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1st time, Bacharach to Reims Train Help

Hello, It's our first time to Europe and we've roughed out our itinerary. We'll be traveling from:
Frankfurt (Airport) to Bacharach
Bacharach to Reims
and lastly Reims to Paris
our travel dates are 3/28 arrive in Frankfurt - 4/7 depart Paris.

We were hoping to do it all by rail. The only leg we're really hung up on is how to get from Bacharach to Reims in a timely fashion without spending a fortune. I've been at the web for hours and can't seem to figure out how to connect the two cities without some crazy roundabout route.

Any advice on making the connections and what type of rail pass (if any) needed is greatly appreciated.

Posted by
2893 posts

How are you getting from Frankfurt airport to Bacharach? Have you considered going to Frankfurt (and yes, I know that means you will go east when you want to go west) and going from Frankfurt to Reims which can be done on some routings in under 5 hours with a change in Paris at Gare de l'Est to the TGV to Reims? It's about an 8-hour trip no matter how you look at it but at least you would have usually only one change of trains. With a population of about 2,000 people, Bacharach is not exactly a transit hub so you will have some challenges and have to change trains to get from there to Reims.

Posted by
4684 posts

Your basic problem is because the French railway system, thanks to French culture and politics, is based around linking towns and cities to Paris and pretty awful if you want to travel long-distance between two places other than Paris. Despite how round about it is, the quickest way might well be to travel via Frankfurt and Paris.

Posted by
5 posts

Now I see why this is such a pain to figure out. We'd talked about a car rental for around Reims, would train travel from Frankfurt to Metz, then rent a car in Metz (return in Reims) be a cheaper/ faster option? Are there tolls on the A4, Metz to Reims? Are there other routes with a train/ car rental combo that I might not be thinking of?

Posted by
2893 posts

I believe that there are tolls -- I don't think that I have been on a French A highway that did not have tolls. I don't recall specifically though I have driven on A4 and that is because tolls would not really stick out in my memory . In any event, viamichelin.com is great source for getting directions, the amount of tolls on any given route, how much fuel may cost and routes that avoid tolls, etc.

Posted by
5697 posts

You can look trains up yourself on bahn.de or sncf.com to see timing, costs, transfer points. (Make sure you click on the British flag to get English language instructions.) That way you can see your alternatives and determine what combination works best for your needs.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks for the tips & info. I found a route from Frankfurt to strasburg to Reims ~5hrs all on a train ~$160 USD for 2. Seems like decent rate?

Does anyone have any info/ direction on weather this travel plan would be cheaper with a rail pass and/or how I figure that out?

Posted by
2893 posts

The website www.seat61.com has loads of information on how to buy train tickets in Europe especially the advice at http://seat61.com/Railpass-and-Eurail-pass-guide.htm#railpass-or-point-to-point-tickets on whether to get point to point tickets or buy a pass. Generally speaking, I would say that point to point tickets will be cheaper if purchased far enough ahead for a simple itinerary like yours that involves French trains but you would have to price out the point to point tickets and compare that to the price of the pass to see whether the pass would be more economical in your case.

Posted by
6487 posts

"Does anyone have any info/ direction on weather this travel plan would be cheaper with a rail pass and/or how I figure that out?"

Not sure what website you got that rate on, it may or may not be a reasonable rate but it doesn't sound bad ($80/person) for that type of train trip through 2 countries. I highly doubt you could find any kind of rail pass that would cover 2 countries for $80/person.

Posted by
5 posts

The site I used to get the train fare was "Rome2Rio", seems legit; haven't made the purchase yet, still locking down hotel dates and triple checking train times so I don't miss my train by a 1/2hr. Anyone have any experience with that site?

I'll be renting a car for a few days in Reims, anyone have any models they like to avoid. I'm going economy route here, 2 adults w/ carry on sized luggage only... though we may pick up a case or three of wine...

Thanks eveyone for the speed a qulaity of responces, I've got loads of browser tabs open and I'm having fun digesting this all.

Posted by
2893 posts

Rome2Rio is a legitimate site but I would not rely on it to buy the tickets or for it to be totally accurate about the times. I suggest you look at the websites for the national agency, scnf.com/en, for trains to and within France to buy the tickets there or if your credit card does not work there, try trainline.eu.

Posted by
5 posts

Big thank you JHK! trainline.eu was a great deal and had better timing for my trip. Leave Frankfurt 10:00am arrive in Reims (well Champagne, 8km away) at 14:00. and $109 Euros for 2. Sold.