I will travel to France in this May. I want to know is EurailPass can be use for high-speeded train like TGV in France (such as take TGV from Paris to Avignon)? Do I need to make reservation for ride TGV train?
Yes you do. All seats are reserved. If using a pass this is where it gets expensive. Pass holder reservations are not cheap and are less available than ordinary tickets.
As Nigel said, passholder seats are limited, particularly on SNCF (French national rail) trains. Here's a quote from the railpass section on this site: "This is especially true on weekends, holidays, high season, to resort areas, and on the popular Paris–Lyon–Avignon–Nice line." Seat reservations are cheaper if you buy them at a station, but they may well be gone if you wait that long. For Paris-Avignon at least it would be safer to buy your seat reservation well in advance (up to six months allowed) from Rail Europe.
Thanks to Nigel and Tim. Now I knew that I need to make a reservation each time I plan to use TGV in France. By any chance do you know how much is the additional cost for that (like Paris-Avignon or Marseilles-Nice)? Well, if it's too expensive I think I will use regular train for the trip. Again, thank you for the useful information.
I guess regular reservations are like € 12 per person per sector, and regular trains take three times as long.
If you buy a 2nd class seat reservation from Rail Europe, you will pay $14 US plus shipping. If you buy the same seat reservation in France, you will pay around €4. TGVs run at the same speed as regional trains between Marseille and Nice (the tracks along the coast aren't built for high-speed travel) so there is no advantage to taking a TGV on that route. Paris-Avignon on regional trains requires a connection at Lyon and takes 8 hours. Paris-Avignon on a direct TGV takes 2hr40min.
I am a travel by the seat of my pants kind of guy....and it cost me on a recent trip. Wanted to go from Arles to Paris using my railpass, but there were not available rail pass designated seats on the Friday TGV train we wanted....or Saturday....or Sunday....so we had to go earlier than planned. We rode several different routes with the TGV and never paid the same reservation fee....must depend on line, time, distance. In this case I agree, make your reservations early so can travel when you want.
@Terry, The experiences you described are one reason I don't use Railpasses too often any more. I typically just buy P-P tickets these days, which include the reservations. That's probably a better method for a "seat of the pants" travel style, although the tickets can be "pricey". Cheers!
Ken, I agree. My next trip in June probably will not include a railpass.....but, I am still checking out point to point fares. My problem seems to be finding fares in June. The French site, Rail Europe, and SBB say it's too far out to make reservations, and won't give me a price. I have been using earlier dates and just assuming there will be some price increase as the high travel season comes.
If you can plan ahead and commit to specific times and dates, you can get great deals at iDTGV. They often offer very inexpensive fares to such places as Paris-Avignon or Paris-Nice. I've bought tickets there a couple of times; it works. The tickets include reservations. You don't need a railpass if you buy tix thru iDTGV.