Purchasing Train Tickets in Paris

Old Mar 13th, 2019, 02:36 PM
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Purchasing Train Tickets in Paris

This may be a silly question, but we fly home from Paris on Easter Sunday, in the morning, and want to be sure we're prepared. Do train ticket kiosks accept American credit cards (ie not chip and pin)? We'll be heading to the airport at 6 AM, and I assume that the manned ticket counters will not be open at that time.
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Old Mar 13th, 2019, 02:46 PM
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You can use cash I believe in ticket machines but you can also buy those tickets anytime at any RER/metro station too - they will issue a ticket from any metro station to Roissy - CDG RER terminals that can be used on any train anytime - just like any RER/metro ticket. Doubt if ticket machines take your card but ticket windows should.

RER train (Charles de Gaulle Airport-Paris by metro) - PARIS-CDG CHARLES de GAULLE AIRPORT

now just keep abreast of possible RER/metro strikes!
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Old Mar 13th, 2019, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Danielle811 View Post
This may be a silly question, but we fly home from Paris on Easter Sunday, in the morning, and want to be sure we're prepared. Do train ticket kiosks accept American credit cards (ie not chip and pin)? We'll be heading to the airport at 6 AM, and I assume that the manned ticket counters will not be open at that time.
The metro dispensing machine accept credit cards without a pin. I know that because a couple years ago, before I had a credit card with a pin, I purchased métro tickets twice but did not remember the second time and questioned it with my bank. I was wrong, but it proved that I was using a credit card. In some instances when the credit card does not work, a debit card might work. You will have to make sure that you purchase a ticket for CDG, not a regular metro ticket (they look the same), because you cannot add to your ticket if it under-funded. BTW, you can purchase your ticket a day ahead of time in any metro station, thus avoiding any last minute anxieties. The ticket can be used for the metro ride to the RER station in Paris, and even if you have to use it to get out of the metro station, it does not invalidate it to enter the RER station. If you are staying on the Left bank, aim for a transfer station on that side. The Chatelet and the gare du Nord stations more complicated because of all the lines that meet there.

https://parisbytrain.com/charles-de-...aris-by-train/

Last edited by Michael; Mar 13th, 2019 at 11:43 PM.
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Old Mar 14th, 2019, 01:05 AM
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All USA credit cards should now have at least a chip. The SNCF kiosks (just like the RATP kiosks) have no ability to scan a card´s magnet strip.

If you do not have the PIN for your chipped card, you may still use it to purchase tickets at a kiosk at values below your bank´s limit for unverified transactions. Banks are not terribly open about what this value is precisely but typically it is around $50 to $75 or the equivalent thereof.

If you have a chip & signature card, which was issued with a PIN, I have noticed that the SNCF kiosks (and not the RATP kiosks) will allow purchases above the no verification amount but your PIN will be required to complete the transaction.

For example, I have been able to load my Navigo card with monthly fares (about 72€) using my chip & signature card´s PIN but not able to make the same transaction at RATP kiosks.

If you are taking an early train to the airport, I would purchase tickets at least the day before just to have them in hand. However, the service windows will be open when ever the trains are running.
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Old Mar 14th, 2019, 05:49 AM
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If your credit card does not have a chip, sounds like it's not a card that has international travelers in mind. I'd make sure that it's a card that does ***NOT*** charge transaction fees for international charges. Look for one of the many totally free credit cards that do not charge a Forex fee. This will save you perhaps 3% on all of your charges while out of the US.
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Old Mar 14th, 2019, 06:16 AM
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Thanks all. All of our cards are chipped, but not chip and pin. My primary card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which does not have foreign transaction fees, so we're ok in that regard. I just don't want to have a pre-departure panic with purchasing tickets, so it sounds like purchasing ahead of time is the way to go. Years ago (10+) we ran into a similar issue in Paris, and had to run around trying to get enough Euro coins to purchase the RER tickets and I certainly don't want to do that again!
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Old Mar 14th, 2019, 06:46 AM
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The SNCF kiosks (just like the RATP kiosks) have no ability to scan a card´s magnet strip.

They used to.because I purchased tickets in the metro station before I had a chip card; but could not do so at CDG.
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Old Mar 14th, 2019, 08:47 AM
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It sounds like you mean the RER, not a regular train. It's not that expensive, have the cash handy if you must. I've used my credit cards in various machines inside train/metro stations though with no problem. I don't understand why you won't pay cash.
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Old Mar 14th, 2019, 10:26 AM
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To be on the safe side but your tickets a few days in advance. Rer tickets have unlimited validity.
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Old Mar 14th, 2019, 11:03 AM
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Fanielle - are you taking TER trains or TGV trains?
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Old Mar 14th, 2019, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
Fanielle - are you taking TER trains or TGV trains?
I'm referring to the RER route from central Paris to CDG. I believe the closest stop to our Air BnB is Saint Michel-Notre Dame.
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Old Mar 14th, 2019, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ahbonvraiment View Post
To be on the safe side but your tickets a few days in advance. Rer tickets have unlimited validity.
Thanks, I think this will be the best plan!
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Old Mar 14th, 2019, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Christina View Post
It sounds like you mean the RER, not a regular train. It's not that expensive, have the cash handy if you must. I've used my credit cards in various machines inside train/metro stations though with no problem. I don't understand why you won't pay cash.
Yes, I think you're right regarding the fact that I was using "train" interchangeably with RER. I apologize for the confusion.

​​​​​​Regarding not paying cash, I may be mistaken, but I was under the impression that the machines do not accept bills, just coins. As we will need tickets for two adults and two children, it might be a challenge to accumulate that amount of change. We unexpectedly ran into that very issue many years ago, and it made for a stressful dash to the airport.

It seems like the best course of action will be to purchase the tickets the day or so before departure in order to avoid undue stress.
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Old Mar 14th, 2019, 05:45 PM
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>>As we will need tickets for two adults and two children, it might be a challenge to accumulate that amount of change. <<

Go ahead an buy them ahead if you want peace of mind . . . BUT your credit cards will work fine - no problem at all, plus the machines do accept notes, AND you will accumulate more in coins then you probably expect, since €5 is the smallest note you will get lots of change.
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Old Mar 14th, 2019, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
>>As we will need tickets for two adults and two children, it might be a challenge to accumulate that amount of change. <<

Go ahead an buy them ahead if you want peace of mind . . . BUT your credit cards will work fine - no problem at all, plus the machines do accept notes, AND you will accumulate more in coins then you probably expect, since €5 is the smallest note you will get lots of change.
Thanks, janisj. It seems that I've been working with outdated information.
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Old Mar 17th, 2019, 10:31 AM
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Manual ticket windows can take all kinds of card without the chip thing and with cash and banknotes machine easily done. Yes closest RER station is Saint Michel- Notre Dame - straight shot to Gare du Nord but comes in underground area- just follow Grandes Lignes (or main lines) signs to get to main street level concourse and your trains to Lille. Pretty easy.
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Old Apr 26th, 2019, 11:15 AM
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Following up to this thread-as you all pointed out, my concerns were unfounded. We found machines dealt with our cards slightly differently depending on where we were, but the most that I had to do was hit cancel when asked for a PIN and the transaction was processed.

Google Pay/contactless payments wound up making things very easy for us, and were accepted in many, many of the places that we went (including a couple ticket kiosks in both London and Paris). Especially as Americans with chip and signature cards, this made things very convenient, as contactless payments didn't require signatures.
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Old Apr 26th, 2019, 11:23 AM
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Thanks for reporting back -- this will be helpful for quite a few Americans who read this thread.
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