Please sign in to post.

Another French Train Question

We are traveling to France in April. We are using trains for all of our travel. We have a tenative itinerary as follows; land in Paris, train to Bayeux and back. TGV Paris to Avignon then bus to Arles. Arles to Nice. Nice to Aix-en-Provence and finally Aix to Paris for return home. (I know Arles to Nice to Aix seems backwards but we need to be in Aix on a certian day) My question is, is it necessary to reserve these train trips ahead of time or can we do it once we arrive. I'm afraid with too many pre-reserved trains we run the risk of missing the train due to a late flight or whatever. On the other hand I know some, especially the TGV say reservations required and I don't want to get to France and not be able to get on the train. Would it work to get the tickets &/or reservations a day or two in advance? For example once we arrive in Paris, buy the Bayeux round trip ticket and the Paris to Avignon ticket at that point and continue buying as we go for the whole trip? I'v looked at the German site and Rail Europe, etc so I think I know the approxomate times for these. Thanks in advance for and advice.

Posted by
8700 posts

If you wait and buy all your tickets in France, you should have no trouble getting the trains you want, including TGVs.

However, if you know exactly what days and times you wish to travel, you can get discount fares for most of your routes by booking well in advance (up to 90 days allowed) at The only problem is that you have to be able to handle French to do this. If you go to the English version of the SNCF site, you will be bumped to RailEurope where no discount fares are sold.

Here is the fare breakdown with a standard 2nd class fare listed first and the lowest discount fare listed second.

Paris-Bayeux: 32€ (15€)

Paris-Avignon: 82.70€ (22€)

Arles-Nice: 36.30€ (regional trains so no price break)

Nice-Aix: 34.90€ (25€)

Aix-Paris: 80.20€ (25€)

Posted by
28 posts

Thanks so much Tim, your replys are always so helpful. My son speaks French so maybe I will have him help me with the reservations for some parts of the trip. Good to know though that we would be able to get tickets even if we do not book in advance. Thanks again.