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Help with www.voyages-sncf.com/ site

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Mar 29th, 2013, 03:48 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Help with www.voyages-sncf.com/ site

I'm trying to buy tickets from Paris to Brive on June 27. When I go to the site and leave it in French I can see tickets for 15€. If I change the language/country to "USA" I get an error message almost immediately (way before the screen where you'd need to enter credit card info). If I select "UK" (in order to get English) then I seem to be able to continue OK.

Is there any reason why I can't do that? I would prefer to proceed in English as my French is marginal at best and I'm afraid I'll miss some small print somewhere if I do the whole transaction in French. But it does ask for your name 'exactly as it appears on your passport' (although it doesn't ask for country of origin or number) so I'm concerned that somehow saying I'm from the UK when I'm not will produce some problem.

I haven't even gotten to the part where you pay. I know there have been posts about problems with buying tickets recently but I can't seem to find them now that I need them. Anybody want to give me specific advice as to how I should do this. Thanks
isabel is online now  
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Mar 29th, 2013, 04:23 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,521
Use the TGV website to buy/reserve your tickets. For info on these trains use the website www.tgv-europe.com for schedules and prices. Don't forget to uncheck the box marked "Direct Trains" to see all possible options. If the TGV site redirects you to the RailEurope website then try again and enter Great Britain or Antarctic as your ticket collection country. Other countries may also work but just try to find a country that doesn't get you redirected to RailEurope. The RailEurope website often doesn't show all the trains and generally has higher prices but you can check just to compare. For trains that require reservations you can buy tickets up to 3 months or more in advance and the earlier you buy them the cheaper they will be. The discounted tickets are known as PREM tickets but these are non-refundable and can't be exchanged.

Here is a website that will tell you how to navigate the TGV website:

http://www.nickbooth.id.au/Tips/FrenchTrain.htm

An excellent website to learn all about train travel in Europe is www.seat61.com.
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Mar 29th, 2013, 06:36 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,300
It's a simple business ploy. As has been explained on this site before, SNCF is part owner of RailEurope and likes to turn a profit. You already know how to dodge that bump: Claim another country, from Antarctica to Canada to wherever. It has little if any effect on ticket retrieval. I prefer www.tgv-europe.com, another SNCF site, since it automatically displays in English. Along with the esteemed Seat 61, you might find www.parisbytrain.com helpful.
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Mar 29th, 2013, 10:16 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,622
I'd follow advice to use another website, but no, your name as on your passport has nothing to do with where you claim you live. In fact, I don't believe the voyages-sncf website even asks where you live as I use it all the time. I think the tgv-europe website asks you that on the front page, but not voyages-sncf. They never ask your address if you just buy tickets that are e-tickets or for pickup at a train station (it does ask you where you will pick up the tickets).

They do steer you to another website if you change the language to English, though. Actually, that is also some weird peculiarity of Air France, must be French. I know French pretty well and if you try to use the AF website in French, you can't say you live in the US, which is totally bizarre. The two have nothing to do with each other, although it doesn't affect their prices, so it doesn't matter, I have to keep switching to English even though I could use it in French.
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Mar 29th, 2013, 11:03 AM
  #5
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi Isabel,

I think that you get the most schedules at www.voyages-sncf.com.

I use http://imtranslator.com/ when necessary.

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Mar 29th, 2013, 11:09 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I use the www.voyages-sncf.com for all my tickets, but I've checked the www.tgv-europe.com site quite a few times and never seen any difference at all in schedules. It's RailEurope that doesn't show all the trains. And the German Rail site always shows all the schedules, too.
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Mar 29th, 2013, 11:46 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
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I had trouble recently with the sncf and tgv-Europe sites denying my Capital One card despite my having called ahead to make sure the charges went through. So instead I used capitainetrain.com which was recommended by the Man in Seat 61, and everything worked perfectly. The site is in French, but you can use google translate, and if you have any questions, you can email them. They reply back very quickly in English.
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Mar 29th, 2013, 12:15 PM
  #8
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Success! But it was NOT easy.

sncf apparently prefers American Express

So here is what I did (hopefully this will help the next person trying to do this). First I tried the tgv site. It was in English, I put in all the info, the tickets were 15€ each. When I put in the credit card info (VISA - Capital One) it was rejected. I tried again. Rejected. I called Visa, they said nothing had been rejected, they didn't see any attempt to charge anything. I did it again while on the phone with them. Rejected, they still don't see any attempt.

Then I went to the voyages-sncf.com I tried putting in UK as country, got all the way to the end but it wanted an address and it had to be a UK address. Closed that window and tried again, this time leaving it in French. Got all the way to the end, put in the Visa credit card info. Rejected.

At some point during all these attempts the 15€ tickets are gone and the price is now 30€.

OK, back to the tgv site, which has remembered the info I put in and still has the 15€ price, only this time when I get to the payment page I put in American Express. It works!!!
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Mar 29th, 2013, 12:57 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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For anyone else, you'll get exactly the same train info on voyages-sncf as you will on tgv-europe. The difference being that tgv-europe has an English language option.
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