Leaving Your Trip in TOURS

This page offers help (concrete or informational) on leaving your trip. Topics include...

  1. Where you Leave Your Trip (see immediately below)
  2. Our “Access Packages,” designed to help you to do so.
  3. Suggestions on how to time your ongoing travel, whether you are having us arrange it, or doing it yourself.
  4. Service information regarding train travel from your trip end location.
  5. Suggested post-trip visits, especially when these are not geographically obvious, but are rendered economical and convenient by direct rail connections.
  6. Hopefully helpful hints for those setting up their own travel from the trip.

If you wish to arrange some or all of your travel through us, please tell us what by means of this response questionnaire, designed to collect all the information we need to be able to book your travel.


1. WHERE and WHEN Do You Leave Your Trip?

Your trip disbands on Friday afternoon, upon arrival in Tours, at the end of a full (and ambitious) riding day. We recommend the night there (and propose it in our Access Package — see “Timing Your Trip,” section 3, below).  Even with the full day, however, you are in time to return to Paris if you prefer to do so, as trains run very late.

If you wish to arrange your own ongoing travel (in other words, you do not want to set up any ongoing travel arrangements through us), hints regarding ongoing travel are offered at the bottom of this page.  Otherwise...


2. Our ACCESS PACKAGES
as of July 1, 2016

The closest intercontinental airport is Paris’ Charles de Gaulle.  Our “Access Package” includes a night in Tours, and a TGV rail ticket to Paris or direct to the airport.  Our London “Access Package” includes a train to London.

Base (Starting) Access Package Price:  102€
To see what this means in your currency, look here:   http://www.bluemarble.org/CurrencyConv.html
Special “Ride the Bike Train” Friday Ticket to Paris: 26€ 2nd class, 43€ 1st class.
Does not include Friday night’s lodging, though you may book a Paris hotel through us if you wish. 

Availability is usually good until 35 days prior to trip start (payment received by us), as we try to hold onto an allotment of hotel rooms until then, and can always find space on one of the many trains.  Within 35 days, availability must be confirmed, and costs may be higher.  Some extra-cost options also have higher prices if ordered w/in 35 days.

Included in the Regular Access Package:

  • A hotel night in Tours, based on shared occupancy.
    Typically, at least some of your past weeks’ travelling companions will also be staying over, and you will know the city a bit at this point, having passed through previously in the middle of your trip.  If you have no pressing reason to travel on, we suggest you stay and enjoy the town.
    Our usual Tours hotel is a simple place:  private baths, but the rooms are quirky.  We choose it because it represents good value, and is excellently located, which is both important and rare in Tours’ old town.  If you prefer a more luxurious final night, we offer an upgraded hotel, below (“Options Offered at an Extra Cost”).
    Singles may request a share, and will be paired with someone else from the trip if another person of the same gender requests the same.   The extra cost of a private single room will initially be invoiced, but it will be rebated if a roommate is found.
  • Breakfast if you have time / get up for it.
  • Train tickets to Paris, direct to Charles de Gaulle airport, via TGV high-speed train, or to Orly Airport, via Massy and a connecting shuttle train.
    Tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangable once ordered.  1st class and / or modifiable tickets are available at additional cost.
  • Seat reservations on the TGV high-speed train.
  • A printed schedule / itinerary, highlighting any connections.
  • All taxes, booking charges, baggage charges.

The “Ride the Bike Train” Access Package is simply a Friday evening train ticket to Paris, in the class of your choice.  Friday night’s lodging is not included.
If you opt for this, you will travel to Paris via cycle train on Friday evening, and secure the bike(s) in your charge (2 at most) at the Montparnasse train station upon arrival.  We can help you set up Paris lodging if desired.



Options Offered at an Extra Cost (subject to availability)
Prices are in addition to the “Base” Access Package Price.  For a general discussion of train upgrades, see here.  Topics include the relative comfort of first versus second class, and different types of accommodation available on overnight trains.

  • Tickets to London.  Add 79€ if you are also purchasing tickets from London at the start of your trip, 109€ if not, or if you prefer a changeable ticket (in 1st cl., add 119€ or 159€; 1st class tickets include meal service).
    A Paris stop-over is available, if desired, without additional charge).
  • Higher fare code tickets which are exchangeable locally:  +18€.
    These tickets are exchangeable at any station, on a space-available basis, at any time until the train’s departure, for free if the exchange is made prior to the date of travel, or for 10€ on the date of travel.  Cost of either exchange is 10€ higher if you make it through us, as opposed to dealing with it yourself at the ticket window.  Tickets are refundable less 20% before the train’s departure.
  • First class train tickets to Paris (in lieu of 2nd class):  +15€.
  • Single room in Tours:  +29€.
  • Upgraded hotel in Tours: +30€ / person, regardless of room type.
    In making your request, please tell us if you would accept the “regular hotel” as a back-up, or would prefer to make your own reservation should our “upgraded” hotel not be available.
  • Tickets on the Paris airport train, to Charles de Gaulle or Orly from anywhere in the city. 
    These are not necessary if your TGV from Tours goes directly to the airport.

Alternate Arrangements, in lieu of our usual packages (subject to availability)
Prices are complete (in other words, they are not in addition to the “Base” Access Package Price).
These discount fares are generally capacity restricted.   If not available when you place your order, we will offer you the best available (higher) price before booking.

  • Friday evening train to Paris, 48€ 2nd class, 64€ 1st class.
    These tickets are exchangeable at any station, on a space-available basis, at any time until the train’s departure, for free if the exchange is made prior to the date of travel, or for 10€ on the date of travel.  Cost of either exchange is 10€ higher if you make it through us, as opposed to dealing with it yourself at the ticket window.  Tickets are refundable less 20% before the train’s departure.
  • Hotel in Tours (additional nights, or without rail tickets), including breakfast and tax:  44€ / person shared occupancy, 71€ single. “Upgraded” hotel available, see above.


3. TIMING Your Trip

If we may influence your thinking on the topic of timing....  Tours is a beautiful city.  And, though you will already have spent a night there in the middle of the trip, you will be grateful for a second.  The medieval Place Plumereau is a sight to behold on a Saturday night (a Blue Marble marriage was born here, between a Seattle lawyer and a French school teacher :-)  If you have the flexibility to do so, try to schedule your ongoing travel for Saturday.  This especially makes sense if you have a Saturday flight from Charles de Gaulle, and will not have enough time in Paris to make the transfer there worthwhile....

If you prefer to depart Friday night, try to set your departure for as late as you are comfortable with.   If you are in Tours at 4p, and have an 8p train, well, just more time to enjoy the medieval scene for “Happy Hour.”   Conversely, if you book a train at 5p, and your riding buddies all stop for a 3-course lunch with a river view at 1p while you keep pedaling to make your train, you will wish you had played things differently.  Friday evening train tickets are changeable, but that is not generally of much help, as the trains are all sold out.

In your planning, allow ample time to connect from a train to a flight.  The airline is not responsible for train delays, and, though these are rare, they can happen.  Moreover, it can take a while to get from train to check-in counter.


4. Service Information
Schedules are approximate – exact timetables can be consulted at http://www.raileurope.com/index.html
Best trains are mentioned.  Others are slower or have multiple connections.
Most main line trains departing Tours leave from a suburban station called St-Pierre-des-Corps.
Shuttle trains go to St-Pierre-des-Corps from the downtown station 15 minutes before every departure.  Allow 30 minutes by taxi, but the taxi starts from your hotel, saving you the walk or bus ride to the downtown Tours station (about 15 minutes).  Any direct trains departing from downtown are explicitly mentioned below.

  • To Paris.  Travel time is 75 minutes.  Saturday morning trains run at 7a, 8a, 10a, then hourly.
    - Friday afternoon direct trains from the downtown station run hourly from 4:30p to 6:30p, and then at 8:30p. 
    - Saturday direct trains from the downtown station run at 6:45a, 8a, 11:30a and 5:30p. 
    - The last Friday train via a suburban connection at St.-Pierre-des-Corps is at 11p.
  • To Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport, Orly Airport.  Travel time is 2 hours.  Saturday trains operate at 6:45a (direct from the city center station to Orly, but with a connection to CDG which adds 14€ to the fare).  Then 10a, 12p and 6p, all departing from St-Pierre-des-Corps. 
    - There are Friday evening trains at 6p and 8p.
    - These same trains serve Massy-Palaisseau, close to Orly Airport, and linked to it by an every-15-minute shuttle train.
  • To London.  Same times as to Charles de Gaulle airport, above, with a connection in Lille.  Trip time is ± 5 hours.
    - Frequent alternate service via Paris, but a station change in Paris is required:  Gare Montparnasse to Gare du Nord (line 4 of the métro is direct, but there are lots of stairs).  Travel time is roughly equivalent, despite the station change.
    - The last service on Friday evening is at 5:30p, via downtown Paris (and a station change there), not via Lille..


5. Suggested POST-TRIP VISITS

The Normandy beaches can be reached in about 4 hours.


6. Hints on TRAVELLING INDEPENDENTLY After the Trip
Guests subscribing to an “Access Package” need not read this section.

See also “Timing Your Trip” and “Service Information,” above, as either of these may additionally help.

We gladly provide travel consulting (schedule or routing information) concerning post-trip individual travel.  In particular, we have invested a great deal to become railway experts.  Our service fees are reasonable:  a 20€ charge for all but the most complex projects – or the most simple (for instance, only a 10€ charge applies if the service is limited to the preparation of a routine rail ticket).  You will generally find them well-justified by the time they will save you in research, standing on line, overpaying for your tickets, or all three.

But, for some, this type of research is fun.  So, here are some hints, intended to start off hardened “do-it-yourselfers.”

Trains.  Schedules for most main line trains can be consulted on this web site:
http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/point_to_point/triprequest.htm

Tours is served by TGV (high-speed train) to northern France, including direct service to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport.  Connections are available to Brussels, Brugge, Amsterdam....  Travelling to the south of France, or to the Alps, is also easy via TGV connections in Lyon.  And mainline trains go south to the Basque Country and northern Spain, with connections further south.

Planes.  Tours has a tiny airport.  Ryanair serves London Stansted from Tours once a day at this writing.  Another Ryanair airport, Poitiers (also serving London Stansted) is within an hour by train.  Otherwise, Paris has more air service than you want or need.


If you wish to arrange some or all of your travel through us, please tell us what by means of this response questionnaire, designed to collect all the information we need to be able to book your travel.

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