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Travel French Style with TGV

Your pocket guide to TGV trains

Be it the extravagance of the Eiffel Tower or the medieval flavour of Avignon; the famed film festival city of Cannes, or the surreal vineyards of Bordeaux; the French Railway connects you to every crevice of France and a little beyond with its remarkable railway network, as you sip on a glass of wine and engross yourself in the beauty of France.

1. What are TGV trains?

TGV trains (Train à Grande Vitesse) are the flagship trains of SNCF, i.e., the National Railway Company of France; that provide a high-speed railway network within and across the French borders. The TGV network intricately connects every nook and corner of France and transverses through its neighbouring countries, such as Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Spain. The TGV train speed is also awe-inspiring.

2. What is the speed of TGV trains?

Being the pride of France, TGV trains operate at 320km/hour. With an extraordinary frequency of 450 trains bulleting through the railway network, TGV train speed gives a tough competition to many airlines. For instance, the 370km stretch from Paris to Luxemburg is covered in a jiffy of 2 hours.

3. WHERE TO BUY TGV TICKETS ONLINE?

The bookings for TGV tickets open 90 days before departure. Just like the airline system, the earlier you make a TGV train booking, the lesser the fares. People often wonder how to buy TGV tickets?The fastest and most convenient way to book yourself a TGV ride is by doing so online. If you are wondering where to buy TGV tickets online, here are some reliable websites.

http://tgv.en.voyages-sncf.com/, www.voyages-sncf.com, www.captaintrain.com, www.loco2.com are the few widely used websites to make online bookings.

You may also utilise the Voyages-SNCF smartphone App to buy TGV tickets or do the same over a quick phone call on 0844 848 5848, between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Saturday.

Once you receive a confirmation email, the tickets can be printed at home or through a self-service ticket machine at a French railway station.

You may also opt for a direct delivery of your tickets to your doorstep with applicable shipping charges.

4. What are the types of TGV train tickets?

Based on the information on TGV trains, it caters to multiple travelers, from businessmen to bag-packers. The TGV train tickets are categorized into 3 main types:

  • TGV Prem’s – These are the most affordable train fares, making them a pocket-friendly option for all travelers on a tight budget. These tickets cannot be refunded or exchanged.
  • TGV Loisir – The Loisir tickets provide a tickets at a Leisure rate, ensuring more flexibility and comparatively lower prices.
  • These tickets can be exchanged free of charge, and refunded up to 90% before departure.
  • TGV Pro – Although the Pro tickets cost more than the others, they are most flexible and comfortable options.
  • These tickets are 100% refundable and exchangeable free of charge.

5. What are the amenities offered on TGV trains?

TGV trains are tantamount to speed and comfort, thus boosting the pride of France. These trains provide the comfort of 2 travel classes – Economy and Premier. Both the classes have relaxing seats, access to the bar and snack counter, a nursery area for children, etc.

The seats in the 1st class have more legroom and adjustable seats, along with the option of choosing between single seats, duo seats, club 2 and club 4 seats.

TGV trains also include the TGV Duplex, which is a double-decker train, ideal for indulgent window-seat travelers, as it offers an unmatched view while you travel across France.

Wi-fi connection is available only in certain specific coaches.

6. Do I need to make a reservation?

Yes. Reservation is mandatory on all TGV trains. The reservation fees are included in your train fares. The ticket cost includes the reservation fee. For all Eurail, InterRail and other rail pass holders, it is essential to make a prior reservation before boarding any TGV train. The reservation window opens 90 days before the date of departure. Reservations can be made on http://tgv.en.voyages-sncf.com/, www.voyages-sncf.com, www.captaintrain.com, www.loco2.com and other independent travel agent websites.

7. What are the price benefits offered by TGV trains?

Like most European railway services, TGV trains also offer plenty of deals and discounts.

  • Child Discount – Infants below the age of 4 require a child ticket, but can travel for free. Children from the age of 4 to 11 enjoy a discount of 50% on the fare. However, they need to be accompanied by an adult and cannot travel alone.
    Children between 4 to 14 years can travel alone under the Junior & Cie Service, which enables them to travel in a group with trained staff members. You may book their tickets on http://www.sncf.com/en/services/junior-compagnie
  • Youth Discount – Young travelers in the age group of 12 to 26 are entitled to a youth discount of up to 60% on their tickets.
  • Senior Citizen Discount – Passengers above the age of 60 can obtain a 50% off on their train travel.
  • Weekend Card – For all those who fall under the age group of 26 to 59, the TGV trains offer a special weekend card that entitles them to a discount of 25% to 40%, valid only on Saturdays and Sundays for distances over 200kms.

8. What is the baggage allowance on TGV trains?

According to the information on TGV trains, they do not have stringent baggage allowance rules. Passengers are allowed to carry hand luggage, suitcases, bag-packs or rucksacks, as long as every piece of their luggage is tagged. In case of oversized baggage, TGV trains allow you to put your belongings at the entrance or in middle of the carriage.

It is preferred if your bikes, prams, wheelchairs, and other equipment can be dismantled, so as to ensure you do not cause any inconvenience to other passengers.

If your itinerary includes a day trip in France and do not want to tag all your heavy luggage along, TGV allows you to storage lockers at select stations, for a minimal fee of €4 to €10.

9. Can I take my pet along?

Interestingly, yes! TGV understands how much of a family your pet is to you. Depending on the size of your little friend, you can travel with your pet at an extremely nominal charge. Pets that weigh less than 6kgs, can travel for €6, with an average sized kennel or carrier. Larger pets are entitled to a 50% discount on most ticket fares. However, tickets for pets cannot be booked online. They can only be purchased at an SNCF station.

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