A Trip To Paris
The TGV is under an hour from Le Mans to Paris (55 minutes). Le Mans station is about an hour from La Goupillère but allow some extra for parking and hold-ups.
Parking is easy at Le Mans, right outside the station (south side) but if you're going to Paris do not park in the over-ground short-stay car park unless you are a secret millionaire. There's a reasonably priced long-stay underground car park underneath the short-stay one.
From Le Mans to Paris (Montparnasse) there are trains about every half hour at the times you are likely to want to travel, i.e. early(ish) morning.
Returning from Paris to Le Mans in the evening is trickier. As best as we can make out the schedule is 18:53, 19:08, 19:53, 20:08 *, 20:24 *, 21:23, 22:08 * (* Friday only ?). This makes a certain sense but you will have to play around with the booking system to see what's actually available. On this - you absolutely must pre-book your seats! Prices depend on when you book and availability and can range from about £17 to £35 each way. You can just turn up at the station and buy tickets but if you do so be prepared to be disappointed that you can't get on the next train and you will also pay a lot more. The TGV trains are popular and relatively cheap compared to the UK so it's not surprising they are often packed. The good news is booking is easy from the UK - just go to..... http://www.raileurope.co.uk/book
If you haven't travelled in France by train before, talk to us before you go. There are some differences from the UK; particularly, you need to validate your tickets in a machine before you board and often trains from different places are joined together at junctions like Le Mans so "yours" may not be at the platform when you arrive. Don't get on the wrong one! There's no way through from the front train to the back one and you will not have a seat because an irate Frenchman will have lambasted you for sitting in his seat - that's the one you thought was yours! The trains all have numbers and you must board the train that matches the number on your ticket, not necessarily the train that's standing at the platform when you arrive, or that arrives first. You'll get the hang of it.
The premium for first class varies a lot but can sometimes be little more than the standard fare, so it's worth comparing the prices.
La Goupillère to southwest Paris is a little over 240 km and about 2.5 hours. It's an easy drive to Le Mans and then (bypassing Le Mans to the north) take the A11 / A10 (E50 motorway) bypassing Chartres to southwest Paris. The motorway speed limit is 130 kph (81 mph), assuming decent weather. It’s not recommended you drive into central Paris unless you really want to. Best to find a train or Metro station further out and take that into the centre, leaving your car in the suburbs. Or maybe book a hotel near a Metro station with on-site parking for a night so you can stay longer in the centre in the evening?
|Getting to Le Mans Station|
The best way to get to Le Mans station is round the ring road.
Starting from point A on the map, shortly before you get to the outskirts of Le Mans you will pass Saint-Saturnin on the right. Turn right at the next roundabout and follow the signs to Le Mans.
After another roundabout or two you will go along a dual carriageway through a large trading estate, at the end of which is a slight incline leading to a bigger roundabout.
Filter right, round the ring road (straight ahead will take you to the town centre) until you see a sign for “La Gare” (the station) off to the right.
Take this turn-off, go down the incline and keep to the left, so you go round the roundabout under the ring-road, not off to the right. Go under the ring-road and take the second exit – it should be signposted La Gare Sud and Centre Ville.
There’s a set of traffic lights and after that a small roundabout. Keep to the right and turn right off this roundabout and the station car park is just along there on the left.
The long-stay underground car park is on your left, under the open short-stay car park you can see. You have to go past the entrance and round the small roundabout at the end of the car park and then back the way you came as the entrance needs to be accessed by turning right because, even if you could manœuvre, you will otherwise have to cross a solid white line and risk a fine.
Once you've doubled back on yourself, filter right to the entrance.
There is a lift from inside the car park to the station.