Help with Best France-Italy Rail Costs

Hi. At the end of June 2015, my boyfriend and I are traveling to Paris (from London but I know that is not covered by railpass). Within France we will be going to Caen/Bayeux (1 day), Tours, Niort (1 day), back to Paris (1 day), then later to Venice and return to Paris via the night train (2 days total) and on to Calais (1 day) to take the ferry to Dover (again which is not in the pass). We MIGHT want to visit other cities in Italy when we are in Venice, but not certain. Could you tell me if it would be cheaper to buy a 2 country railpass or buy the tickets individually? I have been trying to research the rail costs and schedules to make sure our plans will work out, but it has been a bit daunting because of not knowing what the schedules will be this far in advance of our travels. Thanks in advance.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) February 02, 2015 19:32
    Thank you for your question, Diana.

    The best option for rail travels would depend on the specific itinerary you settle on and various other factors.

    You would check regular ticket costs by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage.

    To determine your overall most economical option, you would then compare the cumulative total of the ticket costs for each your trips to the total for the rail pass that covers the same itinerary and any reservations.

    The rail pass that would cover travel in both France and Italy is the Eurail France-Italy Pass. You would check costs for the Eurail France-Italy Pass here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/eurail-france-italy-pass/index.html.

    For travel with a rail pass, you would check any reservation costs by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, entering the route, and indicating the type of rail pass you'd be traveling when you're prompted (i.e. the Eurail France-Italy Pass).

    Of the trips you mentioned, reservations would be required on trains from Paris to Caen and most trains from Caen to Tours (in addition to a rail pass). Trains between Caen and Bayeux are regional trains that don't accept reservations, so a rail pass is all you'd need to board.

    A connection from Tours to Niort would involve changing trains once in Poitiers along the way. Some trains from Tours to Poitiers are regional trains that don't accept reservations, while others are high-speed TGV trains that require reservations in addition to a rail pass. The same would apply for the segment of this connection from Poitiers to Niort, as some trains from Poitiers to Niort are regional trains that don't accept reservations and others are high-speed TGV trains that do require reservations.

    Trains from Niort to Paris are high-speed TGV trains that require reservations in addition to a rail pass.

    The shortest daytime connection from Paris to Venice would take about 9.5 hours in duration and involves 2 train changes en route; once in Turin and then once in Bologna. The trains from Paris to Turin (high-speed France-Italy TGV trains), Turin to Bologna (high-speed Frecciarossa trains), and Bologna to Venice (high-speed Frecciargento trains) would all require reservations in addition to a rail pass.

    For the trips that involve changing trains en route, you would piece together the connection by doing a separate search for each segment when doing your search, whether you're checking reservation costs for travel with a rail pass or regular point-to-point ticket costs.

    While a rail pass would not fully cover the Eurostar train that connects London and Paris, one would still enable you to receive a 'Passholder' fare for a regular ticket on this train. You would purchase tickets at the Passholder fare on the Eurostar by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, just as you would to purchase reservations for other trains that would be covered by the rail pass.

    Similar to the Eurostar, it would also be important to note that the night train from Venice to Paris (the Thello night train) is not entirely covered by any rail pass. However, a rail pass would make you eligible to receive a 25% discount for a regular ticket on this train. With that said, the 25% discount for this train is not able to be booked on our website. Therefore, you would have to call us at 1-800-622-8600 if you'd like to inquire about the ticket costs for this train for travel with a rail pass.
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    • Jeff (Official Rep) February 03, 2015 16:32
      You're welcome, Diana. Have a great trip!
    • Jeff (Official Rep) April 13, 2018 14:26
      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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