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Clarification re: TGV Booking - Paris to Avignon

Clarification re: TGV Booking - Paris to Avignon

Mar 6th, 2008, 08:28 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 651
Clarification re: TGV Booking - Paris to Avignon

hi everyone,

i've gotten myself thoroughly confused by reading all of the posts on how to book TGV tickets (PREMs) online.

i need two tickets from paris to avignon for september 30, 2008 (one-way). i realize it is WAY too early to book.

however, i need some clarification about the entire booking process:

1. exactly how early can i book on www.voyages-sncf.com? i tried some dummy dates ... one time i got a 'red' message saying that i cannot book anything more than two months in advance...but i just tried now for dummy dates in june and it appears to be working.

can someone please clarify/confirm??

2. can i book in english via this website? it seems like some changes were made to the site that allows bookings in english without being transfered to the raileurope.com site. when i click on the british flag at the bottom of the page, i get redirected to: http://www.tgv-europe.com/index.html and then bumped back to the SNCF page (but in english)/.

3. can i use a CANADIAN credit card (with canadian billing address)? i hope the answer is YES ... i had major problems trying to book trains throughout england last year because the UK sites do not accept foreign credit cards.

4. how do i 'get' my ticket once it's booked? i will be in paris for one week before heading to provence so i will be able to head to a SNCF location if required.

5. what the heck does composting mean? why do i want to 'compost' my ticket before getting on the train?

6. should i get insurance for the train ticket?

thank you VERY VERY much for all your help!!

lilaki is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 08:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,214
Hi L,

1. Usually 60 days out. Some trains 90 days out. For P/A it is 90 days out.

PREMS fare is 22E and you can print it (imprimez)online.

When doing dummy bookings, erase (supprimer) the tickets that you aren't going to buy.

If you don't, the computer will refuse to let you online for several hours.

2. use the French language site and a translator site (I use www.freetranslation.com)

3. I use my US CC. I expect that you can use a Canadian CC.

4. If you find a PREMS fare, you can print it at home online.
If not, you can collect your ticket at any train station or SNCF boutique. (Look up SNCF boutiques at www.pagesjaunes.fr)

5. Composting means to stamp your ticket in the yellow box at the entrance to the tracks before you get on the train.

You don't have to compost your self-printed PREMS ticket.

6. That's your call.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 12:36 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 752
I had the same question about 60 or 90 days out. I keep reading here that you can book PREMS 90 days out, but the dummy dates seem to always say 60 days out. I need tickets (in October) from Paris to Brive. Can anyone tell me if that is 60 or 90 days out?
blh is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 12:40 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,533
You can book on the SNCF site www.idtgv.com at least 4 months in advance, and fares will be cheaper than Prem's.
kerouac is online now  
Mar 6th, 2008, 12:46 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,874
>>Usually 60 days out. Some trains 90 days out. For P/A it is 90 days out.<

It's 3 months out - not 90 days. In about 1 1/2 hrs from now, I'm booking a TGV from Rennes to Avignon for June 7. I did a practice run for June 6 yesterday.

If you decline insurance, you can print tickets at home. You do not need to 'compost" tickets you print at home, but you will need to do it if you pick up the tickets in Paris. I've seen some pretty long lines at train stations & SNCF boutiques in Paris.

Stu Dudley

StuDudley is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 10:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 752
kerouac, I checked the idtgv site, but they don't show trains to Brive. Thanks anyway, as I might use the idtgv site in the future.

Thanks, Stu. I've got the date on the calendar to book my tickets three months out.
blh is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,874
Remember that 6:15 PM Eastern time on April 15 in the USA, is 12:15 am April 16 in France. Most French people are in bed when we in the US have the first opportunity to book cheap TGV tickets.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 01:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,766
I've been wondering what happened to the English version SNCF site - I used to use it frequently, and then it just seemed to disappear. I can't even see the little English flag on my laptop (maybe my screen isn't big enough?) I was quite frustrated, then decided to just muddle through with the French.

As for PREM tickets, it seems you just have to check frequently - prices are all over the place, PREM or not!
Of course, from 3 months, as others said. The minute I saw a 22E fare to Vannes in May, I grabbed it - and now I'm waiting (and hoping) for the same on June 10 from Quimper to Paris.
Sue4 is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 20,684
When I go to this SNCF site, it comes up in French. But click on train and the text comes up in English.

Michael is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 06:17 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 651
thank you everyone for your help! i will be trying idtgv and the traditional sncf sites closer to the date of my trip. i'll post back with what i'm able to book...
lilaki is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 08:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 133
We took the TGV from Paris to Avignon last September. We had our concierge reserve tickets for us via computer.
We paid with credit cards and we ordered the tickets two days before we departed. We went to Gare Lyon (?) and picked up tickets.When we got to Avignon we rented a car for a few days and made Arles our homebase. We traveled to Gordes, Rousilon,and ended up in Nice.If you are renting a car in Avignon cross over the tracks when you get off the train and you will see some stairs. Go down stairs and the car rental offices are there.Have your luggage ready when you get to Avignon as the train doesn't stop for long.
dok94901 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 12:56 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 10,416
We have just done the following - time will tell if it's ok or not. I booked PREMS tickets from Bordeaux to Paris. The TGV site would not behave itself and it was insisting that I put in a postal address which I can't do to Australia (probably my error!). Anyway, we will be staying in a gite in Albas so I emailed the owner and she said it would be fine to have the tickets posted to her and she will keep them for us. So, that's what I have done, I'm not sure if I would be comfortable doing the same through a large organisation like a hotel in case they lost them. Fingers crossed that they arrive safely. I can't believe the saving 44 euros for 2 tickets, rather than around 130 euros!
cathies is offline  
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