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My girlfriend and I are due to catch a train from Tours to Paris Austerlitz tomorrow, and we need to switch trains at Orléans, with a 12 minute gap between our scheduled arrival at and departure from there. As my girlfriend is pregnant, I want to minimise the walking distance between the two trains and wish to know the best place to board at Tours to do this. Should we get on the first carriage we come to after walking into the platform at Tours, or should we walk all the way to the end of the train before boarding?

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    Congratulations – Maître Peseur Jun 26 '15 at 13:35
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    In the event nobody answers on time, you can ask the station manager in Tours. There's a special tube map for the optimal boarding place to alight in London, don't know if Tours has anything comparable. – Gayot Fow Jun 26 '15 at 14:28
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    @GayotFow There are no such things in France. The only indications you'll find are carriage numbers to board trains with reservations, and even those aren't always reliable (e.g. sometimes the train comes with carriages numbered in the reverse order). – Gilles Jun 26 '15 at 16:45
  • Are you transiting at the Gare des Aubrais-Orléans or the Gare d'Orléans? Wikipedia says that the TGV and Intercities transit there, not at the Gare d'Orléans station. – mkennedy Jun 26 '15 at 19:35
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    @mkennedy The trains from Tours go to Orléans, not to Les Aubrais. TGV and long-distance trains transit through Les Aubrais but there are also trains from Orléans to Paris-Austerlitz. I don't know what Wikipedia page you checked, it's probably incomplete, especially if you used the English site. Look up train schedules to get reliable information. – Gilles Jun 26 '15 at 20:17
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Both Tours and Orléans are terminus stations, so to change platforms you'll need to walk all the way to the front of the train (as far as I can tell there is no underpass in Orléans, and anyway your girlfriend probably prefers a level walk).

It's possible that the trains will be on opposite tracks of the same platform, I don't know what the track configuration is in Orléans. Note that in France, trains don't always stop at the same tracks from one day to the next (of course sometimes the track configuration doesn't leave a choice).

If you have Internet access, you can look up schedules and platforms for upcoming departures and arrivals, but the track will not be announced until a few minutes before the due time.

I've never been in Orléans, so if a local gives you contradicting information, trust them, not me. Not everyone in France speaks English, but if you ask around you'll probably find someone who can help you.

Anyway, given the lengths of the trains, 12 minutes should be plenty. Even if your train is delayed, the train to Paris should wait until the platform has cleared up.

  • Many thanks Gilles. I've been looking at Google Translate and am practising "qui extrémité du train pour la promenade la plus courte à Orléans?". Not sure if that makes any sense! :) – Ooberdan Jun 26 '15 at 16:50
  • @Ooberdan Hmm, the mistranslation of “walk” here (“promenade” means a walk as in talking a walk for leisure, not walking to a specific destination) might cause people not to understand you. You could ask “À Orléans, faut-il changer de quai pour le train pour Paris ?” (In Orleans, do I need to change platforms for the train to Paris?) But I recommend that you speak English (slowly and distinctly), there's a better chance that you'll be understood and you'll understand the answer. – Gilles Jun 26 '15 at 16:58
  • A good translation for promenade is “stroll”. – Relaxed Jun 26 '15 at 17:34
  • @Gilles Cheers, that's the kind of feedback I needed. Fingers crossed it'll all go smoothly! – Ooberdan Jun 26 '15 at 17:49

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