We are traveling in France for 10 days in May 2014. We would like input on train tickets. Would it be less expensive to buy many point to point tickets or a rail pass. We have traveled by rail pass before, but not point to point tickets. We would like any advice on point to point tickets.
Same answer as always to this frequently-asked question: Do your own homework. Rough out your itinerary and look at the appropriate rail company sites to see the point-to-point prices, add them up and compare to pass deals. The majority of commentators (but certainly not all) do not think a pass will automatically save you money, so you must be the judge of that. Remember that a pass can be extra hassle, when trains require a separate seat reservation at extra cost.
Basic tools: www.seat61.com; www.bahn.com. Some also recommend the rail section of Steves on-line.
The TGV requires passholders to buy a seat reservation and limits how many seats they reserve for passholders. Most long distance trains in France are now TGV (the highspeed lines). So France is one of the worst places for passholders.
Also, always search for fares and purchase from the local rail agency, in this case SNCF. RailEurope charges a premium for point-to-point tickets, does not offer the early purchase discounts and often limits schedule options.
It is also highly unlikely that you could ride enough trains in 10 days to make a pass worthwhile.
What is your itinerary? If you can commit to specific departure dates and times well in advance (up to 90 days allowed), you can get cbeap discount fares on TGVs and other trains that require reservations. There is open seating and no discount fares for regional trains.