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Seat Assignments on TGV train from Paris to Avignon

Seat Assignments on TGV train from Paris to Avignon

Old Feb 27th, 2017, 08:39 AM
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Seat Assignments on TGV train from Paris to Avignon

We are traveling from Paris to Avignon TGV station on Friday, May 19. We have a 1st class Rail Europe Eurail France pass. In regard to seat assignments I was thinking of holding off until we arrive. That way if our plane arrives early or late, we can get the next train available. Does make sense or, is this time of the year simply too busy to take the risk?
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 09:06 AM
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You have to have a seat assignment, and the sooner you get it the better--so you can decide whether to face the front or back of the train. Don't count on being able to catch the next train available. Just book your seats a few hours out from the time your plane is scheduled to arrive, as it takes more time than you would think to clear Immigration. At CDG most planes land far out on the tarmac, and passengers have to be bused to the terminal. That can sometimes be a lengthy wait, and then you must face the lines at Immigration.
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 09:30 AM
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MAKE the seat reservation and leave enough time in between plane and train- if you miss the train you are just out the seat reservation fee - this because French TGVs are unique in Europe that they impose a pass holder seat quota on popular TGVs- you may not be able to make a new reservation for the next train.

Or make two separate train reservations- again just having to pay the reservation fee- as insurance.

Check www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com for lots of info on reservations and trains in general.

Push comes to shove you can always take the RER into Gare du Lyon and probably get a seat on hourly or so TGVs from there- especially in first class.

But not being able to get pass holder seats has been a reported problem even if the train is not sold out - weird you may not be able to make a pass holder reservation at times but be able to buy a full-fare ticket. France and TGV are about the only place where this happens.
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 09:36 AM
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You should be aware that most of the trains that pass through CDG originate in Lille or other northern cities, so there are already quite a few passengers on them when they arrive.

If you are leaving from Gare de Lyon, there is a train about once an hour, so getting seats would be less of a problem.
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 10:07 AM
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I didn't realize that seat assignments would be tough using a Rail Europe pass. Thanks for the heads up. We'll buy the seat assignments now and hope our flight arrives on time. There aren't a ton of options from CDG to Avignon. Your suggestion of Gare de Lyon is a good one.
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 11:47 AM
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and worst case scenario -go to Gare du Lyon and can't get on direct TGV to Avignon-TGV take one of the twice hourly or so TGVs to Lyon then a regional train to Avignon-Centre or Avignon-TGV regional trains you can just hop on.

Seat assignments are only sometimes tough with a pass in France not in other countries IME of using zillions of passes.
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 12:59 PM
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And finally when selecting seats be cognizant that many TGVs are not Duplex trains -double-deckers and a seat on the upper deck yields IME must better views than the ones in the sunken lower deck where views can be obscured by retaining walls and wind blocks.
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 01:32 PM
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You should be aware that most of the trains that pass through CDG originate in Lille or other northern cities, so there are already quite a few passengers on them when they arrive.>>

This was the problem that we had when we got on our train at Avignon because our seats were already occupied by people who were unwilling to move, as their seats were also occupied by others. We would happily have sat in a couple of unoccupied seats but their "owners" wanted to sit there so we all had to shuffle around, and it almost started an international incident!

Another difficulty we faced on all 4 of our TGV journeys [2 each way from London to Avignon and back changing at Lille both times] was that the luggage areas by the doors were full by the time we got on, but there was very little space within the cabins to put the excess.

So pack light!
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 02:24 PM
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they are in first class, which should be easier to book than 2nd class I would think and the travails annhig so vividly describes has never happened to me in first class- more room in overhead luggage racks because fewer people in same-size carriage - but pack light as always on trains for lots of reasons.

Lots of those TGV passengers from Lille or Brussels must get off at CDG too -I would guess not sure.

anyway should be a bit better in first class all around (but you never know).

annhig, dear polite always annhig on posts, nearly starting an international incident - now that's rather ironic!

If it were a full car and my assigned seats were occupied I'd get the conductor to do his/her job- as crass as that may seem!
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 02:46 PM
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annhig, You are so right about the huge suitcases blocking the doors. I like sitting on the lower level. I saw some poor guy trying to squeeze his companions enormous suitcase up the stairs and down. It was packed that day as there had been a strike the day before.
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 03:13 PM
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This past June we found on several TGV's that first class was just as full including luggage racks as was second class. There are a lot more people traveling in first class than there were some years ago and with frequent fares that offer first class at much the same price as second class, travelers are taking advantage of upgrading.
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Old Feb 27th, 2017, 03:36 PM
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Seat Assignments on TGV train from Paris to Avignon
Posted by: ILUVPARIS on Feb 27, 17 at 12:39pm
We are traveling from Paris to Avignon TGV station on Friday, May 19.


May 19 is well before the July vacation rush in France. Plus, that weekend is a week before Ascension, Thursday, May 25, a national holiday in France. French people will take the "bridge day" as a holiday so they can stretch that one day off to a four day sortie. Therefore it is likely that traffic will be reduced from normal on the May 19 weekend. However, every Friday is "getaway Friday" just as it is in the USA. You can see the effect in TGV ticket prices. Friday is more expensive than Thursday in May and most other months.

Ditto what PalenQ says. You may run up against the SNCF quota on passholders. One workaround option is to buy a full fare ticket for that first trip and not begin your rail pass until you have finished Avignon.

I am a born risk taker so I would wait until I got to CDG to buy the tickets. True they will probably cost more than if purchased in advance, but if you buy them from an agent in the USA they will also cost more. I think you are more likely to get a seat with the pass if you show up in person to buy the reservation rather than go on line for it.

For an illustrated introduction to the trains of Europe see http://www.enjoy-europe.com/trains-in-europe.htm.
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 01:06 PM
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historytraveler -thanks for the update -it is true now in many countries like Germany where first class is more and more full as the railways seek to get some money out of seats that would be empty.

Even with a first-class pass seat reservations are more and more recommended in countries not requiring them.
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