Saulieu Cajun & Zydeco Music Film & Food Festival

Thursday 2 August to Monday 6 August 2007

Travel from the United Kingdom

By train

Eurostar from London to Paris (Gare du Nord) may be booked 4 months ahead and it is advisable to do this at the earliest opportunity in order to get the lowest cost tickets.  Unfortunately the train from Paris (Gare de Lyons) may only be booked 3 months ahead - however the timetable can be seen 4 months ahead and in the past has proved to be reliable.  It is best to allow at least 50 minutes for the transfer between stations in Paris.  Check in for Eurostar is 40 minutes before departure.  Normally tickets have to be collected at Waterloo - bring the credit card which was used for the booking.  If you are going for the 06.34 Eurostar from Waterloo International you may need to check that your transport there starts early enough for the check in time.  Tubes/buses can be checked on www.tfl.gov.uk

Eurostar may be booked at www.eurostar.com

The route from Paris Gare de Lyons is to Montbard connecting with an SNCF bus to Saulieu.  Saulieu is treated as a station on the SNCF websites.  The SNCF websites have a number of pitfalls which have in the past been reported via the help email, but not rectified.  www.sncf.co.uk gives the price in sterling but will not allow the timetable to be seen more than 2 months ahead.  If using this website, in the destination box scroll right down to the bottom and select "Any other station" - Saulieu may be entered later.  www.sncf.co.uk is stated to be "powered by Rail Europe" - however it is not the same as contacting Rail Europe direct.  The latter does not handle journeys of more than two legs and you can only book to Montbard.

www.sncf.com allows the trains to be seen 4 months ahead - though not booked until only 3 months ahead.  On the first page scroll down to the bottom left and click on the Union Flag to select English language.  Be sure to select "Delivery of tickets to Great Britain" when this panel can be seen.  It appears to be cheaper to use sncf.com and pay in Euros and this is what I have always done, having first booked Eurostar.  The following problems have been noticed in previous years:

1. In attempting to book the selected train changes on the confirmation screen.  Do check the confirmation screen carefully.  This is especially likely to happen if trying to book more than 2 months ahead.

2. If trying to book too early the booking fails but without any explanation.

3. Even when well into the last two months the required train sometimes still cannot be booked.  In 2006 I got round this by selecting Paris to Montbard return and then scrolling down to check an option "Add another ticket" and then selecting Montbard to Saulieu return with the appropriate times.

4. You will get a warning "Attention you cannot make reservations for certain journeys in this list".  This applies only to the bus Montbard to/from Saulieu - however there is always space.  Note that there are only a few minutes for the connection at Montbard.

5. If you are buying tickets for several people note that only one piece of paper is issued.  It will not be possible to give each person their own ticket.  

Despite these difficulties I have always successfully booked tickets and they have arrived very promptly in the post, including this year (2007).

Screen dump 1, 2 and 3 show the SNCF bookings - but note this is for some arbitrary dates in June rather than the correct dates which are too long ahead - so as to be able to illustrate the process.

Transfer in Paris

At Paris (Gare du Nord) follow the signs to the RER.  The RER ticket office normally has one English speaking window.  You need 2 tickets (ordinary Metro tickets in fact) - one ticket being for the return journey.  You can also ask which platform is for Gare de Lyons.  It is on line D2 or D4 as shown on the map and is only two stops.  The signboard on the platform will show Gare de Lyons on the list of stations.  You should not have to wait more than about 5 mins.  You will need the metro ticket which was used to exit at Gare de Lyons - don't get it muddled with the spare one.  At Gare de Lyons look for signs for Les Grandes Lignes and then for the departure board to get the platform number. 

On the return journey look for signs in Gare du Nord for Les Grandes Lignes and later for Eurostar.

Saulieu

On arriving the bus stops in the car park close to Place Monge where the outdoor dancing takes place.  On departing the bus stop is on the other side of the main road near the Mile Stone which is about 30 yards before you reach the Tourist Office coming from Place Monge.

Which days to stay

See the note on the main page

Accommodation

See the hotel list on the festival website and book early.  Note that La Poste is closed this year.  Camping also has to be booked ahead by emailing camping.saulieu@wanadoo.fr  It is a well maintained campsite, reasonably priced and a 15 minute walk from the festival.