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OK to wait until in France to buy train tickets?

OK to wait until in France to buy train tickets?

Apr 30th, 2008, 10:19 PM
  #1  
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OK to wait until in France to buy train tickets?

I'm feeling a bit intimidated about purchasing a train ticket online as the website sounds complicated to use. If I wait until I am in France, will tickets still be available? If my 1st stop is Paris, can I purchase TGV tickets for a different station at a TGV in Paris?

We are dropping off our car in Avignon and then a couple days later need to take a train to Villefranche sur Mer. We will be traveling in the end of May.

Thanks!
Rebecca2008 is offline  
Apr 30th, 2008, 10:52 PM
  #2  
 
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If you don't mind paying up to 400% more than the internet rates, you are perfectly welcome to buy your tickets when you get to France. You can buy tickets for any destination in any train station or any SNCF boutique, as well as any SNCF machine in a shopping mall or Monoprix store.
kerouac is online now  
May 1st, 2008, 03:41 AM
  #3  
 
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kerouac, this hasn't been my experience at all. I've checked rates for trains on Raileurope and then purchased in the train stations at a lot less. I try to buy a few days in advance so I'm certain I have a seat/reservation and know exactly wen I'm leaving, but otherwise I've never had a situation where I thought the price was way beyond what I'd seen in checking the interenet while planning my trip--in fact quite the opposite. why should our experiences be so different?
JulieVikmanis is offline  
May 1st, 2008, 05:03 AM
  #4  
 
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I think Kerouac might mean the very cheap (PREMs) fares you can get online but only on the french SNCF sites, not RailEurope which does not give discounted fares. I got a train tx on the french site from Paris to Rotterdam for 25 euros one way a month ago. So I do recomend buying early and online from the voyages.sncf site(can't remember the whole thing)you can even print your tickets at home which I did!

If you are worried about the french use www.freetranslation.com It won't give you exact, but will help understand what the website is trying to tell you.
AyQuehago is offline  
May 1st, 2008, 05:10 AM
  #5  
 
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Avignon and then a couple days later need to take a train to Villefranche sur Mer.

This ticket is not all that expensive so 400% even, if so, will not break the bank and save you a typical it seems hours of frustration on sncf.com

But begs the Q why not drive to Nice and drop the car there?
PalenQ is offline  
May 1st, 2008, 06:15 AM
  #6  
ira
 
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Hi R,

>I'm feeling a bit intimidated about purchasing a train ticket online as the website sounds complicated to use.

Have you tried it?

If you don;t speak French you can use a translator, eg, http://www.freetranslation.com/

Leave the country as France. If you switch to USA, you will be connected to RailEurope.

ira is offline  
May 1st, 2008, 06:46 AM
  #7  
 
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I agree with ira, have you tried using the website, or just avoided it because it "sounds complicated?"

It has its quirks, but it's far from impossible.

Yes, you can save a bundle by buying online, especially if your travel plans involve a TGV route. You should be looking for PREM fares (which are available 90 days out from your date of travel, so you may be out of luck finding those anyway at this late date). You cannot get those fares by stopping at a train station. To answer your question about purchasing at a different station, yes, you can buy any ticket for any route at any train station or SNCF boutique.
StCirq is offline  
May 1st, 2008, 07:14 AM
  #8  
 
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I purchased 2 sets of PREM tickets and was happy I did -- lots cheaper from what I saw.

I too was very intimidated by the SNCF site, but it's really not that difficult to use. What I liked was that once you got there with your printed tickets that was all you had to do -- no validating...nothing.

On the first trip, a conductor came through and checked our tickets and said something (we think he said something about a good fare ) but on the second trip (Caen to Paris) no one even looked at our tickets.

Good luck!
Celiaanne is offline  
May 1st, 2008, 07:20 AM
  #9  
 
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Have a look at MorganB's guide to booking tickets...

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34752919

I agree that it is a bit complicated, but you can save money, and arrive in France with ticket in hand. The only reason I can think of waiting would be if you are not sure fo your schedule.
For local trains, I've bought day-of. If it was holiday season,weekend I might want ot get befeforhand.
Michel_Paris is offline  
May 1st, 2008, 07:21 AM
  #10  
 
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Full fare in 2nd class from Paris to Avignon is 93.90€. On the website, you can find tickets from Paris to Avignon starting at 19€.
kerouac is online now  
May 1st, 2008, 07:27 AM
  #11  
 
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The OP seems to be taking the TGV not from Paris but from Avignon to Nice
PalenQ is offline  
May 1st, 2008, 07:45 AM
  #12  
 
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I think Raileurope does have some discount fares now, I thought I noticed that the last time I looked at it.

However, if the choice is the SNCF website or on-site at a train station or SNCF boutique in France, the price is no different if you aren't buying some advance purchase discount fare, like a PREM. For some tickets, you will never find discounted fares on the website, so it really doesn't save anything. For that route, I checked a date in late May (could be different on the real date desired, of course), and you can save about 25-30 euro per ticket by buying in advance. Of course, the ticket is nonchangeable and nonrefundable, and some people don't want that, either.
Christina is online now  
May 1st, 2008, 11:08 AM
  #13  
 
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Oh right, that's just a short trip. No discounts. Just throw some coins in the ticket machine.

No reservations either, unless you need to take the TGV from Avignon to Marseille (which you don't).
kerouac is online now  
May 1st, 2008, 09:39 PM
  #14  
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Wow...I didn't realize that I would get so many responses. Thank you everyone for all the advice. I'll give online tickets a try again after checking out the websites/links that were recommended.
Rebecca2008 is offline  

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