Just wanted to share a few tips that might help you when leaving Paris via the Gare de Lyon.
1. Do not arrive super early. We arrived 2 hours early because I read on several different travel blogs to be at the station early so that you can board the train and have a space for your baggage. Taking the train in France is not like the airport. You don’t check your luggage, you carry it all with you. You don’t have to be there early for security checkpoints and whatnot. I would recommend getting there around 45 minutes to 1 hour early. This will give sufficient time to find which hall your train is arriving in and about 25 minutes before the train departs you can actually board.
2. If you are traveling with a toddler just take a plane. The train is to difficult with tons of bags. My next trip to Europe I will use the train but I will only have one small roller bag and no kids with me.
3. It costs fifty cents to use the bathroom in the station so either have some change on you or hold it.
4. Second class family style seating is actually super comfortable so don’t waste your money on the upgrade to first class. I’m more comfortable writing this post sitting in second class then I have ever been on a plane.
5. Pay attention to the train info! There will be several tv screens that will have all of the trains in the hall and it will tell which voie (track) they will be leaving from. As soon as they put up your info I would suggest you get a wiggle on and make it to your train because the masses are already on the move. If you see two different departing trains with the same number, for example Nice and Lyon both say voie 17, make sure you board the correct train because the two trains are lined up one behind the other.