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Transportation Help Needed

Georgia
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Transportation Help Needed

We are going to stay in 17th arrondissement near the Arc De Triomphe for less than a week and need help with what type of transportation ticket would make sense. We will have a global euro-rail pass. While in Paris we want to go to disneyland and other tourist destinations but we will only have a few days. When we leave Paris we will be taking the train to Beaulieu-sur-Mer. As I read info I get more and more confused. I think we will need additional passes to get to disneyland? but I am not sure whether our eurorail will work for the trip to Beaulieu-sur-Mer? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Ohio, USA
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1. Re: Transportation Help Needed

We need a lot more, and more specific, information before we can give you good advice about transportation passes.

1. Exactly how many days will you be in Paris?

2. What day of the week (the date does not matter) are you arriving and leaving?

3. Are you arriving by air? If so which airport?

4. Will you be visiting DLP for just one day or more?

5. Do you plan any other trips to places outside Paris proper, e.g. Versailles?

6. Are you travelling with kids? If so, how many and what ages?

7. Is anyone in your party younger than 26?

I hope that covers it...

Yes, your Eurail pass will cover your travel to B-sur-M but not any of your travel in and around Paris. However, you will still need a reservation for the Paris-Nice part of the trip for which there is a charge.

Have you already purchased your pass? If not, or if you can cancel it, you might want to reconsider. A lot depends on when you are travelling and your itinerary but these days rail passes are rarely a good deal for travel in Europe. As an example, if you were to buy your trip to Nice exactly 90 days ahead when fares are at their lowest it would cost you €22. The short additional trip to B-sur-M would cost you less than what you would pay for the reservation with a pass. My guess is that you are paying a good bit more than that for each day's validity of your rail pass.

Of course in theory the pass does give you some flexibility but if your hotels are booked ahead your travel dates are pretty much fixed and so the flexibility is not all that important. When are you travelling? If it is more than three months from now I would definitely suggest you rethink the whole rail pass idea.

I know. It's a lot to think about...

Georgia
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2. Re: Transportation Help Needed

I have checked prices of individual train passes compared to eurorail but I believe since we are traveling extensively it would cost less with the pass. We have not bought passes yet and are open to suggestions.

Travelers 4 Adults, 2 Kids age 3 and 11, 2 (22 year olds)

Our plans. Fly to Munich

Munich to Amersterdam

Amsterdam to Brugge

Brugge to Calais

Calais to Dover- by Ferry

Disney Cruise

Dover to Paris

Paris to Beaulieu-sur-Mer

Beaulieu-sur-Mer to Rapallo

Rapallo to Florence/ Impruneta

Florence to Munich

Also, some short day trips from cities.

Now for Paris. We will be there 5 days. One day Disneyland. I think we will do tourist sites within the city.

Thanks so much for your help.

Ohio, USA
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3. Re: Transportation Help Needed

Sorry but I still need the answer to question 2.

I fear the answer to your Paris transportation question is going to be a bit like the rail pass issue. You can either buy a "one-size-fits-all" pass, which will be expensive, or take all your options into account including the ages of all the people in your party which will be more complex but cheaper.

The only way to figure out if a rail pass is cost-effective is to price out all the trips you are making on the various national web sites. You'd probably have to go to the relevant forums for each city for help and advice. FWIW I quickly priced the lest expensive adult fare for three of your longer trips. Munich to Amsterdam is €39. Paris to Nice €22 plus perhaps €5 for the Nice to B-sur-M part. Florence to Munich is €43. Pricing all of your trip out and booking each leg separately would certainly be a sizable undertaking. Perhaps the convenience of the rail pass outweighs the possible additional cost. You will need reservations for almost all the trips you are making however. If you are travelling in July/August especially you might have to make these before you leave on your trip especially since there are 8 of you.. It is entirely possible that some trains may be fully booked and there are obviously a couple of places at least where you do not have much flexibility. Even if you can all get seats at short notice it would be very likely that finding 8 seats together would be impossible.

Edited: 12 February 2010, 19:48
Ohio, USA
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4. Re: Transportation Help Needed

PS: One bit of good news. Your 3 year-old travels free in Paris. Yea!

Georgia
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5. Re: Transportation Help Needed

Thanks for all your help. We will be in Paris July 6-10.

Where are you finding the train ticket prices? The ones I see are much higher.

Guildford, United...
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6. Re: Transportation Help Needed

If you are looking at the Rail Europe site they add a huge mark up, but I think the fares quoted above are all reduced fare tickets booked in advance and limited to a particular train. Look at the relevant country railway web sites for best fares . e.g

Amsterdam to Bruges - www.nshispeed.nl quotes a faree of €45.40 single for each adult. In some countries there may be reduced fares for a group of 8.

BTW Bruges to Calais will be an awkward journet and so will Dover to Paris. No pass is valid on Eurostar from UK to Paris. It would probabaly be much easier for both those journeys to use Eurostar via Ashford rather than the ferries.

Ohio, USA
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7. Re: Transportation Help Needed

Let's deal with the Paris transportation options first since I can run those down quickly without needing to spend much time doing research or getting into complicated explanations. The simple solution I spoke of would be that you buy six 5-day Zones 1-6 adult Paris Visite passes and one child's ditto for your 11 year-old. Total cost €331.10. Ouch, right?

You can get a lot less expensive with just a little more complexity. Six Zones 1-3 Navigo Découverte passes and one child's Zones 1-3 Paris Visite pass (there is no reduced price ND pass for children) would cost €147.65 and would cover all your transportation in Paris itself but NOT to DLP. The normal cost of a one way ticket to Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy, the station for DLP is €6.55. Because of the baroque complexity of the Paris transport fare structure your 11 year old counts as an adult for everything except the PV pass. So you need 14 tickets costing €6.55 each right? Not quite. You can buy a carnet (pronounced kar-nay) which is simply ten tickets for the same journey at a 20%discount. So 10 tickets cost €52.40 and you have to buy 4 tickets at the full fare. Add the total of €78.60 to the €147.65 and you have a total of €226.25. You've saved over €100. Not bad...

There is another option involving buying carnets for your travel inside Paris as well as for your trip to DLP. One carnet, basically ten tickets for the métro or bus inside the city, costs €11.60. So you could buy about 13 carnets or 130 rides for the same cost as the 7 ND passes. You will have to do the math from here and decide whether the savings you might realize is offset by the greater ease of the ND passes.

The reason I needed to know the days of your arrival and departure is that the ND is a non-flexible pass valid from Monday through Sunday. If your visit had spanned a weekend it would not have worked for you.

You can find more info at www.ratp.fr but much of the most useful stuff is not on the English language pages. (After all it is the French taxpayer who is paying for much of the public transport system in Paris so we furriners should at least have to do a bit of extra work to find all the goodies, no?)

I do not have time right now to get into the whole rail pass issue. I suggest you go to www.seat61.com and read all the information there about the process of purchasing tickets from the US for travel by train in Europe.

I will try to get back to you later with more on this topic if others have not filled in the (many...) gaps.

Georgia
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8. Re: Transportation Help Needed

Thank you for taking the time to give me so much useful information!!

9. Re: Transportation Help Needed

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