HOME > Chowhound > France >
Do you create unique foods? Get great advice
TELL US

Train fare

g
galan05 Dec 15, 2010 05:39 PM

I love everything about French trains, except the cafe car food. The stuff in the stations isn't much better. Any suggestions on what to pack for a lunch or dinner aboard the TGV, and where to get it? And please, no McDonalds!

  1. John Talbott Dec 18, 2010 06:31 PM

    Well, with 12 in tow, I've had to schlep on lots of food from the Super near Montparnasse, but think about it, plan your trip to start after lunch near a Gare and arrive long before sup, unless you're going to Menton, in which case, go back to the Super.

    3 Replies
    1. re: John Talbott
      mangeur Dec 18, 2010 06:55 PM

      "plan your trip to start after lunch near a Gare and arrive long before sup"

      Excellent advice if you are traveling within the Ile. ;) But our MO takes us to the edges of the hexagon, always leaving before lunch. But, seriously, when Montparnasse is your departure gare, you can do a lot worse than shop immediately before leaving at the huge Monoprix just opposite the place on rue de Depart. There should be little suggested in previous posts that they don't carry in fairly decent quality.

      1. re: mangeur
        t
        tmso Dec 20, 2010 06:20 AM

        Huh, where are you going to, out of curiosity? I remember being given two meals to take with me for the long ride from Paris, or worse Bruxelles, all the way down to Orange or Marseille. But now, even rural areas in the South-East, South-West, the East ... they're all perfectly fine to get to by train before lunch, or after lunch, before dinner. I believe you, I'm just wondering where it is you're going.

        1. re: tmso
          mangeur Dec 20, 2010 06:53 AM

          Normally, Avignon or Montpellier, St. Brieux, Bayonne. We travel during the middle of the day, aiming to arrive around 4, usually with an hour or so drive after that. i.e. we leave too early to have a decent lunch in town and get to the gare with as much slush time as my risk-averse husband needs for comfort. ;)

    2. Parigi Dec 15, 2010 11:06 PM

      I am with you there on train food.
      Train station food is fine even in London, quite good in Switzerland, excellent in Thailand. Why o why does France, the country of gastronomy give up on its train station food?
      I would not go to the train station and then try to find food. As a rule no good food can be found in or near train stations.
      The easiest good train picnic is a jar of foie gras and a baguette. The foie gras, you can get several says ahead. The baguette, you can get at your nearest bakery before your departure.
      Also, check out your local bakeries if they make interesting sandwiches. If they do, order a couple ahead of time, to be picked up before you leave for the train station. Plus some fruit of your choice. Plus a bottle of your choice…

      1 Reply
      1. re: Parigi
        p
        Ptipois Dec 16, 2010 04:06 AM

        >>> The easiest good train picnic is a jar of foie gras and a baguette. The foie gras, you can get several says ahead. The baguette, you can get at your nearest bakery before your departure.

        I absolutely second that. And jurançon moelleux in a Thermos.

      2. mangeur Dec 15, 2010 05:48 PM

        So, what do you like to eat? The fanciest of travelers will pull out stashes of cheese, pate, sliced cold meat, sausages, bread, fruit and wine, cookies. Buy them in your neighborhood before boarding. A good pocket knife, a French staple, a few paper napkins and plastic glasses are welcome accompaniments.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mangeur
          h
          hychka Dec 15, 2010 06:59 PM

          On our last four trips we took the train a ways for day trips...London, Stasbourg, Geneva and Giverny. Finding the same problem you face we chose to buy things at Monoprix and Montorgueil for picnics. We made coffee in our apartment and brought along pastries and oranges for breakfast. Once we cooled a street chicken overnight and cut it up before leaving. A bottle of wine, some cheese, some bread and fruit works well, too. We were able to do the same on the other end for the return...or, eating a late dinner back in Paris is ok. Without a car, Giverny and Strasbourg have little to offer in the way of restaurants unless you want beer and frites or the like. (As mangeur says, be sure to take a knife, corkscrew, glasses and napkins along.Picnics are rough without these!)

          1. re: hychka
            Busk Dec 15, 2010 09:51 PM

            Always have a picnic ready for the train, road trip or whatever. Pate, bread, meats, cheese, fruit, wine, beer, Vichy water, cidre, whatever. I always surprise them by slipping in something crazy like the Gaperon cheese. You know, the cheese that Boursin wants to be when it grows up...

        Show Hidden Posts