The positives are:
(1) It’s comparatively fast; it’s a two station hop on Ligne D (Nord), so you SHOULD be on the concourse at Gare Du Nord, within 25 mins of entering the RER station at the Gare de Lyon.
(2) It’s comparatively cheap as a single central zone metro ticket can also be used on the RER.
(3) It’s generally reliable, you won’t have to wait more than 10 minutes for a train and delays are very rare.
’You will need to access RER Line D by passing through the Hall 3 at Gare De Lyon.
It is at at lower level to where the TGV and Lyria trains arrive, but how you access Hall 3 will depend on which part of the station your train has arrived at.
The RER station is at one end of the Hall 3 concourse.
(This view below of Hall 3 was taken from the entrance to the RER station, looking in the OPPOSITE direction towards Hall 2).
If your TGV or Lyria train has arrived at voies/tracks/platforms 5 -23:
The only exit is to walk ahead towards the front of the train.
You will then be on the Hall 2 concourse, the access down into Hall 3 will be in the middle of the concourse.
In the image above of the Hall 2 concourse, platforms/voies 5 -23 are over to the right.
On the left of the image, above the rounded Hall 2 sign, is the sign hanging down from the roof which is above the atrium leading down to Hall 3, so look for this sign when you step on to the concourse.
Be prepared to have to navigate through the crowds of people waiting for trains.
The entrance to the RER will then be at the far end of Hall 3.
If your TGV or Lyria train has arrived at voies/tracks/platforms A - N:
Don’t walk ahead to the far end of the voie/platform at the front of the train.
Instead use the stairs and escalators you will see along the voie/platform, they will have the RER symbol on the signs above them and they lead down into Hall 3.
!One of the sets of stairs leading down to Hall 3 can be seen in this view below of voie C; there also escalators available.
If you’re travelling in the front 3 – 4 coaches of the train, these stairs/escalators to the RER, leading down to Hall 3 will be behind you when you step off the train
Don’t be tempted to head to the Hall 1 concourse, which you will see ahead of you, the easiest access will be via Hall 3.
When you’re in Hall 3 you will have to turn to the left or right depending which set of stairs and escalators you will have used.
What you need to do is head in the opposite direction to the atrium which connects this Hall 3 to Hall 2.
When you reach the end of Hall 3 and see the RER ticket halls ahead of you, the entrance to Line D will be over to the left.
The ticket machines are also over to the left.
Buy a single journey central zone metro ticket (there aren’t any specific RER tickets for the central zone).
(Your end-to-end train journey tickets will NOT include the RER).
The ticket machines have fairly good translation, but look out for the final ‘Confirm Your Purchase step,
You need to take a Ligne D (Nord) train.
When you have descended to the platform remain in the area at the foot of the escalators/stairs.
It will be the most crowded part of the platform/voie, but you will then be able to board towards the rear of the train when it arrives; and this is the best option, as explained below.
ALL Line D trains heading north will be calling at Gare De Lyon.
The train will be double deck, but don’t bother with finding a seat.
It’s easier to wait by the doors as the travel time is only around 7–8 mins, though allow room for people to alight and board at the intermediate station, Châtelet – Les Halles.
On arrival at Gare Du Nord there are multiple sets of escalators and lifts leading to the level above.
Those located nearest to the rear of the train will have the quickest and least confusing access to the main line departure concourse.
You don’t need to use ticket barriers to exit the RER.
Follow the signs pointing to the 'Grande Lignes' trains.
You will exit into an atrium from where you will see the main concourse at the Gare Du Nord above you.
If you have used the escalator which will be on the platform, which you will find towards the rear of the train, when you have ascended you will see this atrium ahead of you.
In this view above the exit from the RER station is over to the left and the escalator in the middle of the picture is the main link up to the main departure concourse.
Take the escalators or lifts up to the main concourse, where the trains will be lined up at their respective voies/platforms over to the right.
Walk ahead of you to access the part of the concourse adjacent to where the TGVs and Thalys trains depart from.
When you have ascended up to the main concourse, you will have to go up another level to access Eurostar departures – the ‘Hall du Londres’.
The signage isn’t the best, but the escalators and lifts (ascenseur) leading up to Eurostar departures are located on the opposite side of the concourse to voies (platforms/tracks) 14 - 15.
Look out for the Union Jack on the rear wall of the station concourse.
However, if you are connecting to the Eurostar and have Standard or Standard Premiere tickets, you will need to allow a minimum of another 30 mins to pass through check-in etc.
So when booking connections avoid any journey with less than 1hr between the scheduled arrival at Gare De Lyon and the departure time from Gare Du Nord.
I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.
This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.