France Tickets & Rail Passes

Welcome to ShowMeTheJourney's GUIDE to booking train tickets for journeys within and from/to France.

What we have set out to provide is some context for the tickets and journey options you SHOULD encounter when making a booking either online or at the station.

We have striven to ensure that the advice we present is as accurate as possible, but a guide such as this cannot cover every combination of journey options.

TO THE TICKET BOOKING LINKS

Click the questions to jump to the info you need.

Or grab a coffee and scroll through the entire page - 10-15 mins reading will ultimately save you time, money and confusion!

THE KEY THINGS WORTH KNOWING ABOUT FRENCH TRAIN TICKETS:

What types of ticket are made available for train journeys within France?

What are the differences between how tickets can be booked used on the different types of train in France?


------------------------------------------------------------

BOOKING and COLLECTING TICKETS AT THE STATION:

Will tickets cost the same price if I buy them at the station in France?

Does it matter which train I travel by if I've bought tickets at a French train station?

How do I collect a ticket at a station when I have made an online booking?

Do I need to stamp my ticket before boarding the train?


------------------------------------------------------------

BOOKING TICKETS ONLINE FOR TRAIN JOURNEYS WITHIN FRANCE:

What are the five key things I need to know about booking French train tickets online?

Will I save money on French train tickets if I book in advance online?

What do I need to look out for if I want to travel at the cheapest price possible on French train journeys?

Can I save money by taking the TER trains?

Can I save money by booking idTGV tickets?

What if I'm booking tickets for a French train journey which involves a change of train?

What about seat reservations on French trains?


What about child tickets on French trains?

How do I claim a refund if the train I've booked is subequently cancelled by SNCF?

------------------------------------------------------------

BOOKING TICKETS ONLINE FOR TRAIN JOURNEYS TO and FROM FRANCE:

What if I want to buy tickets for international train journeys from and to France?

USING RAIL PASSES ON TRAINS WITHIN and TO and FROM FRANCE:


What do I need to know about using Euaril and InterRail Passes in France?

And yes there's a lot of text, but hopefully not too much - we wish booking French tickets wasn't quite as complicated as it can seem.

-----------------------------------------------------------

THE KEY THINGS WORTH KNOWING ABOUT FRENCH TRAIN TICKETS:

What types of ticket are made available for train journeys within France?

There are three types of tickets sold online and at stations for French train services.

(1) Flexible tickets:

These are the non-discounted tickets, so they're the most expensive.

However, they can be exchanged to another departure OR refunded with no admin fees, if you subsequently change your travel plans.

When you look up French train journeys on Oui.SNCF or any of its partner sites, they will be availble on every departure EXCEPT Ouigo services.

Though if you book this type of ticket for a train with a compulsory seat reservation, your ticket will only be valid on that specific departure, you can't just hop on any train.

But if you don't subsequently want to take your initial choice of departure, you can swap to a different train, free of charge, at a ticket desk, where new reservations will be issued.

(2) 'Exchangeable - Conditions Apply' tickets also known as ‘Leisure’ tickets.

The clue is the name - you can exchange this type of ticket, but you cannot REFUND these tickets if YOU subsequently change your travel plans,
Though SNCF will allow these tickets to be refunded if IT subsequently has to cancel your train service, due to strike action etc.

A sliding scale of prices is usually applied to this type of ticket - so they're cheaper if you book ahead.

When  initially booked, these tickets will be specific to the departure you selected when booking, but a plus of this type of ticket is that you can exchange them for an alternative departure on your travel date.

However, in order to do so you need to pay an admin fee - though you'll pay a lower admin fee if you swap them to another departure, more than 30 days before your travel date.

PLUS you will also be charged any DIFFERENCE in price, between the cost you paid when booking - and the cost of this type of ticket for the new departure you will be travelling by, at the time of your exchange.

What does this mean?

In an imaginary scenario, you have paid €50 for this type of 'Leisure' Ticket for the 10:00 train from Paris to Marseille on April 25th

On April 20th you decide to take the 11:00 train from Paris to Marseille on April 25th instead, but on April 20th the price of a Leisure ticket on the 11:00 train is €65.

For the exchange, so that you can now travel on the 11:00 train, you will be charged a total of €30 = the €15 admin fee + the €15 price difference of your re-issued ticket.

In another scenario - if you have booked these 'Leisure' tickets and your taxi does get stuck in a jam on the way to the station etc, then you won't have to buy completely new 'Flexible' tickets - at a more expensive price, but you will have to pay the cost of exchanging your tickets to a later departure.

Will the price you originally paid for the ticket + the admin fee (+ any price difference) still be cheaper than opting for a Flexible ticket instead?
There's no definitive answer to that, multiple variables such how far you will be travelling and on what date come into play, but it's more likely than not.

Also note that 'Exchange' does not refer to selling your tickets on, so that a different traveller can use them instead.

Name(s) are printed on tickets for journeys by SNCF trains when seat reservations are complimentary (because they are compulsory) and the conductor may ask you to verify your I.D. when checking the tickets - hence don't board an express train in France without your passport!

(3) Non Exchangeable tickets – also known as ‘Prems’ tickets.

Again the clue is in the name, this type can't be exchanged OR refunded, if YOU subsequently change your travel plans for any reason, including ill health.

However, SNCF will allow these tickets to be refunded if IT subsequently has to cancel your train service, due to strike action etc.

A sliding scale of prices is usually applied to this type of ticket - so they're cheaper if you book ahead.

Also these tickets are train departure specific, so when commencing a journey it is your responsibility to be at the station in time to board the departure you are booked on to.

You cannot swap these tickets to a later departure because a Metro train broke down or a taxi got stuck in a jam.

So if you do miss the train you are booked on to, for any reason outside of SNCF's control, you will then have to book a ticket at the station - and those tickets can be 70% more expensive than these 'Prems' tickets.

If you do have to book a ticket(s) at the station, you can't claim a refund for your original purchase.

Four other things are worth knowing about this type of ticket:

(1) They are only available for journeys by Intercités (IC trains) AND for virtually* any journeys by TGV (InOui) trains -  * a few non high-speed routes are the only exception.

(2) On the routes on which they are usually offered, they may not be placed on sale at all for the most popular departures - when they are not available, the 'Leisure' tickets are the cheapest type of ticket.

(3) A sliding scale of prices is applied, so the earlier you book these tickets, the more you will save.

(4) They're taken off sale completely 10 days ahead of the travel date.

Back to the list of questions.

What are the differences between how tickets can be booked and used on the different types of train in France?

The French national rail operator SNCF, operates four different types of longer distance train services:

(1) Standard TGV trains - now classified as InOui services

(2) More basic low cost TGV trains - Ouigo services

(3) Express trains which aren't high speed - Intercités/IC services

(4) Regional trains, which connect regions on longer routes - TER services

When looking up a journey you will often have a choice of booking tickets for two or more of these services.

Below we have summarised the differences between how tickets can be booked and used on these trains.

Online Bookings Open*:

TGV InOui = 3 months ahead
Ouigo = 6 months ahead
Intercités = 3 months ahead
TER = 3 months ahead

*These are the usual booking periods, they can be shorter during mid September - early November - OR longer if SNCF is running a promotion.

Discounted* - 'Non Exchangeable' ('Prems') tickets available:

*Discounted when travelling by an express train, and when these tickets are discounted they are also know as 'Prems' tickets.

TGV InOui = Yes (on most routes)
Ouigo = No
Intercités = Yes (on most routes, particularly the longer routes)

TER trains = This is the only type of ticket sold online for TER services, but the price is NOT discounted for journeys by these trains - the price you'll pay tomorrow is the same price you'll pay if you were to book three months ahead.

But these tickets can't be refunded, if you subsequently change your travel plans, so as you'll pay the same price at the station, it's logical to avoid booking tickets for TER services in advance online.

Discounted - Exchangeable ('Leisure') tickets available:

When Non-Exchangeable 'Prems' tickets are available on a route, those tickets  will be cheaper. 

TGV InOui = YES
Ouigo = YES*
Intercités = YES
TER = NO

*This is the only ticket available for journeys by Ouigo services

Flexible (non-discounted) tickets available:

Can be exchanged or refunded.

The price you will pay when booking tickets last minute at the station is the same price as the Flexible tickets, which can be booked online

TGV InOui = YES
Ouigo = NO
Intercités = YES
TER = NO - not available online, but the price you pay at the station will be the same as the price shown online, for the 'Non-Exchangeable' tickets.

First Class/Premiere Class Available:

TGV InOui = YES
Ouigo = NO
Intercités = YES
TER = some routes only

Reservations Available: (complimentary and included in the ticket price):

TGV InOui = YES
Ouigo = YES
Intercités = most routes
TER = NO

Choice of seating area/place (window or aisle etc):

TGV InOui = YES
Ouigo = NO
Intercités = some routes
TER = NO

Choice of specific seat:

TGV InOui = (YES - in 1st/Premiere class only)
Ouigo = NO
Intercités = NO
TER = NO

Can be booked and/or collected at the station:

TGV InOui* = YES
Ouigo = NO
Intercités* = YES
TER = YES

*Will be more expensive than booking in advance online.

Can be booked both on Oui.SNCF AND the websites it partners with:

TGV InOui* = YES
Ouigo = YES (Ouigo journeys can also be booked on Trainline)
Intercités* = YES
TER = YES

Why this matters?

You cannot transfer tickets between these services - meaning that when travelling long distance, you cannot then take the next train heading to your destination, if an alternative type of train service will be leaving the station sooner.

Meaning that if you have booked a journey by TER train, you cannot then take a TGV, or similarly if you have booked a Ouigo journey, you cannot then take a TER train etc.

Back to the list of questions..

------------------------------------------------------------

BOOKING and COLLECTING TICKETS AT THE STATION:

If you're not used to buying French train tickets at stations then this info will help you buy the optium ticket and avoid confusion!

Will tickets cost the same price if I buy them at the station in France?

IF you will be making a local train journey anywhere in France or making any journey by regional TER trains, the answer is yes.

TER train services can cover long distances such as Lyon ↔ Marseille and Nice ↔ Marseille.

Also if you will travelling on a  non-high speed route shared by TER train services AND express train services - tickets booked last minute at the station for those TGV InOui or Intercités services, tend to be less than €5 more expensive, compared to the advance discounted price that would have been available online.

So if you won't be travelling particularly long distances on a non-high speed route, keeping your plans flexible and booking tickets at the station, for whatever type of train service will be next to depart, can be a good option.

However, if you will be making a high speed journey by the TGV (inOui) services, or travelling long distance on the top flight Intercités routes, you should avoid buying tickets at the station.

Back to the list of questions

Does it matter which train I travel by if I've bought tickets at a French train station?

Yes - you need to be aware of which train services your ticket will be valid for - and then only travel by that type of train service and no other.

When travelling by train between destinations in France there can be, but not always, a choice of 

(1) TER trains - Regional trains and the local trains outside of Paris

(2)  TGV (inOui) trains - express trains

(3) And now low cost Ouigo trains - which have begun to travel on the same routes as the standard TGV (inOui) trains  - but tickets for Ouigo trains CANNOT be booked at stations.

(4) Either one of the two types of Intercités express  train services

(i) Those on which seats have to be reserved (included when booking) 

These are the Intercités trains which operate on these routes:

(a) Paris (Austerliz)  – Limoges – Brive la Galliarde – Toulouse
(b) Bordeaux – Toulouse – Narbonne – Nimes – Montpellier – Marseille
(c) Paris (Bercy) – Nevers – Vichy – Clermont Ferrand

(ii) Those on which reservations are optional - the Intercités trains on all other routes.

Why this matters:

This choice matters when booking tickets at a station (or online).

If you have booked a ticket that is valid for a journey by TER train, you cannot then use it to travel on a TGV, or on the type of Intercités train service on which reservations are compulsory.

Similarly if you book a ticket for either type of the Intercités services, you cannot then use it to travel on a TGV train.

In other words - you cannot just hop on the next train to your destination, you have to travel by the type of train service that your ticket is valid for.

These rules apply even if you will be travelling comparatively short distances.

Back to the list of questions.

How do I collect a ticket at a station when I have made an online booking?

(Note that tickets for journeys by Ouigo trains cannot be collected at a station).

The email/message you will have received confirming your ticket booking on other train services will contain a PNR number.

You will need this PNR number, and NOT the booking reference number, in order to collect your tickets PLUS the credit/debit card you used when making the booking.

You can then choose between the following ticket collection options:

Collecting your ticket in advance of your travel date:

(i) If you want to pick up your ticket before your travel date, then you can only collect it from the ticket booking desks -  the 'Billetterie'.

If a station has a separate advance ticket booking desk or a separate 'Grandes Lignes' ticket desk, then you will need to use these desks to collect your ticket.

Collecting your ticket on your travel date:

(ii) You can also use the ticket desks to collect your ticket immediately before boarding your train - though if you want to do this at a large station, our advice is to be at the station a minimum of 45 mins before your train is departing.

(iii) Or you can collect your tickets from an SNCF 'Grande Lignes' ticket machine - more info on how to do this is available on our using French train stations GUIDE.

Back to the list of questions.

Do I need to stamp my ticket before boarding the train?

Ticket stamping machines are positioned at the entrances to the voies/platforms/tracks that a train will be departing from AND/OR in the station buildings, particularly on the concourse.

If you will be using a ticket that you have purchased at a ticket desk, or have purchased/collected from a ticket machine, then you need to validate your tickets by stamping it in one of these machines.

You obviously need to do this before boarding, but it can be easy to forget to do so, particularly if you are in a hurry.

Back to the list of questions.

------------------------------------------------------------

BOOKING TICKETS ONLINE FOR TRAIN JOURNEYS WITHIN FRANCE:

What are the FIVE key things I need to know about booking French train tickets online?

(1) One thing you need to know above all else is French national rail operator SNCF's ticket booking service has changed from Voyages -SNCF to Oui.SNCF.

It's more than a name change and new colours - hence our guide on how to book tickets on Oui-SNCF that you can find HERE.

(2)
SNCF operates virtually every train in France, but it does not have a monopoly on ticket sales through its booking site, Oui.SNCF.

Loco2 and Trainline are alternative sites that partner with Oui.SNCF and they can particularly good options if you’re not in France when trying to book tickets online.

Trainline also now sells tickets for journeys by Ouigo trains.

(3) Oui.SNCF and its official partner sites, sell three types of ticket 'Prems'; Leisure and 'Flexible - find out what the differences between them are HERE.

(4) SNCF can run 'promotions' in which tickets can be booked more than 3 months ahead of the travel date, and as the cheapest tickets inevitably sell out fastest, it can pay to take advantage of these longer than usual booking periods.

(5) Oui.SNCF offers country specific websites depending on where you will be logging on to make a booking - a legacy of when SNCF sold tickets in Europe using the Rail Europe branding.

However, these international versions of Oui.SNCF can lack some functionality of the French site – and pricing discrepancies can occur.

Unsurprisingly, the French version of the site is French language only, so try to persevere (using Google Translate) with the French site to check prices and book tickets..

Back to the list of questions.

Will I save money on French train tickets if I book in advance online?

This depends on two factors:
(1) the route you will be taking, and
(2) the train service you will be travelling by.

and if there's an opportunity to save, the amount you will be saving will ALSO depend on how far ahead you will be booking - tickets can USUALLY be booked up to 3 months ahead of the travel date.

However, this booking window, in which the cheapest possible prices will be available, is extended if SNCF is running a promotion.

Oui.SNCF and its official partner sites will sell UP to two types of discounted tickets per departure online:

(1) 'Prems' tickets, also listed as 'Non Exchangeable' tickets - the cheapest type of discounted tickets,

(2) 'Leisure' tickets, also listed as 'Exchangeable - Conditions Apply' tickets.

More info about these two types of tickets are available HERE.

Five things worth knowing:

(i) Despite 'Non Exchangeable' tickets being the only tickets sold online for journeys by TER trains, the price of these tickets is fixed for travel by TER services - meaning that you won't save by booking TER journeys in advance.

(ii) 'Prems' tickets are sometimes not available on TGV (inOui) and IC train services, when they share the exact same (non-high speed) route between two destinations as the TER services.

(iii) 'Leisure' tickets are usually available on all departures by TGV and IC trains services - no matter which route these trains will be taking.

Though on the shorter IC routes, the price differences between the different types of ticket can be less than €5.

So when the IC trains share a route with TER trains, you can usually save by booking ahead for the IC trains in comparison to the TER trains - but on such routes the price difference tends to be less than €5.

(iv) 'Prems' tickets can be up to 70% cheaper than 'Flexible' tickets

(v) Leisure tickets are now the only types of ticket sold for journeys by Ouigo trains,
When these Ouigo services share a route with TGV (inOui) service, the Leisure tickets for the Ouigo departures will be cheaper than the Prems tickets available on the InOui services.

Back to the list of questions.

What do I need to look out for if I want to travel at the cheapest price possible on French train journeys?

(i) The usual booking window for the TGV (InOui) and Intercités services:

Limited numbers of discounted tickets will be available per departure, with the prices rising as the numbers of tickets available at each price point sell out,
Meaning that the further ahead of your travel date, that you can book journeys by the TGV (inOui) and Intercités (IC) services - the more you will save!

Tickets for theTGV (inOui) and Intercités (IC) services can usually always* be booked online from AT LEAST 3 months ahead of the travel date - *the key exception to this 'at least 3 months ahead' rule occurs if you will be searching for tickets between mid-September and early October.

Around that time you may not be able to book for journeys beyond the second Sunday in December, as the new SNCF timetable will come into effect on that date - so tickets can't be placed on sale until the train timings have been confirmed.

(Ii) SNCF's Summer and Winter promotions:

Tickets for journeys by long-distance train within France are normally placed on sale three months ahead of the travel date.

However, the national rail operator SNCF, now runs summer and winter 'promotions' meaning that twice per year this usual  3 month booking window is extended.

Towards the end of March it becomes possible to book journeys by for journeys by TGV (inOui) and Intercités (IC) services which involve travelling up until the beginning of September.

Then in around the beginning of November, the winter 'promotion' kicks in and tickets are released for sale for journeys which involve travelling up until mid-March.

What SNCF is 'promoting' is the earlier than usual release of discounted 'Prems' and 'Leisure tickets, at their usual cheapest price points, for journeys by these express train services.

As per usual, limited numbers of these tickets at their cheapest price points will be made available per departure - so the situation of booking tickets at the earliest opportunity to save, also applies during these promotions.

However, this also means that if you'll be travelling between July and early September, or between early February and mid-March - and then book 3 months ahead, there's a chance that the cheapest available tickets will have already sold out.

This particularly matters if you'll be heading to summer holiday or winter sports destinations, because those travel periods coincide with times of exceptional demand - and high demand pushes up prices.

So when these promotions open the booking windows earlier than usual, it can pay off to take advantage of them - hence a recommendation to sign up to Oui.SNCF's email service, or follow it on social media, so that you're aware when these promotions commence.

Particularly as what SNCF is encouraging is a rush to grab a bargain fare.

The booking window for the Ouigo services:

Tickets for journeys by Ouigo trains are usually* placed on sale up to 6 months ahead on Oui.SNCF.

Meaning that if you look up journeys more than three months ahead on the routes taken by Ouigo trains, you will usually only see the Ouigo services, but in that scenario, avoid assuming that they will be your only option.

But if you look up journeys up to 3 months ahead, the prices of the Ouigo services can be compared with the standard TGV InOui services.

*However, SNCF is clearly keen to maintain that Ouigo tickets can be booked more than 3 months ahead than the InOui services, even when it is running a promotion in which its extending its usual booking periods.
Meaning that it can be possible to book Ouigo tickets up to 9 months ahead of the travel date!

(Iii) Book 'Prems' tickets:

The most heavily discounted tickets for journeys by TGV (InOui), Ouigo and the Intercités trains are the 'Non-Exchangeable' tickets - which are also known as ‘Prems’ tickets.

Limited numbers of these are placed on sale for MOST journeys by TGV (inOui) services AND longer distance journeys by Intercités (IC) train - but they must be booked at least 10 days ahead of your travel date.

Also it’s worth checking the T&Cs when booking these tickets as they live up to their name.

Special 'ECO' tickets are made available on some Intercités departures, they cost from only €15, but can only be booked on the French language version of the Oui.SNCF website.

(iv) Take the Ouigo trains - if they're an option:

If you are happy to put up with a more basic on-board experience - AND to be at the station a minimum of 30 mins before your train will depart, you may be able to make big savings by taking the Ouigo trains.

Ouigo and TGV (InOui) trains now share these routes:

(i) Paris Gare De Lyon - Lyon St Exupery (Lyon Airport) - Aix-en-Provence TGV - Toulon - St Raphael - Cannes - Antibes - Nice

(ii) Paris Gare De Lyon - Lyon St Exupery (Lyon Airport) - Avignon TGV - Marseille

(iii) Lille - Aepoort CDG - Marne la Vallée - Lyon St Exupery (Lyon Airport) - Avignon TGV - Aix-en-Provence TGV - Marseille

(iv) Paris Est - Strasbourg and Metz and Nancy

(v) Paris Montparnasse - Poitiers - Bordeaux

(vi) Paris Montparnasse - Nantes

(vii ) Paris Montparnasse - Rennes

On these routes, you can often save more than €40 if you book tickets for the Ouigo train.

Particularly if you won't be booking more than 10 days ahead, so will have missed the booking window for the 'Non-Exchangeable' (Prems) tickets for journeys by TGV (InOui) trains

(v) Choosing your travel time:

The most heavily discounted (cheapest) 'Prems' tickets inevitably sell out fastest on the most popular departures, so you can often save by taking alternative earlier/later departures..

When looking up journeys on Oui-SNCF the cheapest price available per travel date is clearly shown - find out more HERE.

(vi) Choosing your travel date:

SNCF applies an airline style pricing policy to TGV (inOui) journeys and the longer distance Intercités journeys - meaning that prices can be more expensive at times of likely high demand.

So it CAN be worth avoiding:

(i) Travelling to/from Paris on the afternoon/evenings on Fridays and Sundays.

(ii)Travelling long distance on routes to/from the coast on summer weekends (Friday - Sunday) particularly in August.

(iii) Long distance trains in winter towards ski resorts after midday on Friday and back from the ski resorts on Sunday afternoons/evenings.

(iv) Summer journeys on Friday-Sunday on routes that have comparatively infrequent TGV InOui and Intercités services.

However, working out which alternative dates have cheaper tickets available, is comparatively easy to do when booking on Oui.SNCF
.

Back to the list of questions.

Can I save money by taking the TER trains?

This is yet another question which doesnt have a 'Yes' or 'No' answer, because this depends on the route taken by the TER trains AND when you are booking tickets.

Booking at the station:

If you have a choice between taking a TER service, or a TGV
 inOui services and/or an Intercités (IC) service AND you will be buying tickets last minute at the station, the TER service will be the cheapest option.

The price difference in comparison with an Intercités (IC) service can be less than around €5, but last minute tickets for journeys by TER trains, can be more than 50% cheaper, than last minute tickets for travel by TGV InOui services.

High speed TGV InOui services vs TER services:

However when you have a choice between taking a TER train or travelling along a high speed line by TGV InOui train service, then if you can book ahead, the TER service can be more expensive.

On the high speed routes, the more heavilly discounted 'Prems' tickets will be placed on sale for at least some of the TGV InOui departures - but not the TER services.

Those 'Prems' tickets are taken off sale 10 days ahead of the travel date, so if you can book at least 10 days ahead you'll more than likely make a substantial saving by taking the TGV instead.

You won't be able to refund or exchange those 'Prems' tickets, but that also applies when booking tickets for the TER trains in advance online - the only type of ticket sold online for TER services are the Non Exchangeable tickets.

Routes on which this scenario applies include: Lyon ↔ Marseille; Paris ↔ Le Mans and Paris ↔ Dijon.

Even when the 'Prems' tickets have sold out, or have been taken off sale, the discounted 'Leisure' tickets for the TGV trains MAY still be cheaper than booking  tickets for the TER trains.

More info on these types of tickets is available HERE.

Booking ahead and saving on the non-high speed routes:

Between some French cities there are no high speed lines, examples include Marseille ↔ Nice; Montpellier ↔ Perpignan; Toulouse ↔ Bordeaux.

On these routes, longer-distance TER services often share the railway line with Intercités and TGV InOui services.

When that is the case, 'Prems' tickets are sometimes not available on those alternative services, but if they are, then they're the cheapest option.

If they're not available, the most heavilly discounted prices for the 'Leisure' tickets for the Intercités or TGV services, can be around €5 cheaper than the TER trains.

Though on some routes, tickets for the TER trains are always seemingly slightly cheaper.

Back to the list of questions.

Can I save money by booking idTGV tickets?

 idTGV tickets have been discontinued.

Back to the list of questions.

What if I'm booking tickets for a French train journey which involves a change of train?

If you will be looking up a  new journey on Oui.SNCF it is a good idea to leave the 'direct trains' box unticked.

Also be aware that some of the connections between trains on multi-train end-to-end journeys can be tightly timed.

Despite this, the Oui.SNCF website does not give an option to extend connecting times between trains when looking up journeys. 

More info on how to check the connecting time between trains is available on our Oui.SNCF booking guide - which you can find HERE.

Connections between trains are NOT guaranteed, but tickets will be valid on the next alternative train to depart - even if you are travelling with 'Non-Exchangeable' tickets.

If you are connecting into a TGV or Intercités train, so have seats reserved on that train, you will need to stop by the ticket desk in order to have your reservations re-issued for a later departure.

Though at times when multiple train delays are occurring you can have your ticket 'validated' at an 'Accueil' information desk and show it to the conductor when boarding your next train - though if you do this, seats WON'T be guaranteed.

Back to the list of questions.

What about seat reservations on French trains?

Reservations will automatically be included and specific seats assigned when booking tickets for journeys by standard TGV (inOui) and Ouigo trains.

If you book 2nd class tickets on Oui.SNCF for a journey by TGV InOui, you can choose seating preferences such as window or aisle.

However. if you're booking 1st/Premiere class for a TGV InOui departue, you'll also have the option to choose specific seats on a seating plan.

If TGV Atlantique and TGV Sud Est trains are being used for your selected departure, when booking 1st class tickets, you can choose seats which face forwards, but this facility is not available on departures by TGV Duplex trains.

On Ouigo trains, your seat(s) will be automatically assigned when booking and you have to accept the booking and travel only on these seats.

If you will be travelling by IC (Intercités) trains, then only on these routes reservations will automatically be included and specific seats assigned

On your ticket(s) 'voiture' = coach/carriage number, ‘Place Assise’ = the seat number.

However, reservations are optional when travelling on other IC train routes - including all IC trains from/to Paris Est, Paris Nord and Paris St. Lazare.

Reservations are not possible on TER trains, so you won’t guarantee a seat on a TER train by booking tickets online.

Back to the list of questions.

What about child tickets on French trains?

Children aged under 4 travel for free (but you need to travel with them on your lap) and children aged 4-11 pay half fare on all trains - except for Ouigo trains, these have different terms for child tickets.

However, for journeys by 'InOui' TGV trains, the half fare rate is applied to the more expensive 'Leisure' tickets, even when cheaper adult 'Prems' tickets are still available for a journey.

The adult rate is charged for all travellers aged 12 and over .

Back to the list of questions

How do I claim a refund if the train I've booked is subequently cancelled by SNCF?

If you have booked a ticket on Oui.SNCF and your train has subsequently been cancelled you can apply for a refund.

This is the page on the Oui.SNCF website in which you can find the info relating to refunds and commence your claim.

Back to the list of questions.

------------------------------------------------------------

BOOKING TICKETS ONLINE FOR TRAIN JOURNEYS TO and FROM FRANCE:

What if I want to buy tickets for international train journeys from and to France?

Oui.SNCF, Loco2 and Trainline all sell tickets for international train journeys from and to France - including many journeys that require changes of train outside of France.

Although it can be worth comparing prices with alternative ticket agents, as follows - the links to all of these ticket booking services can be found below.

To/from Belgium AND journeys by Eurostar and Thalys trains - check B-Europe,

To/from Germany - check DB Bahn

Check Eurostar prices on Eurostar.com

Oui.SNCF does not sell tickets for the Thello day or night trains from and to Italy.

Trenitalia does not sell tickets for the TGV France-Italy services.

Back to the list of questions.

------------------------------------------------------------

USING RAIL PASSES ON TRAINS WITHIN and TO and FROM FRANCE:

What do I need to know about using Eurail and InterRail Passes in France?

You can find all you to know on our dedicated guide to using rail passes within France AND on trains from and to France, which is available HERE.

Back to the list of questions.


Ticket Agents


Close this info panel  

Rail Passes


Close this info panel  
More about France Arrow