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Buying a TGV ticket on line in US - pick up in France

Buying a TGV ticket on line in US - pick up in France

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Old May 1, 03, 4:46 pm
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Buying a TGV ticket on line in US - pick up in France

Hi Fters,

I have a friend who is going to Avignon this month and wanted to buy her Paris-Avignon ticket via the scnf rail website. She wanted to avoid raileurope (who can blame her?).

It seems that you can't really do this as you are not given the option of putting in your address in the US when it comes time to book your ticket.


Has anyone found a way around this problem or have any suggestions for buying this ticket on line?

thanks,

lala

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Old May 1, 03, 6:13 pm
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I've been thinking of doing this too, and I believe you don't have to put in your address. If you are willing to pick up the ticket at the station just before departure (which, even though I don't know French, I can clearly read on the website as being allowed), you can go ahead and buy from outside France through the webpage without entering a French address.

I plan to do a similar purchase through the Belgian rail website for the Thalys train, Brussels-Paris and v.v.

The difference in price between RailEurope and the individual rail companies is amazingly large. Yet RailEurope seems to add no real value, and appears to take LONGER to confirm the booking.

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Old May 1, 03, 9:23 pm
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I have actually done this.

Just go ahead and book your tickets on http://www.sncf.com/indexe.htm

Then, when asked where would you like to pick up your tickets, choose "France" from the drop-down menu. You will be provided with a reservation number via e-mail. Your tickets will be available for pick up at any SNCF outlet in France. Just make sure you present the actual credit card you used to purchase the tickets to the agent at SNCF office when picking up the ticket (they will specifically ask you for that).
I picked mine up at CDG airport by gate 24 (I believe), it took me 3 minutes.

Good luck.
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Old May 1, 03, 9:54 pm
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Yes the SNCF website definately the way to go as asnovici suggested, alternately you can call the English speaking reservations line for SNCF 08-36-35-35-39 and basically do the same.
Making the telephone call will give the additional options of asking about special fares, such a two pax making the trip, discounts for 30 and 45 days advance purchase etc.
You can pick up your tickets at any SNCF station and/or machines (though a lot of the ones at CDG always seem to be out of operation)same for Thalys tickets
Note: at CDG the TGV/Thalys ticket line is at right side of the ticket office and is a seperate and MUCH SHORTER line especially when the automatic machines are down, keep an eye out for that to avoid standing in line longer than necessary.

Besides being more expensive, Rail Europe tickets, have a $15 delivery charge and are non-refundable, unlike those bought with SNCF.
mike



[This message has been edited by MIKESILV (edited 05-01-2003).]
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Old Feb 9, 06, 1:37 pm
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Has something changed?

Bumping this up as it seems like buying a ticket overseas is getting harder as it will hardcode a France address.

Anyone had any luck buying with a US address?

I'm trying to go from Paris to Brussels on March 4th.

thanks,

lala
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Old Feb 9, 06, 1:39 pm
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I also have only will called tickets while in France. It's convient and you don't have to lug them around. Never had a problem at multiple different stations in doing this. Just print off the reciept and bring it with you. If nothing else, the cs people at the stations are good at figuing the confirmation out.
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Old Feb 9, 06, 1:59 pm
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Venice, do you have a french address or an existing scnf account? It seems that the US is the only country that won't work. It has worked for us fine in the past, this seems to be a real pain.


TH thinks she smells rail europe...

lala
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Old Feb 9, 06, 2:01 pm
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I'm not sure I know what is going on -

the address fields are not mandatory if you print the tickets "at home". I just now dummied up an itinerary without providing any address information, and it took me right to the purchase screen.
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Old Feb 9, 06, 2:02 pm
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I buy from the SNCF web site (there is an English option) and usually pick up the tickets. The caveats:
1. You need to go to the counter to pick up the tickets. There can be really long lines, so plan your connections accordingly. When my plane was late and I missed my train, they have changed my ticket for no charge.
2. You need to bring the same credit card you bought the tickets with plus the reservation number. The automatic kiosks do not accept American credit cards, so you CANNOT use them to pick up your ticket.

Some promotion fares allow you to print your ticket from your computer before your trip. These are normally "last minute" type fares. You can buy your refundable ticket now for pickup, then if you see this type of fare, cancel your ticket and get the new one. I don't care about the cost as much as the long wait in the ticket line at the station. I have also had the ticket sent to the friend that I visit in France and had her forward it to me, but if I don't plan enough in advance there isn't time to wait for the post.
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Old Feb 9, 06, 2:15 pm
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Have you tried Euro Railways? http://www.eurorailways.com/. I have been quite satisfied with their services/prices for my european tickets. Usually same price as the independent railways with $10 (i think) surcharge for orders below a certain dollar amount ($250?). Free Fedex also.
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Old Feb 9, 06, 2:16 pm
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I have done it with no problems. As others have said, I picked my tickets up at the SCNF ticket window at my point of departure. It seems like I either didn't put in an address, or selected 'France' as country when I checked out. Either way, it was no problem using my US-issued credit card.
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Old Feb 9, 06, 2:17 pm
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When travelling from Paris to Brussels in Oct of 2005, I booked online (the SNCF website as linked above) and choose to pick up my tickets. Just put FRANCE in the RECEIVE OR PICK UP TICKETS box. For the address, I just put in the address of my hotel. I had no issues with paying or picking up the tickets.

The only issue I had was that my North American issued credit card wouldn't work in the automated machines, so I had to go and see a live agent at Paris Nord.

Greg
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Old Feb 9, 06, 2:18 pm
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Here's how I use it:
1. French language-not the english version
2. US credit card
3. France as my country but usally don't use my parent's house address.
4. Will Call at station
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Old Feb 9, 06, 6:06 pm
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Here's a mega step by step how to that I typed up. NOTE: This is written with people in mind that reside in countries that the SNCF does not mail directly to. I have written it particularly for US residents however it should apply to any country that cannot have their tickets mailed.

1. Go to voyages-sncf.com.
2. Look for the british flag at the bottom left of the page and click on it.
3. Click "advanced Search"
4. In the "going from" enter your departure city
5. In the "going to Box" enter your destination
6. Check the direct route only box if you know that direct service is offered
7. Select single or return
8. Enter outward and return date
9. Enter departure time. If you want to see all the times for the day enter an early hour like 5 am then you can page through all of the times through out the day. This is a good idea if you are seeking out a cheap fare and will travel at any time. Otherwise put in the earliest time you are willing to travel.
10. Select class and leave reservation as yes
11. Enter who is traveling. NOTE: You may put a senior and it will offer PREMS as well as senior fares. However, if you put a child it will only offer a child fare for them and you wont be able to print at all so it is best to enter child as an adult, perform a search and look at prices. Then you can enter adults and child and see which is cheaper.
12. Enter reduced fare card info if you have one which is unlikely for a tourist as they are designed for residents.
13. Select FRANCE as the country where you will collect your tickets.
14. Click submit.
15. You will be presented with your outward journey where you may select the outbound fares. Fares with the yellow background are the cheapest, a blue background is the mid price and grey is most expensive and tends to be flexible. Green background tends to be a class upgrade suggestion.
16. If you do not like the times you may click "see the following trains" to go to the next page of trains.
17. Click on Options to select seating options for the train that you have chosen. If its an iDTGV click on ambience.
18. Once you find the fare / time you want select "choose this outward journey" located next to the choosen time/ fare.
19. You will be presented with return journey fares/ times. Repeate steps 15-18.
20. Once you find the fare / time you want select "choose this return journey" located next to the choosen time/ fare.
21. You may or may not be offered cancellation insurance. Make your selection
ORDER PAGE
1. possible options given to you:
Confirm your order by paying online and choose to:
Print your ticket yourself to save time
Receive your ticket free by post
Collect your ticket from an automatic ticket machine (except for business cards and the "Frequent Traveller and Flat Rate" season tickets) or from station ticket office or Boutiques (in France only).
OR
Choose a single option to be confirmed later:
You must pay and collect your ticket before the XX/XX/20XX at XXhXX sur Voyages-Sncf.com or from an automatic ticket machine (except for trade cards and "Frequent Journey and Season Ticket" rail cards) of from station ticket offices and Boutiques (in France only).
NOTE: Only certain options are available based on the fare you select or the MIX of fares you have selected.
Only PREMS fares for your entire order = Printable
PREMS plus any other fare = MAIL ONLY which is not an option so you need to go back and look for PREMS only
iDTGV = always printable, even when mixed with other fares
You should NEVER select to have tickets mailed if you live in the USA. This is a huge risk and could create massive problems if you do not get them.
2. Select Print ticket if available. If not available select to Collect your tickets. If you only want to make a reservation without paying then you can select to place an option that will expire if not paid for by date given.
3. Enter your surname, first name and E-mail address NOTE: This has nothing to do with the name on printed tickets. This is mearly info on the person placing the order.
4. Leave address info BLANK.
5. Check the box to accept the Conditions of Sale
6. Press confirm
7. You will be taken to a page to enter credit card info etc.

Last edited by MorganB; Feb 9, 06 at 6:24 pm
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Old Feb 9, 06, 6:07 pm
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SNCF Fares Explained

NOTE: Some fares state that they can be delieved by post. You should NEVER select to have your tickets mailed to the USA. This option is intended only for people residing in France and could lead to your tickets being lost. If they are lost you have to buy new tickets and then apply in writing for a refund for the lost / unused tickets after travel has been completed.

PREMS: : Prems can be purchased up to but no more than 3 months prior to travel. Prems are mainly offered in 2nd class but there are rare promotions where they may be offered in first class. Prems are among the cheapest fares available. To get the best prem fares book 3 months in advance. Prems are limited in number. If they are not offered when you do your search then they are either sold out or not offered between the chosen cities. PREM Tickets are non-exchangeable, non-refundable. Prem tickets are printable only if all legs of your journey and all passengers are traveling on Prem fares, iDTGV fares or last minute fares. If you blend fares you will only be given the option to get the tickets by mail. In that event you should either book legs separately or do your search again and only select PREMS. Prems MAY BE blended with iDTGV fares or last minute fares and remain printable. Blending with any other fare caused them to become mail ONLY. PREMS are available on one way and round trip travel. PREMS may be used by children, youth, adults and seniors. It is best to simply enter the number of travelers in the “adult” drop down to obtain PREM fares. Prems are not available on all routes. Prems are internet ONLY fares and cannot be booked via telephone.

iDTGV: iDTGV fares are among the lowest fares the SNCF offers. They can be lower or higher than PREMS. iDTGV tickets are exchangeable before printing, and are non refundable. iDTGV are separate trains that can only be booked on the internet and tickets MUST be printed. IDTGV fares are the ONLY fares offered on iDTGV trains. You will not see PREMS or any other type of fare on this train. You will be given no other fare choice when booking an iDTGV train. IDTGV fares are highlighted in purple. IDTGV fares rise as seats are sold on the train. Be sure to look at first class fares as well. When many of the 2nd class seats have been sold, first class can actually be less expensive. IDTGV tickets may be purchased well in advance. How far in advance is difficult to know as they open up dates randomly. iDTGV's are available on select routes only and generally only offer one time of travel per day on any given route.

LAST MINUTE OFFERS : Last minute offers are internet only tickets and are 50 percent off full fare. They are a good option for last minute travel bookings when prems or idtgv tickets are sold out. New offers are posted 12 am CET every tuesday for travel through the following tuesday. Ticket cannot be exchanged, or refunded. On-line payment. Tickets can be printed at home unless blended with a non-printable fare. In that event they can be picked up at the train station. You must take your reservation number and the credit card used at the time of booking to obtain your tickets.

• DISCOVERY STAY : Discovery stays are 25 percent off full fares. They require round trip travel and a Saturday night stay. They are exchangeable and refundable before departure. Non exchangeable and non refundable ticket after departure. Discovery Stay fares may NOT be printed. You should chose the option Collect your ticket from an automatic ticket machine (except for business cards and the "Frequent Traveller and Flat Rate" season tickets) or from station ticket office or Boutiques (in France only). NOTE: You MUST take your reservation number AND the credit card used at the time of booking to retrieve your tickets. You will NOT be given your tickets otherwise.

REGULAR FARE. : These are full fare tickets and are exchangeable and Refundable at any time. .They may not be printed. You should chose the option Collect your ticket from an automatic ticket machine (except for business cards and the "Frequent Traveller and Flat Rate" season tickets) or from station ticket office or Boutiques (in France only). NOTE: You MUST take your reservation number AND the credit card used at the time of booking to retrieve your tickets. You will NOT be given your tickets otherwise.

• DISCOVERY SENIOR : Non exchangeable and non refundable ticket after departure. Over 60 years. These fares may not be printed. They are usually MORE expensive than PREM fares and should only be chosen when prems are not available.

DISCOVERY CHILD PLUS : Non exchangeable and non refundable ticket after departure. Travel with a child under 12, maximum of 5 passengers. This fare offers a discount not only to the child traveling but also to up to 5 adults traveling with the child. This fare is higher than PREM fares but lower than full fares. Should only be booked when PREMS are not available. This fare is NOT printable.

• FULL CHILD FARE : Exchangeable and Refundable.

Last edited by MorganB; Feb 9, 06 at 6:26 pm
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