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I am planning to get to Zurich on Jun 13 and I land in Paris on Jun 12 at 16:40PM. While I could fly, the train doesn't look so bad. I am trying to find a train around 6PM going to somewhere that would get me closer to Zurich. I have already figured out the TGV Lyria stops at Dijon, Belfort-Montbéliard, Mulhouse and Basel. Searched SNCF for CDG-Dijon and the train is at 19:57 which is no good, I am incoming from Vancouver, I would die waiting two hours for my train. There is a train to Lyon at 17:57 which is great but for my life I can't figure out where does it stop because going all the way to Lyon is clearly counterproductive.

What I can't find on the SNCF site are timetables. I can find realtime departures (useless) and a route finder which is equally useless. I am 100% these exist but where are they?

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    Everytime someone says "Man, I will hate being stuck in downtown <glamorous city> for 3 hours waiting for a train connection", I wish I could trade places with them for those hours. – Harper Apr 7 at 0:40
  • I would be stuck in the train station of the remarkably less glamorous Paris CDG airport. Not to mention I am too old to go sightseeing after being awake for 20-24 hours which a trip like this necessarily means. I am happy for you if you can but I can't. – chx Apr 7 at 1:54
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    @Harper Three hours is not much time when you have all your luggage with you. You probably want to get back to the station half an hour before the departure time, and it can be difficult to relax when you know the possibility of missing your connection is high if the slightest thing goes wrong (i.e. you lose track of time, you get lost in the city, you get stuck in traffic, etc.). – CJ Dennis Apr 7 at 6:05
  • To complement Harper's comment: Dijon station is right next to downtown. You can be at the Place de la Liberation (Liberation Square?) and see the Palais des Ducs (the Duke Palace, from the time where Burgundy was a powerful dukedom) in about 15 minutes. Downtown is mostly pedestrian only and the tramway goes directly to the station, so low risk of getting lost. In June, the weather is lovely and you can easily find a terrasse to enjoy the local wine. In addition, the station is quite small. I understand you don't want to wait there but, if anything, there are worse places to get stuck in. – Taladris Apr 7 at 6:32
  • Clearly I'll have to build that switching machine! @CJDennis I do this everytime I travel by rail, and it's never been a problem. It's just about don't exceed your own personal minimums/orientation. When your explore time is half gone, work your way back to the station. Stations often have lockers or a baggage day-check for ticketed pax. – Harper Apr 7 at 7:06
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You can use the DB site, to get an overview which trains are departing at a given station in a given time frame: https://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/bhftafel.exe/en

If you click then on a train number, you get the schedule for that train with all stops and times.

On that page, the "ICE" category includes TGV, Thalys and other high velocity trains.

DB Departure and arrival page

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    Thanks! I used bahn.de as an all-European route planner but didn't realize it had this laid out so neatly. And, now I can see I will fly. Sigh. – chx Apr 6 at 19:35
  • I'm afraid this answer is, well, wrong. You just don't take the train from CDG to Zurich, you just hop on a flight. – Fattie Apr 7 at 19:52
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CDG-Zürich is not an easy one by train, honestly.

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  • Trains from Paris (center) to Zürich use the LGV Sud-Est, go through Dijon, then on to the LGV Rhin-Rhone, Mulhouse and Basel (red on the map). They still take a bit over 4 hours.

  • Most trains from CDG going in that general direction either run on the LGV Est towards Strasbourg (blue), or the LGV Sud-Est down towards Lyon (more often Lyon Airport, I believe), green on the map. However, there are no stations in the shared red/green segment.

  • There is indeed a train going from CDG to Mulhouse, but as you noted, it's a bit too late for your taste.

So you could take a TGV from CDG to Strasbourg, then TER down to Basel and an IR to Zurich (depart CDG 18:28, arrive in Zurich 00:24).

The other option is to get from CDG to Paris Gare de Lyon where you can get a direct TGV to Zurich (depart Gare de Lyon 18:23, arrive in Zurich 22:26). Timing in Paris is a bit tight, though, you would need to be at the CDG TGV station by 17:20 to have a chance to catch that TGV, and you are dependent on the notoriously unreliable RER B and D.

Not really sure there are any other easy options, you probably would have to go through Lyon and Geneva, which is quite a detour.

Note the SNCF site will not show connections with more than 2 changes, while the DB or SBB sites will.

I really think your best option here is still to fly from CDG to Zurich.

Edit

If you want to split the trip, you can either stop in Strasbourg, Basel, or anywhere the TER Alsace stops in between.

For instance, the 18:58 train at CDG arrives at 20:58 in Strasbourg. You then have many choices for Strasbourg-Zürich in the morning the next day.

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    A tremendous answer that should have more upvotes... Could he board the red and change to the green in the shared-track area? – Harper Apr 7 at 2:38
  • Yes he could, if there are trains that match his time requirements. Good connections will show up on the planner sites. – Willeke Apr 7 at 5:36
  • @Harper Thanks. And no, it’s not possible, there are no stations on the shared segment. – jcaron Apr 7 at 9:03
  • Indeed. Now I know: the green Paris CDG-Lyon train stops at Disneyland (Gare de Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy just a few minutes from the airport) and then Lyon. The red Paris-Zurich train stops in Dijon first. Thus, there is no solution to my problem and I will fly. – chx Apr 7 at 10:03
  • @chx Edited the answer with an option to stay the night in Strasbourg. Total travel time is quite long, though, so it's still probably better to fly. – jcaron Apr 7 at 10:06
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Not sure whether this is what you are looking for, but this link seems to work for me. Basically you can enter your "From" and "To" place directly on https://www.sncf.com/en.

Unless you can catch the 18:23 in Paris (which should arrive in Zurich at 22:26) you might be better off with spending a night in Paris and taking the TGV leaving 07:23 on Jun 13th to arrive in Zurich at 11:26. There are some connections in-between, but they require you to change the train quite often during the night. If you want to look into those anyway, try https://www.sbb.ch/ which worked better for me in this case.

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    No, sorry this is not what I need, I do not plan going all the way to Zurich on the 12th, I am looking for a place between Paris and Zurich where to spend the night. – chx Apr 6 at 19:31
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    @chx No problem, this wasn't clear in your question though. Anyway, welcome to Zurich, hope you'll like it here. – nohillside Apr 6 at 19:32
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    "I am trying to find a train around 6PM going to somewhere that would get me closer to Zurich. " – chx Apr 6 at 19:33
  • @chx , in fact, that would be about the earliest arrival time, by train, from "somewhere along the way" - know what I mean? – Fattie Apr 7 at 19:56
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    To be honest, travelling part way to Zürich is not how I would do this. Just go to a hotel in Paris, and take an early morning train to Zürich. In Paris I always stay at the Courtyard next to Gare De Lyon. Makes catching the train a breeze. – Krist van Besien Apr 8 at 9:54

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