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SNCF in English

We may have solved the mystery of the missing French national rail website booking pages in English. As you may know, SNCF recently revamped its website, and anyone trying to book a ticket to be delivered in France (or printed out at home) is now being directed to their website in French. Anyone selecting English on the new website is diverted to RailEurope in the UK. We've discovered a link back to the old-form English booking and timetable pages...Tim and I have checked it a few times and it seems to work, altho we can't guarantee it'll remain live forever. It's at http://www.voyages-sncf.com/dynamic/_SvTermCommVoySaisie?_TMS=1202335351725&_DLG=SvTermCommVoySaisie&_LANG=UK&_AGENCY=VSC

Posted by
4555 posts

PS....let us know if it works or, more importantly, if it doesn't.

Posted by
8960 posts

I'm a little confused here. I just went to www.voyages-sncf.com, selected English, was redirected to www.tgv-europe.com, entered my origin and destination, told the site I was picking up my tickets in France and was given all sorts of discounts fare options as in the past, all of it in English, and never redirected to Rail Europe.
Why is it sending some to Rail Europe while I'm not having these issues?

Posted by
4555 posts

It's not that it was sending them to RailEurope necessarily, but that it was redirecting people to the French version of the website. I just checked and it kicked me over to the French language website again. Perhaps they're finally getting around to putting the whole website back together again, including English.

Posted by
8960 posts

I never realized this was an issue. For several months now the SNCF site has always redirected by to the TGV-Europe site. I've never gotten the all French site. Perhaps if folks simply went to www.tgv-europe.com directly it would bypass the problem.

Posted by
4555 posts

Nope....going to that website directly has been causing problems. It seems to happen for all non TGV runs. If you're going Paris-Nice, for example, you may get English, or you may get French...I got both in the past 5 minutes. But any non-TGV runs, including international trains, always seems to be redirected to the French language site. With the link posted, you'll be sure to get English each time. Maybe the site is still evolving. The first time I was redirected to the TGV-Europe website was a month ago....sometime shortly after new years.

Posted by
108 posts

"Document non trouvé" for me.

The URL in your post may not be displaying correctly on my browser (it's on 2 lines, for one thing).

Would you be kind enough to try to e-mail me a link? I would very much like to make this work. Thanks

Posted by
4555 posts

I was afraid of that...it appears to be a timed-out session, although I can get it in mine. If you copy it there should be no issue with it going over two lines. IF it still won't work, you can try going through TGV-europe.com and seeing if you get an English webpage, as Michael suggests. Or if it comes up French, try the following. Go to the old link at http://www.voyages-sncf.com/leisure/uk/launch/home. Click on the little Union Jack button. Seemingly, nothing will happen. Then click on the "consulter le plan du site" hotlink, then on "Réservation billet train" hotlink, and the form should come up in English.

Posted by
4125 posts

For what it's worth: the first time I tried the "diverted to TGV Europe" route and entered my (non-TGV) destination, I was redirected to SNCF in French.

Then I tried Norm's link and it worked.

Then the second time (same destination), I was redirected to SNCF in English.

Possibly trying Norm's link set some cookie the site uses, or maybe it's just the travel gods having fun. I've never found the SNCF site well designed or easy to use.

Posted by
8700 posts

Norm,

I tried the steps you suggested to Jason. When the booking page came up, it was in French.

Posted by
4555 posts

What can I say Tim....as long as I click on the little Union Jack button first, it comes up English every time.

Posted by
8700 posts

Norm (and other interested persons),

I cleared the cookies on my browser and followed your steps again. Eureka! This time I got the booking page in English. And when I did a dummy booking leaving France as the default country, everything stayed in English.

Posted by
3 posts

Sorry guys but I don't understand what you're looking for. I don't think there's a big problem with the SNCF site.
If you wish to book in english, they now revamped all they sites dedicated to people living outside of France under the url www.tgv-europe.com. The only country where you can't receive your ticket is the USA (unfortunately if you select USA to get your ticket, you'll be redirected to Rail Europe)
If you still want prem's fares and all kind of good deals, just say you want to receive it in the UK and select to collect the ticket at a machine in a SNCF station (there's one in almost all french stations including the Paris CDG Airport
Hope it helps!

Posted by
8700 posts

Unless I'm misinterpreting things, if you choose the UK as the country in which you want to either have your tickets mailed or to retrieve them from a ticket machine, I expect it would need to be a ticket machine at a station in the UK, not in France. Besides, while US credit cards work in the ticket machines in the UK, they do NOT work in French ticket machines. Those machines require chip & pin cards.

Posted by
3 posts

my solution enables you to bypass the country issue (avoid USA) but keep an english version. What the SNCF is proposing is to collect your ticket on a french station machine on any of their "foreign" sites so that foreign customers have an alternative to mailing the ticket. So you will definitely be able to collect your ticket in a french station as you booked your ticket on the SNCF web site
For the chip & pin card, it's totally true. Then you'll need to ask to pick up your ticket at a classical counter as your US credit card will probably not be accepted on the automatic machines.

Posted by
4555 posts

As long as SNCF allows collection of tickets in France if they were booked through the UK site, that might be an option....providing there are no long lineups at ticket windows. By switching to Great Britain, you also don't get the cheaper fares displayed for the idTGV trains, which are an even better deal. And you don't get the option to print your tickets out at home, which obviates the need to go anywhere else to pick up tickets.

Posted by
3 posts

Maybe they will be smart enough to add this in a later version...
I don't understand why you can't have iDTGV nor printed tickets at home on an english speaking site when you can on a french one???
At least you can get the cheap fares and book in english!

Posted by
4 posts

I've been trying this address and only get an error message. Any ideas?

Posted by
8700 posts

Cindy,

Here's the latest information. It's no longer possible to change the language from FR to UK in the URL and get a booking page in English on the SNCF site.

Go to www.tgv-europe.com. (It's run by SNCF.) To keep the site in English and to avoid being bumped to the Rail Europe site, choose Great Britain as your country of residence and change the country for ticket retrieval from France to Great Britain. You will be offered the same deals as on the SNCF site. If you get a Prem's fare, you print your own ticket. If you get any other fare, you pick up your ticket at any SNCF station or boutique in France--even though you originally chose Great Britain.

Posted by
4 posts

The link didn't work for me. I don't think my last post went through, so I'm re-posting this. Any other ideas?

Posted by
4 posts

Sorry, I do see your suggestions now. I'll try that. Thanks!

Posted by
1 posts

There is 2 options in buying ticket with SNCF and pick up at France stations.

  1. Fake them by telling you are living in Great Britain, in some steps you will be asked to fill your British home address. Just time anything (make sure postcode is valid). After payment, you just pick up ticket at SNCF boutique.

  2. Keep purchasing in French language. Although you are blind in French, actually the process is straightforward. You won't be asked to provide home address, ticket can be picked up at French train stations. See the guide from this post: http://javamilk.com/2009/06/03/how-to-buy-france-sncf-tgv-train-online-in-french/

Posted by
4555 posts

Alisanta....this is a pretty outdated thread. We now suggest that people go to tgv-europe.com (an SNCF site) and keep their country of origin on Great Britain. This new site will not ask for your address.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi I was wondering if anyone has tried a mail forwarding service in France. Send the train ticket there and then forward it to any address in Europe. I can save almost 100 euros for booking the ticket on line through SNCF France.

Posted by
8700 posts

Diana,

I don't know anything about using a mail forwarding service.

For what route (or routes) did you find a savings of 100 EUR?

If you are traveling within France or if you are departing from France on a train that goes directly from a point in France to a point in a neighboring country, you can book in English at www.tgv-europe.com and get the same discount fares that you'll find at www.voyages-sncf.com. To keep the site in English and to avoid being bumped to the Rail Europe site which doesn't offer discount fares, choose Great Britain as both your country of residence and the country in which you will retrieve your tickets. If you get a Prem's fare, you print the tickets yourself. Since you don't want your tickets mailed to the UK, for other fares choose the option of retrieving your tickets from a station ticket machine. Note, however, that these machines only accept credit cards with embedded chips. No problem. Just go to a station ticket window or to a SNCF boutique, present the credit card you used when booking along with the confirmation number(s) you'll be sent by e-mail, and the agent will print your tickets for you.