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Mannheim to Caen, Eurail Global Pass, on Friday in May??? Never Traveled By Train before.

  • 22 January 2024
  • 10 replies
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Hello, I’ve been reading Travel Books, Travel Websites and oh so many questions and answers about Train Travel in France, especially Paris St Lazare these past few weeks and I’m not getting a warm fuzzy feeling about this ;-)     I have never traveled by train before, so it is all new to me.

Briefly, Land in Amsterdam, train to Cologne, train to Mannheim, train to Paris est, Taxi to St Lazare, train to Caen.          Mannheim to Caen is on a Friday in May 2024.

Following Friday in May, Train from Caen to Munich via St Lazare, Paris est, Stuttgart, then Munich.

CONCERNS: Books/Websites say to Book Trains and Seat Reservations early. 60-90 days early if possible, especially if traveling on Fridays, Busy Months Like May, Using Eurail passes because seats sell out faster and there is a limit on how many Eurail Passes that will be allowed on trains. Oh, I almost forgot, this 2024 is the 80th Anniversary for D-Day and I will be in Normandy a few weeks before June 6th.

GREATEST CONCERN; Not getting Seat Reservations for St Lazare to Caen until the day I get to Paris. Out of the entire month I will be in Europe, the day and time I arrive in Caen has the least flexibility.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Do I really have a greater chance of not getting the St Lazare to Caen Seat Reservations since I am traveling on a Friday, in May, just weeks before the 80th Anniversary Of D-Day?
  2. How many days before date of travel can Seat Reservations be purchased for St Lazare to Caen?
  3. How early can I book the Trains from Mannheim to Caen to assure that our Eurail Global Passes are accepted (Have Not Met the Limit for the trains)?
  4. How is the Seat Reservation handled for the Mannheim Germany to Paris est trip?
  5. Are the Seat Reservations Printed and Is a Ticket or Eurail Pass REQUIRED to purchase a Seat Reservation? (If there is enough time, I might check with the owner of the home we are renting to see if he would purchase and mail the Seat Reservations to me).
  6. I have been told that we can get the Seat Reservations for France at Amsterdam Centraal International Ticket Office. Is this accurate? It would give us a 10 day head start on reservations if all else fails.

Thank you so very much for any information or help you can offer.

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Best answer by ralderton 22 January 2024, 00:55

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  1. You can make the reservation to Caen on www.raileurope.com for €1.50. Just tick the ‘add railpass’ box to get the discount. They aren’t on sale for May yet, only as far as March. I don’t think you’d have any problems getting the reservation if you check back in a month or two. By all means, have a look at March to see availability now.
  2. As above, it’s about two months. Not exact.
  3. You can book Mannheim to Paris for €18, also at Rail Europe. They’re currently on sale for early May.
  4. As above
  5. These will be electronic, emailed to you. You can print them out, or show on your phone.
  6. I’m not sure about this. Possibly, but it’s easier to buy online.

Don’t fret too much about the Caen reservation. The advice about reservations selling out applies more to big intercity routes.

 

Userlevel 7
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There is no passholder quota on most trains. Eurostar is an exception. It’s true that you should book in advance when reservations are required but no real need to book months in advance except Eurostar and holiday weekends.

That’s why Germany, Switzerland, the UK and others are really cool countries as you can basically turn up at the station, log the train you’d like to take and hop on. On the other hand mandatory reservations in France, Spain, Italy and some cross-border routes limit your flexibility.

For your other questions I’ll link these 2 pages (even though you might have read them already) from this helpful website :

https://www.seat61.com/how-to-use-a-eurail-pass.htm

https://www.seat61.com/interrail-and-eurail-reservations.htm

Most trains for May are not available yet so don’t worry! Relax and it’ll go well!

I’m not sure D-day celebrations will change anything but rather the 2 holiday weekends at the start of May (Ascension and Whitsun) will be busy periods. Book in advance.

Userlevel 7
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Reservations for France can be done on www.raileurope.com (no additional booking fees), including the TER with mandatory reservations (such as Paris-Caen) and the ICE/TGVs from Germany to France (reservations also mandatory).

When you can book reservations depends on when SNCF feel like opening booking. On 24 January, they will open booking until 22 May. I don’t know when later dates will open but that's still quite far in the future, so don't worry too much about the end of May or June. Holiday weekends like Ascension day weekend are much busier.

You'll receive a PDF as your reservation. You can show it on a screen, you don't have to print it. You can also show it in the Rail Europe app. You'll have to enter a pass number but it's not shown on SNCF reservations. (I11111111 will work.)

You can also book reservations at train stations, like Amsterdam Centraal, but you'll pay an extra service fee (in the Netherland at least) and I'm not sure they can book the TER to Caen.

Thank you so very much, ralderton, thibcabe and rvbborgt, I am feeling much better about this, except for the Ascension and Whitsun. I’m leaving Caen on Friday 10 May and apparently starts on the 9th, but if I can get the Seat Reservation St Lazare to Caen and from Caen back to St Lazare by the end of this week, it will be a tremendous weight off my shoulders.

 

Reservations for France can be done on www.raileurope.com (no additional booking fees), including the TER with mandatory reservations (such as Paris-Caen) and the ICE/TGVs from Germany to France (reservations also mandatory).

 

This eases my mind tremendously. All that I have found the past couple weeks is that I could only buy the Seat Reservations in person at SNCF Machines located in France. I am amazed that this is such a well kept secret.

Booking Reservations up to 22 May will work perfectly for me, so on 24 January I will start making my Seat Reservations and Trains.

I am so happy. The idea of having to wait until just minutes before I needed to board the train at St Lazare before I could know if I would be able to get a Seat Reservation was unnerving.

Thank you all for your help and information

I just checked raileurope.com for March and also for January 23 and they both look the same.

It shows US$22.00 for the Seat Reservation. Is this US$22.00 for both Reservations or only the Mannheim Hbf to Paris Est leg of the trip?

 

Thanks again for your help.

 

 

Userlevel 7
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Mannheim - Paris would be 20,5 USD (+/- 18 EUR). So the Paris Caen stretch is included in the 22 USD (19,7 EUR), as it’s about 1,5 USD / 1,7 EUR for the TER Nomad.

Userlevel 7
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I just checked raileurope.com for March and also for January 23 and they both look the same.

It shows US$22.00 for the Seat Reservation. Is this US$22.00 for both Reservations or only the Mannheim Hbf to Paris Est leg of the trip?

Raileurope only started selling pass reservations in the last month or so, so it’s not well known! I believe nobody else sells the Caen reservation online until now.

It also means any quirks on their website is not well known!

But if you search for Mannheim to Paris on its own, it shows $20.50, so $22 includes the Caen leg.

 

Thank you so very much BrendanDB and ralderton and everyone else that has helped. This is such wonderful news for me.

The past couple weeks I have been waking up 02:00-02:30 and running options through my head trying to figure out how best to get to France to use a SNCF Ticket Machine to make the Seat Reservations as early as possible or how to get from France to Caen before Car Rental Business closed.

This morning, Starting at 03:20 I started checking times, dates and reservation prices and everything adds up.

On raileurope Mannheim to Paris can be reserved well into May and St Lazare to Caen can be reserved up to 22 Mar as of this morning, By my calculations, I can book and reserve Mannheim to Caen starting 10 Mar 2024. I cannot tell you all what a relief this is for me.

Checked Seat Reservation prices for 22 Mar

Mannheim to Paris Est   = USD $20.50

Paris St Lazare to Caen = USD $2.00

Mannheim to Caen        = USD $22.00

 

Thank you so very much to all of you for your help

Userlevel 7
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Glad to have helped.

It can sometimes be a bit of a maze, but there are plenty of knowledgable people on here who can help if you get stuck. Do ask again if you need help with anything else.

The advice to reserve early is usually good advice, but it shouldn’t have you waking up in the middle of the night worrying!

Glad to have helped.

It can sometimes be a bit of a maze, but there are plenty of knowledgable people on here who can help if you get stuck. Do ask again if you need help with anything else.

The advice to reserve early is usually good advice, but it shouldn’t have you waking up in the middle of the night worrying!

Thanks again

I do my best thinking in the early morning when it is quiet and no interruptions.

In this case, all I could do is think about what options I had that would give me the most time to come up with an alternate plan in case I could not get Seat Reservations at Paris St Lazare.

Having to wait until I only had a few minutes to board the train, before I could even know if I could get on the train, was not a happy thought when so much depended on this 2 hour train ride ;-)

Again, a big thanks to everyone for their help and a very big THANK YOU to raileurope.com for making online reservations for Paris St Lazare possible,

Hope everyone has a great week, mine is now looking much better.

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