Paris Visite Travel Pass(Travelcard): The Paris Visite travel pass(Travelcard) allows you to use all of the public transport networks: the metro, tramway, bus, RER and SNCF Transilien networks. It is the best way to get around Paris and its region. The Paris Visite pass when received in your package will consists of the ticket and a receipt for the purchase. It allows for travel within zones 1 through 5 - travels in Paris, the close suburbs and into Orly/CDG airports, Disneyland and Versailles. You will have unlimited rides on the Metro, RER (express regional trains, RATP and SNCF), bus (RATP and OPTILE, except those circulating on Jetbus, Allobus Roissy CDG, tourist excursion and Air France networks), trams, and the Funiculaire de Montmartre. Your Paris travelcard will be activated the first time you travel on any transport network. Before using it, you must write your last name, first name and the valid dates on the magnetic ticket. Once named, the magnetic ticket is personal and non-transferable. Be aware that the travelcard works on a consecutive day basis, so if you activate your travelcard at 5pm on your first day, this will count as day 1 of your travelcard. The day begins at 00:00am and finishes at 00:00am the following day. Public transport is free for children under 4 years old. There are rates for adult and child from 4 to 11 (includes 10% management fees). Any closures (strikes, public holidays, etc.) and exceptional free admission will not lead to the refund, nor the extension of the duration of tickets. If your transport ticket is not working properly or is demagnetized, the RATP agents at the ticket desk in any metro or RER station will replace it at no cost.
Top Tips for Using Your Paris Visite Pass (Travelcard)
France National Rail
Train service in France is efficient, punctual, and comfortable. It is one of the most popular ways to get around, allowing travelers to view the countryside in a swift yet leisurely manner. France's extensive railway network connects large cities and towns throughout the country. Smaller towns without train stations are generally linked by bus service to the nearest station. The French National Railroads' (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer or SNCF, www.sncf.fr) network of inter-city rail links also provides frequent express and high-speed train service known as the TGV or Train à Grande Vitesse. Operating at a commercial speeds of 186 mph, the high-speed network also includes European routes, featuring the Eurostar which connects Paris to London in just two and a half hours and the Thalys going to Brussels and Amsterdam in one and a half hours and four hours respectively. For added convenience, the Paris Charles-de-Gaulle and Lyon Saint-Exupery Airports have high-speed train stations available as well. Night trains within France are now rare. On those still running, four-passenger couchette compartments require a first-class ticket or rail pass, six-passenger couchettes accept second-class rail passes, and there are no private sleepers. (Direct night trains to Italy, however, do not accept rail passes; see our advice on Paris–Italy trains.)
Buying Your Tickets for the SNCF: buying/booking your tickets is easy and you can get your SNCF tickets via the internet, by telephone, at SNCF stations – ticket window or self-service machines and SNCF sales offices.
Trains and coaches offered through the SNCF network are:
- Ter - is the solution for your regional travel needs. SNCF operates 7,500 TER trains every day, plus 2,000 regular coach lines in a total of 20 regions—making you more mobile and simplifying your connections to urban transport hubs and SNCF’s main lines.
- Transilien - Over 6,200 Transilien trains cover the entire Paris region every day, serving tourists and commuters alike.
- 14 SNCF lines, for a regional network with multiple transport options to take you where you want to go. Examples? From Gare du Nord station in central Paris, you can head north to Roissy-CDG airport or south to the Vallée de Chevreuse. From Orly airport, there’s a direct link to Versailles.
- train-metro connections in the heart of Paris and in the surrounding communities, plus 47 Noctilien bus lines serving 200 towns and cities to smooth your transfers and enliven your nightlife.
- 385 stations at key points throughout the network.
- TGV - Hop on Europe’s fastest trains to over 15 countries. Start by booking via voyages-sncf.com or from you smartphone or tablette with the voyages-sncf.com app. and enjoy all the benefits! Sit back in our comfortable carriages and travel at 320 km/h to new lands.
How to use a rail pass?
You must start using your rail pass within 11 months of the date of purchase. Before you make your way to the railway station, reserve your seat on the train here. Seat reservations are required on many high speed, overnight, scenic, and international trains. Using a France Pass you may travel on TGV and French trains : Intercités which require additional seat reservations. After reserving your seat Your rail pass requires that you activate it by getting it stamped at the ticket window at the departure station on the day of your first train journey. Once activated, you are all set and ready to go to a European railway station where a railway official will fill-in your passport number and stamp your rail pass. On each travel day, please remember to write down the date on your rail pass. Passengers travelling without having written down the above information risk a fine and payment of a full fare ticket. Below is an example of what your France Rail Pass looks like.
Travel day: A travel day lasts 24 hours from midnight to midnight. You can take as many trains as you want during a travel day.
Our tip: The 7 pm rule allows you to benefit from a free travel day if the following conditions are met:
- Your pass should be activated.
- You must travel on board a night train departing after 7 pm and this should be your first trip of the day.
- You must reach your destination after 4 am on the next day.
- Your arrival date should be within the validity of the pass.
If the conditions are met, write the arrival date on your pass instead of the departure date. This will allow you to save one travel day.
Validity: The validity is the number of travel days of a rail pass. You can choose between flexible and consecutive validities. Flexible validities allow you to choose which days you want to travel within the period covered by your rail pass. E.g. For a rail pass with a validity of 5 days within 1 month. If you activate your rail pass on the 1st of the month, you can travel on the 3rd, 4th, 7th, 12th and 30th of this month. Consecutive or Continuous validities give you unlimited travel during consecutive days. E.g. For a rail pass with a validity of 3 days continuous. By activating your rail pass on the 1st of the month, you can use it until the 3rd.
Eurostar: Eurostar trains are the best way to travel between the heart of London and Paris or Brussels and carry more travelers between its destinations than all airlines traveling these routes combined. That’s not surprising, considering Eurostar’s city-center terminals, record-breaking travel times, choice of frequent departures, and classes of service (Business Premier, Standard Premier, Standard) catering to all budgets and the unique needs of the modern traveler.
Eurostar trains reach top speeds of up to 186 mph, keeping journey times at about two hours -- thanks in part to the engineering marvel that is the Channel Tunnel. Fast journey times also make fabulous day-trips possible.
Business Premier - Fully flexible tickets with dedicated ticket offices and boarding guarantee.
When you travel in Business Premier, you get to use the dedicated Business Premier ticket gate so you can speed right through – even during our busiest times. Check in just 10 minutes before departure at the Business Premier check-in kiosk. Exclusive business lounges with free wi-fi, it’s the perfect place to catch up on any last minute emails or download the latest titles from our digital library, just don’t forget there’s a train to catch... Dedicated coaches with comfy reclining seats and power sockets for your phone, laptop or other devices. Enjoy a drink and delicious meal, served right at your seat. Taxi booking service in the lounges and on board as well as complimentary International/local newspapers or magazines.
Standard Premier “Comfort Class” - You’ll need to arrive at the station just 45-60 minutes before departure, with your tickets and passport or national ID card. Dedicated coaches with spacious surroundings and power sockets at your seats to charge your phone or laptop. A light meal with hot and cold drinks served at your large comfortable seat. Complimentary magazines on board. Free luggage allowance of up to 2 bags(up to 85cm long), plus one small item of hand luggage.
Standard - Great value fares, with concessions and special offers available in spacious and comfortable cabins. Check in 45-60 minutes before departure. Selection of food and drinks at the bar buffet where you can pick up hot and cold drinks, snacks, meals and sweet treats as well as a range of beers, wines, bubbly and spirits. Each adult can take up to 2 pieces of luggage up to 85cm long as well as one small piece of hand luggage.
Meals & Concessions - Eurostar’s on-board buffet cars have a wide selection of meals and snacks available for purchase. Here you can choose between hot and cold goodies, putting together your own tasty feast. And of course, you’re free to bring your own food, too. In either case you can eat in the bright and friendly buffet car or indulge in the comfort of your seat, whichever suits your taste.
Reservation Requirements - When you buy a Eurostar ticket, the seat reservation is already included in the price. A reservation is mandatory to travel on board the Eurostar. Make your booking reservation up to 4 months in advance to get the best prices. If you have a rail pass, you can obtain a Eurostar Pass Holder fare by visiting Eurail.com selected Eurail points of sale or call the Eurostar contact centre +44(0)1233 617 575. Note: this special fare is available to Euro Pass holders only.
Ticket Delivery Options-- Download a mobile ticket and save it to your Wallet app, find your ticket in the Eurostar app, print your ticket at home or collect it at the station. Once you’ve booked and paid for your ticket you’ll receive a confirmation email with your six-letter booking reference and a link to ‘Get your ticket’. You’ll need to fill in your contact details before you can get your ticket. This is so we can stay in touch if your journey’s disrupted for any reason.
Bookings can be made: Online at Eurostar or by phone at 1-800-EUROSTAR, in USA (646) 934-6454(New York City)
Passports and identity cards: To travel on Eurostar you need either a valid passport, or a national identity card (EEA citizens and Swiss nationals). Babies and children must have their own valid travel documents.