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Paris -Rome sleeper train-- Couchette v. sleeper

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Kansas
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Paris -Rome sleeper train-- Couchette v. sleeper

I had planned on purchasing tickets for a three bed sleeper night train from Paris to Rome but all that is left is 4 and 6 bed couchettes. Would it be a mistake to pay for four tickets (just for my spouse and son and I) so that we could have a 4 person couchette to ourselves? I cannot imagine trying to sleep with a stranger in the room (plus I snore!)

Do these rooms lock from the inside? Other than lack of a sink, are the 4 person couchettes that different than a sleeper?

I have also tired looking at tickets on a non-USA directed webpage to get a cheaper price, but it appears to me that any English version gives the same prices. Any suggestions?

Thank you

Ohio, USA
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1. Re: Paris -Rome sleeper train-- Couchette v. sleeper

Check www.tgv-europe.com using this helpful "how to" by TA regular sydneynick to guide you: www.nickbooth.id.au/Tips/FrenchTrain.htm

You can book up to 3 months ahead.

Couchettes are extremely uncomfortable at the best of times and the overnight trip from Paris to Rome is very long. Have you looked into low-cost flights? IIRC Vueling flies Paris to Rome as does easyJet. Flying would definitely be my preference and of the two airlines we have had very good experience with Vueling but easyJet is perfectly acceptable.

Victoria, Canada
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2. Re: Paris -Rome sleeper train-- Couchette v. sleeper

Fly, I did, its cheaper and only 1.5 hrs,, even with airport time included its faster. I used Vueling. I paid 80 euros for a one way as opposed to 300 plus euros for the train. That was a few years ago, so prices are higher now probaly

Edited: 04 June 2011, 02:51
Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Paris -Rome sleeper train-- Couchette v. sleeper

the couchettes are not at all like the sleepers - they are 6 uncomfortable benches essentially -- the sleepers are actual bunk beds made up with linen and blankets

I'd do anything to avoid the couchette trip that far -- surely you can fly

New Hampshire
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4. Re: Paris -Rome sleeper train-- Couchette v. sleeper

You may want to search this forum for reports of overnight train trips in Europe. I'd guess (cost not being the issue) the experiences reported are 80% never again, 10% okay, 10% dreadful, stolen belongings (broken/missing locks on the doors), etc.

Adelaide, Australia
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5. Re: Paris -Rome sleeper train-- Couchette v. sleeper

We were booked on this train for July , after reading some negative reports decided to fly with EasyJet for 98 Euros .Much quicker and no worrying about conditions on the train or value for money.

New Hampshire
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6. Re: Paris -Rome sleeper train-- Couchette v. sleeper

I would just mention that the alleged appeal of "saving" the rate of a night in a hotel while getting from one desintation to another overnight, may just not be worth the "experience" or be the slightest bit more economical, particularly if you are relieved, along the way, of your passports, cash, bags, and other valuables.

7. Re: Paris -Rome sleeper train-- Couchette v. sleeper

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Sunshine Coast...
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8. Re: Paris -Rome sleeper train-- Couchette v. sleeper

<<Some of the disappointments reported are the result of unrealistic expectations of overnight trains. If your normal hotel expectation is 3 star+, then an overnight couchette isn't going to provide the same standard ....>>

Well said!

I am one of those who enjoys overnight train travel. My family of 2 adults and 2 kids has experienced overnight travel on 4 continents. We love it.

BUT we have realistic expectations.

I liken it to camping - a bit of an adventure with your whole family squashed into a slightly uncomfortable enclosure for the night with sometimes dubious shared facilities a short walk away.

In my younger years I shared compartments with strangers. Now that I am older, wiser, and richer I prefer to only share with my family. Your valuables (cameras, phones, ipods etc) should be locked in your suitcase inside a locked cabin and your money, cards and passports should be inside a money belt worn inside your clothes.

I have never seen a compartment without a lock but I assume must exist somewhere as I have certainly read about them.

Take your own food as restaurant carriages (if there is one) are hugely over rated and if you are in the restaurant who is looking after your luggage?

Also take eyeshades, earplugs, comfortable clothes you can layer, a bottle of wine and a sense of adventure.

If that seems too much then take a plane instead ;-)

Edited: 04 June 2011, 10:53
Burgess Hill
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9. Re: Paris -Rome sleeper train-- Couchette v. sleeper

I feel that the other replies are very negative.

On this train, the comparment is well designed to take large amounts of luggage. There a lock on the inside, and only passenger with tickets are allowed on the platform, so thefts are extremely rear.

Can I suugest you try, www.seat61.com (man at seat 61). Although designed for travel from the U.K. it offers excellent advice on info of ways to travel by train to anywhere in Europe.

Pennsylvania
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10. Re: Paris -Rome sleeper train-- Couchette v. sleeper

I took a 4-couchette overnight train from Vienna to Rome a few years ago. My complaints were: (1) the restroom was dirty after only an hour and (2) I didn't sleep a wink all night due to motion sickness. I had to sit up (crouch) in my upper bunk or stand out in hall watching the darkness whoosh by. Laying down made me ill.

However, #2 was "my fault" so my complaint was really just #1. I met nice folks in the other bunks, one of whom I still correspond with. After all, one of the benefits of travellinfg is meeting strangers -- they may turn out to be good friends, with the right attitude!! Moreover, the couchette was supposed to be an all-female one, but we ended up with a young friendly guy in the car too. Everyone had the right "train/hostel attitude" and it was fine.

Speaking of attitude, if i had been in a 4-couchette car with an occupying family, I would certainly hope they would be friendly and make me feel comfortable, not as if I were intruding. If a family is going to be uncomfortable having a stranger in the couchette, it may not be the right "train attitude"-- by all means, take a plane.

I am one of the those folks who said "never again" due to the motion sickness issue. I may be eating my words. My teenage niece, who will travel with me again in December is insisting on the overnight train on our Paris-Rome leg. Yikes.