Hi, we will be traveling from Paris to Bayonne to begin a RS tour. Is this considered “local” travel meaning walk up and purchase a train ticket, or should we buy in advance? Any tips? Thanks!
No, it is a few hours by TGV and you should buy the tickets in advance in order to not pay a fortune for them.
(I don't mean to be rude, but have you looked at a map of France? Bayonne is almost as far as you can get from Paris without leaving mainland France.)
To buy the ticket in advance as advised, you can go through the official French railways (SNCF) website, bafflingly named "Oui SNCF".
Some people occasionally have problems With the website. In such a case, the reseller "Trainline" is reliable, easy to use, and charges a very small fee (3% IIRC).
Bookings typically open about 3 months in advance, sometimes a bit less, sometimes up to 4.
I've taken that train ride (and the RS Basque Tour). The departure is from Gare Montparnasse - I rode the mid-morning TGV to Bayonne with a mid-afternoon arrival. Nice countryside views. Purchase your tix early - they went on sale about two months prior to my trip.
Thanks for all your help. We’re planning to fly to CDG and spend a week in Paris. Our RS Basque Country tour starts on Friday so we thought we’d take the train to the starting point in Bayonne. We’ve taken trains in Europe before and enjoyed it. Will start checking for tickets a few months out. Thank you.