Traveling to Auvillar

VCCA-France staff can arrange to pick up Fellows (with advance notice) from the Toulouse airport or from the train stations in Agen or in Valence d’Agen. Contact Resident Director Cheryl Fortier at cfortier@vcca.com to make arrangements.

Fees for travel inside the hours of 6:30am – 10:00pm:
Toulouse airport or train station: 75€ /trip
Montauban train station: 45€ /trip
Agen train station: 35€ /trip
Valence d’Agen train station: free
Add 30€ for travel before 6:30 am, after 10 pm and on weekends:
Toulouse airport or train station: 105€ /trip
Montauban train station: 75€ /trip
Agen train station: 65€ /trip
Valence d’Agen train station: 30€ /trip

By Rail
The French train system can be daunting to newcomers. Luckily there is a fantastic web site in English which explains it all in simple but complete detail:

http://www.seat61.com/voyages-sncf.htm

The TGV (Tres Grande Vitesse) are high speed trains. IDTGV is same high-speed train, attached to a regular TGV, which can only be booked over the internet and is often considerably cheaper. It has limited routes, but Paris-Agen is one of them, you’ll have to print your own ticket and walk a little further at the station. TER and Intercités are more local trains, more stops, etc.

UPDATE: On July 2, 2017 the new TGV L’Océane will commence operations on the Paris-Bordeaux-Agen-Toulouse route, and the IDTGV will cease. L’Océane will make the Agen-Paris trip in 3h15, as opposed to th 4h20 it takes currently, thanks to an entirely new line between Tours and Bordeaux. We’re not sure of pricing on L’Océane, but we’ve likely seen the end of the €19 one way to Paris.

The official train site for ticketing if you’re in France is http://voyages-sncf.com. From other countries you may be directed automatically to a raileurope.com site. With RailEurope you can have tickets mailed to you in the USA and you can call them if you’re having trouble figuring it all out, but they won’t sell you IDTGV tickets or give you seating choices, and they add a service charge of around 5%.

Many people have been having great luck for credit card payments and ticketing with https://www.trainline.eu/ – they have virtually all French trains at the same prices as SNCF, including TGV and IDTGV, and are excellent for tickets you can print yourself or pick up at a station. In addition they currently accept credit cards from all over the world.

If you want to try the train all the way to Valence d’Agen, search for a separate itinerary for the last part – in other words don’t look for a ticket Paris to Valence d’Agen – look for one ticket from Paris-Agen, and a second ticket from Agen to Valence d’Agen.

There are smartphone apps available at http://www.sncf.com/en/services/mobile-apps

If you take the TGV from Paris toward Toulouse, plan to get off at Agen and either (a) arrange for us to come pick you up (see fees above) or (b) make your way to Valence D’Agen on a smaller train.

If you take the night train or otherwise find yourself on the route that passes through Montauban, make that your destination and either arrange pickup or take a smaller train to Valence d’Agen.

By Air
The closest international airport to Auvillar is Toulouse (TLS – also called Blagnac). VCCA-France staff can collect you from the Toulouse airport with advance notice. Please contact Cheryl Fortier, Resident Director, at cfortier@vcca.com to make arrangements.

Good shuttle between TLS and Toulouse Matabiau train station – http://www.toulouse.aeroport.fr/en/passengers/go/access-airport/airport-shuttle. You can also get to Gare Matabiau by tram and metro, less expensive but more complicated.
From Gare Matabiau you can take a train directly to Valence d’Agen. See http://voyages-sncf.com or https://www.trainline.eu for current information and prices. In general, trains run in the morning, around  noon, and in the late afternoon/evening, for about €17 one-way.

There is also air service between Agen and Paris-Orly 3 times/day on Hop – http://www.hop.com/

Air France shuttle buses between Paris airports and train stations are now called “Le Bus Direct” – http://en.lebusdirect.com/

If you’re arriving or leaving via CDG (Charles de Gaulle, Paris) airport, be sure to watch Geraldine’s video Arriving and leaving Paris via the dreadful Aeroport Charles de Gaulle. CDG is much improved from what she describes, at least for international flights.

By Car
These times are approximate:
Paris to Auvillar – 7-8 hours, tolls 40-60€ depending on route, or 9+ hours with no tolls
Nice to Auvillar – 6.5 hours, tolls 56€, or 8.5 hours, tolls 40€, or 11.2 hours with no tolls
Barcelona to Auvillar – 5 hours, tolls 44€ or 5.8 hours, tolls 29€ via Andorra
TLS (also called Blagnac) airport – 50 minutes in non-rush hour times, tolls €6.70 in 2015.

For driving times from other locations: http://www.viamichelin.com/ based on the famous Michelin yellow map series will give tolls, or google maps works pretty well here too.

For tolls on the autoroutes – US credit cards often are not accepted, and there is rarely a manned booth. Carry cash in euros.

Caution renting cars in France – often better to book with a big online aggregator like Expedia to get unlimited mileage. Most local rentals have daily mileage limits. It is possible to rent a car in Valence d’Agen from the local Peugeot dealer.

DRIVING FROM THE TOULOUSE (TLS) AIRPORT TO AUVILLAR:
— The Autoroute (A62 aka E72) is a toll-road, and there isn’t a manned toll booth at Exit 8 for Lectoure, Auvillar and Valence d’Agen. You will need to have at least 6.70€ in euro cash, US credit cards do NOT work reliably.

—To get out of the airport, follow the signs for Toulouse and then follow the blue signs for the Autoroute, A62, headed towards Bordeaux. On the blue signs is a picture of a highway going under an overpass.

—Before getting onto the Autoroute, there will be a toll booth where you will get your toll ticket. Don’t use lanes that have only an orange “t” here, this booth is for pass holders, similar to Ezpass in the US.

—Stay on the Autoroute towards Bordeaux until Exit 8 for Auvillar and Valence d’Agen (about 40-45 minutes from the toll entrance). Be careful not to miss this exit as the next one is 15 minutes away.

—-Take Exit 8, pay the toll (€6.70 in 2014, cash or credit card, though most US cards will NOT work), and follow the signs for Auvillar. When you are almost to Auvillar you will reach a stop sign at the intersection of the D12 roadway. Don’t turn right onto the D12, which will have an arrow pointing to Auvillar. Instead turn left towards the bridge but don’t cross it. Turn right just before the bridge. You will see the three VCCA buildings on your right, office at 18 Esplanade du Port.

Consider getting a GPS if you’re planning to drive to Auvillar. Cell phone GPS is ok too if you have a way to preload the maps – 3G and 4G coverage is spotty outside big cities and data charges can be very expensive.

Maps.
A custom Google map with annotations and photos of Auvillar and nearby areas can be found here (not necessarily up to date): https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zzQN8TpJNOEQ.kLWueJrVccdw

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