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Cheap way to get from Germany to France

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11. Posted by Blinq (Inactive 341 posts) 7y

Quoting Redpaddy

I'm not into explanations. I'm into giving A-1 travel advice....

That's a contradiction in terms.

[ Edit: Edited on 04-May-2009, at 09:32 by Blinq ]

12. Posted by lindatt (Budding Member 5 posts) 7y

Blinq, in DB Bahn page I can't see prices, when it comes to international journeys, like germany - france. I can not try purchase either. Do you know the way to how to know these prices?

13. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Thanks for the advice Post #11. I'll bear it in mind for a second or 2

14. Posted by Blinq (Inactive 341 posts) 7y

Quoting lindatt

Blinq, in DB Bahn page I can't see prices, when it comes to international journeys, like germany - france. I can not try purchase either. Do you know the way to how to know these prices?

I'm afraid it's not a user-friendly site at all lindatt. I've just spent the last 30 mins trying to figure out a way of getting the price of a ticket: I even tried to book a seat! But all that happens is little message pops up telling me that no information on ticket prices is available. Presumably you'd have to give them your credit card details and then they'd decide how much they'll charge you.

There's a third party site here which gives a bit more detail, but still no prices: How To: Germany

I suppose the question that springs to mind here is why on earth are you flying to Germany in order to get to France? Have you booked the flight yet because if you haven't, it might be worth considering an alternative airport.

15. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

You can buy selected train tickets from Germany to France through the DB site, usually the direct trains (TGV, ICE, Thalys) to Paris.

But for trains with several changes or unusual routes you cannot book online through DB.

I suggest you use the initiary I posted (via Saarbrücken and Strasbourg) and buy your train ticket at the ticket counter in Saarbrücken. No need to worry about tickets, they do not sell out. At the worst you'll be forced to stand or sit on your bag because you do not have a seat.

If you feel you must buy online in advance, you can also check the SNCF site. Maybe you can buy your ticket there? If they do not have Saarbrücken-Bourg en Bresse they should have Forbach-Bourg en Bresse.

Forbach is the first stop behind the French-German border, if you buy Forbach-Bourg en Bresse from http://voyages-sncf.fr/ you'll then have to buy a ticket from Saarbrücken to Forbach at the counter in Saarbrücken.

And the way to know these prices is (I already mentioned it, I am sure) to go to www.jizdenka.cz and enter the departure and destination stations.

International train ticketing is very complicated, it is just too much for the ordinary Bahn system to manage. The DB website is connected to databases that run the ticket vending machines, ticket printers at the counters, the reservation system and the train schedules. That is a lot of data to handle. If they had to deal with all the trains in France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland and Denmark too the whole system would be very slow. So they give only schedules for foreign trains, but no prices. You can ask for the price at the counter or calling the service center.

[ Edit: Edited on 04-May-2009, at 15:25 by t_maia ]

16. Posted by lindatt (Budding Member 5 posts) 7y

Yes, I have been asking this question myself for the last 2 days, when i was trying to figure out how to get to the destination. I bought cheap tickets to ryanair because I thought that germany is not so far to france, so there will be no problems to get there. Maybe I thought so because of my lack of experience. But nothing to be done now. Thank you all for help, even though I didn't find the good way.

Oh, a few questions about your suggested route :
(Trier Hbf dep 06:21
Saarbrücken Hbf arr 07:31)

Saarbrücken Hbf dep 07:45
Strasbourg arr 09:27

Strasbourg dep 10:13 4213
Bourg-en-Bresse arr 14:43 )

Can I buy all the tickets at Saarbrücken? from Strasbourg to Bourg-en-Bresse too? And what about returning trip? Can I buy all at once? Plus, you said that tickets can not be sold out. Does it stand just for Saarbrücken-Strasbourg or Strasbourg to Bourg-en-Bresse too?

Sorry if I missed out that information.

[ Edit: Edited on 04-May-2009, at 17:32 by lindatt ]

17. Posted by Blinq (Inactive 341 posts) 7y

Michael O'Leary who is the CEO of Ryan Air is a clever guy. He ties up deals with small surbuban airports which are normally some distance away from a main city and don't normally get much traffic. Bringing 200+ passengers to a town's airport every hour results in a tremendous boost for the local economy of which 25% feeds back to Ryan Air as a proportion of landing fees, share of products purchased at the airport etc. The flight itself makes a loss and the price you pay for a seat doesn't cover the aircraft operating costs.

But to reiterate, the airports are sometimes based in very inaccessible locations and are not suitable for making onward journeys to other countries.

You could enquire to determine whether it's possible to cancel the flight and obtain a refund, although I doubt it somehow.

If it's really cheap, then you could consider cancelling the flight altogether, making a loss and then booking another flight to Lyon which is relatively close to where you want to go. It might actually save you money in the long run.

Where does your flight originate from?

[ Edit: Edited on 04-May-2009, at 23:46 by Blinq ]

18. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

Can I buy all the tickets at Saarbrücken? from Strasbourg to Bourg-en-Bresse too? And what about returning trip? Can I buy all at once? Plus, you said that tickets can not be sold out. Does it stand just for Saarbrücken-Strasbourg or Strasbourg to Bourg-en-Bresse too?

Saarbrücken - Bourg en Bresse is one ticket, not two. You buy the ticket in Saarbrücken and just change trains in Strasbourg. (Tell the lady at the counter: To Bourg en Bresse via Strasbourg, please. ) You can buy return trip in Saarbrücken, but you can also buy one-way in Saarbrücken and buy the return leg in Bourg en Bresse. It doesn't matter as far as I know. Just note that there are certain restrictions on the validity of the ticket (like a timeframe during which you have to use the ticket including the return part) and that you sometimes get discounts when you buy return compared to 2 one-way tickets. (The longer the journey the cheaper the price per kilometer.)

There are two types of train tickets in Germany and France:

The first is the regular full fare ticket, with this ticket you buy the right to travel a certain route (Saarbrücken to Bourg en Bresse via Strasbourg in your case). This ticket is not tied to a train, you can use any train travelling on this route. (But if your ticket is for a TER or Corail train they'll charge you extra if you want to board a TGV with it, TGV have special prices.) Unused tickets are fully refundable minus a service fee. These tickets never sell out because they work just like tickets to the Underground in London. What can sell out is the reservation for seats on certain trains, so you might have to stand if there are no more seats. (And for certain trains you must have a seat reservation to travel on them, but this is the exception.)

The second type of ticket is a special discounted fare, it is tied to a certain train. Examples of such tickets would be the special offer Saarbrücken-Paris for 19 EUR that is sometimes available through www.bahn.de. These tickets are non-refundable. There is a limited amount of these tickets, so the specials do sell out.

I played around with www.voyages-sncf.com for you since I last posted and for Saarbrücken-Bourg en Bresse I found 2 options: with TGV train via Paris and with Corail and TER trains via Strasbourg. Usually the TGV option via Paris would be more expensive, but they have a special offer that is tied to a certain connection (=mini price). With this special offer you pay 58 EUR for Strasbourg-Bourg en Bresse via Paris. This is a good deal because the regular fare ticket via Strasbourg with Corail and TER trains is 67 EUR if you buy it online through voages-sncf.com or at the counter in Saarbrücken. Downside of this is that IIRC the connection via Paris took longer. Go to www.voyages-sncf.com and take a look. If you want to see the train connections via Strasbourg tell the website "via Strasbourg", as it will always show you connections via Paris otherwise. (The French rail system has only one hub, Paris. It is not very good finding connections that do not go via Paris.)

BTW, if you plan to travel all over France by train you can buy a carefully constructed international return ticket in Saarbrücken that will save you money.

[ Edit: Edited on 05-May-2009, at 03:03 by t_maia ]

19. Posted by Blinq (Inactive 341 posts) 7y

Leading on from my previous post, I looked at a round trip Ryanair flight from Dublin to Frankfurt-Hahn for two weeks departing July 16. The total cost amounts to €75. So that would represent your loss if you decided to scrap the Ryanair flight altogether (they don't give refunds by the way).

From there, you could take an Air France flight to Lyon for the same round trip for €247. I used Bravofly to search for flights. It's an Irish company. From there, you'd take the bus to Neuville-sur-Ain. It's on a motorway link from Lyon, so shouldn't take that long.

Other than that though, I think t_maia's suggestion is the best way to go (lot of work there t_maia - good job).

20. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

Blinq, I wouldn't dare guess where lindatt flies in from. Hahn Airport actually has more Ryanair flights than Dublin, serving more than 50 destinations.

Taking a look at www.hahn-airport.de the most obvious candidate for lindatt's flight is the flight from Fes, Morocco that comes in at 23:30 on Thursdays. If lindatt does fly in from Morocco Ryanair to Hahn can be the cheapest way to get to a place near Lyon. Alternatives would be with Atlas Blue from Fes or Marrakech to Lyon, but they are usually expensive.

http://www.whichbudget.com/en/cheapflights.php?to=LYS

[ Edit: Edited on 05-May-2009, at 04:38 by t_maia ]