|Subject: Re: France Train Travel|
French trains vary in comfort and in age. Last month we took second class
Eurostar, second class Thalys, a couple of first class TGV's, first and
second class regular trains. Some were a little nicer than others but all
were absolutely fine.
With reserved trains like TGV's, Thalys, Eurostar, you wouldn't have to worry about getting a seat or being uncomfortable. Most long distance (not necessarily long journeys - they are very fast!) trains require reservations in France.
On a crowded route at a busy time, second class might be a problem for non-reserved seats. When we went to Giverny on a Sunday on a regular limited stop intercity train, we had to stand for the return journey. That train originated in Rouen and we travelled second class. However it was only a 45 minute journey. Prices were reasonable - 73.60 euros total for the four of us. We did discover that you CAN reserve seats on non-TGV trains for about a euro. I am not sure how far ahead (hours, days) that you have to do this. There were seats reserved for people who got on with us at Vernon (the station for Giverny).
We had no troubles with seats on other trains. On the occasion that we took first class non-TGV, non-reserved, it looked to us that riders ignore the class and sit where there are seats. However, we were comfortable.
If I did not have a train pass, I would not hesitate to travel second class in France.
If you are pricing tickets on the web, be sure to look for two of you - there is a discount for two people travelling together (decouverte a deux) . Prices also vary by time of day, whether it is a same day return and day of the week. Very complicated!
Frances Toronto, Canada