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buying train tickets on-line through sncf?

buying train tickets on-line through sncf?

Old Jul 6th, 2003, 06:29 PM
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buying train tickets on-line through sncf?

Thanks to this forum I discovered the sncf train site as an alternative to rail europe. I have read here about ordering on-line and using the option to print out the ticket. In reading the terms and conditions on the site it says that only listed countries are accepted for ordering on-line and that doing so from North America is not possible (it says that this must be done through rail europe). As mentioned here the prices are generally much better, particularly the prem prices, on SNCF. I am Canadian, and will be needing tickets for the end of August. I am a novice at this and wondering if those talking about buying through the sncf site are doing so from the U.S. or Canada. Alternatively, are the prices posted on the website the same if you are buying in person at the train station? I appreciate any help anyone can give with this - we are a family of four who will be travelling the last week of August and 1st week of September and I am trying to get the logistics sorted out!
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Old Jul 6th, 2003, 07:06 PM
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Just ignore that stuff about North America and leave "France" in the box; I truly think that is limited to reservations only (not payment). I have ordered tickets several times online and picked them up at the RR stations, but evidently printing them out is a breeze, so go for it.

There are some special rates for families, and since you have kids, you may qualify. How about listing specifics (dates, places, kids' ages) and let us help you.
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Old Jul 6th, 2003, 07:25 PM
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Thanks LV Sue. I was all ready to order the tickets through the website but got nervous when I read the fine print. I will be travelling with my husband, 20 year old son and 17 year old daughter. We are flying into Nice, staying one night, then to Avignon as a base for three nights (with rental car from Nice), train to Paris, there for 4 or 5 nights, then train to Netherlands where we will stay with family for 3 or 4 nights (depending on the Paris stay). That is undecided as yet, though currently booked for 5 nights. My husband and son really want to visit Juno Beach in Normandy so we would like to also take the train there for a day trip from Paris. We know it will be a long day but we really want to see it. I contacted the Juno Beach Centre and apparently there is a bus (busverts) that goes to the town several times a day from the train station. I would just have to figure out the logistics. I am a little concerned about buying the ticket back to Paris ahead of time as I have read that the bus service in Normandy is not always the most reliable and I wouldn't want to get stuck and miss the train. My understanding of the Prem tickets is that it is only for a specific time and train. Am I liable to encounter difficulties if I wait to buy the ticket back later on the same day we are travelling? Any suggestions on any aspect are welcome! My husband and I were in Paris for just a couple of days a year ago (as part of a London-Paris-Rome package)and loved it and wanted to take our children there. This will be our first time to Provence and Normandy.
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Old Jul 6th, 2003, 07:52 PM
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Follow LVSue's advice and don't worry about the limitations on North America. It's just that they can't MAIL tickets to NA (or won't, I should say). Leave France as the pickup point and continue with the reservations, print out the tickets, and voilà!
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Old Jul 6th, 2003, 11:45 PM
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Glenda, tickets that you print at home and Prem fares are nonexchangeable, non refundable, so I would avoid the Prem for the return trip from Normandy (or take your chances). Besides, your fare for "Decouverte a Deux" (Couples RT) is less than the Prems. You can pick up those tickets at the Avignon train station. (Be sure to bring the same credit card you charge them with.)

You should also be able to pick up the Paris-Amsterdam tickets in Avignon.

When you buy your tickets, be sure to put in 2 adults from 26-59 and 2 adults from 12-25 in the boxes (ignore the "choose a card"). That way, if it's available, and there are no Prems or Couples discount, your kids will get a 25% discount.

I just pulled up 4 Prems Avignon-Paris for 120 euro. And you might as well print up those Prems since they are nonrefundable anyway.

I'm presuming you are flying out of Amsterdam?
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Old Jul 7th, 2003, 01:18 PM
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Thank you both for the reassurance re ordering on-line. LV Sue, where did you find the prem price for 120 Euros? the minimum I found was 200. When checking prices before the 2 month ordering time period (using random dates)I noticed that a price of 100E appeared that had not been there previously. Does the price sometimes drop as you get closer to the date? Should I hold off for a bit before ordering or am I liable to lose out on the prem's now posted? Is there a way to find a price for "decouverte a deux"? I will take your advice and not order a prem for our return from Normandy. If I wait to get tickets when we are in France will the prices be higher than ordering before we go? Have either of you found one way preferable to the other? I don't think that I would have too much trouble committing to a set time and date before we leave for the trip to Paris, Normandy and Amsterdam but I think the trip back from Normandy could be a challenge. Can I buy the return tickets when we are ready to come back or is that leaving it too late? Have you had any experience with the public transportation in Normandy? Sorry to ask so many questions but it is much appreciated and so nice to be able to get the info from those who have more experience. Yes, LV Sue, we are flying home from Amsterdam. We are flying on air miles in a specific time period so had to be a bit creative with the flights!
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Old Jul 7th, 2003, 02:08 PM
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If your trip from France takes you into Switzerland, order from the SBB - the federal rail system in Switzerland. I just bought passes plus tickets from Munich to Zürich from the Swiss. They sent them to my house. It cost me a little to get them, but I have all of them in hand.
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Old Jul 7th, 2003, 02:57 PM
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Glenda, why don't you give me your date and I'll tell you what I find for Paris-Avignon. You need to hop on those Prems now, I think. (I was inputting a weekday--availability depends on how busy the day is)

As for Normandy, you can wait or buy now. Either way you will get the Decouverte a Deux discount and it's the best one you can get. (although it may be based on availability also) Since they don't require seat reservations, it shouldn't cost you anything to switch to a later train if you miss one.

If you wait to buy the return until you're ready, you lose out on the DaD RT discount.

I would buy the expensive Paris-Amsterdam tickets now because you might lose out on the 25% discount for the kids because of availability.



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Old Jul 7th, 2003, 03:05 PM
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Our travel date from Avignon-Paris is August 29. Is the decouverte a deux price posted? Do you know if there is luggage storage at the TGV station in Avignon (for big suitcases, not just a locker)? Thanks again.
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Old Jul 9th, 2003, 06:55 PM
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Just to report that I ordered and printed the Prem tickets on-line and it seems to have worked out fine. A word of warning though - we needed a bit of info before deciding on a departure time so instead of ordering last night ordered today - the 200 Euro tickets were no longer showing - the price had gone up! So don't procrastinate like we did or you too may end up paying more. Thanks to all who helped with suggestions.
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Old Jul 9th, 2003, 07:09 PM
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Glenda, sorry I didn't get back to you. I've been on the forum, but missed your post somehow.

Glad everything worked out. The Decouverte a Deux is only good on Round trips, so that's why it didn't show up. The site will give you the lowest rate you qualify for, so you really don't have to worry about it.
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