La vie est belle !

T is for TGV


My theme – “26 Things I’d Like To See During Our Trip To France”


 T is for “TGV” 

What is this? Qu’est-ce que c’est ?

C’est le “Train à Grande Vitesse“, in English “High-speed Train.”  I will admit that I haven’t done too much research yet, and that it’s quite foreign to me as these types of  trains don’t exist in the US. Indeed, train travel is extremely limited here with relatively few train routes which are at best connected together by the standard-issue “greyhound bus” which originates in the standard-issue bus depots. Those are always located in the worst part of every town, and stereotypically populated by unsavory characters. In the US, I always travel by car or by airplane. So I really want to experience a Cool European Train. So we plan to ride a lot of them! The TGV will take us from Paris to Provence, and I am excited to go, if just a bit nervous about buying tickets, finding the right platform (I hope it’s easier than finding platform 9 3/4 !) not forgetting anything, having proper train etiquette, and just plain not missing the darn thing! All probably irrational fears, no doubt.

Where is it? Où est-ce?

These trains connect many stations in France and beyond its borders as well:
France TGV
Why do I want to go there? Pourquoi est-ce que je veux y aller ?

It seems like a lot of fun, and something completely foreign and new to me. We just don’t have this kind of thing aux États-Unis. (In the USA)  It seems like we favor air travel here, and not without reason, I suppose. Funny thing about air travel: first of all, I do love my job. Truly. But when it comes to traveling for my own pleasure, my job has changed how I view traveling. Spending time in an airport just feels like I’m at work. Depending on where we go, I sometimes even run into my colleagues. Ugh. (I love the French word for that: Beurk.) Even after getting “there” I now refuse to stay in a hotel. I stay in hotels all the time. They’re all the same, and when I wake up in one, I don’t think, “Cool! A hotel…must be on vacation!” Instead, I think, “What time is it here. Where is “here” again?” Is there free breakfast? Where is the closest Starbucks. The coffee in this place is awful. What time is the van to the airport for my flight out.” So when my husband and I travel, I insist on staying in a bed and breakfast (like an “auberge”), or a vacation rental (like a “gîte”), and never (ok, hardly ever – only for a short night or when we arrive late at the airport, for instance) in a “standard-issue” hotel with a “familiar” brand name. So traveling by train is exciting and new and most importantly, not an airport!! Plus, ground travel is the only way to really see any countryside, and in a train, someone else is driving. That way we can do some proper gawking at the French paysage (countryside). Even if it’s going by à grande vitesse…

And you, dear A to Z-ers?  Et vous ?

S’il vous plaît, chers lecteurs,  (please dear readers) If you have experience with the French train system, help out this train neophyte with all your best tips and tricks! Dites-moi ! 


9 Responses to “T is for TGV”

  1. Elizabeth Hein

    The TGV is a hoot. Back in 1990, my husband and I took the fast train from Le Havre to Paris which was kind of like taking the Acela from New York to Boston. The slow sleeper train from Paris to Nice was more interesting. They put us in a sleeper car with two women that argued for hours until they finally fell asleep. My husband and I didn’t sleep at all but had a great time watching the countryside go by. Definitely take part of your trip by rail.


  2. Tina Downey

    I’m a bit behind in comments…so I just saw yours saying we both know Cheryl of Amber Waves! Small world…
    I love traveling, but hate flying. Used to love it until they shrank the planes and put only rude people on them. Maybe part of the problem is I fly stand-by, for free, since I have a close relative who works for one of the major airlines. It’s a great perk, and I love hanging out in airports. It’s the claustrophobia of the plane itself I can’t stand.
    I love hotels, too, probably because all our vacations are camping vacations 😉 so a hotel seems so luxurious and different. My husband doesn’t like B&B’s because you have to talk to other people. He’s an engineer….
    I don’t know anything about TGV’s but I sure hope you enjoy yourself!
    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014


    • jetgirlcos

      Definitely a small world. My husband and I went to school with Cheryl and Michael, way back before they were a famous folk/gospel/bluegrass band. Yep. I understand the stand-by. Just spent 21 horrible hours in airports a couple weeks ago trying to get home from a delightful weekend with friends. It was worth the trouble, but I was ready to kill someone by the time I got home, and had to pretend to be professional and friendly the whole time. Beurk.


  3. kurtnemes

    It’s amazing. Took it from Paris to Montpelier in 2010. Something like 2.5 hours! From rain to sunshine faster than a plane. I wish we had these in the US.


  4. megan hicks

    I totally hear you about hotels and airports. Here on the eastern seaboard, there are pretty good train connections. Until you think about the fact that you can go just about anywhere in sparsely populated Australia without getting into a plane or a car.



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