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I am up to train bookings and would like some help yet again!

I am up to train bookings and would like some help yet again!

Old Apr 17th, 2013, 06:44 AM
  #21  
 
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There are "compartiments familles" or "espaces familles" on some TGV and some TER trains. You pay 12E extra for this. I suspect you can book one of these by choosing an option on the SNCF website, but have never done it:

<<Dans les TGV :
L'Espace Famille : le Carré

Situé dans les voitures de 2e classe non-fumeurs, l'Espace Famille offre 4 places en face à face, isolées du reste de la voiture par une demi-cloison en verre.
Une table centrale permet à vos enfants de jouer, de dessiner ou de goûter. Pratiques, les sièges et la table sont relevables : l'espace ainsi libéré permet de ranger une poussette.
La Nurserie

Située à proximité de l'Espace Famille, la Nurserie est équipée d'une table à langer et d'un chauffe-biberon. Elle est repérée par le symbole "Nurserie".
Dans les Corail et les TER :
Les compartiments Famille

Dans de nombreux trains, vous pouvez bénéficier, pour vos voyages en 2nde classe (places assises ou places couchettes), d'un compartiment exclusif si vous constituez un groupe d'au moins 4 personnes payantes, comportant un enfant de moins de 12 ans. Ces compartiments sont accessibles sur réservation, moyennant le paiement supplémentaire d'un prix forfaitaire :
de jour : 12 (1),
de nuit : 90 (1).
Le nombre de ces compartiments étant limité, pensez à réserver à l'avance. Renseignez-vous auprès des points de vente SNCF>>
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 07:41 AM
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thank you everyone! This has made life easier! Yes I will drop mum off at the airport and check that she checks in fine give her a hug and a kiss and send her home . .I figure after 4 weeks she will appreciate the silence

Would you book seats on the first level or second level . . .ground or above ground? What's safer? Also do you think getting seats closest to the door and luggage section is best?
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 07:50 AM
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>>>What's safer?

Safe from what?
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 08:49 AM
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Second level better view. It is all safe, for heavens' sake.
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 08:53 AM
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I don't understand about dropping your mom at the airport. Are you checking out of your apartment and then going to airport (kids, luggage and all)? That seems a huge hassle and time-consuming.
Why not put her in a taxi and send her on her way? Then you can head to the train station.

As others have suggested, read the man-in seat 61 just for general information about trains.
Please no luggage on seats! At this late date I wouldn't worry about seat locations, just book seats.
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 08:58 AM
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What's safer...?

Well, how well behaved are your children?

If they do what you ask when you ask, then you can book anywhere on the train.

If they tend to be disobedient then sit as far away from the doors and stairs as possible to avoid any risk of falls, nipping out of the door at stations, being kidnapped (only joking!!) But surely where to sit is a decision you can make yourself?
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 08:59 AM
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I don't even understand the sequence of train rides. First, you're going from Paris to Avignon, then sometime later you're going from Paris to Brive? If you'll already be in Avignon, why back to Paris and then another train south?
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 12:00 PM
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St Cirq

I think it goes like this:

Crazy Claire, mum, and kiddies are flying into London, staying one week, then flying London to Avignon. They will spend 3 weeks in Provence at 3 different locations.
Then they will train Avignon to Paris(Train trip #1).

They will meet Hubby in Paris for 6 or so days. The 5 of them will stay in an apartment in Paris(there is some discussion about 2 of those days will be at Disney). Then mum leaves for home and Claire, hubby and the kids take a train to Brive(train trip #2), rent a car and drive to Sarlat for 3 nights.

There will be another train trip when they drive south, drop off the car and train to Barcelona.
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 12:05 PM
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Thanks for that, dugi. Not surprisingly, I'm having a bit of trouble following this saga. Ah, but now I see she said Avignon to Paris, not the other way around. Ooops....
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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 01:02 AM
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Claire, dont obsess over every little detail. Its a 6 week trip, in less than two months. If you are going into this much detail for every train, rental car, flight - it will take forever.
You need to book all trains, flights, rental cars now.

And do not worry so much about safety. Its not the third world. Many of the people who answer your posts live in the uk, france, italy. It is a bit weird to worry about being safe on a train from avignon to paris. Just imagine people asking if it is safe to travel by train in Melbourne...
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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 09:16 AM
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my advice -- you don't need to buy a seat for your luggage, there is space for it. You should buy a seat for a 2 yr old.

I prefer lower level for the ease of getting in/our with my luggage. Others prefer the upper level for better views. I suppose what the views will be like on a particular trip could make a difference, some of them aren't so great, but I'm used to taking the TGV in France a lot so don't get that excited about views on the main lines I travel. I don't think there are 2 levels on a lot of the trains I take, anyway.
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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 10:59 AM
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A little Ding Dong School on buying tickets Avignon to Paris using TGV-Europe.com
http://www.tgv-europe.com/en/?DISTRIBUTED_COUNTRY=GB
Example:
From-"Avignon TGV (FR)"
To-"Paris all stations (TGV - FR)"
Outbound-05/07/2013 (Select date from calendar)
From- 11h (Select approx. time you want to travel)
Option to click Direct trains
Select class (If you select 2nd, 1st will also be offered)
Number of passengers-4
Ticket collection country -Great Britain (This will keep you from being directed to Rail Europe)
Click More Criteria- Fill in passenger data (ages). For the 2 year old select child reduction with seat.
Click Search ( As an example : There is a train leaving Avignon TGV station at 12h31 , arriving Paris Gare De Lyon at 15h11. There are four types of tickets available.

Lets look at "Orange". Total cost is 124.50 euros for 2nd class TGV PREM. Details(prices in euros)- Adults 40, four year old 35.50, two year old 9.

Lets look at "Green". Total cost is 186 euros for 1st class TGV PREM. Details(prices in euros)- Adults 64, four year old 49, two year old 9.

When selecting the 1st class seats- the seating offered was club which is 2x2 facing with a table between.
I think mum would like 1st class if the price differential is reasonable. In addition to better seating there is luggage storage area near the seating on the top floor.It could be less hectic getting on and off the train.

Further info-On the platform at Avignon there will be directions on where your train car number will stop on the platform. There is no running up and down the platform looking for your car.
In Paris walk directly to the taxi area, it is well organized, with attendants who will help you getting the taxi you need for your family.
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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 11:21 AM
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Train to Barcelona from Narbonne or Perpignon
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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 03:40 PM
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Crazy... I haven't had a chance to comment much on your apartment saga. I've been busy planning my own trip for this Summer with my 2 kids and husband. We are so excited to be going back. We took our first daughter when she was 18 months old... that child is now 10 and I can't wait to get back next month.

I understand you're planning a big trip and you're doing a lot of precise planning which is good but it can be exhausting! I like to do a lot of pre planning too, but at some point you have to be a little prepared for things to go wrong. Be prepared to smile, shrug your shoulders, and go with the flow a little.

For that reason, make sure you do NOT buy PREMS rate tickets. Considering your other questions and many posts about the apartment search, I predict a very high likelihood of having to rearrange your tickets. The PREMS are non refundable and non-changeable. Instead, consider the "Loisir Reduit" (essentially "reduced leisure/2nd class"... which allow you full refundability up until the time of departure. You may decide to change your departure time while you're there, or you could miss a train. It happens. I, the queen of pre-planning and precision-scheduled timetables, have missed a very expensive TGV Eurostar departure going to Paris because of a city-wide train delay in London. Luckily, the tickets were reissued and I hopped on the next train an hour later. We had a cup of tea in the station and got the next train. No biggie. With PREMS, you're stuck.

Also, again, DO NOT go to RailEurope.com. Go directly to SNCF.com or Voyages-sncf.com. You don't need to know French (if you keep a second window open and use Google Translate you) AND you don't need to live in France to order the e-tickets "e-billets." (Just select France or some other non-English country.) and use e-tickets that you can print out before you leave. Keep a copy of the confirmation email, too, if you had to find them electronically later.

I personally wouldn't spend extra for the 1st class tickets on the TGV from Avignon to Paris. The 2nd class are going to be just fine. But some people really like the 1st class experience and as the previous poster said, there may be better luggage rack areas for 1st class seats. So if it's affordable and you want first class, go for it. But make sure the tickets are refundable in case you need to make changes.

Safe? From what? Please, I'm speaking to you as another mother who has taken a toddler to Paris and London (I even wrote a trip report a few years back)... try not to worry so much. You'll ruin your experience. This trip is going to be delightful for you if you let yourself enjoy it. I feel much safer in many parts of Paris than I do in most large cities in the US. Of course, take reasonable precautions, don't flash your money, etc.

I don't know if that train route from Avignon to Paris has a second level. You might enjoy the second level for views, but if it's just you and your mom with the kids and all the luggage, you might prefer to be on the lower level. But if you want the upper floor and can manage the luggage up a flight of stairs, go for it. If you have enormous luggage (hopefully you won't) you'll need to carry that up to the upper level. (I'm assuming they have the luggage racks on the same floor you sit on.) Large luggage usually sits on big metal racks near the doors. Smaller carry on size luggage stays with you in the overhead racks. (I'm not sure, though, if on a 2-story train if all the luggage stays on the ground floor. Someone here might know.)

That said, if you do have larger luggage (again, try not to. You'll hate having to schlep it all 5 weeks), I'd try to sit near the luggage racks or at least sit facing the luggage rack so I can keep an eye on it. You may not be able to see the seating plan when you select that seats (consult Seat61 for more information on that)... but most likely if you book 4 seats, it'll know you are a family (because you will provide the name and birthday of all travelers) and it will most likely put you in a facing set of seats. (Vis a vis). You'll most likely have 2 aisle and 2 window seats and a little table in between. One of you can sit on the aisle facing the luggage if you want. It's not really a safety issue and nobody is going to walk off the train with your luggage, but I wouldn't put any valuable electronics in there or your travel passports, etc. That's just common sense.

You'll have plenty of time to disembark when you get into Paris. But you'll probably see a lot of people getting themselves ready 5-10 minutes before you arrive in Paris. Again, just good travel habits. They'll start gathering their papers and their books, putting coats on, that sort of thing. When I traveled with small luggage or carry on, I always got down my carry on (which was above my head) and set it near me a few minutes before we pulled into the destination, and then everyone politely queues and waits to get off.

The one time I traveled with a larger 24" (maybe 26") suitcase (which I fully regret) was the last trip we took with the toddler, I sent the husband to the luggage rack a few minutes before pulling into Paris to kind of collect the bags, and get them all standing up and ready for us to get off. But, it's all very calm. There's no mad crazy dash and the train isn't going to leave with you on it. Now that the girls are 6 and 9 and need less stuff, we're all back to one 21" spinner each.

Yes, buy a seat for your daughter. Put your small bags above you on the luggage rack.

Bring some snacks for the train. I usually bring some salamis and cheese and juice and a baguette. They'll have a food train but bring stuff your kids will enjoy so it's easier for you and your mum.
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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 04:50 PM
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Last time I took large bags (2) on a European train I was a little nervous as my resv. seats where some distance from the storage area at the exit of the car. I removed my shoulder strap from my carryon and looped it through the handles of the bags and secured them to the post.
Although if someone wanted to steal them it would not stop them but it would slow thrm down quite a bit. Never happened but I rode more comfortably . (The TGV from Paris to Bordeaux..)Pretty safem comfortable and reasonable. As above..take Mom (who's old enough to get on a plane alone)to the airport, drop her off and away you go on the next leg of what should be a remarkable experience if you can allow yourself to chill out and enjoy it!!!
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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 05:06 PM
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I am the one who mentioned we rode in a compartment on the train from Vienna to Prague and also from Rome to Orvieto. I did not book them that way when I made the reservations but that is what we ended up with. I did book first class. Our other train rides were 1st class and the seating was like mentioned above: airline style.
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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 11:40 PM
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1) sit watching the bags, yes I do that all the time
2) stay alert at station stops, I've only seen stuff stolen twice in a life on European trains and both times it was someone coming off the platform while a train waits so they can make a good get away. Both time they were taken by police or a local
3) There are normally racks on the upper decks
4) Train travel with multiple kids can be a little confusing, I've re-united a bunch of clothes and one kid to a variety of families over the years when mum sets off and the brood don't have their brains engaged. Give them responsibilities and let them take some of the strain
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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 11:47 PM
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thanks everyone! great advice! booking trains this weekend and since we will have god knows what luggage I will play it safe and try and book lower level near the luggage drop off and not a prem ticket
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Old Apr 19th, 2013, 04:29 AM
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At stops, which are not many, go stand by your luggage.
Get a cable lock and loop it through the handles of a couple of cases.
Why can't you make a final decision and stick to it and take advantage of a prem ticket.
Make sure your luggage is manageable for you and mum--just DO it. there aren't porters, etc. to help you. If you are going to do this trip as you are envisioning, you have to limit your luggage and make it portable. I think this is one arena of this trip you haven't asked about, but it has sort of peeked out now.
The trains stop for a short time (don't know if yours is at the terminus) and it is necessary to get off with luggage quickly.
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Old Apr 19th, 2013, 05:08 AM
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thanks gretchen . .i have this image of the doors closing with one of us stuck in it! I think I am going to try and get the hand luggage case that can be worn as a backpack and then have the stroller and one large case. then the kids have their backpacks and mum is pretty good on travelling light!

the reason why I don't want PREM is because I don't want to end up with nothing if for one reason or another we don't make the train.

I know we can plan and dot every i and cross every t but things happen and running late is just one of those things as a mum I have gotten used to so... that's why I don't want to do the prem ticket.
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