In France for a week to visit a student studying abroad.

We are coming to France April 2 - April 11. Going to Clermont Ferrand on the 2nd and coming back to Paris on the 8th. Will have 2 adults, one senior and one youth.
Plan on some travel while in Clermont Ferrand and would like to do Mont Saint Michel on one of the days. And also have availability to get around Paris.

Would I by a separate and different type of pass for Paris?
Are there additional costs for TGV from CDG to LYON and return?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) March 06, 2015 20:12
    Hi Rich,

    The best option for rail travel would depend on the specific itinerary and various other factors. For travel around France, you could purchase the France Rail Pass. You would purchase the France Rail Pass here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/the-france-rail-pass/index.html.

    A rail pass covers the ticket costs on trains between different cities in the country or countries included on it. When applicable, reservations are a supplementary cost to a rail pass. In France, reservations are required on TGV trains and some Intercités trains.

    There are direct trains between the Paris CDG Airport or Paris and Lyon. These trains are TGV trains, so reservations would be required.

    To get to Mont St Michel, you would take the train to Rennes. At the station in Rennes, you would switch to a bus that would take you to Mont St Michel. The trains between Paris and Rennes are TGV trains, so reservations would be required.

    Trains between Paris and Clermont Ferrand are Intercités trains that do require reservations.

    For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage. When purchasing reservations for a train that departs out of the Paris CDG Airport, you would just type 'Paris Airport' in the field for the departure city. If you would like to purchase reservations from Paris to Rennes that include the bus to Mont St Michel, you would enter 'Le Mont St Michel' as your arrival city for this search instead of 'Rennes'.

    Passholder rates (reservations) on TGV trains in France can sell out very quickly, especially during the busy Spring and Summer travel season, so it would be recommended that reservations be purchased as soon as possible.

    As the objective of a rail pass is more to cover travel between different cities, the France Rail Pass would not cover the Métro and RER public transit networks in Paris, with the exception of Line B of the RER from the CDG Airport to the city of Paris (incidentally, it would not be valid in the reverse direction from the city of Paris to the airport) and Line C of the RER between Paris and Versailles (the 'Versailles-Rive-Gauche-Château' stop). If you were to use the France Rail Pass on either of these RER lines, you would just have to go to the RER ticket counter and request a 'contremarque' voucher prior to boarding.

    For Paris, we do happen to offer separate city passes that would cover local public transportation. If you'll be staying in Paris and traveling around the city, we would recommend purchasing one of these passes. There is the Paris Pass and the Paris Visite Pass.

    The Paris Pass covers entry to over 60 top attractions, as well as public transportation on the Métro, RER, and buses in central Paris. You would purchase the Paris Pass here: http://www.raileurope.com/activities/paris-pass/index.html.

    The Paris Visite just covers local transportation in Paris, including the Métro, RER, and city buses. With the Paris Visite, there is an option just for central Paris (zones 1-3) and there is another option that covers zones outside of central Paris as well (zones 1-5). You would purchase the Paris Visite here: http://www.raileurope.com/activities/paris-visite/index.html.

    There is also the Paris Museum Pass, which doesn't cover any transportation but does cover entry to over 60 museums and historic sites around Paris. You would purchase the Paris Museum Pass here: http://www.raileurope.com/activities/paris-museum-pass/index.html.
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  • Hello Jeff,

    We are not sure of all of our travel plans yet, to include the number of days we will be traveling.

    three additional questions.

    Can we purchase the France Rail passes when we are in France?
    Can we make reservation on TGV with Pass option, prior to purchasing a pass?
    Can our student uses the unused days or are the passes named.

    Thanks
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) March 09, 2015 14:17
    Hi Rich,

    Generally, rail passes are not accessible to be purchased in Europe. A rail pass is something you would purchase prior to departing North America.

    Passholder reservations can be purchased before the rail pass is purchased. Trains in France can be reserved once within 90 days of an intended date of departure.

    The name on a rail pass must be correct and must correspond to specific person traveling.
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