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I want to check prices for the connection between Paris and Grenoble. I tried the www.voyages-sncf.com, www.tgv-europe.com, www.raileurope.com, www.ter-sncf.com but none of them allows me to limit my searches to regional trains - I can only book the TGV for such a long distance. I can search for regional trains in France via the German-railway website, but it is not possible to check the prices there though.

I suppose it might be not cheaper than TGV, but still I would like be able to find out the prices. Does anyone know how to do it?

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sure, it's voyages-sncf. beware the bizarre top-left "trains" link (as opposed to "flights!" etc) which is HIDDEN UNDER A DAMNED FLOATING LOGO, for goodness sake, on most browsers. note that in a sense there are really no "regional" trains in france, depending on what you mean, it's all egalite, there's just trains. (there aren't really, lesser, minor trains - anyway they are all on that site.) note that it generally also LINKS VERY WELL with other countries, eg, "lyon to arosa" or whatever –  Joe Blow Sep 1 at 12:08

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Summary: I think your best bet is to look up the price for a slightly shortened trip on Voyages-SNCF, from the first train's first stop to the last train's next-to-last stop.

You can find non-TGV prices on Rail Europe as well. I just went to http://raileurope.com/, entered Paris to Grenoble and clicked on “check fares”.

raileurope screenshot

As you can see, the cheapest fare if you book now is slightly cheaper than the TER fare (which you can get on an open ticket, but only at a station, not online). However, I don't know how reliable this far is, especially since I didn't even manage to display it in EUR. Rail Europe tends to have a markup; I'm not sure if this markup is consistent between modes. On Voyages-SNCF, there indeed seems to be no way to select only trains without compulsory booking (TER and Intercités, not Teoz).

The Intercités website doesn't have rates, but anyway there aren't any Intercités involved in a trip between Paris and Grenoble, only TGV or TER. You can look up the price of TER on each regional website, accessed from the TER site front page. It takes a lot of clicks and it's in French. Eventually you might be able to find prices for each leg of your journey (I'm not even sure of that, for trains that cross several regions there may be cases where you can't know the price for a span that crosses a region border). Rates are degressive, so the price from your origin to your destination will be slightly less than the sum of the prices of each leg.

You may be able to get a rough idea of prices if you split your journey into several legs for which TGV doesn't make sense. For example, you can see from the schedules on the DB website that the first stop after Paris on the Paris to Grenoble by TER trip is Sens, and the last stop before Grenoble is Voiron; if you ask Voyages-SNCF to go from Sens to Voiron, you'll get prices for the TER-only trip. Rates are degressive, so the price for Paris to Grenoble will be only a little more.

Sorry for the suckiness of SNCF's web sites, it's very well-known in France.

Your best bet to find prices is at a station. Ask an employee, as the machines aren't always able to find trip possibilities that aren't the fastest. In any case, for a trip where you don't book in advance, you'll often have to buy your ticket at the station.

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Thank you, that works indeed. I do not know how I missed it. However I have read somewhere that the prices on the raileurope website are higher than on the SNCF website. –  mithy Feb 29 '12 at 9:45
    
@mithy Indeed, Rail Europe adds a markup. It might be useful to get an idea of relative prices; look up the real price on Voyages SNCF for a baseline. –  Gilles Feb 29 '12 at 9:59
    
That is the speech I understand :-D –  mithy Feb 29 '12 at 11:04

Unfortunatelly, SNCF is Internet-challenged. Deliberately or not is another story that fills many french railways-related forums.

The best you can do to get pricing information about TER is to go to a train station with an international desk near you and ask there.

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For long distances, you should use http://www.voyages-sncf.com . Traveling on a TER from Paris to Grenoble will be probably more expensive and certainly more cumbersome than traveling on a TGV or Corail. To calculate the price on a TER, you have to do it region by region.

It is possible, via http://www.ter-sncf.com . However, at the time being, it looks like the site is not available in English. So here is what you have to do:

  • Open http://www.ter-sncf.com

  • On the top left, pick your region from the liste availabe under the "Accéder par région" heading

enter image description here

  • On the next page, again on the top left, click on the "Produits et prix" tag.

enter image description here

  • Now, scroll down and introduce the stations under the "Combien coûte votre trajet" section and choose "Tarif Normal" from the dropdown list "Sélectionnez votre prouit". Now click on "Calculer un prix"

enter image description here

  • This should take you to the final destination

enter image description here

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@mithy When you'll enter "Paris" and "Grenoble" in "Départ" and "Arrivée", the site will offer you multiple choices. In "Départ" pick Paris – gare de Paris-Gare-de-Lyon (75004) And in "Arrivée" pick Grenoble – gare de Grenoble –  Thomas Radioyes Feb 28 '12 at 16:11
    
Well, I guess by the time you will have figured that out, you will have left Burgundy behind and your TGV will be approaching Lyon ;-) –  user766 Feb 28 '12 at 16:26
2  
lejohn> I seriously begin to think that the TER website is deliberately made to confuse people (like any other sncf website). Imagine the nightmare for a non-French speaking person ^^ –  Thomas Radioyes Feb 28 '12 at 16:34
    
I found it is possible on the TER website under "preciser ma recherche" and than in "mode" I have to choose "TER". But probably for price I still need to go region by region as described above. –  mithy Feb 28 '12 at 16:38
    
@mithy you don't, I picked "Rhone-Alpes" region and I was able to see prices for a Paris-Grenoble journey –  Thomas Radioyes Feb 28 '12 at 16:40

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