Departure station => Paris-Gare de Lyon
Line => SNCF Ile-de-France / Transilien / RER
Direction => Montereau / Sens / Laroche Migennes
Arrival Station => Montereau (Zone 5, 9,40€)
First Train / Last Train => 05:57 / 22:46 (see notes)
To fastest way to get to Montereau from Paris is to take a Transilien train from Paris-Gare de Lyon to Gare de Montereau, which takes from 55 to 65 minutes.
Start by finding the schedule for Paris to Fontainebleau trains at Transilien.com. Search for trains leaving from station Gare de Lyon, in Paris, going to destination city Montereau, without specifying the destination station. Frequency of trains from Paris to Montereau can range from 20 minutes apart during rush hour to 1 hour 30 minutes apart during quiet periods of mid-morning, mid-afternoon and late at night.
Unless you have a ticket Mobilis (day pass) / Passe Navigo Découverte / Paris Visite card good for all 5 zones, you’ll have to buy a special billet Ile-de-France [bee-yah Eel-duh-franz] for this train. This can be done only at the SNCF Ile-de-France ticket window just west of the Blue platform, or at the blue, boxy ticket vending machines (Billetterie Ile-de-France), just outside the building, further west of the ticket window. Most of the ticket windows and vending machines in Gare de Lyon only sell tickets for the Grandes Lignes trains, which depart for cities outside of the main Parisian/Ile-de-France area, so don’t make the mistake of lining up in one of these queues as they won’t be able to sell you the ticket you need.
At the ticket window, simply ask for “Montereau Aller-Rétour” [mon-tuh-row alleh-ray-tour]. You’ll get two tickets, one for each direction, for about 17€. You’ll have to pay by cash unless you happen to have a smart-card / Euro credit card. North American credit cards will most likely not work at any SNCF ticket window nor ticket vending machine, so keep some cash handy.
With tickets in hand it’s time to find out which platform your train will depart from. At Gare de Lyon there are two platforms, Blue and Yellow. The blue zone or platform is marked with lanes or “voie” that are letters A to N, ascending from left to right, on signs with a blue background. The yellow zone or platform has lanes that are numbered from 5 to 23, in ascending order from right to left, with signs in yellow.
Trains leaving for Fontainebleau can be on either platform, on any lane so find the Gare de Lyon Departures board at either one of the platforms (taking care not to mistake it for the Arrivals board, also available at each platform). What you’re looking for on the board is the terminus station, i.e. the last station that the train will stop at, which may not necessarily be Montereau. Your train will be one of the following:
The board will note the train number (useless information), the terminus station (any one of the four noted above), time of departure, and which platform and lane. At the right hand side you’ll see a blue or yellow square. This corresponds to which platform your train will leave from, Blue or Yellow. The number or letter for the lane will often not be marked on the board until 15 minutes before the train leaves, but make your way to the correct platform before that. At the right platform you’ll notice a crowd of people staring at the big black Departures board. What they’re waiting for is the lane number or letter to appear on top of the yellow or blue square, denoting exactly which lane the train will depart from. During busy hours, once that lane letter or number is posted, there is a hurried rush towards the train parked in that lane. If you wish to have a seat for the hour long ride, be one of those people.
To double check that you’re on the right train, take note of the television or LCD displays at the beginning of the train “voie” (lane). The display will show each stop the train will make on its journey. One of them should be Montereau. If that stop isn’t listed, check the Departures board and find the correct lane for your train.
The train, once underway will often make several stops before arriving at Montereau, so be sure to check which station you’re at before jumping off. The stops are generally Melun, after 25 minutes, then Bois-le-Roi, Fontainebleau-Avon, Thomery, Moret, St. Mammés, and finally Montereau.
When arriving, if you happen to be the first at the door, look for the door button as the doors do not automatically open. Don’t be surprised if the doors are a bit sticky and require some encouragement (pushing) to get fully open.
Enjoy your trip.
The schedule for trains going from Paris to Montereau change depending on day of the week, holidays, special periods of the year and special days of the year. In general the first train of the day is 5:57am, the last train is 10:46pm. On Sundays and holidays, the first train leaves Paris-Gare de Lyon at 6:31am. You can always verify train times at Transilien.com.
PDF map of Gare de Lyon