Today I’m at Montparnasse station heading South to check out a potential future retreat location for my Mastermind class of 2024.

The train system in Europe is great. The cars are clean. The train is fast. Within 2 hours, I’ll be at my destination. Some tips if you want to take the train for a weekend trip outside Paris.

1. RailEurope.com is your friend. That’s where you buy your outbound and inbound ticket online. You can book “upper deck” or “lower deck” The cars are numbered and the seats are numbered. You get an email confirmation with a bar code that you present when boarding. Note you will present this ticket at a small turnstile before you enter your respective platform.

2. Know which train station. Paris has several train stations. Depending on which direction you are going, you head to that respective train station. So for example, I’m heading South today. South bound stations leave from “Gare Montparnasse.” If I was heading north, I would leave from “Gare du Nord.” I went to Google maps, put in the destination train station and it spit out the train of origin for me.

3. Arrive at the station early. I’m always early. I like to get the lay of the land. Understand how the departure and arrival boards work. The departing train platform is announced on the board *20 minutes* before the train departs. So for example, my train leaves at 1108. At about 1045am my platform was announced.

4. Announcements are in French. Once on board, the announcements are all in French, so I hope for the best. Google translate is always on my phone if I’m in a pinch and need to speak to someone urgently.

5. Arrange for transfer. Uber isn’t going to service me in the deep French countryside. I ain’t driving. I had my fill in Italy. I arranged with the spa and hotel ahead of my arrival for a taxi. The driver will meet me at the destination station with a card with my name on it. They gave me very specific instructions on how to locate him and gave him my phone number.

I’m scoping out a location for a future Mastermind retreat. IM currently enrolling for my 2024 Mastermind. Join the waitlist here

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