Train Le Havre to Paris

Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 05:10 AM
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Train Le Havre to Paris

We are departing our cruise ship in Le Havre on May 10, 2014 and need transportation to Paris. I have been trying to book a train for six months on Rail Europe online but I keep getting a response that I cannot book online at this time. About a month ago, I called Rail Europe and they took my dates of travel (and my credit card information) and said they did not have a schedule yet. I have still not heard back from them. I am starting to get nervous because our travel begins in about three weeks and for most of the time we will be in the middle of the ocean. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 05:24 AM
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Have you tried booking direct with the french railroad system?

sncf.com

It shows multiple trains at different rates - you would have to select based on when you will be debarking.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 05:44 AM
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They often don't bring out the summer schedule until fairly late as I recall, I think it starts in May or something, so May is often a problem. Of course you can't book a train 6 months ahead of time, anyway, ever. But you should be able to 2 months out.

But I see trains available for booking on www.voyages-sncf.com, also.

There really isn't a good reason for Raileurope not to have the schedule by now as it is available and you can even see it online (which they could also), but it sounds like you are just waiting for them to call you when they know, and maybe they aren't good at that in such situations, having to keep lists a long time of people to call back. On the other hand, I just looked at their website and it still claims they don't have the schedule, which is absolute rubbish.

You can book on www.voyages-sncf.com if you can read French and follow the instructions. Do NOT say you want to pick up the tickets in the US, of course, or they won't sell them to you.

Some people say www.capitainetrain.com is easy for those who don't know French, you have to pick a language at the bottom right. I find it tricky to use, myself, as it only gives you one ticket option and you have to figure out how to make it show you more availabilities by some small window with a timeframe. It doesn't seem to automatically give you all day like SNCF does. But it should work for you if you can manage it.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 06:32 AM
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You have a response on your Trip Advisor thread:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic....html#57000202

As I explained on that thread, the schedules for May 10th are available but tickets haven't yet gone on sale (they show as "Non ouvert") likely because of works on many rail lines in Normandy around that time.

Even if you can't buy your tickets in advance because you won't have internet access on the cruise ship you can buy them at the train station on your date of travel for 34.50€ each way.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 06:32 AM
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Unfortunately , I speak only limited phrases in French. I was on the SNCF website and was hopelessly lost.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 07:06 AM
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If you do not know exactly what time you can actually take the train - schedule in flux then just get off the boat and buy a ticket to Paris at the Le Havre station - these are not TGV trains where fares can vary very wildly - though you could save a few euros perhaps by booking in advance at www.voyages-sncf.com or www.capitainetrain.com (same exact trains and tickets) those then are train-specific and cannot be changed nor refunded I believe.

You can always easily buy any ticket RailEurope sells you right at Le Havre station cheaper - they mainly sell full fare and fully flexible tickets so there is absolutely NO reason to buy any RailEurope ticket (cancel the order) as you can buy that exact same ticket in Le Havre cheaper most likely - these trains largely I believe do not demand seat reservations like TGVs so folks just hop on and starting - the train - in Le Havre means you'll have lots of seats to chose from - 2nd class trains can indeed get really full and I've seen SRO at times but starting in Le Havre no problem - check these sites for superb info on French trains - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com.

again you will always be able to buy a full fare ticket at Le Havre - never worry about that - no need to pre-book, etc. Pre-book only to save money and IMO a lot of money to forego any flexibility that you lose on those usually train-specific tickets.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 07:40 AM
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The OP doesn't need flexibility, as he's operating off a cruise ship schedule, so there is absolutely no reason to forgo a decent savings in euros by buying from SNCF directly or Capitainetrain.

OP, follow the advice you got on TA and from Mrs. FMT.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 08:33 AM
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Well it depends on how much can they save - sometimes on regional lines like that the savings can be minor - if only a few euros cheaper go for the full fare ticket and complete flexibility so in case you miss the train you can just hop on another one.

Of course if the savings are significant then go for the discounted ticket.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 08:38 AM
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StCirq - Since you obviously have done the math how many euros will they save - you say decent savings - so exactly how much?

Thanks in advance for your detailing what decent means - I would assume at least 10 euros?
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 09:13 AM
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Tickets bought in advance from Le Havre to Paris can be as little as 15€ and last minute tickets will be 34.50€. But as I've already explained, tickets for May 10th aren't on sale right now likely due to track works in Normandy at that time, though the schedule is available. The OP has three weeks before their cruise ship departs so there's a chance tickets will be on sale for May 10th by the time their cruise ship departs. If not, they can just buy walk-up tickets the day their cruise ship arrives in Le Havre. If given a chance I always go for a savings and buy tickets in advance but it's only 20€ more at most to buy last minute tickets for this journey.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 09:14 AM
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40 euros savings for a couple to me is well worth the restrictions - that is a decent savings for sure.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 05:14 PM
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Don't forget that if you have a full-fare ticket you have to cancel it yourself before boarding the train - discounted tickets that are train specific need not be cancelled but just get on the train as they are only valid on that one specific train - full fare tickets can be used on any regional trains and thus since there may not be conductors on some trains passengers are required to cancel their own ticket before boarding.

Failure to do so if caught will be considered to be riding without a valid ticket and can face an addition fine - in France the 'composteurs' (sp?) are at the entrance to the platforms - just stick the ticket in and the machine date stamps it.
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