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France - SNCF website/train tickets again!

France - SNCF website/train tickets again!

Old Apr 10th, 2010, 09:26 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 19
France - SNCF website/train tickets again!

Okay, I'm pretty sure that Morgan B's directions for buying train tickets are outdated (there is no British flag to click) and I can't seem to find the thread where someone has a website that explains how to operate the SNCF's website in French. Can anyone help me? My problem is that I'm not given the option to print the tickets on-line and when I select to pick them up from "la gare" ou "boutique", it says that I can't used a virtual credit card with this option. If I do "borne-libre service", my American credit card won't work when I go to pick them up at the train station. It is true that the French version "SNCF" is much cheaper than the raileurope site. The rail-europe site charges an $18 handling fee.

Thank you in advance.
Malya is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2010, 09:43 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 275
Seat61.com gives step by step pics and guidance. Many on this forum can also walk you through it. I was very intimidated but it worked!
I printed mine by going to my "file," and clicked print. Voila' -out they came! I also received confirmation when I entered my email address.

Keep trying; if it worked for me and I was able to negotiate it, I guarantee anyone can, as I am not computer- nor french literate at all.

Good luck.
moneyburns is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2010, 10:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I haven't bought from SNCF for about 6 months, but there wasn't anything unusual about it. It sounds like you can read French, so I'm not sure what advice to offer. The website is fairly straightforward, I think, it tells you exactly what to do and only takes a few steps. I agree it isn't if you can't read French, but you can, it seems.

For anyone to help more, it would probably be useful if you gave some information about what you are trying to do, otherwise it's a guessing game. What date and what train are you trying to buy that you can't use a credit card for? Sometimes they won't even let you buy online certain tickets if they are too cheap, as I recall, but those are local trains that wouldn't have any reserved seats. And of course you aren't going to be allowed to buy tickets if they aren't on sale yet (ie, too far out).

NOw I just checked what it says for a recent, regular ticket, and I do see it had some note about how if you pay online, certain cards without a "puce" (ie, chip) such as Amex or foreign cards won't work. I wonder if that's just some poor phrasing and they copied that from the section where you will pick up at the "borne" and need a card, and it really isn't relevant for the other transactions where you will pick them up. I got all the way to actually buying a ticket anyway, but of course, didn't input a CC number, so I can't tell what would happen. If I were you, I'd just ignore that warning and proceed to input your CC number and info and see what happens. I suspect that might be an error as a note on that option. But if it doesn't work (and they can track which cards don't by the number), it will just reject the purchase, so I don't see what harm it would do to try. I do remember they were rejecting all CCs from Australia at once time due to some fraud issue, so they can identify countries of cards, I believe. That note is something new, I believe, although the last ticket I bought was printable, as I recall.
Christina is online now  
Old Apr 10th, 2010, 10:45 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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The flags are in the lower left corner just to screw you up, Malya. You are probably looking in the upper right corner.
kerouac is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2010, 11:01 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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I believe you can buy the tickets and pick them up at a train station in France. If the automatic ticket machine does not accept your card, you can go to the window for help and they will print the tickets for you.
ltr is online now  
Old Apr 10th, 2010, 11:06 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 219
I have used this web site: http://www.tgv-europe.com/en/
many times and it's fairly straight forward.

On the first page where it says book your ticket there's a drop down menu for select your country--I select Great Britian--even though I live in the U.S. and this way it keeps me in the French web site and doesn't throw me out to Raileurope which as you noted has a surcharge.

I have used my US credit card on the French tgv europe site for years and just did it again two days ago. No problems. I chose to pick up the ticket at the train station but you can also pick up at the boutique. I prefer to pick up at one of the big stations before departure; less of a wait. It makes no difference where you pick it up-boutique or station- but you can't use the machine with your US credit card.

You print out a voucher which you need to take with you when you pick up the tickets. Also, I have done it by not using G.B. in the drop down menu, using France instead and if I needed translation I used babel fish. You must use the same credit card that you charged on line with when you pick up the ticket. Must!
JustineA is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2010, 11:18 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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I just did this a couple of days ago also but had to use the SNCF website in French.

I was booking one way return from Amsterdam to CDG and for some reason the TGV website did not show the train I wanted. SNCF had the right one, so I fumbled my way through it.

It would not let me print the tickets but there is a note on the website that states you can use self serve machines or pickup at the counter but you must have the reference number and the bank card used for the online payment.

I will just pick them up before we leave for Amsterdam so I will have them for the return trip back.
ltr is online now  
Old Apr 10th, 2010, 01:14 PM
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I really really appreciate everyone's help. I'm so glad of the detailed and quick responses that everyone is willing to give. Thank you. Okay, so this is what I'm getting. I have tried both the voyages.sncf.com website and the tgv-europe website. I have three choices (borne/libre service, mail, or gare/boutique. I first select the "boutique" and it tells me that American Express, foreign cards, or card without the "chip/puce" cannot be accepted for this choice. When I choose the borne/libre service, it tells me the same thing. This so frustrating! In 2008, I was able to do this w/o problems. Could it be b/c the ticket is so cheap? It's 20 euros. TGV one-way from Paris to Geneva.
Malya is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2010, 02:05 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Have you always used the american express card when purchasing from them? Maybe that's the problem. Try Visa.
JustineA is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2010, 02:09 PM
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Hi M,

>Could it be b/c the ticket is so cheap? It's 20 euros. TGV one-way from Paris to Geneva.<

Would you mind telling us the date and time of departure so that we can see what you are seeing?

I have found a 39E ticket from Paris to Geneva that has "ATTENTION : Aucune autre carte, y compris attachée au même compte bancaire, ne pourra être utilisée pour le retrait. Les cartes sans puce telles que l'American Express et certaines cartes étrangères ne pourront être utilisées".

I've not seen this before, as I have always been able to use a US CC at the ticket counter. It might refer to the use of ticket machines.

If you will be staying at a hotel in Paris, you can have the tickets delivered there.

ira is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2010, 02:51 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I just did a dummy booking for Paris-Geneva in English on the tgv-europe.com site. I chose Great Britain as my country of residence. I got the €20 Piccolissimo fare and was given the choice of picking up my ticket at a French station as well as from a ticket machine. I went as far as the screen for entering credit card information.

Try again. It should work for you. FYI, even if the only retrieval choice you were given was a ticket machine requiring a card with an embedded chip, you can always go to a ticket window and the agent will swipe your card.
TimS is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2010, 02:57 PM
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The problem is that from the previous post that Ira mentioned. The "ne" in the sentence does not mean negative, but when I proceeded with the buy, the "pas" was added to the explanation, which means "not." It's saying that no cards, such as American Express, and some foreign cards without the chips can be used. I'll try the tgv site again though.

Ira, I had choosen the 9h10 train from Paris to Geveva (3 1/2 hours) for 20E. I had forgotten that I would be in a hotel, so I could have them mailed to the hotel. I'll contact the hotel and see if they will allow me to do this. This is not the only ticket I have to buy, so this is a good idea.

Malya is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2010, 03:12 PM
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Update! I was able to do it. The 6th time worked for some reason. I have no idea why. Even the tgv.europe page said that "my method of payment" would not be acceptable with the choice of delivery that I had selected, but this time it went through. Yay!!!! Thanks for all of your support and ideas. For anyone else having difficulty, I recommend perseverance.
Malya is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2010, 03:22 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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French negative construction can be a little tortuous. In that sentence, aucune and the negative that that follows it means "no other."

It's just the warning that to pick up your tickets you must use the card you used to order them (no other card, including one attached to the same bank account). The second sentence doesn't specifically say that you can't use a non-chip card in an automatic machine, but that may be the intent.
MargrietVanderBanck is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2010, 04:18 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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This is not helpful now (since you have succeeded), but it is interesting, though slightly off-topic:

On the Thalys website (Belgium) I also had problem with my credit card -- it was being rejected, even though I had just phoned the card company and gave them a heads-up that I was going to do the online international purchase.

After three tries, I got the card guys on the phone. They suggested I just log out and log back in after each unsuccessful try. That worked. They said this is common on a number of international websites -- for reasons they could not discern.

So for anyone else with the same problem and reading this thread...try that.

ssander is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2010, 12:05 PM
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I couldn't print tix at home when I was trying to buy 3 tix that included a child's fare. When I switched all to adult PREMs, I had the option to print from home.
SuzChicago is offline  
Old Feb 9th, 2011, 03:08 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,324
I also just bought tics for the french train and I was able to use my Amex card which has no chip. Since I made a mistake and bought non refundable tics I then had to go back and buy another tic, this time using a visa card and still no problem...also printed ALL of my tics at home.

FYI: they usually send an email with your confirmation and in the email there is also a link to print the tics.

So now ,does anyone know what to do with two tics from Lyon to Paris on Sun Mar 6th? Or the two EXTRA tics from Paris to Lyon on Feb 28th...they are all yours for the asking if you can do anything with them. I have bought tics at least a dozen times and this was the first time I messed up royally!
susanna is offline  
Old Feb 9th, 2011, 03:36 PM
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Are they PREM tickets? If so, you can't sell or give them to anyone because they have your name on them and the conductors will check that.

I would wait until I get to France and throw myself on the mercy of a ticket agent.
StCirq is offline  
Old Feb 10th, 2011, 06:57 AM
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Thanks StCirq, yes, they are prem tics...

While throwing myself on the mercy of the ticket agent, what would you say? I had planned on bringing them with me to see if anyone could do anything for me.
susanna is offline  
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