Cheapest way to use French trains

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by ivorytoast28, 30 Nov 2019.

  1. ivorytoast28

    ivorytoast28 Member

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    10 Dec 2018
    Location:
    Sheffield
    Hi,

    I am currently planning a trip to the south of France and was hoping to use the trains to get around a fair bit. Ideally, I was hoping to find a rail pass that would give me some flexibility to explore (something similar to Deutsche bahn's 25EUR regional day passes) but using the SNCF website I just seem to be getting extremely expensive fares that are limited to specific trains even on short local journeys. I don't mind restricting myself to specific trains if it significantly reduces the price as it does in the UK but from my initial searches that doesn't seem to be the case so I think I'm doing something wrong/looking in the wrong place.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated

    (The sort of journeys I'd like to do are mostly local around Carcassone, Albi, Toulouse and then over to the coast to and between Nice, Montpellier, Avignon, Marseille)

    Thank you
     
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  3. CC 72100

    CC 72100 Established Member

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    France tends to be a bit hit and miss with rover-type tickets, especially out of summer holiday season.

    If there are any for the area, you'd best find them on the local site for the TER region (ie. TER Grand EST etc.) as I'm not convinced that the general voyagesSNCF (or whatever they call themselves these days) website will advertise them.

    Down in Languedoc-Rousillon there are also tickets available for 1 euro, booked on the TER website again. But these must be done in advance and are specific to the chosen service. (I had one during a strike and my booked train wasn't running, so I asked what I should do (in perfect french I may add) and recieved a response along the lines of "well get on a train that is running then". I happily took that as authority to board another train instead of my pre-cancelled one!)
     
  4. AlexNL

    AlexNL Established Member

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    I don't know how long you will be in France or what your budget is to do some bashing, but have you considered the InterRail one country pass? This is the closest you can get to a nationwide 'rover' ticket.

    https://www.interrail.eu/en/interrail-passes/one-country-pass/france

    Keep in mind that reservations for e.g. the TGV is not included, if you wish to travel on TGV or some Intercités services you must book a reservation separately.
     
  5. Alfonso

    Alfonso Member

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    SNCF website is hugely user unfriendly. Many of the "expensive" tickets will actually be flexible or semi-flexible but this isn't made very clear. Try to find the part of the website for the TER region you are visiting and look for "Bons Plans" tab ,which is where regional/local/seasonal offers hang out.
     
  6. Polarbear

    Polarbear Established Member

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    TER services don't require reservations, you can just turn up & go on those across France. Although you can get around most of the country by just using TER, it'll take a while & often, services can be infrequent to put it mildly! Tickets are, however, flexible & you can just buy & validate before boarding.

    The IC services that need reservations are;

    • Paris to Toulouse via Limoges
    • Bordeaux to Marseilles/Nice
    Also, pretty much every TGV service across the country (there are a few exceptions in northern France).
     
  7. Alfonso

    Alfonso Member

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    And there's also the Thello service along the coast from Marseille through Nice to Italy. Bookable at Thello.com
     
  8. dutchflyer

    dutchflyer Member

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    17 Oct 2013
    SNCF does not like rovers, those that did exist-regional, have often been withdrawn or replaced by non-flexy type of fares. Those that still do exist are pressed on by the regions and are often summer-only. These areas you mention have never had them and are thus also very unlikely to ever get them. Same for Spain or Portugal or even Belgium.
    There IS a way out-weekends only, in this area by the new region Pays dÖc, which is Languedoc and Midi-Pyrenees, based on Montpellier and Toulouse.
    With ANY normal monthly season (the cheapest is around 28 eur) you can for 20 eur extra buy a ´weekend free-whole region´ add-on, so you can enjoy unlimited TER only train bashing for 5 weekends (start date can be any day, not just the 1st). And other as with many FRench seasons, this one is also not limited to local workers who need to show even a permit from their boss to allow them to buy a season! Should even be able to book online and have it printed with the code from an automat. Would welcome anyone having tried this out if it works.
     

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