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I’m confused and sad

Bayeux to Amboise on May 8th

My husband and I have a France Rail Pass for our trip to France, which will be the first 2 weeks of May. A few weeks ago when we purchased our pass, we looked at all the trips to make sure it was worth it. Our May 8th trip, which would be from Bayeux to Amboise, wouldn't show up, which we were told (by acquaintances) was because they were getting a holiday schedule and it would be available later. We weren't concerned, as people had said that the May 8th holiday didn't hurt the train schedules too much. We also aren't too concerned if we have to transfer or transfer in Paris to get there.

Unfortunately it would now appear that there is no service on May 8th because of construction, and there are no buses or alternatives available. This means that we cannot get from our one destination to the next, despite having already purchased our rail pass and hotels for both places.

Are there really no alternatives for May 8th? Is there a bus or other mode that we could use? I'd like to avoid a rental car, as I've been looking into this and would require us to do a multi-location drop off, which adds to the cost, and we already have our rail pass. I can't find any help on the actual website where I was attempting to book reservations, it just says "not available at this time".
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) April 02, 2014 15:23
    Hi Erin,

    You can still get from Bayeux to Amboise by taking a connection comprised of regional 'TER' and 'Intercités' trains directly south. Such a connection would involve at least 2 train changes along the way; once in Caen and then once in St. Pierre des Corps. In some instances, you would change trains again in Mezidon in between Caen and St. Pierre des Corps.

    The 'TER' trains from Bayeux to Caen, Caen to Mezidon, and St. Pierre des Corps to Amboise don't accept reservations, so the France Rail Pass is all you would need to board. You would only be able to purchase reservations for the direct Intercités trains from Caen or Mezidon to St. Pierre des Corps, but it would not be necessary.

    For planning, you can just check schedules under 'Find Fares & Schedules' on the homepage of our website, www.raileurope.com. To view the schedules for a connection comprised of regional trains, you would break up your search in Caen and in St. Pierre des Corps. Therefore, you would do one search for trains from Bayeux to Caen, another search for the part of the connection from Caen to St. Pierre des Corps, and then another search for the part of the connection from St. Pierre des Corps to Amboise.

    If you'd like to purchase actual reservations for the segment from Caen or Mezidon to St. Pierre des Corps, then you would click on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, instead of 'Find Fares & Schedules'.

    For the other segments, where reservations would not be accepted, don't indicate that you'll be traveling with the rail pass when you do your search. Otherwise, the schedules won't displays, since these are for the 'TER' trains that don't accept reservations.
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  • Thanks for your help Jeff. I'm happy to find out that there are still options available. My one concern now having followed your steps, is that the first train out of Bayeux on May 8th is after 9am, and following that train, all the next transfers will mean we will get to Amboise closer to 5pm. That means we will have spent pretty well our entire day on the train. If however, I could get to Caen for the 9:05am train direct to St Pierre Des Corps, I could get to Amboise by 1pm, which would make a huge difference.

    Do you have any suggestions for getting into Caen to catch the 9:05am train? Is there perhaps a bus connection?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) April 02, 2014 16:16
    Hi Erin,

    You're welcome, Erin. I'm not sure if there are any feasible buses, but you can take a taxi to get from Bayeux to Caen, if you want to make that earlier train from Caen to St. Pierre des Corps. That might be worth it, so that you can get into Amboise earlier that day.
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  • Thanks again! One final follow-up question, since the suggested route doesn't really use reservations for the trip. If I don't have reservations and I have a first class rail pass, will I normally be okay to get space in first class? If not, do you recommend that we try to get reservations where possible, or is it not as dire to have them? Presumably it is also not good to book a reservation when you are not completely sure you'll make the train, I assume?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) April 03, 2014 15:19
    Hi Erin,

    If you have a 1st class rail pass, you would be able to sit in 1st class, whether you have a reservation or not. In any case, with regard to your connection from Bayeux to Amboise, you would only even be able to get reservations on the middle segment of the connection between Caen or Mezidon and St. Pierre des Corps. While they are not necessarily required, I would still recommend purchasing reservations for this segment. The reservation fees are only a small cost, so you wouldn't lose much at all if it turns out that you don't make the train. If you'll be traveling with a rail pass, you would check reservation costs and purchase reservations for trains from Caen or Mezidon to St. Pierre des Corps by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage instead of 'Find Fares & Schedules'.

    On train that require reservations, such as the TGV, it would be very highly recommended that the reservations be purchased as soon as possible, prior to departing for Europe. This is because these trains can sell out very quickly, especially during the busy Spring and Summer travel seasons. Reservablet trains in France can be booked once within 90 days of an intended date of departure.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) April 03, 2014 15:21
    On 'TER' trains in France (i.e. Bayeux to Mezidon or Caen and St. Pierre des Corps to Amboise), a rail pass is all you would need to board, since these are trains that don't accept reservations. For planning, you can just view schedules for these segments under 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our website.
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