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Train to Giverny

Hi there, hoping for a little help with SNCF train ticket question. :) I have a 2nd class ticket from Paris St. Lazare to Vernon (bought online) which says "unreserved seating". I wasn't sure if that meant there are no reserved seats at all on this type of train, if they were sold out of reserved seats or if I still needed to get a reserved seat. I contacted SNCF and they responded that this meant reserved seating is not available online and that I need to make a reservation in an SNCF store. I replied back with a clarification question--but they never responded again. My question was: where are their SNCF stores? At the train station? And do I need to do this the morning of our train travel or should I go sooner than that if I can. I am confused b/c I have seen replies on other forums that these trains do not have reserved seats at all--but SNCF's response seems to indicate that they do. I appreciate any help that anyone can offer. Thanks in advance.

Posted by
20474 posts

First, can you tell us what type of train this is? Is it a TER, or an IC. TER trains are like commuter trains, no reservations. Just show up at St Lazare early and as soon as the train shows up on the board, go to the platform and board. You will be the first to board the train and grab seats.

Posted by
6 posts

Hi Sam, and thanks for the reply. It is an Intercities train.

Posted by
12193 posts

That's pretty normal. The 2nd class on that train is a bunch of cars with no reserved seats, there's a little scramble to grab a seat when the train arrives in the station (maybe 15 minutes before departure). I haven't gone to Vernon but I've been on the same train a couple times going to Normandy.

I always print my ticket out at the machines in the terminal, they're basically the same as printing your boarding pass at an airport kiosk.

One thing I learned, from a conductor reviewing my ticket, is if your ticket says it's good "starting at" a given time, it needs to be punched in the validation machines. If it has a reserved seat for a given train, it probably doesn't need to be validated.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks for the input--I appreciate it! :) From what I understand, since I have an e-ticket I do not need to validate the ticket at one of those little yellow boxes at the beginning of the platform. If you don't have an e-ticket you do need to stamp it/validate before boarding. Hoping that is correct. I am fine with no seat reservation, just didn't want to board and take a seat from someone (not realizing it) who did have a reservation. SNCF replied again yesterday saying that unreserved seating is offered (on my ticket) when all seats have been reserved. The 2 different responses from SNCF was confusing. One indicated that i needed to have a seat reservation, but I couldn't do that online and had to go to one of their kiosks, and one noted that they were sold out of reserved seats. I am a planner and just like to know what the deal is--but will go hoping unreserved is fine. :) Thanks again for taking the time to respond to my question.