I won't be going to France for a while, but perhaps someone would like to 'test drive' this site and see if it streamlines the train ticket process, especially for foreigners...
Quoted from the "Secrets of Paris" newsletter:
<>Quick & Easy Train Tickets
The SNCF has made a nice effort in improving their services, but sometimes you just need a quick train ticket, no hotel options, no rental car, no ads, no extra options. The quickest way to do this is through Capitaine Train, a travel agency that has created a super-simple site for buying train tickets without adding anything to the official price (they get a commission from SNCF). Wouldn’t it be nice if ALL service sites were this simple!?