Questions about the TGV

Aug 4th, 2001, 06:45 AM
  #1  
Peg
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Questions about the TGV

Next month, I'll be taking a quick trip to Lyon during my nine day trip to Paris. On the SCNF website, you can make reservations and book online. Is this the way to go or just wait untill I get to Paris and reserve then. Do you get a price break if you book in advance and are the tickets mailed to you or do you pick them up at the station? Thanks again for the help.
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 06:57 AM
  #2  
Nano
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Peg, definitely wait until you get to Paris. You will save money. For our family of five, we saved almost $200 buying our TGV tickets in France. We were going from Bordeaux to Paris and we just found the nearest SNCF station and easily bought tickets.
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 07:01 AM
  #3  
Bob Brown
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Hi Peg. My experience with it is somewhat limited, but I have initiated a successful transaction via the SNCF web site. Last year before we left for Paris I used the web site to enter a request for two tickets on the TGV from Paris to Lausanane, Switzerland.
The system responded with a confirmation code that was essential information.
Two days later, but within my "window of purchase time" I went to Gare Montparnasse and got my tickets.
I used a credit card to pay for them.

As far as I could tell, I got the same price via the web as I would have gotten had I gone in with no reservation.
One aspect of the transaction that argues for the advance reservation is this: The agents with whom I have dealt at Montparnasse speak very, very little English. (And I speak very, very little French.)
Waiting to make the purchase may be a little risky for travel on Friday afternoons, Sunday afternoons and evenings, or travel on a national holiday. I think you can project American rush hour conditions to just about any western European country and draw valid conclusions.
If you are traveling routinely, and have two or three days of lead time once you get there, I think you will be ok if you wait.
But I would have my reservation in hand. I think it makes it easier.
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 10:09 AM
  #4  
greg
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During last trip to France, we made 5 TGV reservations, many same day one 8 days ahead. We got the kind of seats we wanted an 4 sections, even when reservation was made 4 min before departure. The Paris-Lyon section; however, in spite of making the reservationn 8 days ahead, we could not sit together. On Friday afternoon, it was packed full of businessmen going back to Lyon from Paris.
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 11:22 AM
  #5  
Shannon
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Used their website in February as well as Belgium's equivalent and it was fast, efficient and easy! Anything I can buy now before I leave on a trip makes my life easier. They sent the tickets right out.
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 01:28 PM
  #6  
Peg
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Thanks to everyone for the great information. Because I'm traveling on Sat. and returning on Sunday afternoon, I went ahead and made reservations. To my surprise, I have to pick up the tickets by August 11. Well I won't be in Paris until September, so I'll have to make another reservation before I leave for Paris. I guess the bottom line is, you can reserve ahead, (they will only send tickets to an address in France,) and if you want to pick them up the window is one week. Thanks again to all who contributed!
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 05:29 PM
  #7  
Mara
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If you are in the US, you can pay by credit card online and pick up your ticket in a SNCF station in Paris. I did this with a ticket from Paris to Brussels last March and saved about $100 over RailEurope. When you pay up front, there is no due date to pick them up.
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 03:44 AM
  #8  
Peg
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Mara, Great info! Many thanks and I'll give it a try.
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 09:22 AM
  #9  
lynn
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Hi Peg:
I concur with Mara's comments. We did this just last month. Reserved and paid for tickets on the internet before we left home for a TGV trip from Arras to Paris which we weren't taking till almost the end of our holiday.
We picked our tickets up part way through our trip at a SNCF depot down in Languedoc. As long as you take all the pertinent information I don't see what problems can arise. It states on the email they send you that you can pick up your tickets at any SNCF office or station any time prior to departure. We printed out the email we sent and the email we received back from SNCF as proof of purchase. Then just handed these to the teller at the station. We had our ticket in a few seconds. No problems. And by doing this we saved about $50.00CAD.

Just a note. Don't forget to put your ticket through the validating machine before you get on the train. It saves any questions from the conductor when on board.
Enjoy your holiday.
Regards
Lynn
 
Aug 7th, 2001, 03:26 AM
  #10  
Peg
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Okay guys, here is what has happened. I booked tickets on the scnf website, entered my credit card info, received a transaction record with reference number, amount paid, authorization code, etc. At then end of the transaction, it says to pick up the tickets by August 12. I sent an e-mail to scnf asking if I could pick them up in September and received a reply (in English) stating that if I wish to pay for the tickets, then it is possible. Sent another e-mail stating that I had already paid and gave them the reference number, etc. only to receive an e-mail this morning in French that I can't quite decipher. My friend who is fluent is unavailable and I was wondering if any of you could translate if I e-mail the response to you? Yikes! I need help. Many thanks!
 
Aug 7th, 2001, 07:33 AM
  #11  
xxx
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Interesting, Peg

Go ahead and post your reply in French here. Someone fluent in French will surely translate it for you.

Please update us as you continue through this process, as I am interested in doing this too.

Any ideas about how to make a reservation on the website for an overnight train if one holds a Eurail pass, which would make the bottom-line cost different?
 
Aug 7th, 2001, 11:40 AM
  #12  
Christina
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Peg, I wouldn't say I'm fluent but pretty good, you can email me at [email protected] which I read regularly; I'm at work but actually keep French books/dictionary in my office! I've gotten emails from SNCF, also, so am sort of familiar with what they say.
 
Aug 7th, 2001, 12:17 PM
  #13  
Peg
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Thanks to all who offered translation help! Their letter told me to check with my bank, which I did. My card was debited for the tickets on the day that I placed the order. Now I shall send another e-mail and hope that we get this mess straightened out! I was sure that the transaction had taken place because a screen came up with merchant ID #, order reference, amount paid and authorization code. I was told to print it and produce it when I pick up the tickets. I used that reference in my last e-mail but it did no good. I'll keep you posted as the saga continues....and I certainly appreciate the kindness displayed by your willingness to help!! Peg
 
Aug 8th, 2001, 11:19 AM
  #14  
Christina
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Peg, I'm not sure about this but I just bought a ticket that way and in addition to the info from the purchase screen, the clerk needed a password that is given to you in the confirmation email you should have gotten from SNCF to your personal email account. I don't know why they need so much info, but I know she couldn't find my tickets in the computer until she found that password from the email, even though she had my name and reservation number.
 
Aug 8th, 2001, 11:49 AM
  #15  
Peg
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To Christina and all who have helped me: I have good news! Received another e-mail today, confirming that my tickets were "well paid and registered" and I can pick them up at my convenience. Don't know exactly what number I gave them that did the trick as I had a refernce number, transaction certificate number and the number that Christina mentioned above. I mentioned all of these numbers in my first e-mail and was told that I had not paid for the tickets! Anyway, it's all resolved, I am sure it was a small glitch and I would definitly buy tickets this way again. Their website is easy to use and now we know that if there is a problem, they will work to resolve it. Cheers to customer service at SCNF! And a big thanks to all for the teamwork. Peg
 
Aug 16th, 2001, 08:54 AM
  #16  
Rhonda
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Could someone let me know what the website is for purchasing the tickets directly. Also would it be cheaper to get a three day French Rail Pass then to go from Paris to Avingnon round trip?

Thanks
 
Aug 16th, 2001, 04:23 PM
  #17  
Christina
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The French RR web site is www.sncf.com (or www.sncf.fr) I haven't purchased under the English section, but I guess that works. It wouldn't be cheaper to buy a France railpass, those cost $180 2nd class (they are good deals if you plan to take at least 2 long-distance trips in France on TGV). There are some discounts on those, though, for seniors or groups, so I can't say for sure. I don't think any single RT TGV route in France would cost more than that, even if you don't get any advance purchase discount. Raileurope has that trip at about $170 RT, as I recall, so that's already cheaper than the pass and Raileurope's fares are higher than even the regular SNCF fare if you don't get any discount. I just bought that ticket and I think I paid about $45 one-way 2nd class with the advance purchase fare of 8-30 days; regular nonAPEX fare was maybe $60 one-way.
 
Aug 17th, 2001, 10:45 AM
  #18  
clairobscur
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Just to point out that apart the code already mentionned, when you'll pick up your ticket/reservation, the seller (or the machine) will ask for the same credit card you used for the payment and you'll have to enter your PIN (your card won't be debited again, of course). So, make sure you're using for your on line reservation the card you'll bring with you during your vacations.
 
Aug 18th, 2001, 04:52 AM
  #19  
Gretchen
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Good info on all the ins and outs. One caveat--be sure you are dealing with SCNF and not Rail Europe. With the latter there is a large surcharge--not with SCNF.
 

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