Wendesday morning found me on a train with a group of adventuresome travelers, all members of a club called Paris Alumnae/i Network. Member Patti Ravenscroft had organized a day trip to Auvers-sur-Oise to follow in the footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh, a Dutch post-Impressionist artist who spent the last days of his life there.
Navigating walkways, turnstiles, and stairways to get to the appropriate platform at the Gare du Nord in Paris can be a challenge if one is not familiar with the station. That was my case, so I arrived forty-five minutes before scheduled departure.
There are several departure points in the station, including Grandes Lignes, RER, Métro, and Réseau Ile-de-France. I first entered the Grandes Lignes section, but when the yellow ticket machine there refused to deliver a ticket for Auvers-sur-Oise, I realized that I was in the wrong area.
That’s better! The green ticket machine meant that I was in the Réseau Ile-de-France area. I purchased a round-trip ticket and set off to find the train.
Confusion reigns! The departure panel did not give the platform number from which the train would leave. That isn’t posted until 20 minutes before departure.
To add to the confusion, the train wasn’t direct. It would go to Persan Beaumont, at which point we would change to another train. Patti had told us this, but unless one pays attention to the route, one can easily get on the wrong train.
The members of the group began assembling in front of the departure panel (there were thirteen of us), and when the platform number was displayed we boarded the train bound for Persan Beaumont. We were on our way!
Tomorrow: What to do if you miss the connecting train.
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