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Paris to Brive booked!

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I've probably read every word on Fodor's about booking rail tickets on SNCF and by last night, that magical 3 months before travel date had arrived. I felt prepared. Also felt totally intimidated! So many had had problems. Nick's Travel Tips which someone had posted was in front of us, but there was this nagging issue he mentioned of verification of Master Card and Visa. Trains selected, seats assigned to all five of us .. 1 senior, 2 adults, 1 youth, 1 child .. all done and we crossed our fingers as we entered the credit card. Rejected! That was my Capital One I'd tagged for foreign transaction. Next my s-I-l's American Express. Same fate. Then a call to the SNCF number I found online, confirming the hours they had an English speaking person. Nothing to do but wait it out and call this morning.

Meanwhile I started trying to research this verification process. Numerous calls later, to Capital One as well as Master Card itself, a supervisor informed me that Capital One does NOT subscribe to the verification process. Turns out that neither does Barclay Bank which held two more of our combined credit cards.

Again this morning my daughter started trying to reach an English speaking person at SNCF, all to no avail after numerous calls. Ultimately she determined she was familiar with the site and went directly to the one in French rather than the TGV one we'd used last night. She put in the Amex card, they in turn called to confirm the charge with her husband and it went through. Confirmation sent, tickets printed, all appears in order. Car has been booked for pickup in Brive. Now, at long last, we can focus on the fun parts of planning!

I'm really writing to encourage everyone to become familiar with the TGV layout but to book using the French site. It was easier and cheaper .. and best of all, it worked! Also to advise that according to my experiences, your Capital One card will most likely not work.

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