If upon ordering train tickets we only get a choice between having them mail the tickets to us or retrieving them from a ticket machine while in France which is better to choose? we've been given to understand that you must have a French credit card to retrieve tickets from the ticket machines over in France, is that true? Please advise us!!!! Thanks.
I believe you can also go the counter and get your tickets. Make sure to have your reservation number and the credit card you used to buy the ticket.
Yes, it is true that retrieving the tickets from the machine must be done with a French card. I've tried with my American card, and it did not work.
After being helped here, I found that if I booked each "leg" of my trip seperately, that I could print my tickets off the computer at home (all except a small trip-15 min. from Caen to Bayeux, which I've been told doesn't ever sell out). This ended up at the same price (actually less if you count mailing costs). Apparently it wouldn't give me the choice to print at home before, just because of this small part of the trip- different class of train service or something like that.
Nancy, you're exactly right. The Caen-Bayeux run is more like a commuter rail run, and they don't sell advance tickets for that. If you have a short run like that as part of your itinerary, SNCF won't let you print your tickets at home, unless you book the runs separately as you did.
Are you getting the print option from the French language site or the English language site? - do you leave the setting to pick up in France and then it gives you another choice later to print?
Printing the tickets sounds like a winner if possible.
Lou, You can get the print ticket option from the English site. It depends on which trains you take, not the site language. Select France as the site of ticket pickup and the print option should be available if it qualifies. If you're having problems accessing the English version, go to tinyurl.com/2shmfn. Click on the British flag icon. The page will reset, altho it won't look like anything's changed. Then click on "Consulter le plan du site." On the page that comes up, click on the "Reservation billet train" link. You'll get to the English booking page. You noted in an earlier post that the Paris-Bruges segmenet is critical for you. Check the conditions of each ticket offered to make sure you can make changes if necessary...or at least what fees will be charged. As with plane tickets, the lower the price the heavier the restrictions. BTW, if you go through the TGV-Europe site, it too should remain in English for all train searches in France; it's not just for TGV trips.
You do need a European card to withdraw card however if you have your card, even if you don't, just go to the desk and they will retrieve it for you. and the reduction is still valid. They are used to this and I have always found them very helpful.
Thank you to all for your help.
Norm - Using your TinyURL, I tricked the SNCF into giving me the real one, not the redirect.
This SNCF link should work flawlessly.
EDIT: Not anymore :( Sorry.