TGV Reservations

Jun 22nd, 2001, 07:59 AM
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TGV Reservations

How far in advance should I reserve a seat for a TGV train (I have a Eurail pass). Also, should I do it when I get to Paris or can I call ahead and do it from the USA? Thanks.
Jun 22nd, 2001, 09:20 AM
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You can make a reservation right up to the time the train leaves; not really recommended....

You can wait until you get to Paris, and you can make the reservation at ANY train station.
Jun 22nd, 2001, 09:34 AM
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It depends on your route and date, of course. I would do it when you get to Paris unless you want to take a very popular train route on some heavy date or time period, then it depends how important getting that exact train is to you. For example, once I made a reservation for a seat on the TGV going from Tours to Paris on early Sunday evening in the summer. This is a very popular weekend tourist destination and that train (people going back to Paris from their weekends) was completely full and I got about the last seat making a reservation about 3-4 days ahead. I don't know if you can do it from the US, I think you can but it will cost you as the phone number is a pay per minute--there was a recent post on this with the phone number for Eng/French speakers at SNCF in Paris, I believe they will take a CC number over phone. I don't know the cost per minute of that call, however. It is under Eurostar, Paris office, in the France telecom phone book (
Jun 22nd, 2001, 11:02 AM
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You can make the reservation by phone from the States cby calling the French railway they have a number for that, no extra charge, must give a Visa no. and you can have the ticket including seat #etc waiting for you
up to half an hour before departing.
They were very kind and gave me all kind of discounts without Me even asking
... because I was traveling on a Sunday between Lyon and Torino and also a seniors discount. Perfect.
Again this was directly with the French railway company.
Jun 22nd, 2001, 11:19 AM
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I also say it depends on your route and date, and also the size of your group. On Paris-Tours route, we made a reservation 4 minutes before the departure and 3 of us got to sit together. On Paris-Lyon route, even though we made a reservation 8 days ahead, the train was packed and we could not sit together. It was a Monday late afternoon train full of business people returning to Lyon.

You can make a reservation at ANY SNCF station, but if you know which train you are taking, and you happen to be at a station with a short waiting line, GET THE RESERVATION! We had to take a number and wait for an HOUR trying to make an advance reservation at NICE. I found that SNCF ticket agents at small station were more helpful than ones at large stations, where we were treated like dirt.
Jun 30th, 2001, 08:09 AM
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Also important to know- there are a limited number of reservations available to Railpass holders. We made reservations from the US through the Rick Steves recommended site.
Jul 1st, 2001, 05:04 PM
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we just returned from our trip to France that included 2 TGV trips. We had the flexi-pass rail pass, and reserved seats by calling Rail Europe 1-800-438-7245 (from Rick Steves) for the first leg. When we arrived at the station before boarding, we reserved seats for the return leg at the station. You have to pay a little to upgrade yoour railpass to a TGV ticket. If you are taking a regular RER train, you just get on the train - no additional reservation or ticket needed - just fill in the travel dates on your railpass on the days you use it - (you need to do this for the TGV as well). The trains run precisley on time. Great way to travel! Bring food and drink with you.

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