Will a France Rail Pass Cover London to Paris and Paris to Zurich?

We are planning a trip from Lon-Par-Zurich-Florence-Rome. It appears that the France Rail Pass covers London to Paris and Paris to Zurich - is that correct? I'm looking at a two day France Rail pass over an 8 day period for that portion of the trip. Will I have to make reservations for those trips - will there be additional costs?

What else does this cover in France - RER and/or Metro?

Any other suggestions to save costs for our trip are very welcome!

Thank you.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) August 06, 2015 15:45
    Hi Amy.

    The train between London and Paris is the 'Eurostar'. Technically, the 'Eurostar' is not covered by any rail pass. However, by purchasing any pass that includes France (including the 'France Rail Pass'), you would be able to receive a 'Passholder' discount for a ticket on this train. Since ticket costs for the 'Eurostar' are not covered by any pass, the Passholder fares on this train cost more than the typical reservation fees to take other trains throughout Europe (for which the ticket costs would be covered).

    You would check ticket costs at the Passholder rate on a 'Eurostar' 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. The 'Eurostar' is unique from other trains in that it can generally be booked 6 to 9 months in advance of a departure.

    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.

    The train between Paris and Zurich is the 'TGV Lyria'. With a 'France Rail Pass', you would be eligible to receive a discounted rate called the 'Passholder 2' on a 'TGV Lyria' from Paris to Zurich.

    You would check costs and purchase tickets at a 'Passholder 2' rate for a 'TGV Lyria' train from Paris to Zurich by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, entering the route, and indicating that you'll be traveling with a 'France Rail Pass' when prompted.

    To ensure that it's a 'Passholder 2' rate you're being quoted when you pull up the results of your search, you would click the 'View' button for the cost listed under your preferred class of service for your preferred departure. After you click the 'View' button, a box will expand out underneath. In this box, you would refer to the option(s) listed under where it says 'Ticket Flexibility' and click 'Read More'. When you click 'Read More', the name of the fare should display as something like 'TGV Lyria Passholder 2'. Generally, the 'Passholder 2' rates for these trains would be the 'Semi Flexible' option under 'Ticket Flexibility'.

    'TGV Lyria' trains can be booked once within 90 days of an intended date of departure.

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

    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.

    Keep in mind that this would use up a day of travel on your pass. Therefore, you might choose not to use your pass for such a short trip, unless you'll already be using it for another trip on the same day (connecting to or from somewhere else in France).

    In France, reservations would be required on all 'TGV' trains (the high-speed trains in France), all 'Intercités de Nuit' trains (the overnight trains that operate within France), and some 'Intercités' trains. For travel with the rail pass, you would purchase reservations on any of these trains by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, entering a route, and indicating that you'll be traveling with a 'France Rail Pass' when prompted.

    Trains operating within France can be booked once within 90 days of an intended date of departure.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) August 06, 2015 15:46
    If you'll be staying in Paris for multiple days and plan on using the Métro and RER networks to get around the city, you'd want to consider purchasing either the 'Paris Pass' or the 'Paris Visite'.

    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/en/attractions/things-to-do/paris-pass/index.html.

    The 'Paris Visite' Pass just covers local transportation in Paris, which includes the Métro and RER networks, as well as city buses. 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.

    To browse other city passes for a stay in Paris, you would click here: http://www.raileurope.com/en/activities/france/paris/.
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