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Eurail Pass : useful on TGV Lyria and ICE for travel to/from Paris ?

I intend to travel on the following 2 high speed trains during my journey :

a) Paris - Munich (ICE)

b) Lausanne/Basel - Paris (TGV Lyria)

As I understand, I can use my Eurail pass on these trains. However, I am required to get reservation on these. Can some one please clarify, if it would be easier to get a reservation on these 2 trains from the train stations in Paris when I land in Paris, or should I get these online before flying to Europe?

Also, I have heard that many times Eurail pass holders are refused reservation on ICE and TGV/Lyria because of limited number of seats allocated to Eurail pass holders. Is this a case during February also ? Should I plan for slower speed trains in that case and avoid these high speed trains at all.

Thank you very much for your responses and help.

Posted by
13758 posts

First, if your plans are fixed with hotels booked, forgo the Eurail Pass. Book the trains now for discount, nonrefundable tickets and the reservations will be included with the tickets. This will save you a lot of money over buying the Eurail pass.

Seems like you will be working your way from Munich to Lausanne/Basel. Some of these could also be booked in advance, but there are inexpensive spur-of-the-moment tickets that can be bought in Bavaria that can get you as far as Lindau, across the Bodensee (Lake Constance) from Switzerland. This is the Bayern Ticket.
https://www.bahn.com/en/view/offers/regional/regional-day-tickets.shtml?dbkanal_007=L04_S02_D002_KIN0060_REGIO-INDEX-LAENDERTICKETS-OBEN_LZ01

Swiss trains are expensive, but if you are doing a lot of travel there, you can buy a Half Fare Card for 120 CHF, which will save money if you have more than 240 CHF of full fare tickets.
https://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/travel-in-switzerland/international-guests/swiss-halffare-card.html

Posted by
1446 posts

If you already have a Eurail Pass, make your reservations as soon as your travel dates are set. Get them online from the same entity which sold you the pass.

Posted by
15567 posts

Yes, these two particular train types on these routes can limit the number of rail pass travelers. (Other ICE routes within Germany are different, not requiring reservations.) Nobody can really predict how soon those seats fill up either for pass holders or for all travelers. February can still be busy for ski travel, business travel, etc. But there are also work-around options, such as taking a train with an additional connection at Strasbourg or other French border. Domestic TGV reservations within France are both cheaper and not artificially limited for passholders.

Posted by
10818 posts

Keep in mind too that it also depends on which Eurail Pass you have 1st or 2nd class. I use a Pass but for crossing between Germany and France anymore since I've decided to lock myself in and sacrifice flexibility on the specific route.

When I did use a Pass for the crossing and was told about the seat quota for Pass holders, no big deal. With a 1st class Pass (if such is what you have) if no seat is available 1st class or vice versa, ask about the other class.

What are the chances that the Pass quota is filled up in both classes for the route and departure time you want? I go peak season, ie the summer from mid-May to July when using passes between Fr and Germany when trains are most likely to be simply packed, even standing room on the ICE or IC trains.

Never once was I told at the SNCF or Reisezentrum counter that in both classes at the desired departure time on that specific date, the pass quota was filled. Even then I was prepared to change departure times on the same day...it never came to that on summer trips.