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Some train questions by first-timers

Mumbai (Bombay...
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Some train questions by first-timers

Hi,

My wife and I, both in our 30s, will be visiting France in the 1st half of France. The itinerary that we have sort of finalized is:

Fly into Paris, 3 nights in Paris, TGV to Nice, 2 nights in Nice, Train to Annecy(via Lyon), 2 nights in Annecy, Annecy to Camonix, 3 nights in Chamonix, train/bus to Geneva, 1 night in Geneva, and fly back to Mumbai from Geneva. Had some basic questions about train travel in France:

1) What is the best site for booking TGV tickets? I've found idTGV and TGV-Europe(when I click on the 'English' link of voyages-SNCF, it takes me there). Also, is it possible to buy e-tickets of TGV(take a print-out at home and board the train)? If not, if I choose collect the ticket in France, from where can I collect it in Paris(want to avoid the heavy delivery charges).

2) How do train bookings work in France? TGV obviously should be booked as much in advance as possible, but what about normal trains? Do I need to buy in advance or make reservations, or can I just buy tickets to the next location from the ticket counter on the same day and hop on? Also, if I have to change 2-3 trains from point A to point B, can I just specify destination B at the ticket counter in point A(the first departure station), and they will give me tickets for all connecting trains? Will these tickets be valid for all trains on that route on that day, or only on specific trains at specific times?

3) Do train ticket counters accept international credit cards(Visa)?

4) Can we survive all these train journeys/changes without knowing French? :-)

Sorry for the slightly long question, but first-timers to France, so better safe than sorry :-)

Thanks a lot in advance.

Cheers

Anurag

Guildford, United...
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1. Re: Some train questions by first-timers

As you say TGVs are all reserved seating, so need to be booked. Local trains don't usually have any facility to reserve so you buy on the day.

You buy tickets for the whole of your journey in 1 transaction and you will get all of the necessary tickets. TGV tickets are only valid on the booked

train, local train tickets are usuually valid all day.

Ticket counters take credit cards, machines may not unless you have a chip and PIN card.

Collect your tickets from any main railway station in Paris, or from a counter if you don't have a chip credit card.

London, UK
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2. Re: Some train questions by first-timers

The idTGV fares can only be booked on the internet and are generally cheaper, but more limited in availability. They go on sale earlier that tregular tickets and therefore sell out earlier. Check to see their availability for the Paris - Nice part of your trip.

In addition to that leg you should also book the Nice - Annecy leg in advance, particularly as it is likely that it will be a TGV train as far as Lyon.

Louisville, Kentucky
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3. Re: Some train questions by first-timers

I have long been confused over the various train lines and #15 on this link might help you sort through the different options:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187070-i12-k51054…

The other info here applies specifically to US and Australian travelers, but the links are good from most any country. In India, you are not likely to have the automatic redirection to Rail Europe that we have in the US, but the booking process and ticket retrieval will be the same. The links to the Nick Booth and Seat 61 websites are really helpful.

Mumbai (Bombay...
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4. Re: Some train questions by first-timers

Thanks a lot guys. I guess I'll book the Paris-Nice TGV through IdTGV asap, but the Nice-Lyon TGV booking will have to wait for the 90-day window on TGV-Europe to be active(since that does not show on IdTGV).

Another question: On the day that we are travelling from Nice to Annecy, the Nice-Lyon TGV will be pre-booked, but can we buy the tickets for Lyon-Annecy from Nice itself, before starting the journey? Also, is there any provision for buying tickets on the train itself at the same price?

Thanks once again.

Cheers

Guildford, United...
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5. Re: Some train questions by first-timers

Buy the whole journey in Nice before you start - this will include the seat reservation on the TGV and the local train to Annecy.

For a more scenic journey you could go via Grenoble which would take slightly longer but might be cheaper as it is more direct - you would change to the local train at Valence.

6. Re: Some train questions by first-timers

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