We will be enjoying our fourth France visit in September, which hopefully will be enough time for the current health crisis to abate. We are comfortably practiced with using French trains, both purchasing tickets from the machines at the station and purchasing advance tickets before leaving home. In traveling to the UK we always purchase a rail pass and are quite pleased with them.
This year's France trip will be a bit different, in so much as we have a free place to stay in Paris for the entire 21 days. We generally stay in a variety of small towns, for two or three nights, and try to string the hotel changes together without a train change in Paris. For the upcoming trip it's going to be mostly day trips out of Paris and the logistics are a bit different. We'll be going somewhere almost every day, some very close like Chartres and some farther like Dijon or Le Mans.
I'm thinking that a rail pass may be cheaper than point to point, this seems to be supported by adding up the point to point costs, and the only unanswered questions are regarding train reservations.
So two questions:
What's the best way to actually, physically make JUST
the reservation? If we're just showing up for the train with a rail
pass in hand, how do we physically create the reservation? RailEurope allows you to do this, but Trainline has the best ticket deals.
In the event one boards a French train and the conductor rejects your rail
pass, can they just take a credit card and sell you a ticket on the
spot? Is there a fine? How does that work?