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Trip to France: Rent a car, take the train?

Trip to France: Rent a car, take the train?

Old May 7th, 2007, 08:41 AM
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Back to OP - even if you go by rail a railpass is not often the best bet for French rail travel due to the online discounts only available at www.voyages-sncf.com - but since your itinerary is a bit scattered - all over the map on northern France a railpass could indeed make sense if you do this all by rail. And flexibility is a value of a pass - take any train anytime (TGVs and CorailTOEZ trains do demand reservations but on your itinerary these would be easy to make as you go along where required.)
A Saverpass is two names on one pass for a cheaper rate. The France Railpass Saver starts at 3 unlimited travel days in a one-month period and you can add on extra days only at time of issuance. As additional days are much cheaper than the first three, the longer the pass the cheaper per day it is. And this pass is a great deal in first class because it costs only about $30 more in first class than second. And actually the France-Benelux pass for 8-days is currently incredibly cheaper than a just France pass i believe and it's good over a 2-month period.

France passes are not sold in France TMK - in US RailEurope, largely owned by sncf or French railways, markets them thru agents or directly. I always recommend Budget Europe for passes and answering any questions as they are experts with years of experience on trains themselves. www.budgetleuropetravel.com; 800-441-2387 - be sure to request the free European Planning & Rail Guide on their home page even if going by car as it not only has a chapter on France by train but lots of tips for anyone - packing, etc. And they don't charge some of RailEurope's mailing fees. www.ricksteves.com also has good info on rail travel and passes on their site. But go to www.voyages-sncf.com and check real in France prices for train travel to judge whether a pass is for you or not. And as the euro inches every higher against the dollar a pass may become more viable - though pass prices are adjusted periodically the France Pass has yet to raised since the plunge of the dollar the past few weeks.
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Old May 7th, 2007, 12:13 PM
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And to mix things up more... there is a France Rail 'n Drive pass where you get a certain number of days of your chosing of unlimited rail travel and days of Avis car rental - Avis seems to have the concession at stations so is often right in the station so you get off the train, hop in the car, drive to another train station to hop on the train, etc.

For ex - train long distance on bullet trains then do leisurely putz in car and blast back to Paris by train.
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