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What is the best site to use for booking train reservations in France?

We want to take a train from CDG to Lyon or Aix-en-Provence in January and it's a bit confusing finding the best site online to book from.

Posted by Chris F
Basel, Switzerland
6653 posts

I would agree with those three.
The usual advice is to go to the train operator, in this case SNCF ( http://www.sncf.com/en/passengers ). But SNCF has a reputation of not being a user friendly site and being picky about foreign cards.

the other two ( https://www.trainline.eu/ and https://loco2.com/en ) are both resellers, but they both offer all tickets, have no markup and are easy-to.use sites.

AFAIK all other sites either have a mark-up and / or a restricted range of trains or tickets.

It is worth reading this beginners guide to trains in France. He recommends trainline.eu : https://www.seat61.com/France-trains.htm

Posted by Packy
60 posts

I third the Trainline.eu recommendation. Was a godsend after fighting with SNCF's confusing and limited payment procedure.

Posted by cgichard
English but living in Melbourne, Australia
344 posts

I prefer loco2.com as it understands and does the discounts for both my Nat. Rail Senior Card (for UK) and my SNCF Carte Senior+ (for France), and accepts payments in either £ or euros for French trains.
But I do have to split the ticket if I'm travelling from elsewhere in France than Paris, right though to a UK destination.

Posted by Adam
Boston
3796 posts

I don't think SNCF is so bad. It use to be much worse.

For the trip you want, probably any of those sites should be equivalent. There are some specialty add-ons (which do not apply to you) that can only be booked through SNCF.

PS I'd chose Lyon over Aix in a heartbeat.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
10681 posts

Do some research on the mistral (cold wind) before deciding to visit Aix-en-Provence in January. I think Aix could be affected.

Posted by Richard
Pleasant Hill, CA, USA
215 posts

I highly recommend the trainline app. Used it for all our train travel in Italy this past summer and will use again for our trip to France this June. You get real time updates and no service charges.

Posted by mike
shingle springs, CA, USA
649 posts

I agree with Trainline and SNCF for Tickets in France.I have had good experiences with both.
Mike

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
10821 posts

I've always used S.N.C.F , I've personally maybe only used it 5-6 times , but I didn't think it was difficult.

I understand that some ticket resellers do not show all the trains (various departures ) .

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
10681 posts

Rail Europe is not really a good option. From reports on this forum, it often doesn't offer all of the available trains (particularly not the cheaper ones??), and I think it adds a substantial service charge.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
18344 posts

Some people don't realize that Rail Europe is travel agency and not a train company. And they are fine as a travel agency and if you are willing to pay their fees for the services they provide. Some required more hand holding and RE is pretty good at that.

Posted by Southam
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
2698 posts

SNCF has rebranded its train service:

https://en.oui.sncf/en/
I agree that the company has steadily improved its website service. Even the dread bump to RailEurope became easy to avoid. Credit card difficulties reported on this and other websites appear confined to US cards which have resisted entering the 21st Century chip-and-pin technology.

Posted by Laura B
San Francisco
3905 posts

Used SNCF to book Paris-Strasbourg abd Colmar-Zurich for December 2017 trip. NO problems using my US Chase Sapphire Reserve card. I have also used trainline.eu in the past. Both good.

Posted by Anjali
Atlanta
23 posts

I used voyages-sncf.com (which apparently is now oui.sncf). I booked a trip for MSM from Paris. It was very easy. I even used my AMEX with no problem- and AMEX is usually a problem. I just had to print my actual ticket when I got to the station. Which was also easy. Make sure you have a confirmation number from the email they will send you and print at a kiosk.

I also found a cheaper rate than the U.S. based site they suggest you use...Keep the country choice at E.U. otherwise they'll send you to the RailEurope site.