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Carte Zou for travel on French Riviera

Sydney
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Carte Zou for travel on French Riviera

Hello,

My husband and I are staying in Menton for 5 weeks (end September + all of October) and plan to do many many day trips, often by train, up and down the coast. From all my reading I assume we would be best buying the Carte Zou 50%/75% but I am unsure of a couple of things.

Is it correct that apart from the purchase of the one card for just one of us, that we are also entitled to 10 tickets to a specific destination? I have a very clear idea of our itinerary and the most trips we would ever do to one destination would probably just be 4 separate occasions. Therefore, do we have to purchase this as well, or are we still better to as the saving is so great?

Secondly, is it an easy process to buy the carte zou from the airport or any railway station when we first arrive? I was looking at a 3 page application document (all in French so maybe I am misunderstanding it) but it looked like a lot of information was required and I wondered whether we should get it sorted before we leave? Particularly as it seems we need passport photos, etc?

Once we have the card is that it? There's no need to "top it up" or anything? We just present it when buying tickets to the various destinations?

I fear I'm over-thinking all of this but I am struggling to find the answers for these questions and I don't want to be wasting a lot of time when we arrive if I've chosen the wrong thing?

Thank you for any help you can give me.

Sue

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1. Re: Carte Zou for travel on French Riviera

You can buy the Carte ZOU 50/75 from any railway station ticket office. Just roll up with your completed application form, passport and photos, and pay your fee. Pretty easy in our experience

They will issue you with a temporary card on the spot and you can start using it straight away.

>>Once we have the card is that it? There's no need to "top it up" or anything? We just present it when buying tickets to the various destinations?<< Yep

The 75% discount applies to one specified journey and you buy a 10 ticket carnet for that journey @ 25 % of the normal price. It is optional

You will have to do the maths to see if it is worthwhile for the particular journey you have in mind if you don't anticipate using all 10 tickets.

Hope this helps

Edited: 05 August 2013, 11:04
Nice
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2. Re: Carte Zou for travel on French Riviera

If you are planning on taking a few train journeys in the PACA region you will probablu find the carte zou 50./75 useful

Most tourists wont find the nominated journey carnet useful unless they are attending a language course or conference although someone staying a longer period might visit the same place 5 times / 5 round trips-

However. When using a single carte ZOU 50/75 the carnet option only applies to the holder.

The companion would need to pay half price.

Sydney
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3. Re: Carte Zou for travel on French Riviera

Thank you SOOOZ for all that helpful information, it's made things a lot clearer. Just two more questions...

1/ Can we actually buy the Carte Zou from Nice airport and, if so, where?

2/ I understand we get a temporary card first but how do we get the permanent one? Do they mail it or can you collect from a nominated rail station? It's just that we are doing a house exchange for our time in Menton and I wouldn't think we would be having access to their mail.

Thanks again

Sydney
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4. Re: Carte Zou for travel on French Riviera

Hi SelkieNice,

I'm very grateful for your reply as it's made me realise that the extra 10 tickets are single train trips, not the return as well, so I think it will be beneficial as I can certainly see that we would definitely use 8 of them for our 4 separate day-trips to the same destination.

Many thanks for the help.

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5. Re: Carte Zou for travel on French Riviera

YeeHaa

You can obtain your temporary card ( actually a sheet of paper) from any rail station.

If you want to start using the Carte Zou as soon as you arrive, Nice St Augustin rail station is walking distance from the airport. You can print the application form to take with you from here :

…ter-sncf.com/Images/Paca/Tridion/formulaire…

The full smart card was ready within a couple of days, so if you are in Menton without access to mail, just ask when the card will be ready by so you can swing by the rail station at the appropriate time.

But the temporary card is valid for up to 6 months if there are problems

Nice St Augustin is small and the ticket office has irregular hours so it might be better doing all the paperwork through the railway station at Menton

Sydney
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6. Re: Carte Zou for travel on French Riviera

That's great - thank you. With the ten tickets at 75% off, I understand you have to request a specific trip, but is it "place to place" or "station to station"? I was just thinking that with there being 2 stations in Menton and of course the 2 stations in Nice as well ...... are we able to use any station in that particular route or must it always be the specific train station at each end for each occasion?

Also, is the walk from Terminal 1 at Nice airport to St Augustin station really not too challenging? I keep reading various reviews about it. We will have been in the air for 20+ hours from Australia and I am unsure whether it will be a/ too hard to navigate or b/ too long with luggage? I read somewhere that the #23 bus is an alternative but that these particular buses don't have luggage racks so that might be awkward. We arrive on a Sunday afternoon late September.

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7. Re: Carte Zou for travel on French Riviera

The 10 ticket carnet is station to station, and designed for a commuter like journey for a specific regular trip but your question about getting on and off at any station along the chosen route, (ie breaking the journey- which is allowed with a normal ticket) is a good one.

There was another thread recently where the same question was asked and as I recall, no-one had the definitive answer.

I think Selkie, who is often the best person on matters of public transport had tried but was not able to find out either.

Unless someone else can help, all I can suggest is that you ask at the ticket office where you purchase your Carte Zou

It's not far, but if you arrive tired and disorientated after a very long journey, it is hot or raining , and you have a fair amount of luggage, it may seem a very long slog to Nice St Augustin rail station. Reduced rail service on Sundays, so may be extended wait for your train

Only 2 short stops on the 23 bus will get you 5 minutes walk away from the station, so the lack of luggage racks may not be an issue. The ticket office there may well be closed when you arrive on a Sunday afternoon

In your position, I would seriously consider taking the airport express bus from right outside the airport terminal . At 15 euros each ( duo fare) the extra expense may be worth it..

…aeroport.fr/Passengers/DIRECTIONS-PARKING/G…

Hope this helps

Edited: 07 August 2013, 10:13
Sydney
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8. Re: Carte Zou for travel on French Riviera

You have helped enormously - thank you so much. I have a much better idea now of how things work.

9. Re: Carte Zou for travel on French Riviera

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