Or, How to Take the Most Indirect Route to Paris by Train.
As I’ve mentioned, Megan and I had picked up EuroRail passes for our journey through Italy and France and for the most part, these passes had been pretty user-friendly (save for the first day of using them when we were utterly baffled by them). You just have to purchase a seat reservation in advance, and then hop on a train and show your pass. Easy as mud. Until we tried to get a seat to Paris, and discovered there were none.
We had a fully-paid apartment waiting for us in Paris, so there was no way I was eating some of that cost while sitting around waiting for a train. Luckily we had a nice, helpful gentleman who navigated the complex train schedules and came up with a solution – Marseille-Lyon-Dijon-Paris. Three trains, about 13 hours of travel. “You’re young…”, he said as he printed off the tickets. As Megan pointed out, “We won’t be by the time we’ve finished!”
Touché, Megan, touché.
And so, I present to you 13 hours of train travel (or our slight descent into madness), in photos:
HOUR ONE – 6:30 a.m.
We left the hostel at 6 a.m., after discovering that someone had eaten the breakfast and lunches that we had stashed in the fridge. Not off to a great start. We watched the last of the sunrise whilst waiting for our train to arrive, bleary-eyed and grumpy over our stolen cheese.
HOUR TWO – 7:20 a.m.
First train, Marseille to Lyon. Coffee does wonders. As does Megan’s imitation of the “Liquorville” dance from SNL that we’d watched endlessly over the past 24 hours.
HOUR THREE – 8:30 a.m.
Reality started to sink in. We were going to cover about half of France by train in a day. Sweet mercy.
HOUR FOUR – 9:17 a.m.
Megan: “How many more hours?”
HOUR FIVE: 10:33 a.m.
The blurriness of the photo accurately portrays how we were feeling.
HOUR SIX: 11:20 a.m.
It took me awhile to figure out how to get into the pay bathrooms at the Lyon train station. Luckily Megan kept a watchful eye over our pile of stuff.
HOUR SEVEN: 12:00 p.m.
Like the seventh-inning stretch. Except we still had hours to go. I figure it’s important to work on your quads and glutes at all times.
HOUR EIGHT: 1:44 p.m.
HOUR NINE: 2:18 p.m
For reasons unknown, no one else wanted to go to Dijon that day. The train was EMPTY. Good for sprawling out.
HOUR TEN: 3:55 p.m.
Oh the irony. Good to see our humour hasn’t diminished yet.
HOUR ELEVEN: 4:30 p.m.
Our sanity, however, is another story. We’re running out of things to listen to/watch and it’s now started raining outside.
HOUR TWELVE: 5:45 p.m.
Like Europe’s sweet, sweet song “The Final Countdown”, we were…on our final countdown. At this point I think we would have jumped off before the train reached the platform.
HOUR THIRTEEN: 6:47 p.m.
SWEET RELIEF, WE MADE IT. 13 hours. While it made Paris just that much more exciting to get to, I would never, ever, ever, do it again. Yes, it was great to pick up Dijon mustard from the source. No, the countryside was not amazing – and the shock of seeing trains that go to the Alps made it all the more mortifying when realizing just how far out of our way we’d gone. Whew.