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A month in Paris and surrounding areas and countries.

I will be in Paris for the month of October and would like to travel to other countries while I'm there. Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Spain and England. I would also like to see France while I'm there. What is the best Rail pass for me?
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  • Hello Kelli,

    When selecting a rail pass on our website, you would just want to be sure that all of the countries being traveled through are accounted for on the pass you choose. However, it is important to note that there is no single rail pass that will combine the United Kingdom with any countries on the mainland continent of Europe. The United Kingdom is only covered by its own individual country passes.

    Therefore, for your intended travel, you would purchase one of these passes in combination with a 5 country Eurail Select Pass. Belgium and the Netherlands are included as a part of the 'Benelux'. The Benelux covers Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg and counts them as one country for the purpose of rail passes. Therefore, you would include the Benelux as one of the 'countries' on your Eurail Select Pass, along with France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

    Additionally, the Eurostar train (which connects Paris or Brussels with London) is not entirely covered by any pass. However, by purchasing a rail pass, you would be eligible to receive the 'Passholder' fare on this train. You would check the Passholder costs for the Eurostar by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on the homepage of our website, just as you would to make reservations on other trains.

    You can purchase the Eurail Select Pass by clicking here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-ticket....

    If you plan on going to Scotland and Wales when you go up to the United Kingdom, you would purchase the BritRail Pass. You can purchase the BritRail Pass by clicking here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-ticket....

    If you just plan on staying in England, then you would purchase the BritRail England Pass. You can purchase the BritRail England Pass by clicking here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-ticket....

    A rail pass covers the ticket costs on trains between different cities in the country or countries included on the pass. When applicable, reservations are a supplementary cost to a rail pass, just as they would be factored into the cost of individual point-to-point tickets (therefore, a rail pass still often works out to be the most economical option for travelers taking multiple trains while in Europe that cover more substantial distances).

    Reservations are required on all high-speed trains, night trains, and many international routes. Generally, high-speed trains connect most of the larger cities and more popular destinations in western Europe.

    In France, Italy and Spain, most major cities are connected almost exclusively by high-speed trains. Therefore, it is likely that reservations will be required for many of your trips in these countries.

    While reservations are required on high-speed trains, they do not happen to be required on the high-speed trains in Germany. However, they are recommended on the high-speed trains in Germany. In any case, there are generally regular trains operating along the same routes as the high-speed trains in Germany, for which reservations would not at all be needed or even accepted. The high-speed trains in Germany are labeled as 'Inter City Express' (ICE) trains. We would recommend booking reservations on these trains, especially during the busy Spring and Summer travel season.

    Regular trains operating within the Benelux region do not even accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board. However, reservations would be required on most trains operating internationally between the Benelux countries and France or Germany, as well as the high-speed Thalys trains that operate as an option along some routes.

    Generally, trains operating within the United Kingdom do not even accept reservations, in which case the rail pass is all you would need to board. On trains in the United Kingdom, reservations are generally only possible on trains that take over 2 hours in duration; however, even then it is not usually necessary to make reservations. In the United Kingdom, it is really only necessary to make reservations on trains that operate between a city in southern England and Scotland (i.e. trains between London and Edinburgh).

    Trains in western Europe can sell out very quickly, so it is recommended that reservations be purchased as soon as possible, prior to departing for Europe.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) April 26, 2017 18:24
      Update:

      As of this year, BritRail Passes no longer enable passengers to receive any kind of Passholder rate on the Eurostar.

      While that is true with regard to BritRail Passes, any Eurail Pass that includes France is now valid to cover Eurostar trains running between Paris and the UK, while any Eurail Pass that includes the Benelux is valid to cover Eurostar trains running between Brussels and the UK. As a supplement to the Eurail Pass, reservations on the Eurostar would still be necessary.

      If a BritRail Pass is the only rail pass with which you’ll be traveling, then it would be necessary to purchase regular tickets in order to ride on the Eurostar. Please note, this applies to any BritRail Pass, including the BritRail England Pass, the BritRail London Plus Pass, the BritRail South West Pass, and the regular BritRail Pass.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) April 18, 2018 15:36
      IMPORTANT UPDATE

      As of this month (April 2018):

      The following rail passes no longer qualify passengers to receive ‘passholder’ rates for reservations on the Eurostar:

      Any single country Eurail Pass, including:

      • Eurail France Pass
      • Eurail Benelux Pass

      Any 2 country option of Eurail Select Pass, including:

      • Eurail France-Italy Pass
      • Eurail France-Switzerland Pass
      • Eurail France-Germany Pass
      • Eurail Benelux-France Pass
      • Eurail France-Spain Pass
      • Eurail Benelux-Germany Pass

      BritRail Passes and the France-Italy combination of the 2 country Eurail Select Pass continue to not be valid on the Eurostar.

      Passengers traveling with any of these rail passes would need to purchase regular tickets to take the Eurostar.

      Passholder rates will continue to be offered (depending on availability) to any passenger traveling with a Eurail Global Pass, a 3 country Eurail Select Pass (that includes the country of arrival or departure, be it France or the Benelux), or a 4 country Eurail Select Pass (that includes the country of arrival or departure, be it France or the Benelux).
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