Traveling in France by train

Apr 19th, 2014, 09:45 AM
  #1  
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Traveling in France by train

Hi,
Im looking for some advise on the best and most affordable way to travel through France.
Our plan to to see Strasbourg for a day or two then travel in the south of France for 5 to 7 days, hitting places like Nice, Marseille, Monaco, etc.. We thought train would be best, do you agree? And if so, is it cheaper to buy fares individually or get a 7day train pass for France which is about $280?
Any advise would help, Thanks!
Katrinab123 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2014, 09:51 AM
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You need to do the calculations on price differential between the pass and point-to-point tickets as you know when you're traveling and from what origin to which destination.

Advanced purchase tickets are much cheaper than walk up purchase except on regional trains. Read this site for all the information you need to know about traveling by train.

seat61.com
adrienne is offline  
Apr 19th, 2014, 10:06 AM
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A rail pass is rarely a good deal in France, where you can get deeply discounted point-to-point tickets if you know the rules for purchasing in advance. Also, in France, even with a rail pass you'll need to make reservations (and pay extra) for high-speed trains.

If you start in Paris, then visit Strasbourg, you'll need to return to Paris to catch a train south.
StCirq is online now  
Apr 19th, 2014, 02:15 PM
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I agree train is the best. $280 for 7 days wouldn't be terrible if you were doing a lot of long distance travel, but I suspect you may only have a couple such trips as you want to spend time in Strasbourg, etc. The problem with railpasses in France is partly that they limit the seats available to passholders, and you will still need to make reservations for a seat on TGVs or trains that require that (and pay a small fee for that, it's really the inconvenience and limitations that makes it not so great).

Nice, Marseille and Monaco aren't that far about on the rail line and the fare between them won't be that great. But, as I said, $280 (or about 200 euro) isn't a terrible price for a TGV to Strasbourg from Paris, then down South and rail travel along the coast.
Christina is offline  
Apr 19th, 2014, 05:32 PM
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How many of there are you traveling together? For more people car can be a better deal than train.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 19th, 2014, 06:54 PM
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"If you start in Paris, then visit Strasbourg, you'll need to return to Paris to catch a train south."
Not necessarily. There is a direct train from Strasbourg to Marseille and several trains from Strasbourg to Nice via Lyon, Mulhouse or Avignon.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Apr 19th, 2014, 10:03 PM
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Last fall we took a direct train from Avignon to Strasbourg and by- passed Paris completely. It took about 5.5 hrs and did make a few brief stops along the way.
grandmere is offline  
Apr 20th, 2014, 01:09 AM
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Go to www.capitainetrain.com and see what prices look like booking cheap deals 2-3 months ahead. That's the cheapest option! But remember it's no refunds, no changes if you book a 25 euro ticket from Paris to Nice!

Railpasses have a major problem in France - passholder places are controlled by quota, often small, often sold out. Then you can't travel, or need to pay full-price, or need to try and find a way to use slow regional trains.
Man_in_seat_61 is online now  
Apr 20th, 2014, 04:38 AM
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For excellent info on French train travel check out Man in Seat 61's commercial site www.seat61.com - click onhis commercial link to Rail Europe for French railpass prices - other great sites - www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

Railpasses can be a good deal if you desire flexibility to chose trains once there but as Man says above on some - really only a handful IME of using passes a lot over years - some key TGV lines in which case you should make a reservation when buying your pass. If you decide to change trains later you can at least use the pass on another train and not be out the money you are with non-changeable non-refundable discounted tickets which must be booked weeks/months in advance to get.

The only lines I'v had problems with are Nice/Avginon to Paris and Paris to Bordeaux. And Corail TEOZ trains which require reservations too are always easy to book a passholder fare - many trains you do not need a reservation at all and with a pass can just board - like zillions of TER inter-city/regional trains.

If doing several trips and wanting some modicum of flexibility the pass can be a good deal.
PalenQ is online now  
Apr 20th, 2014, 05:25 PM
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Traveling in France by train
Posted by: Katrinab123 on Apr 19, 14 at 12:45pm
Im looking for some advise on the best and most affordable way to travel through France.
Our plan to to see Strasbourg for a day or two then travel in the south of France for 5 to 7 days, hitting places like Nice, Marseille, Monaco, etc.. We thought train would be best, do you agree? And if so, is it cheaper to buy fares individually or get a 7day train pass for France which is about $280?
Any advise would help, Thanks!

"best and most affordable way" -- select one or the other.

Some more data would help bring in advice. How many are you? What are the ages? Do you need to be flexible or do you have a fixed itinerary?
spaarne is offline  

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