I want to purchase a round trip train ticket from Paris to Bayeaux, France. Rail Europe's online system can't find tickets for the trip now. Does anyone know how to successfully buy tickets state-side without using a travel agent?
Try using this website instead of Rail Europe:
If this is your first time purchasing tickets with SCNF, I recommend the website, seat61.com
The guy that writes the website pretty much walks you through the steps.
Tickets from Paris to Bayeux don't require reservations and are easy to buy at a train station or ticket office in Paris. If you really want to lock in a date and time, see http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains/france-rail-passes#ticket-tips for advice on booking a discounted, nonrefundable "Prems" fare and paying with PayPal. It's not terribly expensive either way. The prems prices can be as low as 20 euros per person in 2nd class, versus 40 euros to buy on short notice.
The big secret for using http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ is to not accept the web change to Rail Europe that is offered or done automatically. To do this, select any other country on the planet as your Ticket Collection Country. I usually select Argentina or Australia as it's on the first page being offered as your Ticket Collection Country. If you select USA, the website usually switches you to Rail Europe.
As for your question, of course there are trains from Paris to Bayeaux. Several of them. You can purchase tickets up to 90 days in advance. I suggest placing 5:00am or 6:00am as your departure time to see the morning trains. You can always click the button for later trains. It's a 2.0hr train ride. Here's a link to a picture of what I see.
For these tickets, I notice that you can select the E-Ticket option which means that you will receive an email within minutes after purchase with your tickets. You can print out at home.
you might have problems booking Bayeux right now because of anticipated work on the tracks late this spring and they may not have all routes announced. but as others have noted, don't use Raileurope. We got PREM tickets last year for 15 Euro each way from Paris (there are no round trip tickets in France just two one ways); I was able to print them at home. They go up usually 3 mos in advance.