Monthly Archives: May 2008

Paris Gare de Lyon to Fontainebleau-Avon Train Schedule

By | May 26, 2008 | in Schedules

Below is the train schedule/timetable (valid till December 14, 2013) for Paris-Gare de Lyon to Fontainebleau-Avon on the Transilien Ile-de-France train network. If you’re looking to travel to INSEAD Business School or to Chateau Fontainebleau this is train line for you.  The train is actually known by its terminus stations either the Moret, Montereau or Montargis and your stop is Fontainebleau-Avon.

On weekends only there is a special stop made for accessing hiking & rock climbing/bouldering in the forests of Fontainebleau.  The train stop is named: Fontainebleau Forêt and runs only in the outbound direction from Paris Gare de Lyon train station towards Moret, Montereau/Montargis, departing once an hour at 8:19, 9:19, 10:19, 11:19, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays only.

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For detailed train travel instructions, see Paris to Fontainebleau-Avon by Train.

Paris RER Map

By | May 26, 2008 | in Maps RER

Paris RER Map

Here is a detailed map of RER A to RER E lines in and around Paris and its surrounding suburbs. Unlike the Paris metro system which covers only 2 Zones, the Paris RER trains cover 5 Zones all around Ile-de-France, the province which contains Paris.

The Paris Regional RER train system connects major tourist destinations and ports of entry to the heart of Paris, near St. Michel – Notre Dame.

Popular RER Routes

Download Paris RER Map (PDF) (courtesy of RATP)

Paris to Montereau by Train

By | May 17, 2008 | in Attractions


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 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:

  • Laroche-Migennes
  • Montereau
  • Sens

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


PDF map of Gare de Lyon

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Paris to Chateau Versailles by Train

By | May 8, 2008 | in Attractions RER RER C

See also ParisByTrain Article: Paris to Chateau Versailles Walkthrough.


Line => RER C (yellow)

Direction => Versailles-Rive Gauche

Arrival Station => Versailles-Rive Gauche (Zone 4, 4,10€ as of January 2013)


From Paris you can take a suburban “RER C” train to within 5 minutes walk of Chateau Versailles, ending at station Versailles-Rive Gauche.

Start your trip by going into any metro/RER station that you find around the city, which will be marked with a blue sign with an M or RER surrounded by a circle. From time to time you’ll see the metro marked only by the old style art deco Metropolitan signs. Take note of the station name when inside.

Metro and RER station entrances at St Michel - Notre Dame

Your goal is to get to the RER C line, the yellow line that serves the western half of the Parisian suburbs. If you’ve got a day or week pass that’s good for at least Zone 4, skip this paragraph, else visit a ticket window in the station to purchase special ticket, since Versailles is in Zone 4, outside the coverage of normal Paris Metro/Bus/RER Ticket t that you would get for traveling within Paris. At the ticket window or guichet [Gee-Shay] don’t panic. There’s a 50/50 chance the worker will speak English quite well and if not, they’ll understand “Chateau Versailles” [Shah-Tow Vher-Sigh]. Normally the metro worker will ask you whether you want a return ticket, by asking “Aller Rétour?” [Alleh-Ray-Tour] (or by making hand signs), which is simply two of the single tickets. Each ticket is currently (January 2013) 4,10€ so 8,20€ for a return trip. Tip: don’t expect that your credit card will work at the ticket window. Many North American credit cards will simply not work at RATP/SNCF credit card machines so have cash on hand and don’t expect to use that 50 euro note either. Small bills or coins are best. Go ahead and buy Aller-Rétour return tickets to save a bit of time (unless you plan on sneaking off the tour path at the chateau and spending the night there).

Once past the turnstiles find the Metro map or plan [plon] to see where you are in relation to the yellow RER C line. If you happen to be at St. Michel/Notre Dame, Tour Eiffel (plus a few others) you’re already on the RER C line, all you need to do is find the right train platform. Many stations throughout Paris serve several different metro lines and RER train lines all within the same station. This means a single station can have several vertical levels plus many different platforms going in opposite directions. This may sound confusing, but it follows a pattern that you’ll quickly master: All RER lines are letters, A to E, all Metro lines are numbers 1 to 14. All lines have a terminus station, i.e. the last station on the line. Every train and metro platform will mark which line you’re on and which direction the train is going, which is the terminus station. If you are not already at a station which serves the RER C line, play snakes and ladders with the metro/RER lines on the map to see how you can get to the closest RER C station.

Once you’re at an RER C station, follow the overhead signs and wall signs towards the RER C Versailles-Rive Gauche platform. What may be confusing is that there may be other names on the sign along with Versailles-Rive Gauche for other terminus stations along the same line. For example, you may see an RER C sign that shows the direction/terminus station as Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Versailles-Chantiers, Versailles-Rive Gauche, all on one sign. As long as the terminus station is not before the station you want (in this case Versailles-Rive Gauche), you can take the line since it’s going in the right direction.

Once you’ve arrived at the RER platform you’ll see overhead signs along side the rails which show a plethora of station names, each possibly lit with a yellow square before the name. If the name is marked with a yellow square, the next train that arrives will stop at that station. Look for the station that you want, Versailles-Rive Gauche. If the name is not on the board, check the other side of the platform, which is going in the opposite direction.

When the train arrives, the doors will not open automatically; Someone on the train, or you, must press the green or silver button on the door to open it.

Once on the train, if you’ve taken the right train, you won’t need to keep track of the stations since Versailles-Rive Gauche will be the last station on the line and everyone will be getting off.

After arriving at the terminus station, look for blue “Sortie” signs which mark exits for the station. Eventually each of them will have a name marking what street it gives access to. On occasion a landmark or sight such as Tour Eiffel or Chateau Versailles will be marked on the exit sign as well, highlighted in beige. Pick an exit and look out for brown street signs pointing in the direction of the Chateau. With any luck, you’ll find one for Chateau Versailles, which is just a five minute walk from this station. Enjoy your visit.


Paris Train Travel: a how to guide…

By | May 7, 2008 | in Attractions

Train travel in Paris is the easiest and cheapest way to get around the city and the sights surrounding it.

This blog is the start of a Paris Train Travel book where I’ll show you how to navigate the complex and comprehensive network of trains throughout this beautiful busy city.

How to use Paris Train Guide

Each chapter or blog post will focus on a single subject or part of the vast network of trains that cover Paris’ inner districts (arrondissements), the surrounding suburbs and major cities across the country.

If you’re looking for information on a particular part of the train system, just go directly to that post by checking the tags on the left hand side of the blog or by searching on the name, for example: Gare de Lyon, day passes, etc.