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Benelux-France Eurail Passes

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Jan 27th, 2012, 10:28 AM
  #1
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Benelux-France Eurail Passes

I'm looking to buy a eurail pass and plan on travelling between the Netherlands and France using the high speed trains. I know you are supposed to reserve your seat on these trains...anyone know how much it costs to reserve and where I can go to reserve?
dutchgirlincanada is offline  
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Jan 27th, 2012, 10:39 AM
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Last time I took that train the reservation fee was €3.00. It is called the Thalys and is a TGV class train. There was also a €20.00 charge for lunch which I considered a pretty good deal given the price of lunch in Paris and the time saved.

I recommend that you contact Budget Europe Travel (BETS) in Ann Arbor for your pass and details. These things change every year. BETS is at http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/. Byron or Linda there are experts and can tell you everything you need to know.
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Jan 27th, 2012, 10:49 AM
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In Belgium and Netheralnds (and Luxembourg, also included on the Benelux-France railpass) there are no seat reservation fees or obligations except on the Thalys trains Brussels to Paris and Cologne - and those supplements are very steep - like $30-40 or so in 2nd class and much higher in first class - so with a pass try to avoid the Thalys train - but on all other French trains like TGVs the standard seat reservation fee is 3 euros (last I knew in 2011 - could be 4 euros but anyway a nominal fee.

Overnight trains of course charge railpass holders for sleeping berths but the pass pays for the train fare itself.

To reserve a seat on a TGV train you must go in person to the station and go to a ticket window - you can do all your reservations at once - need not be in one city to book a TGV from another city - or you can make the mandatory reservation when buying your railpass though in that case the seat reservation fee will be 2 or 3 times higher I believe.

For lots of great info on trains in France and Benelux check out these fantastic IMO sources - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com (to make seat reservations I highly recommend the folks here - I have bought railpasses from them for years attest to their great service - experts you can actually talk to - and www.ricksteves.com - a great site with railpass info but unfortunately will not make seat reservations. Normally I advise folks to make seat reservations as they go along and in most countries after decades of constant traveling with railpsses I always make my obligated seat reservations easily on site but in France on a few TGV lines there is a limit on railpass holder reservations the French Railways will make so that say making a seat reservation on say Paris to Avignon TGV with a pass could be impossible once you get there - or hard to get if you are not very flexible or TGVs to Bordeaux - these lines I know of several folks who could not make passholder reservations once in France so I say if you have to be on a certain TGV just pay the several bucks extra and do it at time of purchasing a pass - saving also any mailing fees that way.

And check out www.sncf-voyages.com - the French Railway's official site for schedules and fares - you will note many discounted online fares at a cost much lower than full fares - and though these fares are typically train-specific and not changeable nor refundable if you want to lock yourself into that train weeks if not months in advance this could turn out cheaper than a railpass if not traveling extensively - but as these discounted seats are sold in limited numbers on each train to get them for sure you must often book up to 3 months in advance - well check the sncf.com site to see how many are available and how far in advance they are - in peak seasons they go quicker. And on most TGV trains except the line to Provence - Avignon, Nice, etc passholder fares are easier to get once there - it is just a few popular lines where they are not - do you know which TGVs you may take in particular?

And there are many trains that are not TGVs which may not require reservations or on which if they do they are a snap to make. And I advise for the average traveler going first class as there is a much more relaxed atmosphere there - there are fewer seats in the same size train car - thus seats are bigger and there are IME often lots of empty seats to spread out on - I often can put by baggage next to me - and there are seats of one in a row - a seat with an aisle and a window -two can face each other with a table in between for couples - these seats are priceless to me - they do not exist in 2nde class where it is always 2 by 2 seats. But to make required railpass seat reservations it is much easier with a first class pass as 2nd class TGVs are IMe often chock full - because of the deep discounts offered I think and thus harder to book with a 2nd class pass. And finally the differential between prices for a first class pass and 2nd class one is not that great - not nearly as great as the difference between normal first- and second-class fares so a first-class pass is a better deal for what you get than a 2nd-class pass. anyway on the trip of a lifetime I always advise paying extra for first class as it is so much more relaxed and comfy.
PalenQ is offline  
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Jan 27th, 2012, 11:58 AM
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ttt

topping - you do not need to do a new post to get your original post (OP) back up out of the Fodor's Black Hole but just periodically top your thread - the usual way is to post

ttt

for topping the thread as I have done here.
PalenQ is offline  
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Jan 27th, 2012, 07:33 PM
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Here is another site for help regarding the rails in Europe, http://tinyurl.com/eym5b. I would guess that you are spending at least a few days in Holland. Buy your reservation when you get there. There are many trains daily. See http://tinyurl.com/d63txj.
spaarne is offline  
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Jan 28th, 2012, 09:51 AM
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I have had trouble buying reservations in Holland for trains not involving Holland - even though I know they have the same computer system say RailEurope has here they have refused to make any reservations in other countries - this at the Schiphol Airport International ticket office even - and except Amsterdam Centraal I think Dutch Railways has closed most international ticket offices as thrown that business online.
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