French train schedules & fares?

Dec 14th, 2003, 08:55 AM
  #1  
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French train schedules & fares?

Is there a web site that shows schedules and fares for trains in France? We're going to go from London to Paris by train (May 2004), and then spend a few days in the Loire Valley before heading back to London. I doubt that the package passes will be cost-effective but I'd like to know straight fares to compare and also for budgeting. Thanks in advance.
alan64 is offline  
Dec 14th, 2003, 09:54 AM
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yes, www.sncf.com, that is the French national railway web site
Christina is offline  
Dec 14th, 2003, 10:09 AM
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ira
 
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Hi alan,

In case the Chunnel trin is not at SNCF you can find fares, as well as discount specials, at www.eurostar.com.

Also, at www.railsaver.com you can compare the cost of your itinerary to railpasses at one go.
ira is offline  
Dec 14th, 2003, 11:49 AM
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As stated by Christina I use www.sncf.com for France.

They will only let you book and give a price if you're less than 60 days from today's date. I plug in a same day of the week date in the next 60 days to get an idea of costs. They really don't change much.

One exception is the "prem" fares that are new this year. For some of the major lines (like Paris to Lyon), there are discounted tickets available. You really have to book them right at 60 days out. Mark your calendar.
indytravel is offline  
Dec 14th, 2003, 02:24 PM
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The www.sncf.com site is the French national rail system ok, but I have never been able to make the English language version work with Opera or Netscape. I have tried all of the preference options on Opera. No version of Mozilla, MSIE, or Opera works.

If I use the Microsoft Internet Explorer, IE, for the browser and the French site works just fine.

The system is a little flakey, but keep trying it and I think you can get the necessary information out of it.
dixon is offline  
Dec 18th, 2003, 07:09 AM
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Thanks for the help. The Eurostar site was helpful and I confirmed that the fare will be $75 each way, 2nd class. I can't tell how far in advance they let you buy tickets, though. Anyone know?

The SNCF site gave me a lot of problems, even on Microsoft IE. I was unable to find fares from Paris to Amboise (don't know if we have to go through Tours?).

I used the Raisaver site, but it kept telling me to get Eurostar tickets plus a French 4 days Flexipass (for the Paris to Amboise & return 4 days later). That's $186, but when I just entered the individual Paris to Amboise journey it showed as approx. $28, so I don't know why they'd recommend a 4 day pass. I'll mark my calendar for 60 days prior to those trips to buy, and hopefully the SNCF site will work for me then.
alan64 is offline  
Dec 18th, 2003, 07:33 AM
  #7  
ira
 
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Hi alan,

The German Rail site http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en shows a Paris/Amboise direct train from Paris Austerlitz.

When you check prices at www.railsaver.com you must click the "Only if railpasses save me money" button, otherwise it defaults to some kind of rail pass.

Round Trip tickets are 56E each.
ira is offline  
Dec 18th, 2003, 07:40 AM
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Thank you, Ira! I did check the "only if railpasses save me money" but it still showed that as my best option. Seeing the price, I just didn't believe it!

I'm glad I now know that the Paris-Amboise is 28E, as I was thinking it was $28. With the dollar dropping like a stone I need to be sure what currency prices are quoted in! I miss the early Euro days where a buck bought me 1.10 Euros. :^(
alan64 is offline  
Dec 18th, 2003, 08:07 AM
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Cheap fares that you book in advance are only valid on the time and date you've booked. A standard ticket which you buy before boarding the train can be used on any train within two months. Try your journey on the SNCF web site for a date in the next two months to see whether it's worth trying to get a cheaper fare.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Dec 18th, 2003, 09:07 AM
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I've got a somewhat related question to insert on this thread. In the Netherlands and Germany, you can stop your journey at point B while traveling from point A to C, then reboard a later train to continue on, with the same ticket. Is this also true in France?
ie. the Paris Austerlitz to Amboise route passes through Blois and Onzain - could I get off at one of those, explore a couple of hours then get on a later train to finish in Amboise that day? Thanks for this clarification.
Travelnut is offline  
Dec 18th, 2003, 09:55 AM
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yes, Travelnut, you can do that -- there is no problem if your delay is less than 24 hours. I think you actually have up until midnight of the day after you composted the ticket to reach the end of your ticket. YOu can actually have a longer stopover in the middle, but you need to tell SNCF so they can write two tickets for the parts.
Christina is offline  
Dec 18th, 2003, 01:55 PM
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Be aware that if you reserve seats, then you have to either loose your reservation for the remainder of your journey or get a second reservation for the next legs. I won't bother with reservations on a line like Paris to Amboise, but the nicer trains (Eurostar, TGV, etc.) often require them.
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