I am considering a two-country railpass, mostly for the convenience, but wonder how cost effective it would be versus buying individual tickets. I would use first pass day traveling from Frankfurt airport to Koblenz, another day Koblenz to Strasbourg, third day Strasbourg to Nimes or Avignon, fourth day Avignon to Port Bou (Spanish border) and then individual ticket to Barcelona. I think it can be done without TGV or needing a reservation. If I want to do side trips from Strasbourg to Colmar or from Avignon to Arles, I would get indiv. tickets. I'd appreciate any thoughts/critique. (This would be in mid-week in October. Last leg, to Barcelona, would be on a Saturday.)
The regional fare from FRA to Koblenz is €21,80, just over $30. That's in itself is probably less than a railpass day, and I think I could find lower fares. With advance reservtions, I think Koblenz to Strasbourg could be also be done for less. Are you one person? A Rheinland-Pfalz and Baden-Württemburg ticket for €42 total would get you to Kehl, just across the river from Strasbourg. I'll let others, more familiar with France, tell you about cost for ticket there.
If you book well in advance (up to three months allowed) at tgv-europe.com, you can get a Prem's fare as low as €44.00 for either Strasbourg-Avignon or Strasbourg-Nimes. You will be traveling on TGVs. Avignon-Port Bou would be on regional trains and the fare is €39.10. No reservations possible and no discount for advance purchase.
Thanks for your very helpful info. Yes, I will be traveling alone. I have used first-class railpasses on previous trips and do love the convenience, and do realize I may be paying more for that. Part of my "issue" is the flexibility factor, too. Again, thank you for your replies. I won't have to make the final decisions for a couple of months.
My first trip to Europe was company paid and they arranged for nothing but 1st class. Next trip was on my own nickel, so I used 2nd class. I really could not see any significant benefit to 1st class and it cost a lot more. My third trip was again paid for by the company, but I used 2nd class. I couldn't see spending anyone's money, even if it was not my own, on 1st. You asked about the cost effectiveness of buying individual tickets. A 4 day, 2nd class individual Germany-France pass is $396. Tim and I presented a plan for $215. That's a savings of $181 (46%). You're paying 84% more for "flexibility".
Thank you, Tim and Lee, for answering my "cost effective" question quite succinctly. I appreciate your expertise and wisdom. :)