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French Prem Train Fares

Old May 21st, 2015, 08:33 AM
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French Prem Train Fares

Are Prem fares still available?
Do they work as they used to?

Available starting 90 days prior to travel?

The train from Barcelona to Toulouse looks to be a joint RENFE / SNCF and the advance fares are "Essential". Is that the equivalent to the French Prem fare?
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Old May 21st, 2015, 08:49 AM
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Prem fares are available on regional trains. They are still available.. but as you may know.. they disappear quickly.

Not sure if "essential " fares are same.. but if they are the cheapest then assume they are.. as I said.. Prems are on regional trains as far as I know.. but other lines have similar low fares offered by various names.

I think booking as far in advance no matter what line you use is where the best fares are.. ie.. even on Eurostar they have a cheap fare.. offered far in advance.. it is not however called a "Prem" fare .. because that is not a regional train.
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Old May 21st, 2015, 08:54 AM
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Prem's fares still exist and are still the most popular, keeping in mind that they are non refundable and non exchangeable if you do not buy the cancellation insurance.

There are even "last minute" Prem's now on trains with something like 40% space remaining 48 hours before departure. Naturally, these trains rarely concern popular tourist routes, but you never know.
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Old May 21st, 2015, 10:16 AM
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Paris to Rouen, Paris to Bayeaux . very popular tourist routes.. has prems.. so don't know where that fantasy comes from...
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Old May 21st, 2015, 11:24 AM
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check out www.seat61.com for a good coverage of discounted rail fares in various countries, including France and check first-class too as at times the cheapest 1st class fare may not be that much more than the cheapest remaining 2nd class fare. For general coverage of trains like first vs 2nd class check these two infomrative sites as well as www.seat61.com - www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

Like kerouac says if PREMS are at first sold out keep looking within 48 hours of the train when they try to sell at whatever the market will bear unsold full-fare seats.

I believe the discounts on the Paris to Caen and Rouen routes may not be as deep as on TGVs? Is that right so not a major savings over an already kind of low full-fare as these lines are not high-speed lines.
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Old May 21st, 2015, 11:41 AM
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Paid 20 euros RETURN for Paris to Rouen two years ago.. had to have my ticket printed so was in line at station.. lady in front of me got same route ( Paris to Rouen return).. her same day buy cost her 43 euros.
When I got up .. clerk smiled at me and said I got a good deal.. so yeah.. while prices even for a full fare were not super high.. I got a huge discount with a PREM fare.
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Old May 22nd, 2015, 01:03 PM
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Can you buy TER train tickets (Toulouse to Albi and Toulouse to Carcassonne) on voyages-sncf.com in advance.

I realize seats are not reserved but at least I'd have a ticket.

Several months ago I read a trip report and if I remember correctly train tickets to one of these cities from Toulouse were sold out on the day they wanted to go. Is that possible?
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Old May 22nd, 2015, 02:51 PM
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It is not possible to be sold out IF there are no seat reservation requirements - I've seen TER trains so packed to the gills folks were practically hanging out the door - at some point they managed to close the doors and take off, preventing others from boarding - but this cause was a derailment that put about half the trains out of service and it was rush hour going to Paris - I think you can comfortably be sure of getting on those trains - seats or not!

about half the trains Toulouse to Carcassonne are TGV trains that of course demand reservations before boarding and have controlled access because of that - no reservation no seat but even on those there are a number of Sur Reservations seats for folks who could not get seat reservations and are told to stand or sit in the place between the cars - folding seats - while the conductdor checks for no-shows.
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Old May 22nd, 2015, 03:54 PM
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>>Available starting 90 days prior to travel?
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Old May 23rd, 2015, 12:36 AM
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Sometimes, PREMs are available earlier than the normal 3 month period; such as the early release this spring. One way to be sure of knowing the exact date of availabililty is to fill out the Alert Résa form and you will receive a message when sales open for you selected travel date:

http://www.voyages-sncf.com/services...te-reservation

Just enter your desired departure point, arrival, and date of travel.
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Old May 23rd, 2015, 02:43 AM
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I would not lose any sleep over the 3-month availability. I rarely buy my Prem's tickets more than 2 months in advance, and the fares are just fine. Just for the record, to find the cheapest fares, you should avoid times like Monday morning or Friday afternoon.
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Old May 23rd, 2015, 03:58 AM
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Thanks.

I was the one who posted several years ago that I purchased a Prem ticket the evening before since I live in the U.S. and was able to take advantage of the time difference.

I already have my tickets for Barcelona to Toulouse (for a Tue evening).

We'll be travelling from Toulouse to Montpellier on a Sat evening and Montpellier to Paris on a Tue around midday.

The Toulouse to Albi and Toulouse to Carcassonne days will most likely be on Thur & Fri.
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Old May 24th, 2015, 10:34 AM
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Someone( greg) on this site recommended www.capitainetrian.com and it simplified the process for me. We got the cheapest tickets available without trying to sort through times and dates. It also makes picking up the tickets a breeze.
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Old May 24th, 2015, 12:12 PM
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A quick way to find out which French train tickets are currently available through which dates of travel is to go to this SNCF page and look at the box on the right side of the page titled "Le Saviez-vous?". There you will see for each type of train when ticket sales opened for those trains and through which dates of travel you can buy tickets.

http://www.voyages-sncf.com/services...te-reservation

On that page you can request an alert by email to let you know when tickets will be available for your planned date of travel.

Another site with similar information is here:

http://aide.voyages-sncf.com/toute-l...ure-des-ventes
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Old May 25th, 2015, 06:46 PM
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One last question I hope.

Do all lines have Prem fares?

I was looking at Montpellier to Paris and I don't see Prem fares on that line.
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Old May 25th, 2015, 08:38 PM
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No, not all lines have Prem's fares, or not necessarily for every date. The Montpellier-Paris line obviously has Prem's fares and also iDTGV trains and even Ouigo trains for the truly destitute (these last ones go to the Marne-la-Vallée station instead of Paris to save money). But it is also a very popular line so the cheap tickets can sell out fast in certain seasons.

For example, I just looked at the SNCF site and there are no Prem's tickets for tomorrow. However, the day after tomorrow, there are still Prem's tickets available on the last train of the day for 35€ when all of the other trains that day vary between 75 and 105€. It pays to be flexible with your travel times and dates.
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Old May 26th, 2015, 05:33 AM
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I thought I had the answers I need but another has cropped up.

I see that Ter trains do not need/take reservations. Fine.

TGV seem to indicate reservation required.

But I'm not sure about Intercites Blue Period trains.

They don't say either.

Do you reserve on these or not? Thanks.
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Old May 27th, 2015, 12:11 AM
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Reservations are not required on Intercité trains. Reserved seating is available should you want to pay for it.

TGVs, iDTGVs, Ouigo, and Lunéa trains all require reservations.
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Old May 27th, 2015, 03:57 AM
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Why does www.bahn.de (German Railways pan-European schedcule site) say that reservations are compulory on several long-distance non-TGV trains in France that I check - like Paris Austerlitz to Poitiers?
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Old May 27th, 2015, 05:33 AM
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Why does www.bahn.de (German Railways pan-European schedcule site) say that reservations are compulory on several long-distance non-TGV trains in France that I check - like Paris Austerlitz to Poitiers?

Probably because your search included TGVs from Montparnasse or because the Austerlitz to Poitiers routing included a TGV segment; for example from St Pierre des Corps to Poitiers.

Intercité trains do not require reservations.
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