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Sticker Shock - $600 for two roundtrip TGV tickets Paris to Avignon??

Sticker Shock - $600 for two roundtrip TGV tickets Paris to Avignon??

Aug 24th, 2005, 12:10 PM
  #1  
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Sticker Shock - $600 for two roundtrip TGV tickets Paris to Avignon??

We are leaving for Paris in a few weeks and looking into the price of TGV tickets roundtrip Paris to Avignon. I checked the Rail Europe website and was shocked that the price of a roundtrip ticket is $300 for 1st class or $250 for 2nd class. I guess I am accustomed to the relatively cheap train fares in Italy. Are there websites where tickets can be purchased for less money? Would it be less expensive if we waited and bought the tickets in Paris? Does this price quoted seem about right based on others experience?
BoulderCO is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 12:21 PM
  #2  
 
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I usually pay 25-40 euros each way between Paris and Avignon, with the special nonrefundable, nonexchangable PREM tickets, purchased directly from the SNCF website. Yesterday, my son and I took the TGV from Lyon to CDG for a total of 40 euros in 1st class!

So yes, $300 is ridiculously high. RailEurope charges a big markup, apparently. Just go to www.sncf.com and hunt around for PREM tickets.
StCirq is online now  
Aug 24th, 2005, 12:29 PM
  #3  
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OK, I did as you said and was able to find some PREM fares at much more reasonable prices. However, when I tried to use the pick list to enter my home country USA was not listed as an option. When I read the SNCF terms and conditions the US is not listed in their Appendix as a home country from which I can purchase tickets. What't the deal?
BoulderCO is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 12:31 PM
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Boulder:

Don't sress about the country - they won't mail them to you in the USA anyway. Just leave France in as the country, and continue with your purchase. If they are PREM tickets, print them out. If they're not, select the option to pick up your tickets at a train station or SNCF boutique.
StCirq is online now  
Aug 24th, 2005, 12:41 PM
  #5  
 
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>>If they're not, select the option to pick up your tickets at a train station or SNCF boutique.<<

You will have to show the clerk at the ticket counter the same credit card you used to purchase the tickets. Also, do no choose the option that lets you get your tickets at a machine - your US CC does not work on these machines since it is not a chip card.

Stu Dudley

StuDudley is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 12:41 PM
  #6  
 
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PREMs may not be available anymore on this very popular route as you only have a few weeks - they may be sold out. Anyway a France Railpass, good for 4 days on unlimited travel in a one-month period is cheaper than the r.t. TGV prices RailEurope quoted you - saverpass - two names on one pass - is $225 p.p. in first class
You use one day each way and have two other unlimited travel days to use elsewhere - good for airport trains to CDG airport if nothing else or day trips from Avignon (Aix-en-Provence) or Paris (Versailles, Chartres, etc.)
so check www.voyages-sncf.com for possible fares and then compare to pass price. However to reserve thru RE involves an $11 per seat reservation fee plus a $15 handling fee per order and a mailing fee perhaps. If going the pass route contact BETS (800-441-9413) as though they work thru RE they don't charge some of their fees - no mailing fee if you don't need express mail service. If you're landing and taking off on TGV right away i suggest you make reservation thru BETS or RailEurope - this is if you're buying a pass - if buy thru sncf web site reseration should be included - in France they cost 3 euros - but on this line i know of reliable people who've told me with a pass they were told that there were no more passholder reservations available on the Paris-Avignon-Nice TGV line but there were regular tickets available - so there is some kind of quota system for reservations with passes so there's a chance you couldn't make them when landing for the next train. (Though if trains to Avignon were full you could get much more available Paris-Lyon TGVs and then go onto Avignon by local train.) Again for reservations i recommend BETS - bought from them for years - France rail experts. But you may well find lower fares than the cost of a pass on www.voyages-sncf.com.
PalQ is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 12:42 PM
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From experience I can tell you that you can print out the tickets on your own printer and take them with you and they will be honored! It was SO easy and reassuring!
uhoh_busted is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 12:45 PM
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When I used trainline in the UK, I was able to charge to my US credit card and have the tickets mailed to my first hotel.

My one experience with RailEurope resulted in tickets on a non-existant train.
Barbara_in_CT is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 12:47 PM
  #9  
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I tried to purchase the PREM tickets leaving my home country as France however it is insisting on a French mailing address before completing the transaction. I had not yet been asked the option to just print them out rather than have them shipped.
BoulderCO is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 12:52 PM
  #10  
ira
 
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Hi BC,

>..it is insisting on a French mailing address ...<

Leave the country as France and just put in your address.

When you print your ticket, the computer doesn't care where you are.

ira is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 12:56 PM
  #11  
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I may have found the problem. I tried typing in none for my address and it proceeded to the next screen. I got the message: The site's print at home section has been temporarily disactivated. Consequently, you won't be offered this option. Since I can't have the tickets shipped, I guess I will wait about and see if the print at home option becomes reactivated.
BoulderCO is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 01:04 PM
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I sort of recall a very similar to this post not long ago, and I don't know exactly what the problem was as the quoted fares were higher than even the standard nonPREM fares. I think they were buying first class for one thing.

However, that is a long route and regular first-class TGV fares aren't super cheap, so it could end up being around US$200 for a roundtrip ticket, and then if Raileurope marked it up to $250, that isn't that surprising.

I don't find that so unusual, as that is only $100 each way (which is currently only around 80 euro), and that's a long distance. You couldn't do that in the US for that price.

I don't know what it really is in France as I didn't check, but sometimes these fares aren't really as outrageous as they sound when you add up first class for two people and quote roundtrip.
Christina is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 01:11 PM
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I realize this doesn't mean much for your trip to Avignon, but I've been playing around online and have decided for the first time NOT to take a train from Nice to Paris. It is over 5 hours and the lowest first class Prems for two would be 150 euro. We can fly Easy Jet in a little over an hour for 17.99 euro each.

While I have raved about European trains for years, I'm beginning to reconsider the advantages of these super airline fares.
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Aug 24th, 2005, 02:34 PM
  #14  
rex
 
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<<While I have raved about European trains for years, I'm beginning to reconsider the advantages of these super airline fares.>>

gasp!



Best wishes,

Rex

rex is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 02:45 PM
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Rex, thanks for just doing the smiley face and not a bold "HA. TOLD YOU SO".

But in all fairness, I still advocate train travel between cities where you've never been. I'd be taking the train Nice to Paris if I hadn't already done it quite a few times.
Patrick is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 05:06 PM
  #16  
rex
 
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yw, patrick...

and as in all arguments, it depends...

My last few "long haul" transports were...

Graz, Austria to London (Stansted) om Ryanair - - not a snowball's chance that train would have been better for this.

Loindon (Stansted) to Glasgow (Prestwick) - - and back, all in the same day (also on Ryanair) - - this made possible a "day trip" to the University of Stirling, with our daughter - - a good experience for all five of us, and we're glad we did it.

(for what it's worth, we did not stay in London for this jaunt, but rather in a B&B out near Thaxted)...

and of course, last of all, our through-the-night excursion from Biarritz to Paris - - for which no flight offered even a fraction of how well the 11p-to-7a train service worked beautifully (and seeing what lay outside the windows had nothing to do with it, of course!)


rex is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 06:46 PM
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I know what you mean, and although it sounds weird next summer part of itinerary ends up in this order -- Venice, London, Nice, Paris. At first glance it seems not to make sense, why not Venice to Nice then work north? Well because we can get dirt cheap and quick flights in that order. Getting from Venice to Nice is not so easy. So in the grand scheme of things our hopping around really does make more sense.
Patrick is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 08:44 PM
  #18  
 
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You might consider calling the english line at SNCF and asking about special fares for two people traveling together, as well as others that aren't all that easy to figure out on the web site. The telephone number is

01133 .8. 92.35.35.39
Underhill is offline  
Aug 24th, 2005, 09:26 PM
  #19  
rex
 
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<<in the grand scheme of things our hopping around really does make more sense...>>

I think there is much to admire in the "outside the box" thinking that creates a low-cost intra-Europe transport budget.

It's virtually a mantra with me - - try to work out as many parts of an itinerary in loose form before you commit to any one part, with special focus on NOT locking in the transatlantic-travel (at some bargain basement price, for example) - - only to find that you don't have a plan for getting from point A to B to C to D without spending many, many hundreds of dollars. Work on both halves of that equation (trans-atlantic AND intra-Europe travel costs) in tandem with the goal of minimizing (or optimizing) the combined costs (and/or any inconvenience factors). Neither has to be about getting the very lowest price, but it can and should be about getting the best value at the best price.
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