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The train from Paris to Limoges

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Nervous why?

There are a few trains a day from Paris gare d'Austerlitz to Limoges.

Journey times aren't short as none are, as yet, TGV, but some of the scenery is nice, you don't need a booked seat, there will be a buffet car etc.

Go for it.


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Why nervous!

 because Im stupid

because I'm a female

because I'm middle aged

because its the unknown

because Ive never travelled alone in France before

because I have a poor command of the language

because Im frightened of being attacked

I could go on

Any way you have made me feel a little better, i just didnt want to be in a postion where there was only me and a little old French man travelling in a compartment (Id be the same with a little old English man or young man at that   Any way is the train full with lots of people or Staff.

From a very timid lady


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There's no more need to be frightened of being attacked on a French train than on an English one (probably rather less).  I've never taken this particular train but imagine that it would be fairly busy.  Take the plunge!   You'll wonder what you were worried about......

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My female French neighbour who does not drive lives in Vincennes and regularly catches these trains to visit her second home.  She often travels alone, is middle-aged, with a great personality i.e. not a funny old lady!  Her spouse, now retired, meets her at Lauriere.  I get the impression it is an easy journey (obviously one uses common-sense when contronting strangers, but then once one is middle-aged one knows how to cope!?

enjoy the journey,


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Yup, I've fairly often taken these trains, and they're rarely so empty as to pose any slight danger to a female travelling alone. I think you'll be as safe there as you would be anywhere in the UK. Go for it, though be sure you know how to "Composter" your ticket before getting on the train.


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hi, my family and i used the train from limoges to paris in april when we were visiting and when we return (in july) we will catch the train from paris to limoges and back again after 2 1/2 weeks. the journey took about 3 hours (almost the same as it would take to drive but my husband does not yet want to drive "in paris").  it was absolutely fine, the train was mostly filled with middle aged and older french people.  we dont speak wonderful french (unfortunately) but got by with no probs.  we then hire a car from the train station in limoges.  i am sure you will be fine!!!!

all the best,

anita (new zealand)

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To 'composter' your ticket you put it in one of the machines at the station which stamp the time and date on it.   If you don't, and the controleur comes round on the train, you will have to pay a fine.  Just watch - everyone else will be doing it and it's quite simple.
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If your travelling peak season it may be worth booking, my hubby uses the train regularly although from a bit further north at Chateauroux but just after the xmas holidays and bank hols and the end of August it was packed solid, so he was pleased I'd booked him a seat.

Hubby always says its the Austerlitz to CDG airport on the metro thats the hardest part.

I'm sure you'll be fine

take care

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I use the Gare d'Austerlitz to Limoges line regularly although my journey is to/from Chateauroux, just a little North of Limoges. The process is simple and safe. The trains are comfortable and seem to be very punctual. The plan of the train is displayed so you know exactly where your coach is found.

I have never bought a ticket at a station and always book well in advance to be sure of a seat at busy times.

My first journey was made interesting by total lack of any experience on French trains and without my wife as interpreter. My French is poor but I try hard! The advice from earlier members would have been so useful especially about the "composter" machine. I still have trouble getting it to print on the correct side of the ticket but the inspectors don't mind if it is stamped a few times.

When you have a pre-booked seat make sure you get into the right coach and use the correct seat. it may have a small ticket pushed into a slot on the luggage rack. If you don't have a booked seat, find a seat that does not have a ticket in its slot. These tickets mean that someone will eventually get on the train and want their seat. I asked the whole coach load of travellers what the tickets signified. (Yes it is obvious)

The booked tickets are not totally inflexible either. I arrived a few hours early and was told that I could use my ticket on any train that day if I could find a vacant seat.

Your journey will be about three hours so take a meal with you. I think there is some food and drink on the train.

It appears very safe and is definitely convenient.                            Alistair

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Ah, now I understand "nervous", but there really is no need.

The trains I've been on on that route have been fairly full, but seats were available, especially if you got on at Paris Austerlitz.

I've travelled many miles on French trains at all sorts of times of the day, and in some very down-market places, and never seen any trouble, let alone been in any. And I'm not a big bloke.

The last time I used the Austerlitz-Limoges service, I was on it to Toulouse, spent the journey talking to 3 nuns, and ended up helping them with their luggage at Cahors.

Trains were clean, on time and reasonably comfortable, although, as I said before, not the fastest service in France.

Just don't mention TGV or tilting trains to anyone from Limoges!

BTW: if you do travel this route, look out of the left hand window north of Orleans, you'll see the remains of the elevated Aerotrain track that parallels the mainline for about 15km. The French held the world speed record with it years ago, but I believe the actual train got burnt out in a museum somewhere.

Alcazar, (full of useless train info )


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the train from Paris to Montlucon could be better for you as Montlucon is only about 25 miles from Clugnat as opposed to Limoges being around 80 miles away. Not travelled it myself but relatives have and had no problems at all.
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There's usually 3 or 4 trains a day to Montlucon but only 1 (at about 12.20) is straight through. The others change at Vierzon which is no great hassle.

The only problem I've had on this line was when somebody jumped in front of the previous train in southern Paris. We all had to get off and get on another line which ended up at Gare du Nord. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Absolutely fine, travelling on your own on French trains; compartments are open plan, so you are not closeted with anyone undesirable in a confined space...

However, do keep your luggage with you at all times.  I was travelling from Lyon to Nantes, and discovered - about two-thirds of the way through the journey - that my small, cheap suitcase was no longer on the luggage rack at the end of the carriage where I had placed it.

I had wondered why other travellers were lugging huge suitcases into the carriage, and then heaving them up onto the luggage racks.  Now I know...


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"However, do keep your luggage with you at all times"

I agree Angela. I often have to travel by train for work and my teaching materials, samples etc. are usually all packed in my luggage. I do put it on the luggage rack but stand there until the train departs and leap up at every station just to make sure my cases don't go AWOL. ( BTW I do this whichever country I am in) It is easier to travel with two small pieces of luggage rather than one large case.

To the original poster; I have travelled alone on the Paris to Limoges trains many times and never had a problem. If you have luggage it is easiest to take a taxi from Gare du Nord to Austerlizt,( I think it cost roughly 12 euros last time I went) You can get a snack and cup of coffee at the cafe on the station concours. I have eaten only once at the station restaurant but found it to be rather overpriced for what they served.

Before boarding the train don't forget to stamp your ticket in the machine on the platform at Austerlitz. (I once stamped my reservation card rather than the ticket but they forgave me!) As others have said the carraiges are open plan. During the journey the ticket collector will come along and check tickets once or twice and staff do the rounds with the refreshment trolley. The W.C. s on the train are usually o.k. as well.

Sometimes, especially at the Limoges end, they do change the seating arrangements, do check the board on the platform.

Last year I had a student who spoke no French, had never been to France before and she made it all the way from Doncaster to Limoges by train.

So, Bon Courage, I am sure you'll be fine.


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