Train Reservations

May 5th, 2006, 01:08 PM
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Train Reservations

Are the only two ways to reserve a TGV: 1) book through Rail Europe at $11 per train, or 2) book at the train station?

Additionally, if you book at the train station do they charge a fee? If so, what is the fee?

And could I reserve all of my trains from the station in Paris? Or do you have to be at the station you are leaving from to reserve the train?

I have a rail pass.

aggieactuary is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 02:09 PM
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Also, it appears on the RailEurope website that when I'm checking out they want to charge shipping.

Are the reservations paper documents that have to be shipped?
aggieactuary is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 02:22 PM
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You can book directly online at For some tickets, you can even print them out on your own computer.

If you do want to book tickets in France, you can buy any ticket at anay station countrywide.

Rail Europe is more expensive than buying directly from SNCF.
StCirq is online now  
May 5th, 2006, 02:25 PM
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StCirq, I think they have a rail pass and are only wanting the reservation on the train.

Aggie, yes there is a fee for reservations on the TGV if you are using a rail pass. Not sure how much they charge however.
MorganB is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 02:27 PM
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Here's a recent thread on this very topic (with a more specific title, which I suggest you try to use in future.)

I've never found a railpass to be cost effective. But from this thread it sounds like you're correct that your reservation options are either RailEurope, with its attendent fees, or at a rail station in France.

If you opt for the latter, you should be able to make all your reservations at once.

Lesli is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 02:48 PM
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The fee is E3/reservation and you can make all your reservations from any train station in France. Do you only need to reserve TGVs in France and no trains in any other countries? If so, you can call the SNCF English-speaking number and have an agent make your reservations for you. The number is 08 92 35 35 39. To call from the US, dial 011 + 33 + the number (omitting the initial zero). If you get a recorded message in French, press 2 and you should be connected with an English-speaking agent.
TimS is offline  
May 6th, 2006, 04:03 AM
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ira is offline  
May 6th, 2006, 04:10 AM
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Just wanted to alert you to a problem we had in getting reservations on TGV's with a French railpass a couple of years ago -- possibly doesn't apply anymore, but I would ask. We couldn't get one train we really needed to get because there were only a few seats in each car set aside for pass holders and they were gone by the time we asked for the reservation. So if your situation is similar, I would take the advice above to call SNCF ASAP and get your reservations. Or at least find out if these restrictions are still being put on pass holders. Does anyone on this board know about this?
Kristinelaine is offline  
Dec 6th, 2007, 03:14 AM
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I am trying to book a train from CHARLES DE GAULLE ETOILE via PARIS MONTPARNASSE 1 ET 2 to NIORT on the, and it says "Not sold on the Internet". The travel date is 11th January 2008. Can anyone help?
roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Dec 6th, 2007, 04:35 AM
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Etoile to Montparnasse is by Paris Metro.

But from Paris Montparnasse to Niort. I can confirm that they'll sell you a ticket on PREM fares from about 25€ for 1/11.
rkkwan is offline  
Dec 6th, 2007, 06:02 AM
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For Etoile to Montparnasse see

ira is offline  
Dec 6th, 2007, 06:28 AM
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About railpass quotas on French TGVs - yes there sure seems to be

I know of several cases where clerks at stations in France said no to railpass reservations but then said they would sell full price tickets on that same train.

I don't think this is endemic and mainly seems to involve the busy paris-avignon-nice line

if problems think outside the box and reserve paris-lyon (2 trains/hr) then regional train to avignon or Paris-Marseille then regional train to Nice

Or if an exact TGV train is essential then pay the price and book it when you buy your railpass in the U.S. Unfortunately RailEurope does charge a $15 or so fee or so that you do not pay in France (just the 3 euro fee TimS says). Many agents, however, like won't even make reservations, instead referring you to where then you have to pay extra mailing costs of about $18 since you've bought your pass elsewhere (RE has free mailing if over $399 order but $18 or so for under). Agents are often aloof to do it because it is such a labor intensive process and also because Raileurope pays a whopping 0% commission i believe on it. So some do it but only for customer service. (As usual i always recommend BETS 900-441-2387; for any passes and reservations as they do not have some of RE's fees and you talk to experts on the phone - RE charges +10% and +$35 per order i believe for any phone orders and then the person you talk to may not be an expert but a phone jockey IME)
But in most cases reservations are easy enough in Europe - TGVs one of few exceptions IME and then during peak periods on peak lines.
If flexible i'd wait until there.
You also have a much better chance of reserving with a first class pass then 2nd class, which usually has much more demand
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 6th, 2007, 06:36 AM
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If you have a rail pass, you can normally only reserve seats through the people who sold you the rail pass or in person at a station where you can show the rail pass.
It is true that on TGVs, there is a limited number of seats available for pass holders. So, even with a rail pass, you may have to pay the full fare to get on a specific train.
Whether you need to book far in advance depends entirely on which journeys you're making and which dates and times you're travelling.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Dec 6th, 2007, 07:04 AM
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Take Metro line 6 directly from Charles de Gaulle Etoile to Montparnasse Bienvenue.

When booking on the SNCF site, leave France as the default country. Do NOT choose cancellation insurance. If you get a PREM'S fare, print your own ticket. If you get any other fare, choose the option of picking up your ticket at a station or SNCF boutique.
TimS is offline  
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