I’m happy about this trip and just want to assure I have all my arrangements in order in ample time.

With the France Rail Pass do I get a reduced rate on the Eurostar. If I want to travel to Nice, do I have to pay more? If I book the pass in 1st class, does that mean I get 1st class on all trips?

I plan purchase a France Rail Pass and use the Eurostar return from London to Paris. I understand I get a reduced rate on that part of the trip.

However, when in France I am a bit confused. If I have the France Rail Pass and I want to travel to Nice do I have to pay more? Or can I simply use my France Rail Pass for all trips within France?

If so: Is there an additional fee for reservations?

If I book Rail France 1st Class does that mean I get First Class on all rail trips?

How soon can I reserve for rail trips during the month of May and June?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) February 23, 2016 15:28
    Hi Donald,

    A rail pass covers the ticket costs on trains between different cities in the country or countries included on a pass. When applicable, reservations are a supplementary cost to a rail pass. If you were to purchase regular point-to-point tickets (instead of a rail pass), the value of any necessary reservations would still be embedded into those costs. Therefore, a rail pass still can often work out to be the most economical option for travelers taking multiple trains while in Europe.

    Reservations are required on most high-speed trains, many international routes, and all overnight trains. In France, 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 there. The high-speed trains in France are 'TGV' trains, and these are the trains that run from Paris to Nice.

    For travel with a rail pass, you would check reservation costs and purchase reservations by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on the homepage of our site (www.raileurope.com), entering a route, and indicating that the type of rail pass you'll be traveling with (i.e. the 'France Rail Pass').

    The passholder rates (reservations for passengers traveling with a rail pass) can sell out very quickly on TGV routes, especially during the busy spring and summer travel seasons, so it would be recommended that reservations be purchased as soon as it becomes possible. Generally, trains in France can be reserved once within 90 days of an intended date of departure.

    If you book your rail pass for 1st class, then you would be able to purchase all of your reservations for 1st class. Some regional trains only have 2nd class seating, so you would just ride in 2nd class in those instances, if you even happen to take such a train. In France, the regional trains are called 'TER' trains. TER trains don't accept reservations, so the rail pass would be all you'd need to board one of these trains.

    The 'Eurostar' train (the train between Paris and London) is different in that it is not fully covered by any rail pass. However, by purchasing a rail pass that includes France (i.e. the 'France Rail Pass'), you would be able to receive a discounted rate. Just like reservations on the trains that are covered by your rail pass, this discounted rate is referred to as the 'Passholder rate'.

    You would purchase a ticket at the Passholder rate on a Eurostar train by following the same procedure for booking regular passholder reservations on trains that are covered by the rail pass, like a TGV from Paris to Nice. Eurostar trains also can sell out quickly, so you would want to book these tickets as soon as possible. The Eurostar is unique in that it can generally be booked up 6 to 9 months in advance of a departure.

    You would purchase the France Rail Pass here: https://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/france-pass/index.html.
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