Rail and Train Connections in The Charente & Nouvelle Aquitaine FranceThis page was originally produced by the 2009 volunteer and intern group and will help you complete the final part of your travel arrangements "Arriving at Chalais station"
The French rail system is split between TGV which is the high speed inter city trains and TER which are the local trains and both come under the sncf.com website.
Chalais station is situated on the Bordeaux to Angouleme train line and is called ligne16 so when searching for a train you need to be sure you have the TER and not the TGV which does not stop at Chalais. Also remember this when you are at the station and do not get on a TGV train going to Bordeaux or Angouleme thinking that it will stop at Chalais which has happened to members of the group before.
However some have made use of this error to their advantage for instance during some strike action, delays or cancelations one member found that his TER train from Angouleme to Bordeaux was cancelled so he jumped onto the TGV train to Bordeaux and then at Bordeaux he jumped onto the TER train which was going back to Angouleme and was stopping at Chalais.
I hope you are ok and understand so far if not maybe this is the time to pour a glass of red wine, French of course, take a few sips and then go back over it.
Before using the French Rail Website it is worth knowing in which French Department are you flying or arriving into.
France is firstly divided into regions and then into departments and every department as it's number. For example, La Rochelle Airport is situated in the Charente-Maritime and it's dept number is 17. The Charente-Maritime is situated in the region of Poitou-Charentes.
Chalais is in the Department of The Charente and The Charente is also in the region of Poitou-Charentes. The dept number for the Charente is 16. For a full list of the French regions and departments visit the following
Departments and Regions of France
Armed with this information will help you navigate around the TER website. Maybe a few more sips of the red before diving in.
The main page for the French national rail service or French local rail service is at
Here you should choose the region you want
16 - Charente "This is where you are going ~ Chalais which is in The Charente which is No16"
17 - Charente-Maritime "If you arrived at La Rochelle or Royan then these are in the Charente Maritime which is dept no 17"
Either of the above will take you to the following page
Trains in Nouvelle Aquitaine
If you are arriving at Bergerac in the Dordogne dept 24 or Bordeaux in the Gironde dept 33 then select
24 - Dordogne ~ For Bergerac
33 - Gironde ~ For Bordeaux
Either of the above will now take you to
Trains in the Nouvelle Aquitaine
Once you are at the page for your arrival dept click on the blue box to the center that is marked
"Recherche un horaire"
This will then take you to page where you can enter your arrival point and point of depart.
So if you landed at Bergerac which is in the Dordogne or dept no 24 then your point de depart would be Bergerac and your point d'arrivee is Chalais.
Some volunteers and interns have found a very useful website at http://www.voyages-sncf.com/ - For access to the main webpage of Voyages - SNCF visit the following link www.voyages-sncf.com you will have the possibility to change the language from French to whatever you wish.
This exercise will certainly test your French and your patience good luck and if you need further help or suggestions then drop us a line firstname.lastname@example.org
Or better still maybe you would like to update or improve this page during your stay in SOUTH WEST FRANCE please also bear in mind that this page is not up to date so check with the SNCF web site first.
Like to download a French rail map for region of nouvelle aquitaine?
Download a French rail map in .JPG form
Download a French rail map in .PDF form
Nouvelle Aquitaine Trains Poitou Charente