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Train from Paris to Barcelona - book in advance or while in Paris

Train from Paris to Barcelona - book in advance or while in Paris

Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 09:11 AM
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Train from Paris to Barcelona - book in advance or while in Paris

I will arrive in Paris May 24th and will be taking a train from Paris to Barcelona on May 29th. There are three trains that day, two direct. They are TGV trains which require seat reservations.

Would folks recommend I book my seats in advance, like now, or wait till we are in Paris?

If I do book in advance, what website do folks recomend? Can I pick which seats we will be in? My wife gets motion sick.

Thanks
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 09:40 AM
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www.voyages-sncf.com and www.capitainetrain.com are the two sites selling tickets online - book on those sites ASAP to save tons of money - discounted tickets are sold in limited numbers on those trains and often sell out early - months early at times - just show up and you can always buy a full fare ticket without problem but you may pay a lot lot more money.

So check those two sites and see the savings fares vs full fare - discounted tickets are train-specific and non-changeable non-refundable however so be sure of your date and time.

www.seat61.com has great info on discounted tickets on that and other routes - also check www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com for lots of good info on trains.

There is also an overnight train Paris to Perpignan where in the morning you switch to direct trains to Barcelona.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 09:45 AM
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Thanks!

Would you also suggest booking a local train from Paris to Bayeux round trip in advance?
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 10:07 AM
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Well yes and no because the savings on that non-TGV route are much smaller - just several euros at times and you lose all your flexibility - like if doing a day trip to D-Day Land you may want to have a full-fare ticket that lets you hop on any train anytime - not a specific train booked in stone in advance.

If you know exactly when you want to leave and return then see what kind of savings are possible - if minor then I'd suggest doing full fare - you will never have any trouble getting on trains - seat reservations are not required on most if not all of those trains as they are on TGVs - you will always be able to board.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 10:11 AM
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For the best TGV fares, book starting 3 months out from your date of travel. Fares will start to rise at that point, and buying at the last minute will get you the highest possible fares. Same thing for Paris to Bayeux on the TER trains - buying ahead can save you 30% or more.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 10:58 AM
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Check the train schedule the day before your journey. We just happened to be checking something else on the sncf website and saw a notice that our overnight train from Barcelona to Paris was leaving TWO HOURS EARLY that week. They hadn't emailed us or anything, and we were lucky...but needless to say our train was 3/4 empty.

Rare and not likely to happen to you but worth a quick check for sure. A late train is an annoyance, but when you arrive at the station at night and the only train for the night is gone.....ouch.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 12:11 PM
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Last week there was a similar question about Paris to Bayeux and the savings was 7-10 euros on most trains. So if you want flexibility to come back any time - again on a day trip you may well not know when you want to come back - then I'd pay the extra 10 euros - but going out take the cheapest as you probably k now exactly when you want to go.
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