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What ticket/pass to buy?

I need help in figuring out what ticket/pass to buy for train travel this summer. We will qualify for the senior rates (62 and 61). Here is our schedule: 1. Geneva, Switzerland to Bayeux, France 2. Caen, France to Dusseldorf, Germany (not through Belgium) 3. Dusseldorf to Salzburg 4. Salzburg to Munich I understand that Geneva and Salzburg are considered border towns, so I'm thinking we will need a France-Germany pass, but not sure how to include Geneva and Salzburg.
We've always had a travel agent arrange our train travel, but feel that we can do it ourselves this trip. How do we make seat reservations? Train travel will start July 10-July 23. I would prefer to have everything taken care of before we leave, and to also have seat reservations for all travel. Thanks for your help.

Posted by
21863 posts

P2P would be cheaper if you want everything arranged prior to leaving. You can take advantage of discounts. For all trips starting in Germany use bahn.de for schedule and prices. If a seat reservation is required it will be included in the ticket and assigned when you purchase. For the French use voyages-sncf.com I don't think you will qualify in those counties for a senior rate.

Posted by
18384 posts

First, the city is Düsseldorf, not Dusseldorf. Spell German cities correctly or you might get somewhere else (although I doubt there is actually a Dusseldorf. You can use ue for ü, ergo Duesseldorf. Salzburg is a border city for Germany. The Eurail website says about the pass for France, "It is also valid for travel on trains operated by SNCF from France to Basel, Geneva (Switzerland), ..." You can make reservation for some of the connections online at the Bahn website. They cost €5,50 pP for 1st class, €4,50 for 2nd and cover up to 2 trains per direction (ie, Duesseldorf to Munich and Munich to Salzburg). You can buy them online by picking a connection and clicking "purchase". There will be a radio button for "reservation only, no ticket". This will work for Duesseldorf to Salzburg and Salzburg to Munich. However, if you try this for Paris to Duesseldorf (via Mannheim to avoid Belgium) the reservation only button will be grayed out. I don't think you can get the reservation from SNCF, either. You can get a reservation online from Saarbruecken (the first stop in Germany) to Duesseldorf, but German Rail does not seem to sell passholder reservations for the portion of trips outside of Germany. I don't know how, or even if, you can get passholder reservations from French Rail. I also suspect that p2p tickets will be more economical than a pass.

Posted by
18384 posts

As to p2p tickets, 1) You can get from Salzburg to Munich for €29 for both of you with a Bayern-Ticket. That's an always available (ie never sells out, purchasable just before travel) pass for unlimited rides all day (after 9 AM workdays) in 2nd cl. on regional trains. The Bayern-Ticket will not only cover your travel from Salzburg to Munich, but any travel by any conveyance in Munich the rest of the day. 2) For Duesseldorf to Salzburg, you can get an advance purchase, train specific Sparpreis ticket for as low as €49 for both of you (€29 for one person, €20 for the second). These tickets are for 2nd class but on very nice trains (ICE/IC/EC). Part of this trip is very popular and the €49 fares go fast. Then the price goes up. It is advisable to purchase it right after they go on sale, 92 days in advance. You purchase online using a credit card, and they send you a pdf file that you can print at home as your ticket. When you purchase your reservations along with the ticket, they are €2,50 pP for up to two trains per direction. 3) Although you can't purchase passholder reservations online from the Bahn for Paris to Duesseldorf, you can purchase the entire trip online for as low as €39 pP with a Europa-Special Frankreich fare. Reservations are included with the fare. Again, a popular route, tickets sell out, book early. There are some advance purchase deals on French Rail, but I'm not familiar with the prices or how to get them, but at €78 pP from Paris to Duesseldorf to Salzburg to Munich, I don't think a rail pass will come close.

Posted by
8700 posts

The standard 2nd class fare for a TGV from Geneva to Paris plus an Intercites train from Paris to Bayeux is €121.10. If you book well in advance (up to three months allowed) at www.tgv-europe.com, you can get a Piccolissimo fare of €20.00 for Geneva-Paris and a Prem's fare of €15.00 for Paris-Bayeux. If you book each leg separately, you can print your own e-tickets. 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 your country of residence. The best discount fares sell out quickly so book ASAP. Book Caen-Paris at www.tgv-europe.com to get a Prem's fare of €15.00. Book Paris-Duesseldorf at www.bahn.de. You can get a Smoove fare as low as €29.00 for a Thalys train from Paris to Koeln plus a regional train from Koeln to Duesseldorf. Or you can get a Europa-Spezial Frankreich fare as low as €39.00 for a TGV from Paris to Mannheim plus an ICE train from Mannheim to Duesseldorf. Print your own tickets.