We will take a closer look at the French train
transport system and how to find your way around. Here's
specific information about mainline, regional and local trains in Paris. Other than
trains there are also Tramways and Buses.
The type of signboard below is found in
the main station and displays departures and arrivals.
The one below is for departures.
Departure time is in the left column (18:27
= 6:27pm), then intermediary stops and final destination
(Laroche-Migennes). Followed by the type of train (TER),
its Number (91021 - which will be on your ticket) and finally
the departure platform. (15 - which can be a number or a
Notice that platform numbers for departures
are only posted 20 minutes BEFORE departure (the
18:50 departure for Nice-Ville is not yet posted on the
Corail trains : National lines where there
is generally no TGV.
The Corail runs between some of the major cities but is
mainly available for traveling to Picardie, Nord
Pas-de-Calais, Normandie, East, Centre Limousin, Midi-Pyrénées
and the Auvergne.
A newer generation of rolling stock called Corail Téoz
is replacing the former stock. It offers more comfort and
Ter "Transport Exprès
Régional" Express Regional Transport.
Trains operated by the SNCF in conjunction with the 26
regions of France for shorter local train travel
Paris Suburban lines "Réseau
Banlieu SNCF" : into the suburbs up
to about 100 km around Paris
Paris RER : "Réseau Express Regional" - Regional
click here for
a map and instructions This includes Major Stops in Paris and out into the
suburbs. These Line are always designated by a capital
letter and associated with a colour. There itinerary is
indicated by the two terminus stations at each end of the
run. Each RER can have various branch lines
Line A - Cergy le Haut, Poissy
and St Germain en Laye <>
Boissy St Leger and Marne la Vallee-Chessy
Line B - St Remy les Chevreuse and Robinson
<> Mitry-Claye and Airport
Charles de Gaulle
Line C - St Quentin en Yvelines, Versailles RG,
Argenteuil and Pontoise <>
Versailles Chantiers, Massy-Palaiseau, Dourdan and St
Line D - Orry la Ville-Coye (and Creil)
<> Melun and Corbeil-Essonnes
Line E - Hausmann-St Lazare
<> Tournan en Brie and Chelles-Gournay
Line 7 - Villejuif-Louis Aragon/Mairie d'Ivry
<> La Courneuve-8 Mai 1945
Line 7bis - Louis Blanc <>
Line 8 - Balard <>
Line 9 - Pont de Sèvres <>
Mairie de Montreuil
Line 10 - Boulogne-Pont de Saint-Cloud
<> Gare d'Austerlitz
Line 11 - Châtelet <>
Mairie des Lilas
Line 12 - Mairie d'Issy <>
Porte de La Chapelle
Line 13 - Châtillon-Montrouge
Line 14 - Saint-Lazare <>
Bibliothèque François Mitterrand
What the Signs tell you
This sign-board below, generally found in the main
stations, gives basic indications. Most of it
is readily understandable and even translated into English.
RER Lines A and D Notice the
colored circles that identify each line
Metro Lines 1 and 14 Notice the colored circles
that identify each line
Just follow the arrow.
This sign also gives us Bus info with the bus numbers...
RER Line A with each
Metro 1 and 14 again with each terminus
Notice with RER line A that it actually gives you 5 (five)
stations. That is because there are branch lines. Two stations
are East of Paris : Boissy Saint Leger and Marne La
Vallee-Chessy (which is where Disneyland is), and three stations
are West of Paris : Saint Germain en Laye, Cergy-Prefecture
and Poissy. Click
here for a RER map and detailed instructions
The point is... for any station IN Paris you can get on any
of these trains. BUT, for specific stations OUTSIDE of Paris
you MUST board the proper branch line. The picture below shows
an overhead sign with little white markers to the left of the
stations where the train STOPS.
So, check the overhead signs before you embark. Notice that
each RER also has a name ("ZYCK" in this case). These names
correspond to a set itinerary. If you use the train system
often... all you need to know is the name of your train.
Especially handy when you arrive on the platform just before
the doors are about to close. A quick peek at the name... and
you know if it's your train or not.
This is a poorly lit picture of
an overhead sign for the RER Line D (top left hand corner).
Notice the little WHITE SQUARES in the left column. When a
white square is lit/marked that means the RER stops ONLY
at these marked stations.
The Metro has similar signs but, of course, they stop at
EVERY station. There's an itinerary list of all the stations
on a given Line both in the stations and above each door in
each coach of every metro.
Metro 5 and 8 with each terminus station.
For instance, if your
destination station is between the station where you are and
Bobigny... then you need
to get on the Metro for Bobigny.