France: Buying French train tickets

Due to the vulcano ash and the strike of the French Railworkers we got stranded in Calais, France.

We used the waiting time to learn how to buy tickets (might be interesting for cruisers in the cruise ports who want to their destinations). The yellow machine for national tickets are able to communicate in foreign languages. Just touch the screen.

So you can use the instructions to learn how to buy tickets from Le Havre to Paris or from Villefranche to Cannes.

You select the language at the top. I choosed English by touching the "Union Jack" (British flag).

And a bienvenue is now a welcome.

The normal cruise would not pre-book some tickets at the machine but want to go asap: "Immediate Departure". Many of you want to go from Le Havre to Paris. I am just in Calais and want to go to Paris Nord. Cruisers out of Le Havre should choose "Paris St.Lazare" instead.

All conncections which are not sold out and open to book are displayed. In France reservation in long-distance services are mandantory so sold-out connections are not displayed anymore.

As I want to go quickly from here I choose the first of the two next options and it becomes green. As cruiser you also want to return to your ship so book a "Return Ticket".

And normally you like to return the same day. So today it would be the 04/20/2010, so touch on "20".

Next is the time of return. Let's say "6:00 PM".

Again all connections which are open to book will be displayed.

Now you are asked in which class you want to sit in which part of the travel. Let's say "2nd class" for the regional part to Lille.

Now the next part to Paris in the TGV Trein à grand vitesse High-Speed-Train. And here we choose again "2nd class".

Then you will be asked if you want for the return the same classes of comfort and I confirm by "yes".

Then you are asked for the number of travellers and as we are two adults we are choosing the "2" in the left part.

That we need to "Confirm" on the bottom.

On the right side all tariffs are shown where you need something that you are entitled to buy. On the left all tariffs are shown everybody can buy. "Pro2me" for those who like to rebook and be flexible and "Loisir" for those who can fix the trains. And now for the 1st adult. We choosed "Loisir" because it's a little cheaper. A later change costs 15.00 EUR per person.

And again we "confirm" this at the bottom.

Same procedure for the 2nd person: "Loisir".

And again we "confirm" this at the bottom.

As we do not participate to a loyalty programme of SNCF we say "No".

You get a summery of the order and with "Pay this order" you confirm. Few questions were followed how you would like to be seated but I did not want to buy the ticket so I stopped it here.

Some of you might just want to go from Cannes to Monte Carlo or from Le Havre to Rouen. Destinations which are not shown need to be found by pressing "Other destinations".

Then you enter the appropiate letters...

until the your destination appears.

On the right side you see the possible option like us for "Lille".

The next steps are the same like before for Paris. But with the regional traffic you can choose "Tarif normal".

On smaller train stations without long distance service it could be that there are only the blue ticket machines for TER Regional Traffic. They can be only operated in French.

There are two versions available. But operation is the same.

You start to push the green botton in the circle.

The actual pre-selected option is always on a blue background. We need the tickets from SNCF and then we confirm with the green botton "Billets SNCF...".

"Lille Flandres" is pre-selected. Other non-pre-selected destinations need to found on "Autres Destinations". Confirm with the green botton.

Then accordingly with standard fare "Billet Tarif Normal".

And accordingly 2nd class "2eme classe"

The pre-selection is on "Aller simple" (One-way).

We need to turn around the ring around the green botton to choose the return ticket "Aller/Retour". (Retour simple is just the single return ticket back). And confirm with the green botton.

Accordingly you need to confirm the number of persons.

If the right number is selected press the green botton again.

Then pay with your credit card or in cash.

In France you need to validate/cancel/punch the large tickets. You need to have baggage-tags on your carry-on-bags. That is the reason why you have baggage-tags here to take with you.

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