Meeting Your Trip in St.-Jean-de-Luz

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

  1. Where you Join Your Trip (see immediately below)
  2. Our “Access Packages,” designed to help you to do so.
  3. Suggestions on how to time your trip to the trip, whether you are having us arrange your travel, or doing it yourself.
  4. Service information regarding train travel to your trip start location.
  5. Suggested pre-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 to 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 Join Your Trip?

Your trip assembles at the St-Jean-de-Luz railway station, a few kilometers from the French/Spanish border, Saturday between 4p and 6p, in time for a short ride.
If you wish to more fully use the day, St.-Jean is a beautiful town, one of the prettiest on the Basque coast.  Arrive at any time during the day for an explore / swim / lunch...

We will send you details of meeting time and place with your final itinerary.

If you wish to make your own way to the trip (in other words, not to set up your travel arrangements through us), a couple of hints on getting there are offered at the bottom of this page.


2. Our ACCESS PACKAGES
as of June 5, 2016

The closest intercontinental airports are Paris, Madrid and Barcelona.  St.-Jean is 5 - 7 hours by train from any of these, and the trip is comfortable and pleasant. 

Base (Starting) Access Package Price:  59€ from Madrid, 79€ from Paris or Barcelona.
To see what this means in your currency, look here:  http://www.bluemarble.org/CurrencyConv.html

Availability
is usually good until 30 days prior to trip start, but the prices are not guaranteed, and tend to creep up starting about 60 day before the travel date.  Discount fares are capacity-controlled.  We do not purchase anything for you without prior consultation, unless we can respect the package price.

Included:

  • Train tickets to St.-Jean from Paris, Madrid, or Barcelona.
    Included tickets are in 2nd class, but economical 1st class upgrades are available. 
    Price from Madrid is to Hendaye, on the French / Spanish border.  From Hendaye, a local connection must be made to St-Jean, by train if one is departing soon, or by local bus if not:  a 10-minute trip by train, 20 on the bus.  The ticket for this short ride, 5€ or less, must be purchased locally, and is not included in the trip cost.  Taxi fare would be about 30€, a reasonable option if you are sharing the cab.  Taxis can be found in front of the Hendaye station.
    Price from Barcelona is to Irun, on the Spanish side of the French / Spanish border.  From Irun, a local connection must be made to St-Jean. This is cheap but complicated by train: a first shuttle train across the border to Hendaye, then a connecting train or bus....  The ticket for this short ride, 5€ or less, must be purchased locally, and is not included in the trip cost.  Taxi fare would be about 40€, a reasonable option if you are sharing the cab.  Taxis can be found in front of the Hendaye station.

  • Seat reservations on your selected trains.
  • A printed schedule / itinerary, highlighting any connections.
  • Our “Route Sheet to the Trip,” helping you through your journey.
  • All irritating extra charges that are usually hidden until the end (taxes, agency fees, baggage charges and the like).


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 from London.  Add 79€ if you are also purchasing tickets back to London, 109€ if not, or if you prefer a changeable return (in 1st cl., add 119€ or 159€; 1st class tickets include meal service).
    Paris stop-overs are available for 10€. 
  • Friday overnight train from Lisbon:  +42€.  Includes T-4 sleeping car berth.
    Price is to Hendaye, on the French / Spanish border. From Hendaye, a local connection must be made to St-Jean, by train if one is departing soon, or by local bus if not:  a 10-minute trip by train, 20 on the bus.  The ticket for this short ride, 5€ or less, must be purchased locally, and is not included in the trip cost.  Taxi fare would be about 25€.
  • Tickets from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport:  +17€.
  • Exchangeable / refundable tickets:  +26€.
    Tickets are exchangeable, on a space-available basis, at any time until the train’s departure.  In France, they may even be exchanged up to one hour after the train’s departure, provided you do so in the departing station.  Cost is 12€ if you make the exchange yourself at the station, 22€ if you make it through us.  Tickets are refundable less 20% before the train’s departure.
  • First class train tickets (in lieu of 2nd class).
    - From Madrid or Barcelona:  +39€.
    A special, discount upgrade is sometimes available for 19€, subject to availability.
    - From Paris or Charles de Gaulle Airport:  +19€ from downtown, +27€ from the airport.
    This sharply discounted rate is a good deal for the long trip, but is not always available.  The full-fare upgrade is 54€.  Some intermediate fare codes also exist:  we will propose the lowest available when you make your booking.
  • Paris airport train tickets, from Charles de Gaulle or Orly to Paris center.  Follow this link for details.

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).

  • Friday overnight train from Lisbon.  Price is 99€, and includes a T-4 sleeper berth from Lisbon.
    - Upgrades to all levels of sleeping car are available.
    - Train tickets are not refundable or exchangeable once ordered.  See below for higher cost flexible tickets.
    Upgrade on overnight train:
    - +55€ / person to a double sleeping car cabin.
    - +115€ for a private single cabin.
    - add 19€ more per person for “deluxe” cabins, including ensuite shower and WC.



3. TIMING Your Trip

St.Jean-de-Luz offers a pretty town center, and a beautiful beach.  Arriving on Friday, with time to kill on Saturday morning, will not be a sacrifice.

Like airplanes, trains to St-Jean-de-Luz require reservations.  You must not only tell us by which gateway you wish to arrive, but at what time of day you wish to travel.  Allow ample time to connect from a flight:  the railroad is not responsible for (chronically) late planes.  Moreover, it can take intercontinental travellers up to 90 minutes to clear customs, immigration and baggage claim upon arrival.  If you are attempting a tight connection, we suggest modifiable tickets.


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.

  • From Madrid.  Travel time is a shade under 6 hours to Hendaye, on the French border.  Express trains run at 8a and 4p on Friday, 8a on Saturday.
    From Hendaye, a local connection must be made to St-Jean, by train if one is departing soon, or by local bus if not:  a 10-minute trip by train, 20 on the bus.  The ticket for this short ride, 5€ or less, must be purchased locally, and is not included in the trip cost.  Taxi fare would be about 25€.  There is no connection by public transport from the Friday afternoon train:  it would be necessary to continue by taxi.
  • From Barcelona.  Daily trains at 7:30a, 10a, 3:30p:  6-hour trip time.
    From Hendaye, a local connection must be made to St-Jean, by train if one is departing soon, or by local bus if not:  a 10-minute trip by train, 20 on the bus.  The ticket for this short ride, 5€ or less, must be purchased locally, and is not included in the trip cost.  Taxi fare would be about 30€.
  • From Paris.  Travel time is 6 hours, 5 trains spread thru the day.
    The last Saturday train to reach St-Jean in time for the meeting departs Paris a bit after 12n.
  • From Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport.  8:15a, 10:15a or 2p (all with one connection).  Trip time is 7 - 8 hours
    It is often faster to take the airport shuttle train or the Air France bus to Paris’s city center, and catch a direct train to St.-Jean-de-Luz from there.
  • From Lisbon, overnight train:  departs at 8p, arrives Hendaye (the border) at 11:30a.
    From Hendaye, a local connection must be made to St-Jean, by train if one is departing soon, or by local bus if not:  a 10-minute trip by train, 20 on the bus.  The tickert for this short ride, 5€ or less, must be purchased locally, and is not included in the trip cost.  Taxi fare would be about 25€.
  • From London.  Depart London 8a, with a connection in Paris.


5. Suggested PRE-TRIP VISITS

Lisbon is a beautiful and exciting city.  While Paris, Madrid, and Barcelona are, too, it might be tougher to work Lisbon into your next trip....  If you do visit Lisbon, treat yourself to a sleeping car upgrade for the trip to Hendaye.  They are relatively economical on this route.

Or, we have an economical, quirky (in a good way), and well-located hotel in St.-Jean, if you would like a little time lounging on the beach....


6. Hints on TRAVELLING INDEPENDENTLY to 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 pre-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 all routes can be consulted on this web site:
http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/point_to_point/triprequest.htm

St-Jean-de-Luz is on the French / Spanish border, and is a long way from any intercontinental airport.  But it has good, direct rail service from Paris, and is also easy to get to from Madrid. 

Planes.  The tiny Biarritz airport is a taxi ride from St-Jean-de-Luz.  Or, for economy, take the train:  a 10-minute trip.
Bordeaux offers a slightly larger airport, 2.5 hours away by ground train.

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.

Info for
Trip Members


Getting Ready

Access Packages
How to meet & leave your trip.


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