We will fly into London, take EuroStar to Paris, then take train from Paris to Venice, then to Florence, and Rome. Can railpass be used for London->Paris (discount only) and Paris->Venice? I heard Paris to Venice is a fast train and railpass won't help much.
If you travel during the day from Paris to Venice, the fastest route (ten hours) is Paris-Milan on a TGV (fast train) and Milan-Venice on a EuroCity train. With a pass you would still need to pay for reservations on both legs. However, IMO, a better choice would be the direct Paris-Venice night train (13 hours) since it saves you the cost of a night in a hotel and gives you more daylight hours for sightseeing. With a pass you would still need to pay for a reservation in a couchette.
IMO, if you book your Eurostar tickets at www.eurostar.com and your Paris-Venice tickets at www.sncf.com well ahead of time to benefit from any discounts and simply wait until you get to Italy to buy your Venice-Florence and Florence tickets, you'll save quite a bit of money over buying a railpass and then having to pay for reservations on trains that require them.
Having just gotten home from a Rome/Florence mini-vacation (in February), point-to-point train tickets in Italy are fairly inexpensive.
If you know your travel dates already, you should be able to get your Eurostar ticket reasonably. I would then recommend taking the night train Paris-Venice. Saves you more "daylight" for sightseeing, and youre not worried about hotels for one night of your journey.
how do you know when your night train as reached your destition. My biggest fear is that I will fall asleep on a night train and miss my final destination. Are there many measures that eurail takes to prevent this problem? Are there any strategies you have contrived to prevent this from happening?
Regarding night trains and missing a stop. We have only traveled on Ukraine trains overnight, but the car attendant kept track and woke you 1/2 hour or so before your stop. I would also set an alarm for myself, just like I do when I have an early plane to make.
If you have a rail pass, it will not include the London to Paris leg, but you can certainly use it on the other legs but you have to pay a supplement. The supplement is not a lot. Rail passes are excellent and have other advantages with them. PottyaboutParis. Sydney Australia.