Managing SCNF site - help please!

Old Feb 10th, 2009, 03:02 PM
  #1  
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Managing SCNF site - help please!

After carefully reading all instructions and tips, have managed to remain on the SNCF site, in English to purchase PREM tickets.

However, all stops for me as there is no "Australia" listed for purchases (delivery).

I then tried to purchase using "France" hoping I could collect my tickets in Paris, but the site then defaults to French and even though I can follow what class, date, direct train, etc. two messages come up that I cannot understand.

I'm looking to book (a) Paris to Brussels on 26th May and (b) Brussels to Dijon on 28th May.

Would appreciate any help.
Thank you.
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Old Feb 10th, 2009, 03:11 PM
  #2  
yk
 
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1) For the Paris->Brussesl train, are you looking at the Thalys train (direct) or are you looking at the TGV train(which requires a change @ Lille).

2) AFAIK, you cannot purchase PREMs this far out (90 days)

3) If it is PREMS (TGV) or SMOOVE (Thalys) tickets, you can PRINT them out at your home printer, so no need to have them delivered or to pick up. Leave FRANCE as the country.

4) Use google language tools to translate the 2 messages in french.

BTW, when i just looked on voyages-sncf.com, I cannot even pull up schedules for May 26, as it is beyond 90 days from now. So I'm not sure what you were doing.
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Old Feb 10th, 2009, 03:25 PM
  #3  
yk
 
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Ah-ha! I think I understand now. You were probably still on the very first page of the booking form. The message in french you saw was probably:

La date de l'aller souhaitée se situe hors du créneau de vente. Il est impossible de réserver un voyage plus de 3 mois à l'avance. Vous pouvez avancer la date de votre voyage, ou commander plus tard.

Which basically says you cannot book your trip more than 3 months in advance.
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Old Feb 10th, 2009, 07:58 PM
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Yep, that must be it. It also says that you can use an earlier date (if you just want to see what connections there are). -
That sometimes works but in the case of seasonal schedules it doesn't. So look now, but wait and look again, then book, within 90 days.

If that was not the message you couldn't understand, then copy it into your next post and we'll translate it.
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Old Feb 10th, 2009, 09:30 PM
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To get the site in English enter a couple of cities on page one, and then change LANG=FR to LANG=EN in the URL for page two and refresh.
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Old Feb 10th, 2009, 11:40 PM
  #6  
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Thank you!
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Old Feb 11th, 2009, 10:17 AM
  #7  
 
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I always use the German site to research schedules:

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

and then use the SNCF site to determina approximate rates (if I'm looking at dates > 3 months out), and then book the tickets when it is time.

The German site is much more intuitive, more informative, and it works almost 100% of the time. The SNCF site is "none of the above".

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 11th, 2009, 10:28 AM
  #8  
 
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The French RR system is NOT going to deliver tickets to you in Australia.
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Old Feb 11th, 2009, 01:11 PM
  #9  
 
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Ever since last night, and again today, when I go to
www.voyages-sncf.fr and click on the Brit flag (below left) the site switches to
http://www.tgv-europe.ch/fr/home/ - still in French.

Ditto when I start out with www.voyages-sncf.com.

Now at http://www.tgv-europe.ch/fr/home/ - when I click on the Brit flag/UK link, I get the TGV site in English.

It's not a browser/cookies thing, I took care of that, all my five browsers do it.

Comments?


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Old Feb 11th, 2009, 02:18 PM
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>>Comments?<<

Yes - typical poor French Web site design. The Gites-de-France site is just as bad. Try the German site I referenced and see the differences.

There was an article in "Paris Notes" a while back, commenting on poor French site design. They noted that the France sites were quite "artistic" (butterflys flying by, birds chirping), but often did not work very well and were counter ituitive. There have been dozens & dozens of threads on Fodors about the SNCF site over the past several years - usually people making comments on things not working properly - like the comments on this thread.

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 11th, 2009, 02:57 PM
  #11  
yk
 
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ONe that works well for me is:
www.tgv-europe.com

Select GREAT BRITIAN as your country. The rest of the webpages show up just like voyages-sncf.com but remains in English.
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Old Feb 11th, 2009, 03:01 PM
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Besides the method suggested by thursdaysd, another way to book in English and still get advance discount fares is to go to www.tgv-europe.com and choose to retrieve your tickets in Great Britain rather than France. Don't worry. You'll still be able to print PREM'S (if available). You can pick up standard fare tickets at any SNCF station or boutique in France.
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Old Feb 11th, 2009, 08:10 PM
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Thanks again to all.

Realising tickets cannot be sent to Australia, TimS answer seems to be the way to go.

My concern was being able to print the tickets.
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