I have been attempting to find the best way to travel from Marseilla-ST Charles station to Florence. The train, overnight in a 3 person sleeper, seems to be the best option for us. I am traveling with a 70 year old Aunt, so unlike my other 3 trips to Italy, I am trying to have firm plans. I have tried repeatedly to use the links that you have suggested but everytime I enter the cities, it request the Stations. I am guessing they want the codes, but I have no way of knowing! The other site keep asking me about my return trip when I want only a one way ticket. FRUSTRATING! There also seems to be very inexpensive rates compared to Eurail--which I have found to be very expensive. Finally--any good suggestions for nice hotel near SMN station in Florence? I am looking at Aurora Hotel--any feedback? Will be there the 27 & 28th of Sept. 2007. Many Thanks!
Tim, thank you, so very much for your assistance!
I did a dummy booking for 26 September at www.voyages-sncf.com and here is what I found.
Take a TGV leaving Marseille St-Charles at 17:30 and arriving at Nice Ville at 20:08. 2nd class fare is €30.70. Or take a regional train leaving Marseille St-Charles at 18:01 and arriving at Nice Ville at 20:47. 2nd class fare is €27.80.
Take the night train leaving Nice Ville at 21:07 and arriving at Firenze Campo di Marte at 06:53. Smart Price fares are still available. For a bed in a T3 sleeper that discount fare is €55.
You shouldn't need to book either Marseille-Nice train in advance, but you certainly can if you wish. However, to get the discount fare on the night train, you'll need to book now. Go to the SNCF site and click on the British flag in the lower left-hand corner for English. Leave France as the default country for retrieving tickets. If you are offered cancellation insurance, decline it or you might be bumped to the Rail Europe site.