How to Go from Paris’ Gare de Lyon Railway Station
to the Gare du Nord Railway Station
Welcome to Paris. You have just stepped off your train at the Gare de Lyon, and have to make your way tothe Gare du Nord.
To Make the Trip...
...you will be taking the Métro. Actually, a sub-set of the métro called the RER (a sort of express métro).
Locating the RER
When you step off of your main line train, your first job is to determine whether the track on which it has arrived is indentified by a letter (A, B, C, etc.) or by a number.
Be careful, smaller letters which identify car / carriage position (“repères”) confuse this issue. The track-identifying letter or number is large, and the opposite track will be identified by a sequential one. Example: if you are on track “E” the opposite track on the same platform will be either “D” or “F”.
If you are on a lettered track...
- ...walk to the middle point of the platform, roughly at repère T or U. These mid-platform stairs are at the point where the massive train shed ceases to protect the platform from the elements, and only individual platform canopies continue to do so.
- Use the stairs / escalator that you find there to go down (the only way you can go). This will bring you to an underground station concourse
- Enter the underground station concourse. If you walked back along your train, in the direction by which it arrived (towards the open air), to reach the down stair / escalator, you must turn right as you enter the underground station concourse. If you walked forward, from the rear of your arriving train, continuing in its direction of travel (and thus towards the massive train shed that you think of as the station), you must turn left as you enter the underground station concourse.
- Walk towards the far end of this underground station concourse. Now skip to the common instructions, below.
If you are on a numbered track, walk to the front of your train. You will arrive at an open-air concourse. Directly opposite track 13 is a down escalator, which will bring you to an underground concourse. Walk forward, about 100m, to the far end of this underground concourse.
Common Instructions: wherever you came from, you will arrive at the far end of the underground station concourse to find a big sign hanging from the ceiling, reading RER A, D, and other things, and sending you down a long set of down stairs / escalators. RER line D (the letter D in a green circle) is your goal. Follow these stairs/ escalators to the bottom. At the bottom, turn left.
Put in photo of stairs down: GdLRERAccess
Purchasing Your Ticket
You will find automatic ticket machines here, which speak better English than the locals. Buy a carnet de billets, a batch of 10 tickets, valid for travel on all Paris métro and bus lines. Unless you are headed directly out of town, you will have plenty of chances to use them. They are a bit more than half the price of single tickets, and we will take unused ones off your hands for a euro each if you have extra when you leave town. If you want to practise your French, the machines will identify the tickets you want with some or all of the following words: Carnet de 10 billets, plein tarif (not demi-tarif”). They are sometimes called “Tickets T,” which is a brand name signifying that they are valid within the urban center, and not for travel to outer suburbs.
General notes about riding the métro (and the RER):
- Always keep your ticket until the end of your trip, since it can be inspected at any time by teams of roving tax auditors.
- If you are worried about being on the correct platform, there is a sign at the center of each platform telling you in which direction the trains are travelling (the last station on the line defines the direction of travel).
- There are strip maps of the individual line on which the train is travelling over each car door, to help you follow your progress through the system.
Making Your Trip
Step 1, Finding and Riding the Train
- Look for the entrance to the “RER D” line (“D” in a green circle).
- Using one of the tickets you purchased (see “Purchasing Your Ticket,” above), proceed through the turnstiles.
- Follow signs pointing you towards Orry-la-Ville or Creil - these places are served by the same track. To reach it, you will go down a stair or escalator, to a platform at the bottom, with a track on each side. You must choose between these two tracks. Track 2 is the one you want, the track normally used by all trains travelling to the Gare du Nord. And, normally, all trains on Track 2 go to the Gare du Nord.
In exceptional circumstances, trains to the Gare du Nord can also depart from track 4, on the opposite side of this same platform. Any train travelling to St.-Denis, Goussainville, Villiers-le-Bel, Orry-la-Ville, or Creil, will go to the Gare du Nord on its way. If the next departure is from track 4, take it.
- Take any train bound for Gare du Nord, St.-Denis, Goussainville, Villiers-le-Bel, Orry-la-Ville, or Creil, and ride to the 2nd stop, Gare du Nord, about 7 minutes.
Step 2, Exiting the RER
- When you get off at Gare du Nord, walk towards the rear of the train to exit. You will have to follow stairs / escaltors up two levels to reach the main line trains (trains grandes lignes / Eurostar), but signs are clear.