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Europe Trains Guide Forum  |  General discussion  |  Train fares and tariffs  |  Paris to Barcelona
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Author Topic: Paris to Barcelona  (Read 12511 times)
leicestersq
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« on: May 04, 2013, 07:57:11 pm »

Hello everyone.

I am trying to work out what is going on with the Paris - Barcelona train service. It looks like it wont be changing to a one train service any time soon. So in July I want to travel there and get a first class ticket for me and my daughter if I can.

So I have been looking at the http://en.voyages-sncf.com website, looking at tickets for June as a proxy for the July ones as they are now available.

Now I can see that from Paris to Figueres I can buy a first class ticket. What I dont understand though is this. For the adult that is travelling, you can get an economica class at 95 euros, but the child isnt able to buy an economica which makes their ticket quite a bit more expensive. Is that correct, or has a mistake been made? I have never heard of a child's ticket being more expensive than an adult's ticket before, ever.

If that really is the case, can I just buy an adult's ticket for the child?

Also, the second leg of the journey goes from Figueres to Barcelona. On the SNCF website there is no way in which you can choose which class of ticket to choose as far as I can see. Is that correct, or is there something else that I need to do?

Is another option to go to the RENFE site? I can see that they have some ability to choose Preferente tickets rather than Turista tickets on that site. Has anyone ever done this before or is there another thing I need to do on the SNCF site?

Many thank in advance.
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tUt
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2013, 12:56:07 am »

It looks like it wont be changing to a one train service any time soon.
Well, actually high-speed line is already constructed and Spanish trains are already serving Figueres, while French & Spanish authorities even kind of announced direct service already in April 2013. However there where some delays and judging from the fact that sale for July is not yet open (although it suppose to be already), it might be our guess that it is due to introduction of direct high-speed trains. Obviously it's not a 100% sure thing (at least scarce search didn't find any exact date for direct service launch), but good chance that in July you would be able to take direct train to Barcelona ;)
Is that correct, or has a mistake been made? I have never heard of a child's ticket being more expensive than an adult's ticket before, ever.
With some railway companies indeed happens the situation that discounted adult ticket is actually cheaper than ticket for a child, plus in favor of railway also works the fact that when most passengers enter children passengers real discounted tickets (like 'Economica' in your case) just won't show up
If that really is the case, can I just buy an adult's ticket for the child?
Yes, it is not a problem to buy two adult tickets for adult+child traveling, nobody or nothing forbids you do to so. Actually it's the only reasonable way to proceed in cases like these, no need to overpay for a children's ticket when it is more expensive
Also, the second leg of the journey goes from Figueres to Barcelona. On the SNCF website there is no way in which you can choose which class of ticket to choose as far as I can see. Is that correct, or is there something else that I need to do?
Apparently the trick here is that 95 euro tickets presuppose 2nd class journey on AVE from Figueres to Barcelona, while 113 euro option (also called 'Economica') lists 1st class in Spanish AVE train. On SNCF website both are shown and can be bought. However saying honestly not sure that there is a reason to pay almost 20 extra euro for less than an hour trip in 1st class
Is another option to go to the RENFE site? I can see that they have some ability to choose Preferente tickets rather than Turista tickets on that site. Has anyone ever done this before or is there another thing I need to do on the SNCF site?
Just tried to buy Paris to Barcelona ticket via Renfe website (random dates in June) and pop up the problem that second leg trains from Figueres Vilafant (high-speed trains station) to Barcelona always shown as "Full Train", thus the whole journey is not bookable, while when entering just Figueres-Vilafant-Barcelona for the same date it magically shows up and can be booked, even discounted tickets.
Don't know whether you'll get the same thing with Renfe website, but at least for us it seems like intentional obstacle in order not to allow booking of tickets like Paris-Barcelona via Renfe website
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leicestersq
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2013, 01:17:09 am »

tUt,

thank you so much for your reply. I have taken on board everything you say.

I am hoping that they can sort out the issue of the direct train from Paris to Barcelona, but I am preparing myself if they are not able to do this.

One thing I also note, if I try and choose a seat on the http://en.voyages-sncf.com website, I keep getting an error. I had hoped to get a seat upstairs for the view. I dont know if I will be able to make a choice here or not when the time comes to buy a ticket.

I also see on the RENFE site that they are not letting you book trains in June for Barcelona to Vilafant Figueres. I am guessing that the introduction of the 'one train' service is imminent and the really dont know when they can tell us all the information. I hope that they resolve it soon as there are people needing to make decisions.

Thanks for now.
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tUt
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2013, 12:58:49 pm »

I am hoping that they can sort out the issue of the direct train from Paris to Barcelona, but I am preparing myself if they are not able to do this.
Well, doubt anybody (besides actual people from SNCF/Renfe involved in the "direct train" project) can really give you a certain answer here, so we, as potential passengers, just need to wait and see what happens, obviously it's not very convenient that all these is going on during peak season and many people kind of left with open plans, but that is how it is  :-\
One thing I also note, if I try and choose a seat on the en.voyages-sncf.com website, I keep getting an error. I had hoped to get a seat upstairs for the view. I dont know if I will be able to make a choice here or not when the time comes to buy a ticket.
Fully functional English version of sncf website is rather new thing, before we had to use tgv-europe website, there it was not a problem, various seating options were offered (we even discussed it recently here). Just a moment ago we tried en.voyages-sncf.com (random date in June) for both domestic and international (Paris to Figueres) TGV trains, in both cases seat choices were offered and we could select a seat & proceed, so maybe at the time when you've tried it was temporary problem (or not yet possible). So we suggest you to retry, and if it doesn't work this time, then give us an exact date and try you looking at, we'll try to take a look what might be the problem there ;)
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leicestersq
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2013, 05:51:28 pm »

Tut,

I have spent some further time looking at how ticketing for this journey works. I sometimes get the 'technical error', and sometimes not. For example, trying to book 2 tickets for 9th July on the 14:07. It doesn't give me an error when I try and book for the 198 euros tickets, but does for the 226 euros one, which I presume is the option for preferente class Figueres to Barcelona. I guess that means there must be some sort of system error when trying to book that part of the journey which causes the whole attempt to book tickets to fail.

One of the things I do find frustrating is that ideally I would like to book a dual face to face pair of seats on the upper deck. It appears that you can only book upper deck, or dual face to face, but not both, so it may offer you side by side in the upper deck, or dual face to face in the lower deck, there appears to be no control on what is offered to you. That is a bit of a pity. I know that with the Eurostar site you can choose what seat you want if it hasn't been booked already.
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tUt
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2013, 01:53:58 pm »

Well, regarding the possibility to book - it will be just our guesses about the reasons... at certain moment it might simply make sense to email SNCF and directly ask about the problem. No guarantees about them giving any decent answer, but at least it will be some sort of official reply  :-\
Regarding the choice of the seat, it's probably just nuances of sale system, too many options and no way to "combine". But again if you do decide to email SNCF, then why not to ask about this issue as well, who knows maybe we just don't find how to solve the problem, but there is actual solution
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leicestersq
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2013, 12:33:28 am »

Tut,

I had a look online today on the SNCF website.

I see that on the date I want to travel, there are no tickets available Paris - Barcelona on the 14:07 train.

However, on what must be the same train, there are tickets for Paris - Figueres now on sale. Should I buy one?

I had a look on the RENFE website. They don't have any tickets on sale for Figueres - Barcelona just yet.

If I go ahead and buy tickets from Paris - Figueres, I get my ticket on the place I want on the train. But I will need a ticket for the remainder of the journey. What will happen if they decide to introduce the straight through train to Barcelona in the time between now and when I make my journey, what would I do?

And if I hold off of buying, will it mean I might not be able to get the place on the train that I want, or the best price tickets might disappear. How do I decide what to do?

Thanks.
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tUt
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2013, 01:29:08 am »

Well, it's a difficult decision, especially when there is no clear or definite info from the railways... Probably safer will be to buy tickets till Figueres now, especially if the price is good enough for you (imho, 79 euro for the 1st class ticket for July 9 dep.14:07 is rather good offer), because waiting for something that might not happen... hmm... you can end up with more expensive tickets and still just Figueres, it's summer and peak season, thus taking risks might be not the best choice. However if you do decide to buy such 79 euro TGV Prem's offer tickets, then you should remember that you'll be basically "stuck" with only this particular train and date, because tickets under such offer cannot be exchanged and is non-refundable

What will happen if they decide to introduce the straight through train to Barcelona in the time between now and when I make my journey, what would I do?
Well, there is more or less the only solution - try to purchase tickets for the remaining part. Here even full fare standard tickets isn't that extremely expensive

I had a look on the RENFE website. They don't have any tickets on sale for Figueres - Barcelona just yet
Are you sure? Just checked it and for July 9 Renfe website does show Avant train #34212 dep. 19:55 (thus 15 min. after arrival of the train from Paris) & gives the price (20,2 euro) along with allowing to proceed with booking
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leicestersq
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2013, 05:33:12 pm »

Hello Tut,

I have now booked my tickets between Paris and Figueres Vilafant thanks to some good advice from you.

I am now stumped on this. If I look for tickets for the 19:55 from Figueres to Barcelona, I cannot see anything other than Turista tickets on sale after 28th May.

I am not sure I understand this. As I understand it, the train from Figueres at that time must be an AVE100 given that it takes only an hour to get to Barcelona? In which case, why are they only selling tickets for a single class?

I tried writing to RENFE, but they just said that tickets for certain trains might not be available yet. Well that makes no sense, as the train itself is clearly listed, but they arent issuing different classes of ticket. Does that mean I can buy a turista and just go and sit where I like?

Well done to SNCF by the way, they seem pretty switched on with their ticketing.
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tUt
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« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2013, 12:03:35 am »

I am not sure I understand this. As I understand it, the train from Figueres at that time must be an AVE100 given that it takes only an hour to get to Barcelona? In which case, why are they only selling tickets for a single class?
Well, weird thing here is that Renfe website lists two trains with similar departure (and travel) time, one is AVE, while the other one is Avant (for this one you can see the price), it's different train types and obviously can't run both. So maybe that's the problem in this case, including issue of preferente/turista classes. Who knows might be that Renfe doesn't yet not which train type exactly will run? Or it's some strange ticket sale differentiation, for instance locals buy tickets for Avant, while for transit passengers from France further service goes as AVE etc., it can be literally any explanation here.
Anyway, in your position we wouldn't worry much yet (especially about ticket purchase like right now), it's still plenty of time and pretty sure eventually Renfe (or Renfe & SNCF) will figure out the whole thing and it will be possible to get necessary ticket for that small leg from Figueres to Barcelona
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leicestersq
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« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2013, 11:12:37 pm »

Tut,

well now I see that they have now released tickets for the train that I want up to the end of June. I can only guess that they are not being very organised.

What a contrast with SNCF, Eurostar and even UK trains! I don't know if anyone from RENFE comes to this site to have a read, but if so, your ticketing can be improved!
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leicestersq
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« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2013, 10:55:57 pm »

Tut,

just an update. I have managed to buy a preferente ticket for 6th Aug from Barcelona Sants to Figueres Vilafant. So the only bit I am now missing is my ticket from Figueres Vilafant to Barcelona. Which is a bit odd as normally the earlier train tickets are available first. I have no idea why they haven't released tickets for this journey during July.

I note also that the child ticket was more expensive than the adult ticket! They clearly need to think about their ticketing.
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tUt
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« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2013, 11:46:19 pm »

I note also that the child ticket was more expensive than the adult ticket!
This situation usually happens only with discounted adults tickets, many of which sold cheaper than standard fare child tickets. Standard fare adult tickets can't be more expensive than child one, simply because it goes against any logic
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