As a France-Germany rail pass holder, is it require to reserve a seat for ICE train from Cologne to Paris est? If it is a must, I have tried making reservation through bahn.de. However, it seem that revervation system is not include international train. Could anyone please give me an advice? Thank you very much in advance. KP
The direct train from Cologne to Paris is the Thalys train to Paris Nord, 3 hr 15 min. Try getting the train reservation at www.thalys.com. Nord is just a 10 minute walk from Est or one stop on the Metro.
According to the Bahn website, the ICE connection from Köln Hbf to Paris has a change of trains at Mannheim. From Mannheim to Paris it says the the train is "subject to mandatory reservations", but you are right, you cannot get those reservations online from the Bahn. If you did not want to use a rail pass day, however, you could just buy a ticket with reservation online from the Bahn (160€). With advance purchase, Köln to Paris could be as low as 39€. Those, least expensive, tickets sell out immediately, but I do see advance purchase tickets for sale online for 99€ or 89€. Or, you could do a different routing and get advance purchase tickets for a slightly slower, multi-change route for 59€. RailEurope sells reservations for Köln to Paris, albeit only using the TGV for the second leg. Those reservations sell for 31€ to 124€, depending on the time of day. Along with the TGV reservation, you also get reservations for the first leg, in Germany, on an ICE. Had you asked first, most people here would have advised you against getting a rail pass, at least before checking out how you would get required reservations. Sometimes, you cannot get a rail pass holder reservation for French trains, as French Rail limits the number available. Reservations for passholders might not be available when full tickets are.
Hi, Since you have the Fr-Ger Pass, which ever route you choose going from Cologne to Paris Est will involve a mandatory reservation. If you go to Paris Nord and take the Thalys train through Belgium, your Pass is not valid. You wouid have to buy a separate ticket and reservation to cover the Belgian part of the ride. Thalys mandatory reservations are to be avoided, they're the most expensive, and the trains are nowhere as comfortable as the Germany's ICE train. What I would do (which gives you ample time to transfer/eat at the station) is to tailor your own route to Paris Est. Don't take the route to Paris Nord will cost you more. I would take the morning ICE train Cologne (Köln) to Frankfurt Hbf. Get the reservation in Cologne for the Paris-Frankfurt leg. Then change to Frankfurt Hbf.-Paris Est ICE dep. at 13:01. Much better to change at Frankfurt Hbf than in Mannheim. You'll be in Paris before 17:00. Should you run into the problem of "limited seats for Passholders" (it's all a matter of chance), if your France-Germany Pass is 1st class, ask about 2nd class. Or, change the departure time. There are numerous other route options, the disadvantage is they take more time in getting to Paris.
According to eurail.com, the reservation fee for an ICE train from Frankfurt, Mannheim, or Saarbruecken to Paris is €5 for 2nd class and €20 for 1st class. If you book well in advance (up to 92 days allowed) at either thalys.com or bahn.de, you can get a discount fare as low as €35 (2nd class) for a direct Thalys train from Cologne to Paris. It's also the fastest route (3hr15min).