Meeting Your Trip in LIBOURNE — 2016

On this page, you will find information about meeting your trip in LIBOURNE.  Topics include...

We suggest that you print these pages out, and bring a copy with you to your trip.

When and Where:
Meet at the Libourne railway station, at 2:15p on the trip’s start date, or later by prior arrangement (to accommodate those landing in Paris late on the morning of the trip’s start).  Libourne is a large town just north of Bordeaux, a 3-hour ride south of Paris on the high-speed TGV.

Your Coordinator will often be on the platform adjacent the station building, or in the station forecourt, probably playing with bicycles.  As a last resort, look in the station café.

If you are having us move your luggage...
The meeting time is so precise because the baggage train departs Libourne at 2:30p.  If you have a bag you are shipping with us, please have it ready when you meet us at 2:15p.  You will see it again tonight in St.-Emilion if you have one of our luggage transfer services, so all you need for today is whatever you plan to ride in, and the distance is so short that you could do it in heels.  But the station forecourt at 2:15p is not the place to start unpacking and repacking!

You will depart Libourne by bicycle....

You thus have the issue of changing into your cycle clothes.  You may as well face this before you meet your trip... it will have you on the bike all the sooner.  Hint:  the restroom on the train is generally cleaner than the one in the Libourne station :-(

Included in Your Access Package, if you subscribed to it:
A train ticket to Libourne, a seat reservation on any train which requires it, and a detailed timetable of the train for which you are reserved.

Travel Documents will be supplied by our Paris office (opening hours), unless you are arriving via a different route, in which case they will be sent to you at home, prior to your departure.  You will receive either a train ticket, or a railpass with accompanying explanation regarding its use, and a schedule for the train that you have reserved.

Getting to the Trip
The following routings are described.  You may follow the link to jump directly to yours, or just scroll down.

From Paris, or Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport
Trains on these routes require reservations.  Some Libourne services, especially those from the airport, require you to take a first train to an intermediate station (St-Pierre-des-Corps, Poitiers, Angoûleme, or Bordeaux), and then a second from there to Libourne.  Your reservation card and / or schedule will make any connection points clear.

Before boarding your train, be sure to “validate” (date stamp) your tickets and reservations (not necessary for a railpass), in the little yellow machine at the track gate.

From Downtown Paris
We normally book the ±10:45a direct train if space is available, and if this tallies with your flight plans.  The reservation we will provide you with will specify a car and seat number.  Your Trip Coordinator will often take this train, though he sometimes goes down on the earlier, 8:45a service.

From the Airport
The airport TGV station is located in Terminal 2, to the left of terminals 2B, 2D or 2E as you face the outside, to the right of terminals 2A, 2C or 2F.  We recommend walking to the station, easy with a wheely suitcase or a luggage cart, and quicker than than taking the shuttle bus that signs may indicate.  If you land at terminal 1, however, you must reach the rail station via a people mover (called CDGVal).  This is not a walkable distance.

The reservation we will provide you with will specify a car and seat number for the train. 
Use the indicators on the platform to locate your car (“voiture”) location on the platform before the train pulls in, and position yourself accordingly.  The airport station is a “through” station.  That is, trains stop briefly, on their way from one place to another.  So you cannot afford to wait until the train is in front of you to locate your carriage / coach:  it could be a half a kilometer away, and you will not have time to walk there.

This also implies that you should not simply board the train that is sitting on your platform when you wander down 20 minutes before departure.  It is almost certainly going somewhere else!  And, at TGV speeds, you can quickly go a long way in the wrong direction.
One of our guests tried this trick in 2001, and travelled 800 kilometers to the Côte d'Azur instead of the Basque Country before she even realized anything was wrong.  Be sure that the departure monitor is showing your train as you board, and check the confirming destination sign by each car door (which will list the train’s final stop).

Should you miss your TGV direct from the airport, an adjacent platform of the Terminal 2 rail station is the departure point of the city center airport train (“RER”), which can take you into the city for the next available service to Libourne from the downtown (Montparnasse) station.  Catch the next departing Paris train, and get off at “Denfert-Rochereau.”  Connect there to line 6 of the métro, which you take in the direction of “Charles de Gaulle — Etoile.”  Take this 3 stops tothe "Montparnasse" stop.  Allow one hour for the trip, but this is generally faster than via taxi.

From Bordeaux
An airport shuttle bus operates from Bordeaux airport to the “St-Jean” SNCF railway station, Bordeaux’s main station, every 20 - 30 minutes.

From there, trains run to Libourne hourly.  Purchase your own ticket for this short journey (about 7€, ask for an “allez-simple pour Libourne, s’il vous plait,” pronounced “al-lay sam-pluh poor Lee-boorn, see voo play”).

If the next departing train is a TGV (long-distance train headed to Paris or beyond – most on this line are not), your ticket will be train-specific, and will include a reserved seat. 
FYI, should you board a TGV with a regular ticket, it is very unlikely to matter:   ticket inspections rarely happen between Bordeaux and Libourne on long-distance trains, and even if one does, the conductor is unlikely to care about your reservation-free 20-minute journey.  Worst case:  a 10€ extra charge.  But we have never seen it applied.

From Nice
Most travellers coming from Nice will travel to Bordeaux via the overnight train.  If this is your case, you will no doubt have a reserved berth.

From Bordeaux, see the instructions above.

From Portugal
If you are coming to Libourne via overnight train from Portugal (or from Salamanca, in Spain — it is the same train), you will arrive in late morning at the French border station of Hendaye, the final stop for your train.

We will have supplied you with a ticket and / or reservation on a connecting train from Hendaye to Bordeaux.  If the ticket / reservation is made of cardboard (as opposed to being printed from a computer), it must be “validated” (date stamped), in the little yellow machine at the door that leads from the station building out to the tracks.  The trip from Hendaye to Bordeaux is about 2.5 hours.
Should your connection be missed because of a late train arriving from Portugal, simply board the next one and occupy any open seat, or sit in the bar car.  When the conductor arrives to check tickets, explain that your connection was missed.  Your reservation for the missed train will be honored on the one you are riding without formality.  Of course, if you have time, you may address the issue at the ticket window before boarding, so to have a reserved seat on the connecting train.

From Bordeaux, you will take the next departing train to Libourne (these trains do not require reservations).  Trains destined for Angoulême, Périgeux, Limoges, Poitiers, and Sarlat all stop in Libourne, and one or another of these will depart Bordeaux soon after the arrival of your train from Hendaye.

Practical Information

About Libourne
Libourne is a market town, and Saturday is market day.  If you have time to spare before your meeting, wander into the center to look around.  This presumes that your bags are light, or that you can find a place to store them.  There is no luggage facility at the station, but 10€ to a local café owner may do the trick.  Or, simply select your lunch restaurant, and ask to leave your bag there “until [they] start serving.”

About Shipping Your Luggage
If you are having us transfer luggage for you, either through the trip, or just one-way to the end, please have it ready to go when you meet your Coodinator at 2:15p.  Though it probably does not need to be said, “ready to go” does not mean “I just have to get my bike clothes out, and change, and put my other clothes in, and do I really need this, and if not can I put it in my transfer bag, and....”  Your luggage often departs Libourne via train, sometimes only minutes after you arrive (though you will see it again tonight in St.-Emilion if you have one of our baggage transfer services, and can rectify any packing errors then).

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