My husband and I will be travelling from US via London to Germany for 28 days in July. We are both seniors and want to take trains. Our first stop in Germany is the Black Forest – starting at Offenburg and then taking the scenic Black Forest train to Konstanz. From there we would go to Munich, Dresden, Berlin, Dusseldorf, and back to US via London. I'm unsure about train travel from London to Black Forest. If we take Eurostar from London to Paris, is it reasonable to take a train from Paris to Black Forest? If train is reasonable, what train do I need to book?
How to Look Up Train Schedules and Routes Online gives you the DB train schedule link and tips for using it. This site will show you all the connections between Paris and Offenburg and also sells the tickets if the connection point is in Germany, e.g., from Paris to Mannheim.
If you prefer a departure with the first leg inside France, such as from Paris to Strasbourg, then you might have to switch to a French web site or US agent. Rick’s France rail travel page has the link and tips for buying “Prems” rate TGV tickets through SNCF (cheap, reserved, nonrefundable, available three or four months ahead of your travel date) to print at home and pay with PayPal. It does not tend to work with US credit cards, unless you have an extra level of security set up.
Cheapest rates tend to be available starting 91 days in advance on either site, but sometimes earlier. Eurostar tickets from London to Paris are for sale now for July, again with limited seats for the cheaper rates. Eurostar offers senior discounts and the other trains do not.
For travel inside the German border, I recommend switching to a German Rail Pass, which should be a good value for the amount of travel you describe and allows you to hop on the German trains at will (seat reservations are optional). The current price for 5 days of travel within a month is $200 per person in 2nd class. I would be happy with 2nd class on any of these routes.
There is a good train service from Paris Gare de l'Est to Offenburg. There are some direct trains, but usually you need to change at Strasbourg.
I suggest you look for times an prices on https://loco2.com/
This is a British site, and is, AFAIK, the only one that will give you a through booking London to Offenburg. I put in a random date in May (July is too far in the future), and it gave me a number of options, all about 7 hours, prices between £66.50 and £96 per person second class.
Once in Germany, look up times an prices on www.bahn.de (German Railways). Also, on that site, look up "Länder Tickets" (=1 day passes for a particular German state) (click here). These are good value.
The DB (German site) does offer through booking of tickets all the way to Offenburg if that's what you want, including some of the most convenient connections, but not on every possible connection option. The first leg departing Paris by TGV is the most important part to book ahead, both for discounts and seat availability.
Thanks for your quick replies. Will 35 mins be enough to get from Eurostar at Paris Nord to our connecting train to Strasbourg at Paris Est? Do we walk or taxi to change stations?
It's about a 10-15 minute walk from Gare du Nord to Gare de l'Est. It is only one stop on the métro, by the time you have walked through all the underground tunnels, and bought tickets, it would be quicker to walk "on the surface".
If it was raining, or you had luggage which wasn't on wĥeels, I would get a taxi.
35 minutes would probably be OK, especially if you have done it before and know the way. But for first time travellers, and for seniors, I would recommend more safety margin. Leaves you time to buy a sandwich at Gare de l'Est.
Disagreeing with everyone else, but I'd suggest taking the Eurostar to Brussels. The reason being that if you go to the Deutsche Bahn website at www.db.com 92 days before travelling, they sell a limited number of through tickets all the way from London to most German cities for only 59 euros per single fare, which is cheaper than the cheapest options via Paris. The only disadvantage is that you're limited to only certain trains between Brussels and Cologne, those operated directly by DB, and this limits your departure time options.
Admittedly the sun sets late in July, but if you're particularly interested in a scenic train ride it may be worth spending the night in Offenburg or the nearest large city and starting the Black Forest leg in the morning.
If you don't want to stop in Paris, you might want to fly to Frankfurt on a budget airline. Just DO NOT fly to Frankfurt Hahn where Ryanair goes. It is about as close to Frankfurt as Poughkeepsie is to New York City.
There are direct trains from Frankfurt Airport to Offenburg every 2 hours at 53 past the odd hours. At 53 past the even hours, change trains in Mannheim. 1 hour 34 minutes either way.
Philip, the link you posted ( https://www.db.com ) is Deutsche Bank!!!!
DB (German Railways) is www.bahn.de
If you don't want to stop in Paris, then yes, it would usually be cheaper to fly, for instance from London to Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg airport on Easy Jet for under $70 per person. See also www.skyscanner.com.
AAAARGH! Sorry, moment of stupidity. I always wondered why DB didn't actually have db.com
You might want to read up on Open-Jaw air tickets to Europe. Unless you are visiting London, I would take a connecting flight (especially since your London arrival is likely to be incredibly early in the morning) to Germany. This can be less expensive than the train fares, for example if the airlines involved have a partnership. For example, you could fly to Cologne and start in Dusseldorf. You will have plenty of the romance of trains for the rest of the trip. If you have already bought the London roundtrip, you could use a bargain airline, if your luggage isn't too big or heavy (due to luggage charges, that is.)
I assume you are willing to do the city list you gave in a different order if the trains work better that way.
Even with his link slip up, I'm on with Philip's advice.
Brussel Zuid is a single station change of trains, the Eurostar is faster to Brussel than Paris, The DB is absolutely overflowing with those discounted fares, and there is better food for take-on-board-picnics at Brussel Zuid than at either Gare du Nord or Gare de l'Est.
And that connection time in Paris is way too short for me, and I do it often enough. I want at least an hour. The walk is easy but if you are in a hurry you will take the stairs in the street and that's no fun in a hurry and definitely no fun in the rain. And if you aren't in a hurry the level route is a bit easier with luggage.
The Brussel Zuid connection is so much easier.
The Black Forest train is scenic enough but to really enjoy the Black Forest you need to get off the train and onto your walking shoes or hiking boots and see the vistas and woods up close...
We already have our tickets to London and room reservations there. We really want to do Eurostar once. Sounds like Eurostar to Brussels would definitely be better for us. I'm looking at flying from London to Germany, touring Germany (including taking the Black Forest scenic train), and returning from Dusseldorf to London via Eurostar thru Brussels.
If you are starting the Continent in Brussels,you might want to start with Cologne (or Dusseldorf) because Cologne (via historic Aachen) is so direct from Brussels.
Note also that the free train associated with most (but not, for example, Freiburg) BF hotels has limits of free distance on the day your leave the BF.