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Help! I need to book overnight train Paris>Florence. Only 2 seats left: should I book the shower?

Help! I need to book overnight train Paris>Florence. Only 2 seats left: should I book the shower?

Old Jun 8th, 2005, 07:07 PM
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Help! I need to book overnight train Paris>Florence. Only 2 seats left: should I book the shower?

Hi, all,
I know the Fodors experts are the best source for this. I posted about the overnight train before, and I am going to take it (much less money than the airlines, except EasyJet, which only flies to Pisa)
So, two questions: I went to the SNCF website and want to book a private couchette compartment with my husband. Should I pay the extra $ for a shower, or is it worth it? The tickets are 500 Euro--is this a good price?
This train arrives in Florence at 7:30 a.m. and we can't get into our B&B until 9:00...hmmm...any suggestions on what to do for the 1 1/2 hr. would also be welcome...
Question #2: Does the compartment come with bedding & pillow? I remember reading that one poster said that they would be nice.
I am beginning to shift into panic mode, as this trip will be on July 28, so I really appreciate any help!
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Old Jun 8th, 2005, 07:38 PM
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...just topping in hopes of hearing from someone...<
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Old Jun 8th, 2005, 07:43 PM
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$500 Euro, that's for BOTH I hope!

In 2003, we paid about $100 (USD) per person to go 2nd class from Paris to Venice -- no shower needed...we just got off the train in the morning, headed to the hotel, and they let us check in and we showered there.

I imagine the trip to Florence won't be much longer (about 12 hours), so I doubt a shower would be necessary, although if it's inexpensive, I might pay for it just for the fun of seeing what one looks like.

I'd double check your rates before you buy...at raileurope.com at the very least. That fare seems high to me, unless you're getting a butler with your suite.

Jules

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Old Jun 8th, 2005, 07:49 PM
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Jules,
Thanks for the reply. Yes it's for both tickets, but no butler!
I did check out raileurope.com, but they only offered couchettes in compartments of 4, and I'd kind of like my own space.
Have you ever taken this train?
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Old Jun 8th, 2005, 07:49 PM
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To try and answer your other questions...

By the time you get from your train to your B&B, unless it's across the street, you might sit down and grab a cup of cafe latte, some breakfast, and enjoy watching the city wake up before stowing your stuff at the hotel and sightseeing.

Also, even in 2nd class where I stayed on the way to venice, I recall a blanket but no pillow provided, so you might do better. Pillows were made out of our clothes/jackets.

Happy travels.

No panicking. Just enjoy.

Jules
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Old Jun 8th, 2005, 07:54 PM
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In 2003, the quads were about $175 for the Paris/Venice Route, so I guess a private cabin with a butler would be worth $250 per person by now.

I think the only downside to the private cabin is not meeting people. It's a long ride, and the one thing we had the most fun with was hanging out with the French kids on a field trip, who tried out their English on us, and they giggled at our French. Just a missed opportunity...unless you're on your honeymoon and NEED to be alone.

Jules



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Old Jun 8th, 2005, 08:02 PM
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Actually, no--it's our 30th anniversary! However, still would like the privacy. And I know I'd sleep better in my own compartment. We will definitely mingle with others in the dining car or wherever. It sounds like a great experience-I better snag those tickets!
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Old Jun 9th, 2005, 06:45 AM
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I love overnight trains but would ONLY do them in a private cabin ('wagon-lit' is what they were called in Switzerland). If you consider it the price your two train tickets and the cost of a nice hotel, it doesn't seem so bad.

Yes bedding & pillows are provided. I never had a choice of a shower on the routes I used, so don't know if I'd bother with that or not.

Personally I don't care about meeting people on every train ride, and love the privacy of the cabin. Be sure to pack a romantic picnic dinner with wine to have before bedtime.

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Old Jun 9th, 2005, 06:50 AM
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Depends on the type of train but often the overnight sleepers do not have a dining car. Some don't even offer seats just the two kinds of cabins.

I'm not an expert but have done overnight trains three times (2 Geneva to Venice, 1 Venice to Paris) and am happy to answer any questions that I can help with.
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Old Jun 9th, 2005, 07:43 AM
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Considering it's your anniversary, a shower with enough room for 2, would be the deal clincher. $500 sounds like a steal, if that's the case.

Guaranteed
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Old Jun 9th, 2005, 07:50 AM
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Didn't OP say 500 euro? Unfortunately that is not $500. Only wish it were.
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Old Jun 9th, 2005, 08:11 AM
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Excelsior double with shower in US thru RailEurope costs $307 per person, or $614 total vs 500 euro 5x1.25 would be $625 at 1.25 $ to euro, so with RE's $15 booking fee $629 would be about the same as 500 euro, including shipping - so i don't think the 500 euro is a bargain. If you didn't want the Excelsior you could T-2 for $200 each and still have a private double. In the US i always recommend going thru BETS (800-441-2387), a RailEurope agent who i've used for years for European rail stuff and highly recommend.
Yes bedding and pillows provided. there is a nice sit-down cafeteria in Florence station to while away time plus the train could well be late.
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Old Jun 9th, 2005, 09:39 AM
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my experience was non-Excelsior, normal cabins with 2 bunk beds (the bottom flipped up into a sofa seat) small sink and window that opened, toilet down the hall, no shower.
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Old Jun 9th, 2005, 06:10 PM
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Thank you everyone for your replies--I'm glad I waited to book this. PalQ, I will definitely check out your source.
Suze, having read your latest trip report, I do trust your judgement! Were you able to sleep on the train? Did you have the energy to do all you wanted the next day?
Any tips on getting rest and enjoying the ride would be great. I'm actually excited to do this, just don't want to be sorry the next day!
Thanks!
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 06:44 AM
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Yes I sleep OK on the train (that said, I am a very light sleeper and always get a precription from my doctor when traveling). Although there is some noise and motion, because you are laying down in a normal bed I think makes it easier (say compared to attempting to sleep on a plane) and the privacy of the cabin makes it secure (I am sure I would not do well in a shared couchette).



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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 06:56 AM
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Yes if you're a light sleeper go for a private compartment as in couchettes, with 4 or six people somebody is always coming and going at night to WC. And though all night train compartments now seem to lock from the inside, these locks only work when everyone who goes out and comes back locks them. It frustrates me in that i diligently lock the inside lock on my return, as conductors often exhort you to do to thwart thievert, but many Europeans don't. this is why i always ask for the uppermost berth as this is the most theft proof one and one with the most luggage storage room. I can't afford a private single so i have to go the couchette route - though i'd love a private compartment.
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 07:23 AM
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Hold the phone. I was able to find $134 fares on Air France for July 28th from CDG to FLR (Florence) leaving Paris at noon. I searched not for one-way, but round trip tickets (returning Aug 2). You can simply throw the return ticket away after arriving in Florence.

At 50+ years old, do you really want to spend 12 hours trying to sleep on a moving, noisy train in a cramped compartment, even if it is private? Or would you prefer a 2-hour flight and a comfortable evening in Florence? I guess the train might be an adventure, but this would be an easy choice for me.
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 08:41 AM
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to each his own but the overnight train is fun and part of a european experience for me. i do not find the private compartments 'cramped'. also train stations are within town and airports are usually outside of town (so it's more than just the flight time to consider).

that said, in this situation i might be right behind you on the way to the airport -LOL.
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 08:47 AM
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Some folks are in better shape at "50+" than others and there are some of us here who actually enjoy the process of traveling by certain means.

Other than that I'm not sure what the angst about Pisa was..it is only an hour by rail from Florence.
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 08:50 AM
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Hubby and I just did the overnight train from Paris to Rome last week. We had a 4 person berth (but there were only three of us) in second class. It was 100 euro each. (We did have a discount because we also purchased other train tickets at the same time.) It was definitely comfortable enough. I didn't get any sleep but I didn't expect to. I have to have absolute quiet to sleep. We got a blanket, sheet (it was in sealed plastic) and a pillow (also in plastic). We also received complimentary bottles of water.
We enjoyed the experience.
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