How to reserve/book trains ahead of time? Is it even possible?

  • 8 June 2022
  • 3 replies

My girlfriend and I are both students studying abroad to france this summer, specifically from June 22nd to July 23rd. We will be staying in Marseille, France for the majority of our time abroad however we have time available over the weekends to travel wherever we’d like. In an attempt to be organized we purchased Eurail passes so that we could book/reserve our trains ahead of time without any stress or potential mishaps at the stations. (No one wants to miss a pre-scheduled tour of the Eiffel tower.) We plan to travel to Paris, Luxembourg, and Rome each subsequent weekend that we have available. The issue, however, is that we have been attempting to book these trains for awhile now and have absolutely no clue whether some of them are reserved or not. Most, if not all, of the trains on the app state that we need seat reservations, but some of our trips will not allow us to purchase the reservations. We have managed to do so for our trip to Paris, but not for our return, while Luxembourg and Italy are completely unavailable as of right now. (Some of them are only unavailable for portions of the trips which makes this process even more confusing) With only some of the QR codes and seat reservations done, we are definitely scared of being stranded on one of our trips and thus look for any assistance we can get. Are we supposed to expect to be able to get on the train without a reservation, purchase one in-person at the station, or are they simply sold out? Is it even necessary that we go through this trouble to reserve seats at all? The app and website clarify little to nothing on their own and so I come to the community here for help. 


Best answer by AnnaB 8 June 2022, 21:30

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We were somehow able to make a reservation for our trip to Luxembourg right after this, however the remainder of our trains remain unreserved as far as we can tell. So far we have only gotten confirmation emails with QR codes for our seat reservations on the outward journeys to Paris and Luxembourg, neither of the return trips and Rome will allow us to do so. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

The advice from the experienced travellers in the community is to use other ways to make reservations than the Eurail website. You can look at the guide in the link:

If you, after having looked at the guide, have questions about how to make specific reservation, please give your travel details (departure date, time and route) preferably in a new post, and you will get advice. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Mrs to Roma is quite a challenge to do in 1 weekend-its simply a quite slow route-but scenic along he coast in many places. Best is likely an overnite (check if it runs on days) from Genova or maybe even before-you have to go from Mrs to Nice-local to Ventimiglia-local IT to Genova-or before and this eats time.

For the north try to get on the overnite to Paris (from OTHER minor stop in Mrs, not the main Blancarde), then onward. This is time-wise best way for weekendtrippers. Nighttrain has basic bunks, called couchette.