Whirlwind France from London (London-Paris-Lourdes-Normandy-Paris CDG)

would like to know if a France Rail pass would be best for a trip from London to Paris (2 days/1 night) Paris to Lourdes (2 days/2nights) Lourdes to the Normandy Beach WWII Memorial (1 day/1 night) then back to Paris (1 day/1 night) Paris to CDG Airport. Would the France Rail Pass include all of the above?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) July 30, 2015 19:06
    Hi Maria.

    With regard to your itinerary, the option of purchasing the 'France Rail Pass' would likely work out to be slightly less expensive than the option of purchasing regular point-to-point tickets for all trips.

    You would purchase the 'France Rail Pass' here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-ticket....

    London to Paris


    You would travel from London to Paris by taking the high-speed Eurostar train, which is not fully covered by any rail pass. However, by purchasing the 'France Rail Pass', you would be able to receive a 'Passholder' discount for a ticket on this train.

    You would check ticket costs at the Passholder rate on a Eurostar train from London to Paris by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering the route, and indicating that you'll be traveling with a 'France Rail Pass'. Incidentally, this is also how you would book passholder reservations for trains that are covered by rail passes.

    It would not use up a day of travel on your 'France Rail Pass' to receive the Passholder rate for tickets on the Eurostar; however, your pass would still have to be validated prior to boarding. You would validate your 'France Rail Pass' at the station in London (the St Pancras station) before you board.

    Paris to Lourdes

    From Paris to Lourdes, you would take a high-speed TGV train. TGV trains do require reservations in addition to a rail pass.

    Lourdes to Normandy (Bayeux or Caen)

    For Normandy, you would take the train to either Bayeux or Caen. Bayeux is the closest station to the American beaches and Caen is the closest station to the Allied beaches. A connection from Lourdes would involve changing trains in Paris en route. The trains from Lourdes back up to Paris are TGV trains, so reservations would be required. Trains from Paris to Bayeux and Paris to Caen are Intercités trains. On the Intercités trains from Paris to Bayeux or Caen, reservations aren't required, but they are highly recommended.

    To purchase reservations for such a connection, you would break up your search once in Paris. Therefore, you would do one search for trains from Lourdes to Paris and then another search for connecting trains from either Paris to Bayeux or Paris to Caen.

    When you pull up the results of these searches, you will see that trains from Lourdes to Paris arrive into the Montparnasse station in Paris, while trains from Paris to either Bayeux or Caen depart from the St Lazare station. To commute from the Montparnasse station to the St Lazare station, you would take M13 of the Paris Métro. The ride on the Métro from Montparnasse to St Lazare would take about 10 minutes, but I would still recommend allowing yourself at least an hour to transfer between stations. The 'France Rail Pass' does cover the Métro. You would pay to board the Métro locally at the station.

    Normandy (Bayeux or Caen) to the Paris CDG Airport

    While the CDG Airport does have a rail station, there are no trains to there from Bayeux or Caen. Therefore, you would have to go back into the city of Paris in order to get to the airport. You would be taking one of the Intercités trains from either Bayeux to Paris or Caen to Paris, so reservations would be highly recommended. The trains from Bayeux and Caen arrive into the St Lazare station. From the St Lazare station, you would take Line E of the local RER rail network to the Nord station. At the Nord station, you would switch to Line B of the local RER rail network. RER Line B would take you right from Nord up to the CDG Airport. The 'France Rail Pass' does cover the RER. Like the RER, you would pay to board the RER locally at the station.
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