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Should I buy train ticket in advance?

tohams

Member
Should I buy my train ticket from Paris to SJPdP in advance? I need the train departing on 9/26/09. It looks like it's $167 for the Freedom Flexible 2nd Class ticket on the RailEurope site for the overnite train to Bayonne. I figure the Freedom ticket gives me a sleeping berth to (try to) sleep on.

Questions:
1) Does it get more expensive if I wait?
2) Is it cheaper to buy in person (vs. online)?
3) Is there risk of it selling out?

Thanks!
 

anniethenurse

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
There is an ticket for the 26 of September for 68.60 Euros, a night train leaving at 23.10 from Paris Austerlitz with a change in Bayonne, arriving at 09.37 in SJPP. You can buy it here http://www.tgv.com/FR/.

The French trains are very comfortable, you might be able to sleep some on the seat booked for you. I bought my ticket in advance just to be sure I got on the train the day I wanted. But I have read on this site that many oversea travellers just buy their tickets in Paris at the railway station. Be sure that you got to the right railway station - either Austerlitz or Montparnasse.
buen camino annie
 

Bridget and Peter

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
tohams said:
1) Does it get more expensive if I wait?
2) Is it cheaper to buy in person (vs. online)?
3) Is there risk of it selling out?


1) Yes - always best to buy as far in advance as possible, booking usually possible 3 months in advance (France seems to be 13 weeks, whereas UK is 12 weeks)
2) No, see above
3) Again, better to buy in advance for cheapness, but you can probably get a ticket in late September on the day, especially if you are prepared to be flexible as to which train.


See http://www.seat61,com for loads of useful advice re train travel ANYWHERE in the world!!!
 

tohams

Member
anniethenurse said:
There is an ticket for the 26 of September for 68.60 Euros, a night train leaving at 23.10 from Paris Austerlitz with a change in Bayonne, arriving at 09.37 in SJPP. You can buy it here http://www.tgv.com/FR/.
I tried going there and it redirected me to the RailEurope.com site where the ticket is $167, which is like 117.5 euros. Any idea why such a big price difference? Is it because I'm trying to buy it in the US?
 

Bridget and Peter

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
I think it might be - look up recent thread Paris to Bayonne, in Camino del Norte sub forum.
 

Bridget and Peter

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
Raileurope.co.uk offers me £66.00 for that journey getting in at 9 ish the next morning which is more than Anniethenurse from Sweden! For leaving in the morning of 26 Sept it was about £52.

It's a mystery!

Do you know anyone over this side of the 'pond' who could buy the ticket for you?
 

tohams

Member
The 66 GBP requires a UK billing address. What's up with that??? I have a friend there that can buy it for me, but will they give me grief when I try to use the e-ticket? Like asking for the credit card it was purchased on for verification? Or a UK passport?
 

Artemis

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2006, Camino Portuguese 2009
I found the same thing when trying to use the US site. I even called to ask why the difference in price and the woman on the phone dropped the price $100 but it was still much more than the UK price. I finally bought it through the Swiss site which means I have to pick my train ticket up at Rail Europe Boutique when I arrive in Geneva. I assumed Rail Europe Boutique would be at the train station so it would be easy enough but no, it is several minutes away. I also have to pay for picking it up there but not very much. It was worth it in that I was able to reserve a couchette on an overnight train for $105 instead of the $278 or whatever it was on the US site.
I believe you can buy the ticket through another site and pick it up at the train station in France.
It does get very frustrating and confusing with the different sites and prices for the exact same train and seat.

Melinda
 

tohams

Member
It looks like I can do an e-Ticket on the UK site anyway. It's considerably cheaper (though not as cheap as the French site). But again, need a UK billing address, which I think I can pull off. Anyone ever done this? Have someone use the UK site to purchase an e-Ticket for the train and just use it at the station without hassle?
 

Artemis

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2006, Camino Portuguese 2009
I believe someone on this forum said it is possible to do an e-ticket and pick the train ticket up in France. I did an e-ticket through the Swiss site (since I would be flying into Geneva and taking the train from there) by clicking Switzerland as the country instead of US so it took me to the Swiss site. Since it was an e-ticket I didn't have to give an address. I would think you would be able to do the same thing and click France for the country and pick the ticket up in Paris.
I still do not understand why tickets should have such a difference in price for different countries.
 

tohams

Member
When I read eTicket on the site, I assumed it was going to let me print my own ticket and that I wouldn't have to pick one up anywhere.
 

Artemis

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2006, Camino Portuguese 2009
I was able to print out my ticket but still have to pick it up in Geneva. I also have to pay a little for picking it up there. I guess there are two choices, picking it up after buying an e-ticket or having it mailed to you.
I am no expert on this so I hope someone will set me straight if I am wrong.
 

anniethenurse

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
It is wierd how many prices we get on the same ticket in the same train the same time. I checked out this site http://www.sncf.fr/ which is the French site and booked a ticket and went all the way to the point where I had to print my credit card number (VISA, MasterCard etc) and it looked like it would work out and I would be able to pick up my ticket (while in the railway station in Paris) in an automatic ticket machine with the bank card I used for the payment. Two other options were available, too but I didn´t really understand the French language enough to know what they meant.

On this site http://www.tgv-europe.com/ the same information but in English. The confirmation is by e- mail, don´t need an adress as far as I can see it. Collect your ticket from an automatic ticket machine using your credit card Or get the tickets SEND HOME FREE BY POST (in my case Sweden, would take 7 days).

The cheapest ticket the 26th of September is 48.40 € (the morning train) and the night train at 23.10 is 68.60 € on the both sites.

I hope you guys get your tickets and do not pay too much for them.

I love trains and travelling through France from Paris to Saint Jean Pied de Port or Irun is just fantastic.

Buen camino guys!
annie
 

tohams

Member
OK, unlike the UK site, the French site let me buy the ticket. Of course, I don't speak French and that took me a while and I think I'm going to where I need to be going...

68.60 Euros it cost me.

Thanks for the help, everyone!
 

Artemis

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2006, Camino Portuguese 2009
Glad you were able to buy it. I bet you were a little nervous though before you pushed the buy button. I know I was checking and double checking dates, times, places so as not to make a mistake.
Now that it is done you can relax.
Melinda
 

anniethenurse

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
well done Thomas!
buen camino annie :D
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
When you collect a French sncf ticket, bought online, you have to present the card you used to pay for it.... so don't leave that one at home! :wink:
 

tohams

Member
Br. David said:
When you collect a French sncf ticket, bought online, you have to present the card you used to pay for it.... so don't leave that one at home! :wink:
I saw that. It's the primary card that I use anyway. So I'll bring it with and I'll call them in advance to let them know that I'll be using the card overseas and not to cancel it. :)

Thanks!
 

tohams

Member
WolverineDG said:
Thomas, can you walk me through that step by step?
Sure...I'll try. I'll put it on here in case anyone else reads this in the future having the same issue:
1) http://www.voyages-sncf.com/
2) Leaving from Paris
Arriving in St-Jean-Pied-de-Port
Departing on the appropriate day
2nd Class
Any time (there’s only one overnight train)
3) Hit the search ("rechercher") button
4) Scroll all the way down…it’s the one that leaves at 23h10.
5) Pick the Web Special option. "Billet non échangeable et non remboursable." is NOT exchangeable but cheaper than "Billet échangeable et remboursable." I didn't have the non-refundable option.
6) You'll see a "Choisir votre placement." This is whether you want a sleeping berth or a reclining seat. It's up to you. Obviously, the berth is more expensive.
7) "Niveau de Couchette" is which level of bunk you want to sleep on...top to bottom (or definitely bottom).
8) Choose "Compartiment dame seule" if you want a compartment that's only for ladies (and you are one!)
9) Click "Valider cet aller" to continue.
10) The next page really only has one option: travelers' insurance in case the train is late, loses your luggage, etc.
11) "Valider votre reservation" will take you to the next page
12) Pick the "Borne libre Service" option to pick up your ticket at a kiosk at the station using the credit card used to make the purchase.
13) Enter your contact info ("Nom" is last name, "Prenom" is first name)
14) Agree to the terms and conditions
15) Click "Valider votre commande"
16) Put in your credit card info

I think it's self explanatory from here...

Good luck!

DISCLAIMER: I took a little French over 20 years ago in high school...so no guarantees on my guesses...I may have booked myself on a train to a Siberian labor camp instead of SJPdP.
 
Hey Thomas, thanks! I'm kinda sorta functionally illiterate in French, so I can probably get through it. And yes, I am female, but the jury's still out on the "Lady" part. ;) Okay, off to take the plunge!

Kelly
 

Canuck

Veteran wanderer
Camino(s) past & future
?
tohams said:
12) Pick the "Borne libre Service" option to pick up your ticket at a kiosk at the station using the credit card used to make the purchase.

Thomas
I am fluent in French and I think you've nailed it, except for no 12.

You cannot get your ticket from the ''borne libre service'' if you are using a foreign credit card equipped with a magnetic band or if you're using an American Express card. If that's the case, you must claim your ticket from an SNCF counter.

You should have a note to that effect on your confirmation.

Have a pleasant trip.

cheers
Jean-Marc
 

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