Day 16-18: RZD from Paris to Moscow

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The straight line journey back to Singapore starts now!

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The train from Paris to Moscow departs from Paris Gare de l’Est, a short walk away from the Gare du Nord from where the Eurostar departs from. As the name suggests, it’s situated east of Gare du Nord, and also serves mostly eastbound trains.

The informally known Paris-Moscow Express is operated by the Russian Railways (RZD) 3 times a week on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from Paris, and is the most convenient way to get from Paris to Moscow with no transfers.On the reverse journey, the train departs Moscow on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.

The journey takes 3 days, departing in the evening and arriving in the morning.

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The new coaches manufactured by Siemens. Built in 2014, thiese are the newest and most comfortable coaches in RZD’s fleet.

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The destination of the train. The text alternate between Roman and Cyrillic alphabets.

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The interior of the 4-berth sleeper compartment.

All compartments are the same in this train, it’s just how the compartment is configured and tickets are sold. If the 2 upper berths are not folded down, they are sold as 2-berth sleepers.

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The lower berth and sofa. The seat lifts up for easy stowage of luggage under it.

The handle in the middle is for lowering the separate mattress onto the sofa at night.

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The laid out upper berth in the day. A similar configuration is also adapted for the lower berth.

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The overhead information panel along the corridor also gives you information of the internal and external temperature, time, washroom availability, destination and train number.

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The locomotive standing by to take the train out of Paris Gare de l’Est.

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After departure, the attendant or provodnitsa hands out the keys to the compartment. The doors are shut after this and access to the compartment is only by your key card.

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The attached toilet on the coach. 2 such toilets are available side by side.

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What impressed me was the availability of a shower attached to one of the toilets. Thankfully I read about that earlier on Seat61. Towels and toiletries are not provided, so bring your own if you are travelling on this train!

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The last sunset in France.

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Not being sure of the prices in the restaurant car, I opted to get takeaway sandwich set for dinner from a convenience store in Paris Gare de l’Est.

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Waking up in Germany.

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The restaurant car attached at this point is Polish.

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So having the menu that states “Polish Breakfast” as the first option in the breakfast section, I opted for that.

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The set came with wheat and rye bread, and butter…

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With “scrambled eggs” and ham.

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That was it. €6. Ouch.

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Another look at the restaurant car.

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There’s also a well-stocked bar on board but they seem to be untouched for quite a while. Didn’t dare to ask for the price as well, considering how much the breakfast had cost.

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Back in the sanity of the Russian car with the Russian menu, tea is available on board for €0.50 or ₽33. Just ask your *cough* friendly provodnitsa for it and it will be served to your compartment.

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With the restaurant car closed, I had to get food from the Russian menu, and the only thing heavy was instant noodles. My first Russian meal on this trip. ₽70.

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After getting hot water for my noodles because the provodnitsa served it to me exactly as seen in the previous picture, lunch is ready to be eaten.

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Detaching the Polish restaurant car at Warsaw.

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Ready for the onward journey without the restaurant car.

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A peek inside the provodnitsa‘s service room.

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After my mini-ordeal at Brest on the Belarus border, the train re-enters the station with the bogies changed to Russian gauge…

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… with 36 minutes to spare.

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A Russian restaurant car is now available for dinner.

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The bar area of the restaurant car.

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Spaghetti carbonara on the Russian restaurant. It’s a little strange though, it was served at room temperature with more cheese than sauce, and the spaghetti was cut into short pieces.

After dinner, I went back to sleep in the anticipation of a very early border crossing the next day.

I was wrong.

Read about it here.

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Arriving in Moscow Belorusskaya railway station, with a roundhouse before the station.

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After 36 hours, the train arrived right on time.

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Price I paid from Paris to Moscow: £130.75 (Youth fare)

This journey involves the need for a transit visa through Belarus, as well as a tourist visa for Russia.

Price I paid for Belarus transit visa: £35 from the Belarus embassy in London
Price I paid for Russia tourist visa: S$112 from VFS Global in Singapore

Total price I paid from Paris to Moscow: A LOT

According to what POSB charged me and what my estimated exchange rate was at that time:

Paris to Moscow: £130.75 = S$264.31
Belarus transit visa: £35 = S$70
Russia tourist visa: S$112
Total: S$446.31

Also known to me as the most expensive ticket based on distance travelled during this trip. However, it is the easiest and most comfortable way to get across.

From here, it was a short metro ride to my hostel.

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