Medieval Church Hopping - Reims to Vezelay, Vezelay to Autun, & Autun to Paris

Ideally, I would like to travel from Reims to Vezelay and then to Autun before returning to Paris. Can you advise me on how to best do this?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) June 22, 2015 17:50
    Thank you for your question, Terry.

    For an itinerary such as this, I would recommend purchasing the 'France Rail Pass', as opposed to regular tickets. You would purchase the 'France Rail Pass' here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/france-pass/index.html.

    Reims to Vezelay ('Sermizelles Vezelay')

    The station for Vezelay is 'Sermizelles Vezelay'. A connection from Reims to Sermizelles Vezelay would take about 5 to 6 hours in duration and involves at least one train change in Paris along the way.

    Trains from Reims to Paris are high-speed 'TGV Est' trains that will require reservations in addition to the rail pass. You would purchase reservations for a train from Reims to Paris by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, entering the route ('Paris' to 'Reims'), and indicating that you'll be traveling with the 'France Rail Pass'.

    Trains from Paris to Sermizelles Vezelay are regional 'TER' trains that don't accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board. For planning purposes, you can check schedules for trains from Paris to Sermizelles Vezelay just by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage (instead of 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations') and entering the cities ('Paris' to 'Sermizelles Vezelay'); this time time not mentioning that you'll be traveling with any type of rail pass.

    When you do these searches, you will see that trains from Reims to Paris arrive into the 'Est' station in Paris, while trains from Paris to Sermizelles Vezelay depart from the 'Bercy' station in Paris. To commute from the Est station to the Bercy station, you would take M4 of the Paris Métro to the Châtelet Les Halles stop. At Châtelet Les Halles, you would switch to M14 of the Métro to the Bercy station. The ride on these two Métro lines combined would take at least 15 minutes, but I would still recommend allowing yourself at least an hour to make the transfer.

    Sermizelles Vezelay and Autun

    Sermizelles Vezelay and Autun are fairly close to one another, only about 75 km apart, however, there is no direct rail line between them. There is a regional rail line that runs from Etang to Autun, but the trains depart rather infrequently. Otherwise, you could go to Chagny, from where there are buses to Autun.

    A connection from Sermizelles Vezelay to Etang would take at least about 6.5 hours in duration and involves 3 train changes along the way; once in Laroche, once in Chagny, and then once in Montchanin. You would then take another train to get from Etang to Autun.

    A connection from Sermizelles Vezelay to Chagny would take about 4.5 hours in duration and involves changing trains at least once in Laroche along the way. From Chagny, there are buses to Autun that take just over an hour.

    All of the trains comprising of either of these connections are regional 'TER' trains, so they don't accept reservations. Therefore, the rail pass is all you would need to board.

    For planning purposes, you can check schedules for these non-reservable trains under 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage. Since you wouldn't be purchasing reservations for these trains, you would just not mention that you'll be traveling with a rail pass when our system prompts you.

    When checking schedules for the option involving taking a train to Autun from Etang, you would just have to piece together the connection by doing a separate search for each segment. Therefore, you would do one search for trains from Sermizelles Vezelay to Laroche, another search for connecting trains from Laroche to Chagny, another search for connecting trains from Chagny to Montchanin, another search for connecting trains from Montchanin to Etang, and another search for trains from Etang to Autun. Trains between Etang and Autun do not run frequently. If you are unable to find a train from Etang to Autun when you do this search, then please call us. We can be reached at 1-800-622-8600.

    For the option involving taking a bus from Chagny to Autun, you can check schedules on our site for the rail from Sermizelles Vezelay to Chagny; however, schedules for the buses from Chagny to Autun are not able to be viewed there. If you'd like to inquire about schedules for the buses from Chagny to Autun, you would have to call us. You would pay board the bus locally in France.

    Autun to Paris

    A connection from Autun to Paris would take about 4 hours in duration and involves 2 train changes along the way; once in Etang and then once in Nevers.

    Trains from Autun to Etang and Etang to Nevers are regional 'TER' trains that don't accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board. In contrast, the trains from Nevers to Paris are 'Intercités' trains on which reservations would be required in addition to the rail pass.

    For planning purposes, you can check schedules for the non-reservable trains from Autun to Etang and Etang to Nevers by clicking on 'Find Fares & Scheduls' on our homepage, entering the cities, and not indicating that you'll be traveling with a rail pass. You would do one search for trains from Autun to Etang and another search for connecting trains from Etang to Nevers. Once again, if you are unable to find any trains from Autun to Etang when you do this search, then you call us to inquire about the schedules.

    You would purchase reservations for the segment from Nevers to Paris by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, entering the cities ('Nevers' to 'Paris'), and indicating that you'll be traveling with a 'France Rail Pass'.
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  • Wow! Thank you so much for your thorough response. I've learned that Vezelay has less than 500 residents. No wonder there's no train! I am looking into bus transport and taxi as well. Thank you again.
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