Booking trains dircetly through SNCF

Old Dec 19th, 2005, 12:51 PM
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Booking trains dircetly through SNCF

Hello all,

My wife and I are traveling from Paris to Lourdes on Mar 11. We found 1st calss TGV ticekts for considerably less than Rail europe. 2 questions then: I know we need to live in Europe somehwere to get these tickets. But can they be printed out (I can't get to the next screen without a valid French address). The second question is: How comfortable is it to sleep on a TGV overnight (our train leaves at around 10PM)

Thanks in advance!
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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 01:29 PM
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no, you don't need to be living in Europe to get those tickets. You just have to pick the up at a French rail station. I think the SNCF website says somewhere about North Americans supposedly not being allowed to book online, although I do and so have others without restrictions, but I don't think even that notice claims you have to live in Europe.

In any case, if they are not PREMs or IdTVs (or something like that), then no, you cannot print them out yourself.

I don't know why you need a valid French address, I've never been asked my address to book online. I suspect it's because you said you wanted them mailed or something? You don't have to put in an address when you say you will pick them up.

Don't know about comfort, I'm sure that is subjective. I wouldn't do it myself and that route isn't that long to Lourdes, so won't you get there at 5 am or something? There is nothing to do then.

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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 01:32 PM
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You can buy the tickets on the SNCF website and choose the option to pay for the tickets now with a credit card and pick up the tickets at any SNCF train station or ticket boutique in France. You must show the confirmation number and the credit card you used for payment when you pick up the tickets in France. You don't have to give a French address to do this but if you want you can use your hotel address. You will not be able to get your tickets at any of the automatic ticket machines as they do not take foreign credit cards but will have to get in line at the ticket counter to get them. The lines can be long and very slooooooooow so don't wait until the day of the trip to get them or if you do go to the station early. I generally use the SNCF ticket boutiques. They are found all over Paris but again the lines can be very very slooooooooow. I am in Paris now and a couple of weeks ago I stopped in at the SNCF boutique on Rivoli near Hotel de Ville, got a serving number and then went to lunch for an hour, returned and waited 5 minutes to get served. That's how sloooooooooow.

Larry J
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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 01:34 PM
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If you choose to buy the tickets online, and they are not discounted*, then you can pick them up in Paris at any SNCF office.

* this is the occasion that you are allowed to print tickets on your own printer

Leave the country as "France". No address is needed because you will not check the option to mail the tickets.
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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 01:42 PM
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I just looked at SNCF for that exact route and date, and I was never asked my address. You must have put in some other country than France in the box where it asked which country you wanted to receive tickets or pick them up. Obviously, if you didn't put France in there, it would ask you an address.

I could get tickets with no problem, including PREMs, which are printable. I got up to the point where it said I could either print the PREMS or have them mailed (and you would need a local address for that, or close), but I bailed at that point because I didn't want to buy. All they wanted was my name and email address, though, not real mailing address.

I think you are mistaken about trains as I saw no overnight TGVs at all. The overnight trains are Corails (and none left at 10 pm, but somewhat later). There was a TGV at 10 in the morning, though, I think that may be what you were looking at. The train isn't long enough that they would schedule a TGV at night, as I said. The trip is only about 5:30 hours.
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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 02:03 PM
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TGV is basically day trains, no night trains exist as far as I knew so I got interested and did as Christina. There is a Corail (a sort of an intercity trains which makes more stops than TGV) train leaving Paris at 23.13 for Lourdes and I see Prem's (printable) ticket for EURO35 as cheapest among three fare offers. That's a very good price I think. And as all others already said, when you choose "print the ticket by yourself", you will not be asked of your address. Just leave the country as France at the beginning of the procedure.
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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 02:10 PM
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I looked at the site again for comfort details. EURO35 is 2nd class couchette. This usually not be comfortable for me but I can survive if I have to take it. It will depend on your tolerance level. The site offers also "1st cls.couchett" for EURO60. This should at least give you more space than 2nd cls, so you might want to choose that.
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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 02:50 PM
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Thanks all.

In regards to Christina's reply, there is a TGV that left Montparnasse at 2200 and arrived at 700. But no matter. I'll probably go first class sleeper.

As for the rest, Thanks so very much. I still haven't been able to get to the "PRINT" part. But I'll try again!

RJ
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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 03:01 PM
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Now that you know about the night train with couchettes, I'll recommend that you go 1st class (four-person couchette) rather than 2nd class (six-person couchette). The extra space and comfort is worth it.

The reason that you can't print your ticket now is that you cannot book tickets online more than 60 days in advance. Since PREM tickets sell out quickly, it's best to book your tickets as close to that 60-day window as paossible.
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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 03:11 PM
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Hello all,

OK, totally confused now. I can't find the option to choose to print the tickets. I choose the PREM fair, and then add teh cancellation insurance. Then on the next page I enter our names. Next it takes me to a page where I have to enter an address. No options to print or anything. The only page where it mentions anything about printing tickets is when I choose my PREM fare.

I'm gonna solve this problem soon, right?
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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 03:13 PM
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> it's best to book your tickets as close to that 60-day window as paossible

Try from 90 days in advance to amximize your chance. 60-day rule is not constantly applied any more since sometime now. Actually I have booked a few Prem's tickets (GVA-PAR and GVA-Marseille) more than 60 days before. Also I might have read somewhere on SNCF related site about new 90-day rule.

> ..there is a TGV that left Montparnasse at 2200 and arrived at 700..

That one did not show up when I tried SNCF Voyage site. Dep.23.13 leaves Austerliz (sp?) and arrives around 07.45 in Lourdes.

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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 03:34 PM
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Well, good luck on that -- my computer doesn't show any TGV trains from Paris to Lourdes leaving at 22:00 on 3/11/06 on SNCF.com, or after that in the evening. That's funny how we get different schedules. Nor does Raileurope (I thought maybe they did as their schedules aren't always correct). The TGV trip doesn't take that long, anyway (9 hours), it's only a 5.5-6 hour TGV trip. I guess you could spend that long if you were going somewhere else first, then down to Lourdes, but I still think that would be a regular train if it took that long. The Corail train from Gare Austerlitz that leaves 1:14 later (23:14 pm) arrives at 7:49 am, for example, and that's a regular train.

I think some of that line down near Lourdes isn't really high-speed anyway, but they call a train a TGV sometimes if it is partly on a high-speed line.
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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 05:51 PM
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Okay. Kappa is right that it is now possible to book more than 60 days in advance so that is not why you weren't allowed to book your ticket. However, I think I've discovered another reason. When I "pretended" to book a ticket and (like you) included cancellation insurance, I was asked to give a French address and was not given the option of printing my own ticket. When I chose no cancellation insurance, I could have gone ahead to complete the order and print my ticket.
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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 06:02 PM
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OK,

Got it. No cancellation = I can print.
Wow, what saving E8 can do to my blood pressure!

Thanks again everyone.
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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 06:04 PM
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I had a problem with PREMs and cancellation insurance, too; you cannot print tickets if you purchase the insurance.
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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 06:14 PM
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OK, I think I messed up. I did exactly what TimS did. I only got a confirmation. Do I have any hope?
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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 06:16 PM
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Hey everyone (again)...

I don't have to make reservations for seats I buy through SNCF directly do I? Am I correct in assuming that these ticket prices include the reservation fee since there are seat numbers given me when I checkout?

RJ
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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 07:13 PM
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Yes, the price you paid online includes your reservation fee and the seat (couchette) numbers shown on your tickets are yours.
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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 07:18 PM
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Elba - Were you trying to print your own ticket? By "confirmation" do you mean you chose to pick up your ticket at a station rather than printing it yourself? Give us some more information on the date, time and route you want to travel and we'll try to help you out.
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Old Dec 19th, 2005, 07:30 PM
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I bought tickets from Avignon to Paris, Feb 23. The site said to (print or mail) 9:25 TGV. No choice, just print or mail. I chose insurance and it asked for my address. Once I gave my address but left country as France, it accepted it and said it would send it to my email. I got the confirmation, but no printable ticket.

My first set of tickets (for a week earlier) Paris-Avignon went through exactly the same way but I did not choose insurance. I received my printable tickets.
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