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getting train reservations

We'll be traveling in France and then on to Belgium & the Netherlands six weeks from now and we're trying to figure out if we're better off buying point-to-point tickets or a Benelux-France pass. One concern I have after reading some postings here is getting reservations on the trains that require them. It sounds like it has been pretty difficult for some people.

My question is: Is it easier to get train reservations on the TGV or Thalys trains if you don't have a rail pass since they only give out a limited number of reservations to passholders? Without a pass, I could book my reservations soon from home. With a railpass, do I have to wait until I'm over there to book the reservations?

Posted by
8700 posts

Point-to-point tickets might be cheaper than a pass, particularly if you can book any PREM'S (discount) tickets on for travel in France. However, those seats may already be sold.

When you book a ticket on TGV or Thalys trains, the reservation is included. With a pass, you pay a small reservation fee for the TGV and a more expensive supplement for the Thalys.

Yes, you can make reservations from home, but it is more expensive than making them in Europe. See this page:

Posted by
13 posts

Thanks. It's been hard to try to figure out whether it's cheaper to do point-to-point or get some type of pass. We do have some days where we're covering a lot of ground - backtracking through Paris to go from the Normandy area over to the Alps. Then, we'll be going from France to Brugge and then Amsterdam.

Does anyone have experience buying tickets on the SNCF website from home and then picking up the tickets from the machines once you're over there?

Posted by
9 posts

I've been having the same questions before I go to the same countries in a couple weeks. Another poster told me to go to the Thayls website to get a good deal. He also said to buy roundtrip tickets and just don't use the return because it's cheaper that way. I think I am going to get a ticket from Paris to Bruges and then just buy point to point on the other cities (Brussels, Gouda, and Amsterdam).