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Paris to Bayeux: Purchase ticket in advance?

Louisville, Kentucky
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5,428 posts
26 reviews
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Paris to Bayeux: Purchase ticket in advance?
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We will be arriving at CDG at 10:00 and want to catch the 12:25 train to Bayeux. Is this enough time to clear customs and take a taxi to St. Lazare?

Should we purchase our tickets in advance? I have visited the RailEurope site and want to purchase the Comfort Flexi ticket. I would prefer to purchase in advance in case we are rushed and there are lines at the counter. I also want first class because of luggage and jetlag...reclining seats and sleep sound good after a long flight! Should our flight be delayed, my understanding is that this ticket could be changed to a later train with a 10-15% penalty. Am I reading this correctly?

Are there better deals than what I have seen on the RailEurope site? We will be returning to Paris from Caen, not Bayeux, three days later.

Chattanooga...
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1. Re: Paris to Bayeux: Purchase ticket in advance?
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We did a very similar itenerary. I would get the advance reserved ticket again. The main variables are your baggage and customs. If you can clear those within an hour of landing you'll be okay. If not, you can catch the next train out of St. Lazare. 1st Class is woth the extra $ in my opinion. You'll love Bayeux. Give us s report when you get back please! RailEurope may be abit more expensive but the conveneience is worth it IMHO.

Kamloops, BC...
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2. Re: Paris to Bayeux: Purchase ticket in advance?
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Hi --

I have never purchased a Bayeux ticket in advance, and I never travel first class. I don't like to have my first few hours in Paris controlled by SNCF (the French national rail service). And, I find second class to be adequately comfortable, arrives at the same time, and is cheaper. You can understand my logic.

BTW, you should try the SNCF site (www,sncf.com) and see what their fares are. RailEurope is a travel agency and charges a premium on the fare price for their services. It's also possible that there are trains on this route that Rail Europe has not published. They don't market every route or even every train on the routes they sell.

For me it's a little bit easier because I can buy my tickets at Gare du Nord when I arrive in Paris, or wait until I get to Gare St. Lazare (I don't fly into CDG except at the point of a gun).

Bon voyage.

Australia
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1,934 posts
45 reviews
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3. Re: Paris to Bayeux: Purchase ticket in advance?
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The French rail website is very easy to navigate. There are some great explanatory notes on how to book on the website, on TripAdvisor. There are really good deals available on-line, and yes, it shows every single trip available. You can print out your tickets, and also save them to your computer (if you are taking a laptop) as a back up.

Louisville, Kentucky
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5,428 posts
26 reviews
30 helpful votes
4. Re: Paris to Bayeux: Purchase ticket in advance?
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We're back, and purchased our ticket to Bayeux at the station. We had no problem, but we were traveling in October on a weekday. Advance purchase would probably be advisable during the tourist season or on a weekend.

As we arrived in the morning and did not want to get stuck in Paris traffic, we took public transportation from CDG to St. Lazare. We are travelers in our fifties and, as were on 10 day business/pleasure trip, we had three bags. Even with our luggage, the trip on the train and metro were easy. Here's how we did it:

1. At CDG, we followed the "Paris by Train" signs.

2. We took the RER 3 to the Chatelet station.

3. We then took Metro line 14 to St. Lazare. It was only a short walk from where we got off the train to the Metro. From what I remember, we took an elevator to the Metro area and turned to our left.

We were in the haze of jet lag, so if this is not exact, there will be signs directing you where to go should you take this route on your trip. I am sure about the RER3 and Metro 14 however!

bELMONT, ma
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21 posts
5. Re: Paris to Bayeux: Purchase ticket in advance?
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In regard to the following comment about RailEurope.

> "BTW, you should try the SNCF site (www,sncf.com) and see what their fares are. RailEurope is a travel agency and charges a premium on the fare price for their services.

That is true, but it can be well worth the trouble if you want to take the train when you arrive and don't want to have to deal with French ticket agents. We paid $20 which included Fed-Exing the tickets to us.

> It's also possible that there are trains on this route that Rail Europe has not published.

I find that highly unlikely. I've used RailEurope many times from mid 90's to now and never found their scheduels to not have all the trains listed in Cook's timetable which has all trains. On my trip this year, I found no differences from the SNCF site. It's obvious they aer tied in to SNCF computers as on-line reservations are immediate.

We went to Bayeux in September. We got a deep discount fare (about 40%) good only on specified off-peak trains requiring 14 day advance payment. I found it easier to find fares like this on Rail Europe. They do show all of the SNCF trains.

I suspect part of the difference is that real business web sites are usually better than those of quasi-government agencies, especially outside the US.

Sarasota, Florida...
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6. Re: Paris to Bayeux: Purchase ticket in advance?
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I am taking 10 university students from Paris to the Normandy battlefields.

I would be grateful for the following information.

1: Is Bayeaux the right stop for visiting the Normandy battlefields?

2: How long was the train ride from Paris to Bayeaux? (I've checked a French rail site and it looks like just over 2 hours to me. Is that correct?)

3: If you used a guide service for visitng the battlefields, American cemetery, etc., what was the name (with contact information) of that service and did you like their service?

4: Any overall suggestions for how to get the best experience for the least hassle and the lowest cost.

Thanks.

Louisville, Kentucky
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7. Re: Paris to Bayeux: Purchase ticket in advance?
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1. We stayed in Bayeux, and it appears to be your best destination for D Day tours. It seemed that most of the tours originate from there. The town is charming, and I would allow time for the students to tour the Tapestry Museum.

2. The train takes about two hours, and I think Second Class is about 26 Euros one way. Perhaps some more seasoned travelers can give you advice on booking in advance, and I would probably do this with the number in your party traveling during the summer.

3. We used Overlord Tours and had a wonderful time. Overlord has French guides speaking very good English. There is also a Britsh Company, Battlebus, that also gets good reviews.

Our tour van held 8 passengers plus the driver, so it would be too small for your group. If you Google the Overlord and Battlebus, you'll be able to get to both websites and email them with your needs. I know Overlord arranges "custom" tours, and Battlebus probably does the same.

I would suggest the "Band of Brothers" tours because your high school students will probably relate to the sites they saw in the miniseries. These tours include the American Cemetary and Omamha and Utah Beaches, but you'll visit other sites as remarkable. The "Band of Brothers" tour is not cliche' or "Hollywood," but if your students can view D Day films such as "The Longest Day," "Saving Private Ryan," and "Band of Brothers" before they travel, visiting recognizable locations will be quite meaningful.

For the tours, expect to secure your reservation by credit card that you either phone in, FAX or Email. We felt secure calling the company. This credit card is not likely to be your final means of payment, however, as our guide collected cash at the end of the tour and no charge was made to our card. You may, therefore, want to make arrangements for payment in advance of your trip given the size of yu group.

You may also want to arrange a meeting point for the start of your trip. Our tour started at the Tapestry Museum, but if your hotel is not close to that location, I would see if something else could be arranged. With the size of your party, this could be possible, and I would think that you would want to avoid arranging additional tranportation.

4: Other suggestions:

We stayed at the Hotel Churchill, and the staff, building itself and historic photographs certainly added to our experience. It is in the heart of the town, so further transportation for dining and city sites would not be necessary. We took a taxi from the train station (about 5 minutes), but, being young, the students could walk this distance! Book ASAP if you choose the Hotel Churchill...it is very popular!

You may also want to take your students on a day trip to Mont St. Michel. Hotel Churchill offers a daily trip to MSM, but you could also take a train. I think the closest stop to Mont St. Michel is Pontorson, and it was my impression that a bus could take you from there to the base of the village. Perhaps someone else could give you more information. Post on the Mont St. Michel forum and see what you get!

I would advise your students to talk to their banks and credit card companies well in advance of their trip. ATMs are plentiful, but many American banks charge conversion and transaction fees on overseas charges. These add up. Also, it is advisable to travel with a Visa or MasterCard if you typically use American Express (as we do). Many places do not accept AE. For cash, it is best to live with the fees your bank will charge. Interest on credit card cash advances start at the point of the transaction and is steeper than bank overseas charges. We also found that most places have a 15 Euro minimum on credit card transactions, so carrying cash is necessary.

Allow at least three, if not four hours, for check in if you are flying out of Charles De Gaulle. Arriving is easy, but departure is not!

Louisville, Kentucky
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5,428 posts
26 reviews
30 helpful votes
8. Re: Paris to Bayeux: Purchase ticket in advance?
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Sorry, I just reread your post. Your taking university students, not high school students...hope I did not offend!

Chattanooga...
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584 posts
176 reviews
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9. Re: Paris to Bayeux: Purchase ticket in advance?
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Troggs' reply is accurate and detailed. I agree with all of the suggestions.

You might want to repost this query in its own thread though. You'll probably get more replies that way.

10. Re: Paris to Bayeux: Purchase ticket in advance?

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