Buying SNCF Tickets

Reply

Jun 13th, 2001, 12:17 PM
  #1
Paul
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Buying SNCF Tickets

I would like to buy rail tickets from CDG to Bordeaux. Rail Europe charges are exhorbitant and do not allow for the discounts offered by SNCF. I do not have confidence in the schedule posted on their site since it appears to disagree with other information I have. The SNCF site (English or French) does not seem to work for this itinerary. All suggestions would be appreciated. I have been told that you can call SNCF in France at 8-36353539 and get bilingual help. Does any one know if this is correct.
Thanks in advance.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 13th, 2001, 01:00 PM
  #2
Christina
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I haven't called that number but I have seen somewhere make that claim also about that number, probably on some travel forum. That is a legitimate SNCF phone number, if you look in the Parisian yellow pages (www.pagesjaunes.fr), you'll find that number listed under "Eurostar" -- I think that is why it is bilingual (in fact, I think it may be only Eng/French bilingual, not German, for example, I've seen other numbers for other languages). In any case, that number is in the phone book however I would be cautious as I think that number may be a charge per minute number (similar to US 900 numbers maybe) as France doesn't have an "08" phone area code (the Parisian area code should be a "4" not "8"), I think that signifies a pay per minute number. Raileurope's schedules do not purport to be comprehensive, it says so on their own site somewhere, they are a sampling of most common routes--I have found a few errors but generally the times are fairly accurate for the ones that exist, there are just a lot of lines missing.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 13th, 2001, 05:17 PM
  #3
clairobscur
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Yes, indeed, this phone number is a charge per minute number.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 13th, 2001, 07:52 PM
  #4
jane
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I don't know if this will work but if you are a AAA member you may be able to get your train tickets through them. I did that last year for Italy and it made it much easier, its at least worth a try.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 14th, 2001, 07:46 PM
  #5
Ken
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I travel in France by train each year, generally multiple times during one or two lengthy trips. It is not really so complicated as it may seem.

First, realize that seat reservations and advance purchase of train tickets are only going to be necessary on TGVs (high speed trains) and long segments, especially during peak periods. Slower trains, non-peak travel, and short train segments are not worth worrying much about in advance.

For schedule information, you can try the SNCF website, or even better, use the German Railways website (here is the link)

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/det...in/query.exe/e

You will note that at any particular time of year the timetable is only applicable until the next seasonal change, which right now means late Sept. The schedules don't change all that much seasonally, so you can at least get a good general idea of how much traffic there is on your route even if it occurs past the expiration of the current timetable.

As for booking on the SNCF site, I would recommend using this for any very long segments (say, in excess of an hour and a half) and for TGVs. If the website will not let you book exactly what you want (I have had this problem with the SNCF website, which I think generally sucks), then just go to the German trains website and figure out the routing and train numbers, then go to SNCF and just look up the point to point on the long or TGV trains you will need. Book THOSE ones and get the other segments when you get to France. It should take you maybe 10 minutes max to finish out your itinerary, and you will already have the seat and train reservations you NEED when you arrive.

Good luck,

ken
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 15th, 2001, 03:36 AM
  #6
Paul
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks for the advice and help. I was able to get some information re: costs but little reliable information about schedules. Seems strange to me. I finally booked airline tickets on Air France. The funny part was that we will arrive in Bordeaux before any of the train connections we could discover and the ROUND TRIP flights (Paris - Bordeux -Paris) cost LESS than half the cost of price quoted by Rail Europe. I still can not find out about discounts for two travelers together and/or seniors for this route (in July) from SNCF or anyone. Thanks for everyones help.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 22nd, 2001, 12:00 PM
  #7
pam
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Ken,
French rail site sncf.com says tickets are not available to U.S. residents and directs them to raileurope. And of course Raileurope does not offer any of the discount fares. Is there a way around that??
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 22nd, 2001, 12:33 PM
  #8
Bob Brown
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Last summer I ordered tickets over the SNCF site and went to Gare Montparanasse after I arrived in Paris to get my tickets. I don't know why you could not
order over the SNCF web site and then pick them up at the train station.

There are trains for Bordeau leaving CDG at 8:55 and 13:45.

I got a simple senior discount of 25% last year just by being there and being old enough to qualify.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 22nd, 2001, 12:34 PM
  #9
elvira
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Here's the scoop: don't say you want the tickets in the U.S.; choose France, and that you will pick them up at a train station.

Airport charles de gaulle is the departure. click on the select here and pick the TGV choice; bordeaux is your arrival. I did 10-1400 hours and got a hit.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 22nd, 2001, 02:45 PM
  #10
Christina
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Yes, but don't they deliberately make the rules for pickup within a time period after reserving online that eliminates the possibility of getting advanced purchase discount fares? Perhaps you can get the senior or two traveler fares, though, that would be good, although if you can only reserve a few days ahead of time, you might as well just wait till you get there, seems to me. I think SNCF did this on purpose so people from other countries cannot get the 30-day APEX fares. I don't blame them, there's no reason for them to subsidize a lot of foreigners. When I read that site, it says if you reserve with 9-62 days before departure, you must pick up the ticket within 7 days; if you reserve 3-8 days before departure, you must pick up within 2 days. So you could not get the J8 fare (reserve 8-60 days before departure) and be there to pick it up within two days in many cases, unless you reserved just before going to France and did not plan to take the trip for a long time after you got there.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 22nd, 2001, 04:08 PM
  #11
Bob Brown
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
The pickup times are not the best for us over here, but I reserved in advance from here to make sure I could get on the train and on the date I wanted!!
The 25% discount was ok, too.
At least buying as I did, I did not pay Rail Europe prices!!!
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 23rd, 2001, 04:33 PM
  #12
elvira
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Christina, you are correct; one has to pick up the tickets within 14 days, I think, and that does eliminate the cheapcheap tickets, but it does mean you can get the 14 or 7 day discount. The real bonuses are 1) you've got a ticket and 2) you don't have to pay Raileurope for their service.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 23rd, 2001, 06:03 PM
  #13
Karen
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I just booked a ticket from Paris to Pau (in the mid-Pyrenees) over the SNCF site. I arranged to pick up the tickets when I arrive in France in less than two weeks (hurray!) I am wondering if I am paying more than if I bought them when I arrived in France. Can anyone clue me in?
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 23rd, 2001, 06:11 PM
  #14
Bob Brown
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I think the price you see on the SNCF web site is the same amount you would pay at the train station in France. My experience two years ago was this: I thought I had made a reservation on the Web. I even had my confirmation code. When I went to finalize the deal, the ticket agent could not find my record in the computer.
She sold me the tickets I wanted as a new sale and I paid the same price I had originally seen on the screen at home.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 25th, 2001, 12:30 PM
  #15
Christina
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Well, I'm still confused as I just read the SNCF rules on their site and they state the time frame I mentioned above. Elvira, if you read this, where do you see the info or have experience that you have 14 days to pick up the tickets, rather than the 2-7 days that the web site claims? I need a ticket soon and was going to give up on any discount as it would be impossible for me to pick it up within 2 days of reservation. In fact, I don't even care about the discount that much, I just wanted to get my reservation in ahead of time and not pay Raileurope's fees.
 
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:51 PM.