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Review: Paris Metro transfer from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon

Travel Service - Train station

Frustrations of using the metro to transfer from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon

  • By SilverTraveller Hardyplant

    25 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon

  • November 2018

27 people found this review helpful

On a rail holiday to Venice last year my husband and I decided it would be simple to use the metro for our transfer to Gare de Lyon to catch our train to Geneva. How difficult could it be? After all I’d used the metro in the past and you only need to look at the maps and remember the names of the stations, colours of lines used and final destination to get the right train. We also knew we could buy our tickets at the bar on the Eurostar before we arrived in Paris, which we did; the barman warned us we must keep the tickets away fro any electronic devices, so we did.

Having researched the transfer on The Man in Seat 61 (an amazing website) and armed with copious notes we set off into the metro system. London underground it is not! We saw no staff on the way to the barriers and none at the barriers. My husband put his ticket in the machine and was soon on the other side. I put my ticket in my machine ….nothing! I tried a different gate … still no luck. I stood panicking, wondering what on earth to do. My only hope was going back to find a ticket machine and attempt to buy another ticket. Had it been London there would have been a station worker to let me through. Not in Paris. But then a very nice man came to my rescue. I was somewhat apprehensive as years ago my (intentionally empty) purse had been stolen as I was going through a metro barrier and one hears about scams and theft on the metro. This Parisian pushed me in front of him, put his ticket in the machine and propelled me and my small case and himself through in one go. It was so slick that I can only assume that there are often problems with the tickets. Having found the correct platform we then had to find the right train going in the right direction but none of the destinations seemed to match those I had written down and Gare de Lyon was not mentioned on the overhead signs. Again, no staff in evidence. When a train arrived I plucked up courage to ask a rather rough looking gang of young men if it was going to Gare de Lyon and they confirmed it was. Luckily we’d allowed plenty of time for the transfer but it was all rather stressful. I persuaded my husband that we needed to get over it by having a drink in the bar at Le Train Bleu, which turned out to be a rather expensive, if amazing experience which I’ll write about in a separate review.

And guess what? On the way back at the end of the holiday the same thing happened again – but luckily it was the first ticket we tried that didn’t work and so my husband and I plus two small cases and two rucksacks squeezed adroitly through the barrier on the one remaining ticket. Phew! If there is another time we’ll buy a whole book of tickets so we have some spares – or splash out on a taxi.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 3 Comment(s)

  • Hardyplant
    11 months ago
    Wasn't very impressed with Geneva - very expensive - but we were en route to Venice, which was worth the trip, as was Turin on the way back.
  • Lottie
    11 months ago
    What useful bits of information included in your piece. Thank you. Thanks to a stranger, and I'm sure Clarence got his wings, you made it despite the lack of official support. I couldn't help but chuckle at the vision of you, your husband and all the paraphernalia choo chooing through the turnstyle, though.

    I haven't experienced that on my visit to Paris and use of the Metro but I can recall what seemed an absolute age walking through tunnels to change lines.

    I hope Geneva was worth the trip.
  • HMJ
    11 months ago
    That's such a shame you had a bad experience. We transferred from Gare du Nord to Montparnasse at the beginning of June without any problems what so ever. The advice to buy tickets on Eurostar is good: we did the same and were really pleased we had when we saw the ticket queues at GdN.