Book your France train tickets online ‘from’ Afghanistan, definitely not the US

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The French do love to stick it to the Americans, and plenty of other countries tu, in train ticket gouging. Francophones are rewarded with train tickets at the official prices on SCNF”s French website, but attempting to book on the English site causes a redirect to subsidiary Rail Europe which boosts the prices with an Anglophone markup. Similarly, visitors to the TGV website dedicated to France’s high-speed rail are frequently directed to one of several Rail Europe overseas subsidiaries, including the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa, or most anywhere outside Europe, a redirect to ‘Our local website’ is suggested but there remains a link to ‘Continue on,’ which is the one to click. The Man in Seat 61 has a superbly detailed guide to this chicanery in his A Beginner’s Guide to Train Travel in France.

Mrs. Rapid Traveler needs a one-way ticket in early April and following 61’s advice, including the flourish of booking as from Afghanistan, her sleeper train is US$20 cheaper on TGV Europe than Rail Europe. That $20 may just be enough to buy a Coke on the train.

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