Pauline had organised trains that would take us from Tours station to Montpernasse in Paris on the 'TGV' then the metro (had tickets from our last trip*) to Gare du Nord where we would pick up a 'Thalys' high speed train to Amsterdam itself. With a couple of breaks while waiting for connections the trip should have taken just over 8hrs.
The train from Tours was bang on time and we had a smooth and comfortable trip into Paris.
We are fairly well-seasoned Paris visitors now and arriving at the busy Montparnasse station and finding or way to the metro station is fairly straight-forward for us, even with hand luggage. We can however understand that first timer's arriving here and having to get to Gare du Nord for a connecting train might find it a little daunting.
**We know for example that although you can do the connecting journey in 1 hour you should allow at least 90 minutes, for although it is only one metro ride on line 4 ( in the direction of Porte de Clignancort) it is a bit of a trek from the main railway station to the metro station and at busy times they do not take any prisoners!
Even with their long moving walkway its a reasonably long walk at about 700 metres...
...which includes stairs and escalators...
...before you actually arrive at the 'Montparnasse Bienvenue***' metro station.
Once on board you have 12 stops before arriving at Gare du Nord metro station.
From the metro you have to follow the signs to the main railway station 'Grande Lignes'
Once there you check your departure platform and if like us, you've arrived early and it's not posted, you can sit down and have a drink to congratulate yourselves for a smooth trip so far...or so we thought...more tomorrow.
* I once used (much to Pauline's horror) a metro ticket left over from our honeymoon in 1975, 15 years later and it worked. I had vowed then that we would one day be back, even though then, it was actually our first time abroad! Never in a million years did we think then that we would end up living in France.
** I am using the knowledge gained from our Paris trips to put together a new website about this delightful city (as if it needs one!) called www.about-paris.com
*** 'Montparnasse Bienvenue' isn't actually welcoming you to the station - it is in fact named after the principal engineer of the Paris Metro, Fulgence Bienvenüe.