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Do you HAVE to make a reservation when taking the TGV?

Do you HAVE to make a reservation when taking the TGV?

Jul 18th, 2010, 03:51 PM
  #1  
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Do you HAVE to make a reservation when taking the TGV?

On the 1st Saturday in September...we are planning on taking a TGV from CDG to Strasbourg. We are afraid if we buy a TGV ticket beforehand...we might miss it due to a flight delay. MUST we reserve and purchase a ticket ahead of time? Please weigh in Fodorites!

Thanks in advance for your advice
LeeRitchie is offline  
Jul 18th, 2010, 05:21 PM
  #2  
 
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Yes, it's mandatory, though technically the language reads that as long as you've purchased a ticket 5 minutes or more before the train departs, you've "reserved."

But why would you not plan to reserve anyway, since you can get amazing discounts online by reserving PREM tickets well in advance. Just plan for a flight delay and if you end up spending a couple of hours in a train station, so what? They're fun places to hang out.
StCirq is online now  
Jul 18th, 2010, 05:30 PM
  #3  
 
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definately. Once I was given the wrong date on my return ticket from Avignon and did not notice that. When I went to my seat, it was taken and when the ticket checker came by, he said my ticket was dated for the next day. I explained I had a plane to catch back to Boston. He led me to a seat but warned me, if a ticket holder showed up I would have to leave the train. Luckily all went well.
cigalechanta is online now  
Jul 18th, 2010, 05:39 PM
  #4  
 
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Direct TGVs from CDG to Strasbourg depart at 07:46, 10:41, and 12:52. For more frequent service you'll need to go into Paris and depart from Gare de l'Est. What time is your flight scheduled to arrive? Knowing the answer to that question will help us advise you on which train you can safely book in advance to take advantage of getting a discount fare.
TimS is offline  
Jul 19th, 2010, 03:43 AM
  #5  
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6:10 AM on a Saturday morning.

Thanks everyone
LeeRitchie is offline  
Jul 19th, 2010, 04:07 AM
  #6  
tod
 
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Lee, you must book in advance to be assured of a seat.
Don't make the mistake we did, by buying a ticket (this was from Paris to Tours) at the station and finding out we had to take potluck with seats - ending up in different carriages on the train.
As you arrive so early you will be able to book the 7.46am direct from CDG to Strasbourg. Delayed: then you get the station master/ticket office to mark your ticket with a later train.
Very good luck - it sounds like a perfect run!
tod is offline  
Jul 19th, 2010, 04:21 AM
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If your flight is on time, you'll be able to catch the 07:46 train. 2nd class Prem's tickets are still available for €22, but they'll be worthless if you miss the train.

The 2nd class Prem's tickets for the 10:41 train are gone, but you can get a 1st class Prem's ticket for €38, cheaper than the remaining 2nd class tickets.

Allowing time to get into Paris, the first train you could catch leaves Gare de l'Est at 10:24.

I wouldn't risk booking Prem's tickets for the 07:46 train myself. If getting to Strasbourg as early as possible is important, you could buy standard fare tickets on the spot. My advice is to book 1st class Prem's tickets on the 10:41 train--and to do it TODAY before those tickets are gone.

Book at www.tgv-europe.com. To keep the site in English and to avoid being bumped to the Rail Europe site which doesn't offer discount fares, choose Great Britain as your country of residence. You can print your own Prem's tickets.
TimS is offline  
Jul 19th, 2010, 04:38 AM
  #8  
 
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Here's another alternative. The standard 2nd class fare (€73) is less than a €22 Prem's fare on the 07:46 train plus a €38 Prem's ticket on the 10:41 train. Yuu could book Prem's tickets on both trains. Then if you manage to catch the 07:46 train, well and good. You still come out ahead.
TimS is offline  
Jul 19th, 2010, 06:52 AM
  #9  
 
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Yes all TGV are reserved seating only.

I will vote for the buy a direct ticket now but give yourself several hours lee-way for eventual flight delay; if you purchased trip insurance when you bought plane tickets it should cover replacement tickets should your international flight have a major delay and you miss the train altogether and have to purchase new tickets.

However, some make it sound like it is no big deal to just catch the next available TGV; this is not necessarily true. We once missed our Paris to Rennes Prem train due to an unannounced metro strike that had crippled the city and made cabs impossible to find. We were a party of six and the cab could only hold 4 + luggage. We, being the couple who could speak French, volunteered to meet the others at Rennes via the next train should we not be able to find a taxi in time....we missed the train by 5 minutes (grrrr)! When we went in to purchase new tickets imagine our surprise to find that the next TGV was totally sold out! And the next TGV had only first class tickets at full price, which we took. It was a very expensive ride by comparison!

All that to say, I'd feel better having guaranteed cheap tickets and POSSIBLY having to replace them, than not having any tickets until my arrival and maybe not getting ones that day, or at least not without a lot of hassle by going into Paris, etc.
klondike is offline  
Jul 19th, 2010, 08:22 AM
  #10  
 
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I would go for the 1st class Prems at 10:41. After landing, you can collect your luggage, have a decent breakfast (which you won't get on the plane), freshen up, and then enjoy the comfy 1st class ride without having had to worry about making the earlier train.
UNCalum is offline  
Jul 20th, 2010, 07:42 AM
  #11  
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Thanks to all of you weighing in on this. I took the collective wisdom of the group and booked the 10:41 Prem 76E for the two of us. After checking the av flight delay records for my plane...it was just too risky to have an 1.5 window of time.

It was very easy to get tickets using above mentioned link...I said my country of origin was Ireland (I'm of Irish descent-but born in the US) and was able to print the tickets out.

Two more questions assuming our fligt isn't delayed:
1.If we are able to make the earlier TGV (and there are open seats) do you think they'll let us on...or is it a total waste of time to try?
2.Where to get a decent breakfast and other ways to while away our time at the station?
LeeRitchie is offline  
Jul 20th, 2010, 10:00 AM
  #12  
 
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I have no idea if you can get on an earlier train.

There are at least two places at the station to get decent food - sandwiches, salads, probably breakfast things as well,. And a Relais or similar store.
StCirq is online now  

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