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Paris To Biarritz - Advice On Best Travel Option

Discussion in 'Traveling to and from the Camino' started by freetobe, Jan 20, 2017.

  1. freetobe

    freetobe Member

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    After much research I realise even though my flight from HBA-MEL-SIN-CDG (22hrs plus flying) arrives 7:30 am connections are not as fluid as I would have wished. I will be TIRED on arrival CDG. I do not know how long it will take to clear immigration and customs (so many variables including flight arrival, other flight arrivals, immigration on the day). I was hoping not to have to hang around the airport for too long.

    My options appear to be:
    1. EasyJet 15:00 - 16:25 CDG-Biarritz (Down side lots of waiting time at airport but at least a direct flight)
    2. TGV Train Montpanasse - Biarrtiz 10:28-15:46 (direct) (Down side - probably miss it as 1hr 25 mins bus connection from CDG to train and variables on arrival at airport)
    3. TGV Train Montpanasse - Biarrtiz 12.28 - 17:46 (direct) (Down side late arrival as still need to get to accommodation at Bayonne - although it might be just me - feeling that it is late that is. It will be late Sept. when I arrive.)

    My question , finally, is:
    1. Just how tiresome do you think it will be waiting it out at CDG for the flight in the afternoon
    2. Would it be less tiring being on the train

    Bearing in mind I'll be totally stuffed on arrival.
    I really just want to get to Bayonne where I will spend two days getting over jetlag and chilling out.

    Thanks in advance fellow pilgrims.
     
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  2. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    If it were me – After the journey you will have had to get to Paris, then Definitely the EasyJet flight.



    My reasoning’s are

    Although, on paper it does look as though you have a lot of hanging around time, you land at 07.30 and by the time you get off the plane and clear customs and immigration and retrieved you checked in luggage, you will have killed, maybe 2 hours – So that takes you up to 9.30 (Or possibly even later), so a leisurely breakfast will take you up you around 11 and then it’s time to find the easyJet check in (CDG is HUGE, so you might prefer to at least get to the correct terminal for easyJet before taking your breakfast)

    Once you have located the easyJet check in, find a comfortable seat and chill – You could check in online and have a boarding pass sent to your mobile phone while you are waiting – Or doze – Or just people watch – The time will disappear very quickly.

    Then it’s just a short flight to Biarritz and from there a 1 euro bus journey to Bayonne city centre http://biarritz.aeroport.fr/en/access/buses/

    BUT – If it were me, I would be booking my accommodation on the net in advance – booking.com or similar will give you lots of options and a choice of process to fir your budget.

    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
  3. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Freetobe - Wow, a 22 hour flight to Paris! You will definitely be tired! When I arrived at CDG last spring, I simply had a 6 hour overnight flight from Montreal and I was tired enough.

    The only reasonable train to catch is the 12:28 one. You can't count on being on time (although you might be), clearing custons quickly, and catching the shuttle bus into the city to arrive at Montparnasse in three hours, so the 10:28 train is not a good option. High speed train travel in France us great! However, it's still a five hour ride south to Bayonne.

    Under your circumstances, due to the length of your already long trip just to get to France, I'd recommend one of two things. One, as Rob suggested, hang out at the airport and take the Easyjet flight to Biarritz. Using booking.com, you can easily find accomodations in downtown Bayonne near the train station. Go into SJPP the next morning. Be sure to reserve a bed there as well. Two, spend the day/night in Paris. Have you seen the city? After a few hours of sleep, you could spend rest of the day exploring a truly magnificent city and either fly or take the train south the next day. That option would require having an extra day in your intinerary.

    In any case, if you're going the whole distance that first day after arrival to CDG , fly rest of the way as well. Buen Camino!
     
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  4. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Depending on how tired, or jet lagged, you are, I would recommend getting a taxi in Biarritz from the airport to Bayonne where you plan to stay. If you are near a "common" place, there will probably be other hikers on the plane and all of you can share the taxi fare. Hikers are easy to identify as most have a pack and are wearing hiking clothes.
     
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  5. freetobe

    freetobe Member

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    Thank you Rob. I see the reasoning and it may well be the safest option. Or should I say - the most seamless option. I realise the biggest challenge may well be to stay awake and be thinking clearly. Yes I will be booking my accommodation in Bayonne in advance. I plan to spend 2 nights in Bayonne and 1 night in SJPDP. I suspect I will enjoy a bit of a sleep in and rest from travelling for a day. Cheers
     
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  6. freetobe

    freetobe Member

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    Hi Wily. Thank you also for your prompt reply. I think I will take the EasyJet option as recommended by Rob. I feel a bit daunted with seeing Paris on my own so have decided not to go down the path of overnighting there even though I considered it at one point. I think for me the language barrier might be just a little frustrating and intimidating! What I plan to do however, on return is take the TGV train from Barcelona to Paris which will allow me to enjoy the countryside return journey and by that time I may be more confident to tackle Paris (he he). Cheers Janet (Freetobe)
     
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  7. freetobe

    freetobe Member

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    Thanks UnkleHammy - I suspect all I will want to do is get to my accommodation and Taxis do make it so easy. Cheers
     
  8. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Janet - Having lived in Paris, let me try to reassure you that if you do get a chance to visit The City of Lights, it isn't any more overwhelming than any other major city. Even if you don't speak French, you'll do just fine. IMHO, it's one of those must see cities!

    You mention taking the TGV from Barcelon to Paris. It is a great way to see the French countryside particularly if you don't train down to Bayonne at the start of your trip. If you end up looking at other options to get back to Paris and don't plan on spending the night, let me suggest what I'm doing in September. I'm purchasing a multi-destination ticket so I can fly into one city and out of another. So, on the outward leg, I'm flying from Montreal to CDG. Returning, I'm leaving from Barcelona via Paris to Montreal. I looked into taking the TGV from Barcelona to Paris, but since I wasn't planning on spending the night, it was more economical for me to fly. If you go the train route, but your ticket early as prices change considerably the closer you get to your travel date. In case you haven't already visited the RENFE site, here is the link. Buen Camino!
     
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  9. mvanert

    mvanert Member

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    Last June I took Air France for about 60 euros, early morning flight got me into Biarritz by 8am, took shared ride to St Jean and was checking into the pilgrims office around 9. Perfect for me, gave me the day to rest and look around St Jean and off the next morning.
     
  10. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Mike - That's a great price for an Air France flight to Biarritz! Was this a flight out of Orly? In addition to how quickly you got south, you also had the advantage of getting to spend most of the day in SJPP. Even though I bought my SNCF rail ticket well in advance, I still paid more than you did for your flight. Good job!
     
  11. freetobe

    freetobe Member

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    Thanks for the tip re: bkg early for return TGV train Barcelona -Paris. I'm quite keen to do this sector just to get a sense of the countryside other than my walk on the Camino. I was going to leave it until I finished the trip at Santiago but I may just have to lock myself in and be prepared to walk the walk within a timeframe. Cheers
     
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  12. mvanert

    mvanert Member

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    Yes, out of Orly.
     
  13. mvanert

    mvanert Member

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    Mind, the flight left about 6:00 am. It was a good thing I stayed at an Airbnb about 4km from the airport and my host was an employee at Orly! Great people, he took me right to the airport at no charge.
     
  14. Terry Wilson

    Terry Wilson Active Member

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  15. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    FreetoBe - Hi there - this is a favorite subject of mine, but as you will see, I am biased. CDG now has a Yotel, so you could grab a few hours of rest - or at least some private time to breathe - in one of their "microtel" rooms (Terminal 2, I think) if you chose to continue on that same very grueling day. HOWEVER - I'm a big fan of the TGVs (you can now choose your experience with sncf's iDTV options - you can choose either a Zen car or the noisier cars for people who want to be on their cell phones and chatter with their companions. You could've heard a pin drop in the Zen car I took last May - it was heaven.

    But to illustrate why I'm biased, here are some good reasons to take a rest day in Montparnasse - The Hotel Delambre - with very reasonable rates, a nice room, and kind people who speak good English - is 3 blocks from Gare Montparnasse for all of the South/Southwest-bound trains. If you haven't seen that part of Paris, it's a more "neighborhood-ish" part of the city with eye-popping patisseries and an amazing Hammam (Hammam Pacha - within easy walking distance) where they will treat you very well (a black-soaping, steam room, gommage, a massage, and a rest in their meditation room are a perfect way to start a Camino). In case you forgot anything, there is a huge shopping plaza at the base of Tour Montparnasse, where you could also ride the elevator for a look over Paris. Montparnasse has some connection to Brittany and there are several streets full of Breton Creperies. I loved walking the Cimetiere Montparnasse - the locals use it as a pass-through for strolls. The catacombs are also closeby, and if you'd like a longer walk, a stroll in the Jardin de Luxembourg and then on to the big museums and then around along the Seine to La Tour Eiffel is also doable. Happy planning!
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
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  16. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Suzette - Ah, Paris! A city everyone should visit at least once! I, too, like the Montparnasse section of the city very much. If for no other reason than that the Jardin du Luxembourg is less than a 15 minute walk from the gare. Even if one only has a few hours in Paris between landing at CDG and then catching a train, it is a wonderful neighborhood to stroll around for all the reasons you mentioned. For me, this part of Paris is special because it is where Hemingway lived in the early 1920s and where he called home when he wrote The Sun Also Rises. After having walked through Burguete where Hemingway fished and having then stayed in his beloved Pamplona, anyone captured by the romantic notion of Paris in the 1920s that Hemingway wrote about could certainly occupy themselves with a walking tour of his old haunts. There are many good reads about his time in Paris including A Moveable Feast, Hemingway's Years in Paris, A Guide to Hemingway's Paris, and a relatively new biography chronicling the story behind The Sun Also Rises called Everybody Behaves Badly. So, for everyong traveling to or from the Camino, I hope you can spend some time in Paris as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  17. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the huge laugh out of "Everybody Behaves Badly". I read The Sun Also Rises right before my first Camino on the recommendation of a little old man - a Hemingway fan - that I met on a hike out in the mountains where I live. By the end of the book, I felt like I'd just read a very long drunk-journal:0)). The little old man was standing very still, gazing into a fast-moving stream and I was a momentarily worried that he was going to jump in - but, of course, he was watching for trout because, like Hemingway, he was an avid fisherman.

    "The Last Time I Saw Paris" I managed to inadvertently book in at the start of Euro 2016. It was wild with all those sports fans in town.

    I liked Burguete too. It reminded me a little of Bavaria. It was especially good to stumble out of the woods in the dark and find that warm, lively breakfast cafe right there. Pamplona is one of my Camino favorites, although relying on Brierley to get around was frustrating. I got lost so many times I finally got the hang of the place. Cafe Iruna is a gilded Art Nouveau feast, in case anyone finds themselves near the Plaza del Castillo and wanting to experience Pamplona like the locals do. What a place!

    If I remember, you and your wife are doing the Portuguese this year. I was wondering if you have any reservations about all of the road walking warnings. I've considered doing it, but found all those warnings about narrow shoulders and blind curves unnerving. I can get cheap one-way flights from JFK to Lisbon with TAP Portugal without setting a return date. You know - just in case it isn't enough of a hike and at the end it sounds like a good idea to head to Pamplona and start the Frances again:0))!
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
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  18. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Lesley Blume's book Everybody Behaves Badly is really quite a good read for anyone who enjoyed The Sun Also Rises. The book title perfectly fits Hemingway and the other misfit ex-pats hanging out in Paris and Spain. Without saying too much, I enjoyed seeing how art imitated life.

    I think we both found the same breakfast cafe in Burguete. It was a most welcoming spot as I was walking in a cold rain that morning. On my next CF, I'll probably move right on through Roncesvalles and spend the night at the Hostel Burguete and try to reserve the Hemingway room.

    I agree with you about getting back to Pamplona. Although I wasn't ready for a break by Pamplona, I'd encourage pilgrims to take a rest day there both for recovery after coming over the Pyrenees as well as for what Pamplona has to offer the traveler. So many wonderful places for tapas around the Plaza del Castillo including the Iruna. Cafe Gaucho was a favorite of mine!
     
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  19. freetobe

    freetobe Member

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    WowSuzette - just love this post. You have given me much food for thought. I will probably head straight to Biarritz/Bayonne same day but on return from Barcelona to Paris by TGV train I may check out that otel you suggested and associated waking about. Thankyou
     
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  20. James Orrock

    James Orrock Member

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    Thanks freetobe and everybody else. I am flying to CDG from Sydney, Australia late September and was wondering how to make my onward journey to SJPdeP. Your various contributions have been most helpful.
     
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  21. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey James - You'll already find the start to your answer on this thread. I just made the trek from Paris last spring. There are flights south, but I traveled by train. So, let me share how I got there.

    Depending on your arrival time, you may or may not be spending the night in Paris. From CDG catch the Le-Bus Direct into the city. Buses run from the airport directly to the Montparnasse train station for 17€. There are several trains a day to Bayonne. It's about a 5 hour trip by highspeed train. Check out the SNCF website or RailEurope for exact times. Once in Bayonne, it's another 1 hour train ride into SJPP. If you do travel by train, just like with the airlines, the earlier you buy your train ticket, the less expensive it will be.

    Without knowing what time you arrive in Paris, I not able to tell you if you can make it to SJPP the same day. However, if you've never visited Paris, you might enjoy doing an overnight there leaving for SJPP first thing in the morning. Or, if you can get as far as Bayonne, you could overnight there and move on to SJPP the next morning.

    I would recommend that you reserve a bed in SJPP as it can be very busy there. Good luck and Buen Camino!
     
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  22. James Orrock

    James Orrock Member

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    Many thanks for this great information, Wily. If I can secure some decently priced accommodation near Gare Montparnasse I may well stay in Paris for as couple of days as I have never lobbed in the City of Light before. I was thinking to catch a connecting flight to Biarritz from CDG as my high school French is pretty rusty but if I can jump on a quick train to Bayonne from near my digs that would be perfect.

    I am scheduled to arrive at CDG at 0930 hrs local time after a 22 hour flight from Oz so a bit of R&R in Paris might be the way to go. I don't fancy queuing outside the Louvre for several hours though to snatch a glance at the Mona Lisa. The Hotel Delambre and the other cultural / gastronomic delights around Montparnasse spoken about by Crepes4Suzette sound fantastique! Thanks again, everybody.
     
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  23. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey James - Regarding accomodations in Paris, check out AirB&B. When I looked last spring, there were any number of rooms to whole apartments in the Montparnasse section of town at prices better than one would pay at hotels. Having now stayed in a number of the AirB&B rentals around the world, I've become a big fan of how this type of accomodation can particularly make stays in cities much more economical.
     
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  24. El Tejano

    El Tejano New Member

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    I took the train and the AC did not work and everyone was miserable... Just in case you have the choice..
     
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  25. Terry Wilson

    Terry Wilson Active Member

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    Hi Unkle
    You seem to have a lot of good advice. (as do all of you) Wow that was close. Ha Ha.
    On the 12th of Aug, I will fall off a plane from New Zealand after 23 hours in the air one stop one the way.
    My question? Is there reasonable cost accommodation near to the airport, say within walking distance Ha Ha .
    Also where does the train go from, to biarritz is it handy .
    Any help will be accepted will all enthusiasm.
    Thanks God bless.
     
  26. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Read the thread "unusual flight......." in "Camino frances", this is a very similar discussion.
     
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