Euro 2016 - Travel to Marseille

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Bedpan

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I've been lucky enough to get a ticket for the England v Russia match in Marseille on Saturday 11th June but arranging travel is a bit of a headache, so I was wondering if any kind people here might be able to educate/enlighten me as to the most economic way of getting there.
From the research I've done so far it seems hopeless trying to travel to Marseille on Friday or Saturday (air fare for the outward leg is over £350 for these days, and another £3590 to come back on Sunday and in any case it would be good to have a day or two to sightsee), so we will probably travel out say on Thursday and then come back Sunday or Monday - either travel by train all the way or fly to somewhere not too far away (like Nimes which would cost £19.99 to get to on Wednesday morning from Luton, for instance, and then travel from there to Marseille by train.
I can't find anywhere that explains the SNCF ticketing system though, is it as complicated as the UK? Looking at uk.voyages-sncf.com, it looks that they publish advance fares as they vary quite a lot depending on what train you use. How do the fares compare with buying a ticket at the station on the day, is doing that a lot more expensive? and do they do an equivalent of off peak, super off peak etc?
Also, as far as I can see, the fares on uk.voyages-sncf.com seem to be by TGV - would it be cheaper to travel via conventional lines and if so, how do I go about arranging that? Is there any discount for over 60s or 0ver 65s and would you need to buy a railcard? Also, if you get a return ticket, is the return portion considerably cheaper than the outward part like it is here, assuming you don't get an advance ticket, as we could fly in to one airport and leave from another, or say fly there and train back if it paid us to do so.
And finally...unless I think of something else....is there any way you can make sure that you get a window seat as opposed to having a seat against a wall with no window to look out of?
We could if necessary travel via Dover and ferry rather than Eurostar, if that would save a few quid
Any help will be greatfully received, so thanks in advance!
 
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alex17595

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Try Ouigo, it does Disney land - Marseille. It was like 7 Euros to get there from Paris and a further 10 euro to get to Marseille. It's a converted TGV set so you still get there pretty quick.
 

reb0118

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Nimes is a nice wee town. Proper Roman Amphitheatre et al.

Local fares cheaper than TGV with no real benefit buying in advance. Some French regions offer the train for 1€ - on the smartphone right now but will respond fully when home with laptop fully sparked up....

Sent from my SM-N910F using Tapatalk
 

NicholasNCE

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The fare system in France is quite different from the British one, and is distance based for TER/IC trains and yield based for TGVs and some other ICs (the ones with compulsory reservation). The is no discount for return fares!
Over 60s fares are available but require the purchase of a €50 railcard, so it might not be worth it, up to you do your maths...

I can't recommend captaintrain.com enough compared to voyages-sncf, they are an official agent for SNCF selling the whole fare range at the same price and with no additional fee. Their website is much easier to use but requires registration.

Tickets are available from London St Pancras to Marseille St Charles starting at 93€ (without railcard) on both the 9th and 10th of June, changing in Lille-Europe (you will need to specify this as a via station) which is both easier than changing stations in Paris and cheaper.

Available 09 and 10/06 @€93:
0650 London St Pancras > 0930 Lille-Europe
Lille-Europe 1043 > 1546 Marseille St Charles

Available 09/06 @€93:
0855 London St Pancras > 1126 Lille-Europe
Lille-Europe 1303 > 1746 Marseille St Charles

In the booking process, you can specify you want a window seat.

Going via Dover is probably not worthwhile, but you could use the outbound portion of the following ticket if you choose that option: http://www.brfares.com/#faredetail?orig=1072&dest=H426&rlc=SRN&rte=850&tkt=SDR
 

30907

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Some quick thoughts:

Some French regions offer Senior fares. Check on http://www.sncf.com/fr/trains/ter
or do a test booking for a regional train in your destination area on the main sncf site.

General info here:
http://www.seat61.com/France-trains.htm#.VxUcHRLTXMI

Loco2.com is another useful booking site in English.

And finally - there is a day rover ticket on the spectacular coastal line west of Marseille, which still has some loco worked trains too.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Consider flying to Geneva (eg easyJet from Gatwick) and then TGV from Geneva to Marseille.
I can see a £60 EZY fare on the Friday, and an €81 fare TGV Geneva Airport to Marseille.
I have in the past bought a TGV ticket with an over 60 discount (on demand, no railcard needed).
This was St Raphael-Geneva at €60, but there don't seem to be senior fares Geneva-Marseille on the dates you need.
The SNCF web site will tell you. http://proposition.voyages-sncf.com...5751d6&language=fr&country=FR#/?queryId=Lylot
No discount for return fares, it's all on a single basis.

Just to add that if you travel out on the Wednesday and back on the Monday, the EZY fares to/from Geneva halve and the TGV fares to/from Marseille go down to about €45.
You could do the round trip for £150 this way.
 
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Gordon

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You can still get to Marseille by the traditional PLM main line all the way from Paris. There is a loco hauled service Paris - Dijon - Lyon and a separate loco hauled service Lyon - Marseille. Much better than a TGV IMHO as you would get to see the Burgundy and Saone/Rhone valley scenery and lots of classic SNCF main line infrastructure. Worth doing with locos while you can, as SNCF is gradually moving towards an all unit railway

Carte Senior railcard is good, but only if you plan other trips in France.






.
 
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D6700

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Some French regions offer the train for 1€

Thank you for mentioning this. I'm heading to Beziers in May and have just purchased tickets for a day trip from Beziers to Cerbère, then back to Avignon, before returning to Beziers. The total cost was just €3 for the 374 mile round trip, rather than €96 for TER pay on the day fares! Hopefully, if the diagrams from ERG are accurate, the first two legs will be loco hauled, too.
 

Bedpan

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Thanks for all the assistance - much appreciated. I liked the sound of Gordon's route (Paris Lyon Marseille) but have been overruled by my daughter and her boyfriend who are going with me - so in the end we are flying out to Nimes and back from Beziers. Will still have over 200 miles of rail travel to and from the airports.

Also, I will have Friday spare so may take a trip somewhere then - could perhaps head towards Briancon for instance, or maybe east along the coast.

These €1 fares - I assume that they have to be bought in advance but can they be used on any train?
 

LNW-GW Joint

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These €1 fares - I assume that they have to be bought in advance but can they be used on any train?

You can buy them here for Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi Pyrennees (west of Avignon): https://www.train1euro.fr/
Buy up to 3 weeks in advance, for specific trains.
They sell out pretty quickly from what I can see.
I don't think there is a similar system for Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur (east of Avignon): http://www.ter.sncf.com/paca
 
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30907

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Also, I will have Friday spare so may take a trip somewhere then - could perhaps head towards Briancon for instance, or maybe east along the coast.

Where are you actually staying?

PACA region (linked by LNW-GW Joint) offer day rover tickets at €15 per departement.
 

CC 72100

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Interesting to see mentions of the 1 euro tickets - I did a return Beziers - Perpignan with them yesterday which is about an hour each way.

I didn't check in advance if my trains were loco-hauled, but due to the strike I didn't have much choice in the end! My trains were 3x 4-car DOO Bombardier units each way.

The tickets open at 4 weeks in advance, but you have to move quickly - Montpellier which was my other option for a day trip was sold out on sensibly timed trains by the time I booked, which was about 48 hours after the tickets were released.
 
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