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Train travel help: Paris-Nantes and Paris-Tours

Train travel help: Paris-Nantes and Paris-Tours

Old Aug 10th, 2006, 01:42 PM
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Train travel help: Paris-Nantes and Paris-Tours

Two train itineraries I could use some guidance on:

1. Paris-Nantes
We will be arriving to Charles de Gaulle in September and have a flight booked to Nantes. The connection time is tight and as we are going for wedding festivities, we need to have a back up plan. We plan to take the train if we miss our flight, but I was hoping for some advice. If our flight arrives on time, we would arrive at 11am, on a Friday and would need to catch a flight at 12.30, and if we miss that, the train at 1.30. We will need to pass through immigration and assuming the alert levels continue, we will have to pick up checked luggage. Given the rushing we will have to do, is it better to:

a. Purchase a ticket before boarding the train if and when we realize we will miss our flight? This presents the risk of not having enough time to even buy the ticket but saves us the hassle if we are able to make our flight. Or:

b. Purchase a refundable ticket in advance, print it and take it with us? If it turns out we make the flight and don't need our train ticket, does anyone know how we would go about getting our refund? Will it be possible to wait a few days until we next have an opportunity to get to a train station and try to get a refund? Or does the refund have to be sought within a certain amount of time? Also, I read that refunds for tickets purchased by credit card are paid back by check. Has anyone had to do this - did you ever actually get your check?

2. Paris-Tours
The second itinerary I needed advice on is Paris-St Pierre-des-Corps (just outside of Tours). With respect to this trip I was just wondering if it is recommended we purchase this ticket in advance or if we can just wait to buy it. We are picking up a car at St. Pierre-des-Corps and we would like to leave Paris early in the morning on a Wednesday. Do these trains tend to sell out? Is there any reason not to buy the ticket ahead of time? (For this journey we know for sure we intend to take the train.)

Thank you very much for any help you can provide!
travellamb is offline  
Old Aug 10th, 2006, 05:01 PM
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1. Paris-Nantes
PREM'S (discount) tickets, if available, can be booked online at SNCF and printed for this route. They can be as low as E25. However, PREM'S are non-refundable and non-exchangable. If you buy them as a backup and are able to catch your plane, you will eat the price of the tickets. However, you could book regular fare tickets (E57.50) for a backup, choosing the option of picking them up at the station. Tthey cannot be printed. They are fully refundable, but I don't know what steps you would need to go through to get a refund.

2. Paris to St-Pierre-des-Corps
The SNCF site says that tickets for this route are not sold online. There is frequent service. Just buy your tickets at the station.
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Old Aug 10th, 2006, 05:07 PM
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With yesterday's occurences air travel may be very different in the months to come. I would reschedule right now - anything that has a tight connection in CDG spells disaster at the best of times, and these are the worst of times. Tons of people will fly to Paris and take the train into the UK now, and so it goes.

While you regroup, you have a chance to redesign your plan so that you get in a day early and still get to the gig even if you come in a half-day late - not impossible in the near future.

Everything has changed overnight...
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Old Aug 10th, 2006, 06:41 PM
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I don't know why you couldn't buy tickets from Paris to St Pierre des Corps online, it's not a short local run. I just tried it for 9/15/06 and got tons of possibilities to buy, including PREMs. The TGV leaves from Montparnasse, and that had some PREMs. There is a regular train from Austerlitz, also available for purchase, although they don't require a reservation.
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Old Aug 10th, 2006, 07:50 PM
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I did a dummy booking on sncf.com for Paris to St-Pierre-des-Corps using a September date. I was shown lots of choices, but everyone of them was labeled "not sold on the Internet." That indeed seemed strange to me since several of the choices are direct TGVs. I should have been suspicious and chalked it up to a program glitch and tried again before I reported what I was shown. I just did another dummy booking and everything was in order. Why? Only SNCF knows.
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Old Aug 11th, 2006, 09:20 AM
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It depends what date you chose, perhaps. Sometimes they won't sell them online at the last minute, I think, or if there aren't hardly any left. I don't recall what date in September I chose, but none of them were labelled "not sold on the internet". I don't think I've ever seen that except for very short, cheap, local runs.
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Old Aug 11th, 2006, 09:51 AM
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I've seen the "not sold on the internet" line when the ticket involved a leg on the RER in Paris. For example from CDG to Rouen it showed that message due to the RER B ride into Paris.
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Old Aug 11th, 2006, 09:58 AM
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As regards buying tickets at CDG TGV station - last year i waited in line there about 45 minutes to get a ticket (actually reservation with my railpass) so this could take a long time - i guess you cannot use the automatic ticket machines with US credit cards so may have to stand in a long line. Maybe that wasn't a typical scene but could well be - They had lots of windows but only a few open. Ironically when i got to St Pierre des Corps there were three ticket windows open and no lines - now this is efficiency endemic of the SNCF.
If by chance you couldn't get on a St Pierre-des-Corps-Montparnasse train, highly unlikely, you could always take the old classic line to Austerlitz via Blois and Les Aubrais - taking about an hour longer but also significantly cheaper at full fare i believe.
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