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ekscrunchy Apr 23rd, 2007 05:11 AM

SNCF Question for upcoming trip: La Rochelle/Cognac/Albi
 
I am trying again with a few questions about French trains:

In late May, a friend and I will fly to Paris and spend a few days. We will then take the train to La Rochelle for at least one night, and then take a short train ride to Cognac, where we will spend two nights.

From Cognac, we will likely drive to the Toulouse/Albi area and spend a few more nights at the home of a friend before returning to Paris CDG for the flight back to the US.

We plan, therefore, to take 3 train trips:

Paris-La Rochelle (on a Sunday or Monday)
La Rochelle-Cognac
Toulouse-Paris

The last segment could be a sleeper since we have to arrive at CDG in time for a 1pm flight to JFK on a Sunday; so I am thinking of taking the overnight train from Toulouse on Saturday night.

Questions:

Should I think about buying a Rail Pass and if so, what does this entail?

How does one book sleeper berths on French trains? (I see no provision for this on either the SNCF site of the German rail site) (I would book a first class sleeper berth, if there is such a thing).

And finally, which guidebooks might be of use for t his trip? None of my Cadogan guides (the series that I use often) include La Rochelle/Cognac, or Albi (although Toulouse is included in the Languedoc guide)

Many thanks for your help with this last-minue trip.



GeoffHamer Apr 23rd, 2007 07:08 AM

The SNCF web site will show fares and allow you to make bookings, including sleepers.
As far as I can see, the night trains from Toulouse to Paris have only couchettes and reclining seats. Couchettes are simple bunks with four or six people sharing a private compartment.

ekscrunchy Apr 23rd, 2007 07:35 AM

Thanks, Geoff. I did not see the couchette on the site but certainly I did not look carefully enough. I have done more thinking and decided that I would be better off flying from Toulouse and making the connection at CDG to the flight to JFK. There is only one hour connection time, but my bags will be checked through so one can hope, right??


ekscrunchy Apr 24th, 2007 05:17 AM

I have decided to fly from Toulouse back to Paris; AF says they can book me on a flight with an hour and 10 minuttes connection time. If I don't make this flight, they will put me on the next flight back to New York. (there are 3 a day)
Shall I book the 1pm flight to JFK with the hour connection, or book the 4pm flight which will give me more waiting time but more peace of mind, too?

gracejoan3 Apr 24th, 2007 06:01 AM

I flew both directions from ATL/CDG and Toulouse withouth any problems. Your connection time should be OK..but then you never know about "on time" problems. You might ask if there would be a problem getting a seat on the later flight IF you should miss your connection.


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