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Train Travel - Eurostar/France/England

Old Oct 13th, 2013, 11:08 AM
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Train Travel - Eurostar/France/England

Is there any kind of a pass that would cover travel in and around London, the Eurostar to Paris and back to London, and throughout France? I'm thinking of some kind of Eurail-style travel pass, but I don't know if anything like this exists. I have done some research, but have only found passes for Britain or passes for France, and nothing that would include Eurostar. In planning a week in London and a week in France, the most overwhelming thing for me is figuring out how to get around. I know there's a flexible pass you can get for a certain number of days' travel in France and I believe a similar pass in England, but I'm wondering if any pass includes the Eurostar and metro or train travel within London or Paris as well. Sorry so wordy--my question reflects my confusion. I'm just looking to consolidate train travel planning as much as possible.
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 11:14 AM
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There are essentially no passes on the Eurostar. But in any case you don't need passes for just travel London to Paris and a few trips around France. Just because something says "pass" doesn't mean it saves $$/££/€€
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 11:16 AM
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For most people the passes offered are just too expensive, compared with the cost of point to point tickets, to make them worthwhile. I know of no pass that includes Eurostar. Buying train tickets in advance for the UK & France will be far less expensive, including Eurostar, for almost all itineraries.

Mark Smith, on his trains website http://www.seat61.com/ will give you all the information you need to figure it out, including buying in advance online.
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 11:18 AM
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1. If you are visiting just London and France, fly into London and out of Paris (or elsewhere in France). Don't go back to London.

2. I don't know of a pass that includes the Eurostar: the way to reduce the price is to book early.

3. Do a search here for threads on the Oyster card and the Travelcard for travel in London. Or go here: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/ Unless you are doing day trips out of London you don't need a BritRail pass, and maybe not then either. Do you have an itinerary?

4. There are rail passes for Britain, and rail passes for France, but not one for both. For all you need to know about train travel in Europe go here: http://seat61.com/
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 11:49 AM
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thursdaysd wrote:
1. If you are visiting just London and France, fly into London and out of Paris (or elsewhere in France). Don't go back to London.

Good advice, because the departure tax (called Air Passenger Duty APD) out of UK airports kills your budget.

The way to get a cheap fare (well, relatively...) from London to Paris is not only to book early but to take a very early or very late train - the difference between an uncomfortably early one and a comfortably middle-of-the-day one can be huge.
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 11:55 AM
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My itinerary is roughly following:

-Fly into London, rest for a night
-Eurostar to Paris (a week in France)
-3-4 days in Paris, could include Point du Hoc day in this
-A trip to Point du Hoc / WWII beaches
-Whirlwind trip to Sarlat (starting to give up on that)
-Back to Paris, Eurostar to London
-10 days in London, with a couple possible trips outside the city

Please don't offer critiques on flying into London and taking the Eurostar to Paris. Have explored other avenues--this is what is going to happen even if it's not the best arrangement.

How in the heck do you plan this much running around between two countries in the simplest, most economical way possible? Ugh. I've been reading lots of posts trying to figure this out, have been on SNCF site, the London Metro site, TripAdvisor, Fodors, Rick Steves...

I guess:
Eurostar - Book three months ahead, separately
Paris city - Carnets?
Trip to Normandy - Point-to-point train tickets to Bayeux and rent a car, or a day trip from Paris?
Sarlat - Good luck on this one, right?

London for several days - Oyster card?

I would like some flexibility so, say, if we were in Bayeux and decided on a whim to go to Bordeaux, we could just hop a train, and a couple days later hop a train back to Paris to catch the Eurostar. Am I out of touch with reality?
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 11:58 AM
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PS: The Air Passenger Duty tax --first I've heard of this. Is it included in the cost of plane tickets, or will this be an out-of-pocket surprise at the airport?
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 12:04 PM
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No, there are no England-France passes.

For Paris métro and bus, a carnet is likely your best bet, but if you tell us the days of your stay there, there might be a métro pass that would be cheaper. Stay away from the Paris Visite Pass at all costs.

A one-day trip to Normandy, whether you do it by yourself of with a tour or combination of the two, is going to be an incredibly long day - as in 16 hours or so in transit. Stay overnight if you can. It's much easier to pick up a rental car in Caen than Bayeux, btw.

Forget Sarlat.

Yes, a bit out of touch. First off, you can't go direct by train from Bayeux to Bordeaux. You'll have to go back into Paris or pick your way down the coast on regional trains. Second, if you just decide on the spur of the moment to hop on a train, you will pay the maximum fare (often 4-5 times what you'd pay if you did your research and bought ahead of time. Do you know how to use the www.voyages-sncf.com site without getting switched over to Rail Europe (which you do NOT want)?
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 12:07 PM
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No passes cover the Eurostar.

For a bit of additional information, I read recently that the Eurostar has to pay 25€ per passenger to the owner of the rails (RFF). And that is why all of the travel deals under 40€ per passenger are really a fabulous deal considering how little the Eurostar is earning on the trip.
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 12:20 PM
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Well, it sounds like I'll have to plan piece by piece--no magical, inclusive or easy way about it. I kind of knew there wasn't anything that would cover both England and France, but hoped for some type of all-inclusive pass in France.

I do know how to visit the SNCF site without getting switched to RailEurope. Thanks for the reminder to look out for that.

St. Cirq, the point of a 3- or 4-day pass would be to have the option of being spontaneous and avoid those expensive last-minute bookings. But maybe that's not a great idea. It might lead to chaos and disappointment.

I'm SOOO looking forward to this trip. Just wish I could stop stressing about the travel arrangements.
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 12:28 PM
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It says this on Rick Steves' site:

"Any rail pass that covers France allows you a discounted ticket price on Eurostar trains to/from London."

Anyone know what he's talking about?
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 12:36 PM
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"Please don't offer critiques on flying into London and taking the Eurostar to Paris. Have explored other avenues--this is what is going to happen even if it's not the best arrangement. "

There is nothing wrong with taking the Eurostar to Paris. What is silly is going back to London.

"How in the heck do you plan this much running around between two countries in the simplest, most economical way possible?"

The simplest, most economical way to do this is to fly into London, spend your ten days there, take the Eurostar to Paris, fly home from Paris. Why are you not doing that?

You are making what is essentially a pretty simple trip far more complicated than it needs to be.
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 12:47 PM
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thursdaysd, three family members are making this trip. One of us is using flight miles from a credit card. I checked for weeks to try to get a flight into Paris and out of London to avoid what I'm stuck with now. I simply couldn't make it happen because of all the restrictions and black outs. The other two tickets I also tried to get into Paris and out of London--the logistics of coordinating between the three of us was a nightmare. Hence, being stuck flying into and out of London with the extra trip on Eurostar. But I think taking the Eurostar will be part of the adventure in and of itself. When I lived in France in the early '80s, the Eurostar was just being talked about. Now I can go back 30 years later and ride it. Kind of cool, even though it does add some complications to my travel plans.
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 12:53 PM
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You would have done better to try to fly into London and out of Paris, because of the additional taxes flying out of London, but obviously too late now. The Eurostar is fairly cool, although a good bit of it is just a ride in a dark tunnel..

WRT: "Any rail pass that covers France allows you a discounted ticket price on Eurostar trains to/from London."

The pass does not give you a free ride on the Eurostar. It allows you to buy a "discounted" ticket (if they have not sold out). If you buy ahead, you will easily beat the "discounted" price (which seems to be $90 one way right now, not counting any fees RailEurope may add).
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 12:57 PM
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>

It's way beyond "not a great idea." It's a terrible idea. Even with some sort of pass, in France you need to pay a fairly hefty "reservation fee" for any long-distance train, in addition to the already exorbitant cost of the pass...talk about expensive last-minute bookings!

>

Then simplify the plan. You've made it unnecessarily complicated by planning to yo-yo back and forth from London to Paris to London. Maybe there's a reason you have to do that, but that's what's causing the issues here.
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 01:01 PM
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Are the additional taxes of flying out of London included in the price of the plane ticket? Probably a duh question, but since it's come up twice...

I'm staying in London a few days longer than the two people accompanying me. That's why we're going to Paris first and ending in London.
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 01:08 PM
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If you are already at the airport, why don't you get a flight to Paris right away and avoid the first night in London?
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 01:21 PM
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Yes, the taxes are included. If you price one way tickets from London to New York and Paris to New York on kayak.com you will see the difference.

jamikins - good point. zoobie - for cheap flights in Europe check whichbudget.com and skyscanner.net
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 01:46 PM
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I 100% agree w/ jamikins. It doesn't make a lot of sense hitting London simply to take the Eurostar to Paris.

Land at LHR, don't leave the airport, about 3 hours later fly to Paris . Then after finishing up in France you can take the Eurostar back to London to finish up your trip.
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Old Oct 13th, 2013, 03:14 PM
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I've looked into flights from London to Paris, but they were pretty costly for three people.
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