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Eurail Pass Question

Hi all,

I have a Eurail unlimited global pass. When I arrive at CDG I need to validate my pass with the TGV ticket booth (right?)
Here's my question:
From there, can I hypothetically hop on any TGV train without making prior reservations?
I am traveling to Lille and as of right now my plan is to hop on the soonest train to Lille, whenever that would be.
So, do I or do I not need to make reservations?

Thanks for your help everyone!

-Reed

Posted by
8889 posts

Sorry, with a Eurail pass you can't just hop on a TGV, you need to make a reservation first, and pay the fee. see this page here, and scroll down to 'France'.
"TGV high-speed trains: . . . . A supplement is charged which includes the reservation fee, €6 off-peak, €18 peak. Places are limited by quota, when the quota is sold out your pass becomes useless."

But if you just want to buy a ticket (including reservation) for a particular train, you can do this on https://www.capitainetrain.com This offers tickets Aéroport-Paris-Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle CDG ➔ Lille starting at €15, if you book far enough ahead. As many posts here say, buying a Eurail pass is not always the cheapest option.

Posted by
8169 posts

The days of the 'just hop on a train' with the Eurail pass ended long before Traveler's Checks became obsolete. Not only can you not just hop on long haul trains without reservations but the most desirable trains in high season may simply not have available seats for pass holders. The reservations often cost more than a ticket would cost if purchased 3 mos or so in advance.

Posted by
4549 posts

It's true, those seat reservation fees can really make your eyes sting. But oddly, my seats from Lausanne to Dijon were much more expensive than from Dijon to Paris. Perhaps because we crossed a border? Well and the L to D leg gave us a meal and wine too.

Posted by
16894 posts

In most countries, there is no deadline to make a passholder reservation. However, in France, we have been told that the passholder reservations are no longer in the train station computers less than three days before departure. Even if that's overstated, the number of seats for passholders is also limited and likely to sell out earlier than three days ahead. See also http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains/france-rail-passes#reservations and the links in that section.

If you still have time, buy a seat reservation now at http://ricksteves.raileurope.com/us/rail/point_to_point/triprequest.htm. I'm hoping it will be offered as an e-ticket; you'll know before you pay. Don't cut the timing too tight; allow a minimum of three hours after your scheduled flight arrival at CDG. This reservation is useless if you miss the scheduled train (and the same would also be true of the advance-discount tickets that others have mentioned).

phred was on a TGV Lyria (Switzerland direct) and those seat reservation fees are the highest of any TGV variety, including the international routes to Spain and Italy. Domestic TGV reservation fees are closer to what you'll find for fast trains in other countries.