Step by Step Guide to Buying Tickets for Trains in France via SNCF website
Booking French domestic or international (to/from France) tickets via SNCF website isn't very difficult or particularly tricky, but it's always good to have some assistance while dealing with booking of train tickets, that is why we present here our short step-by-step guide on how to do everything the right way
1) To start with your ticket purchase process simply go to Voyages-SNCF website (official distribution channel of the French railways (SNCF), it should look something like this -->
2) Next fill in all the necessary travel details: a) to/from (for big cities better to choose 'all stations' option in case you aren't sure about exact train station from which train might depart), b) date of your journey, c) app. time of departure, d) class & whether you prefer direct train (NB: keep in mind that sometimes trip with change(s) might be cheaper and not necessarily slower, while sometimes direct trains won't be available at all e) passenger's age & possible discount/loyalty cards (most like you won't have any of those specific cards). When you done, just click on 'Search' --->
it might take the system some time to search for available connections, meanwhile you'll see something like this
3) After a few moments will appear page with 'Connections' options --->
Keep in mind that French Railways (SNCF) in most cases has to offer three types of tickets: discounted (=cheapest) non-exchangeable; exchangeable with certain conditions & fully flexible (=most expensive). So on the connections page you'll see couple ticket fares for the same train (correspond to the ticket type). When you made your mind just click on the square with the ticket fare of your choice (in our case it's cheapest discounted ticket)
3b) When you did so should appear smaller window with details about this particular option --->
By clicking on 'Choose your seat'you can pick whether you want window/aisle seat and, if it's a double-decker train, whether you prefer to ride on upper or lower deck. When done just push 'Select this outbound journey'
4) Then you will see a page with your 'Journey Details' --->
Here you can again check all the details of your journey (dep./arr. destinations, date, time, number of passengers traveling, ticket fare, see which exact seat system assigned to you). If everything is fine, then click on 'Confirm & Pay' button
5) Next will appear login page like this --->
Potential passengers basically have three options here: a) in case you plan to make couple journeys, thus buy other train tickets, it might make sense to create customer account on voyages-sncf.com; b) in case you already have an account, then simply log-in and continue; c) easiest option for those who won't be buying many tickets from SNCF can just click on 'Book without customer account' (it won't effect ticket purchase, but save you some time)
6) Next page deals with passenger's details --->
Again make sure you check all the travel details, choose ticket collection method (if available it will be print-at-home e-Ticket option, but you can always click on 'more withdrawal methods' and pick for example printing ticket at the train station). Finally fill in passenger's name/surname/date of birth (a), details of the person who purchases the ticket (b) & tick the box that you agree with SNCF conditions of sale (c). Then click 'Cofirm & Pay'
7) Finally you will be redirected to 'Payment Details' page --->
Here you can choose whether to pay with bank card (& card's type) or paypal (a), we went with bank card option, so (b) fill in card's date (number, expiry date & CVV code). Last check (especially pay attention to the sum you about to pay) and click 'Confirm the Payment'
8) Once your payment went through, you'll receive your train ticket confirmation (if it's e-ticket, see the example below), special code to print it (if selected print via SNCF ticket machine/ticket counter) or confirmation of purchase (if opted for delivery by regular post).
Have a great journey :)