Easy Way To Buy French Rail Tickets

Easy.  Purchase tickets for you and your bike. User-friendly. No hassles. Fast. No booking fees. No advertising.

For anyone who has ever tried to book French Rail tickets from the USA, none of these words would ever describe the experience!  Until now.

A relatively new travel company, Capitaine Train offers travelers an efficient platform for buying train tickets through the French Rail parent SNCF and Deutche Bahn, two of Europe’s largest train carriers. I came upon their website quite by accident, and I am so happy that I did.  I’ll definitely be purchasing my train tickets for my summer trip using Capitaine Train.  It’s certain to be much faster than purchasing tickets using Voyages-sncf.com, and cheaper than Rail Europe.

The concept behind the company is simple:  enable consumers to purchase train tickets with no hassles, no booking fees and great customer service.  The company aim is to provide customers with the best, fastest and most user-friendly service possible.  They offer the best ticket options for train travel in Europe, including SNCF, Deutche Bahn, Eurostar, Thalys, Lyria and IDBus.  Why would you ever think about using any other service?

There is a very brief online registration.  If you have either a French Rail discount card, or Deutche Bahn discount card, you can enter them at this point so that you will be entitled to any relevant discounts.  Here is a FAQ detailing all the discounts that are accepted by Capitaine Train:


Once you are finished with the registration, you are taken to the booking page, which is uniquely simple.

Capitaine Train User Interface

Capitaine Train User Interface

Simply add where you want to travel to, time and date, and in mere seconds, you get your options and prices.

Search results in seconds

Search results in seconds

It’s unbelievable how easy it is, so easy that I wanted to buy another ticket just to use the system again!  Users can register loyalty and discount cards along with personal information which can be stored online with upcoming reservations. You can receive tickets in PDF format or they can be stored on a loyalty card.

Best part, not only can you purchase a ticket for you, but you can book a space for your bike too, something not possible on other booking websites.  Here is a link that explains all of the details of how to purchase a spot for your bike.

There is also a very comprehensive FAQ section on taking bikes on trains, complete with visuals on where to find bicycle information on ticket requests as well as on tickets themselves.

Last but not least, there are apps for iPhone and Android that are as easy to use as the main program.

Capitaine Train iPhone app

Capitaine Train iPhone app

Easy to use interface

Easy to use interface

I’m used to spending 15-30 minutes booking one French Rail ticket.  I purchased three different tickets for my summer trip using Capitaine Train in under 5 minutes.  I still can’t believe how easy it was.  So if you are traveling to Europe this summer and need tickets for rail travel, do yourself a favor and visit Capitaine Train.  You will be glad you did!

Posted by Maggie LaCoste

I love the adventure and unpredictability of experiencing France by bike. Cycling in France is the ultimate slow travel adventure, an opportunity to see it through the back door in a way few tourists experience. One week on a bike in France and life takes on a different meaning! I created Experience France By Bike to inspire recreational cyclists to visit France the slow way....by bike, and to be the best source of information for planning the perfect bicycling adventure. I encourage readers to embrace the uncertainty of the road ahead and to take the path less traveled, exploring roads, towns and villages that you would never experience traveling by car.

    1. Thanks so much for this information. I have actually added a link to that information on the blog post!

  1. Thanks for that information Maggie. I have just been trying to get information about the train system in England and was quite disappointed by how they seem to be trying to dissuade tourists from using the system. We used to be able to get annual & or seasonal passes. Now all passes are just for specific trips and are pretty expensive. So much for trying to explore England by bike & rail.
    How about France? Do they have any type of week/month/season or annual passes?

    1. Ease of use is what makes this new website so perfect! So many other travel websites just complicates things, Capitaine Train has figured out how to keep it simple! There are a number of different discounts on SNCF both based on volume and time of day/week traveled. I will send this information on to you!

      Thanks again for your support of Experience France By Bike!

      Maggie LaCoste

      1. Here is the link to information on discount cards accepted on Capitaine Train. You enter card information either during initial registration, or they can be added at any point in time by just clicking on the name of the person holding each card. I love how simple this service again!

        Maggie LaCoste
        Experience France By Bike

  2. Excellent! I often buy French rail tickets for foreign travellers because they can’t access the SNCF site from their own country or have to pay high commissions. I shall add the post to this week’s blogger round-up.

    1. Capitaine Train is definitely one of the best travel resources I have ever used. And, as if their service isn’t great enough, they actually answer e-mails promptly! I had a question about a ticket that I wanted to change and I had an answer back within about 5 hours. Unbelievable. They have definitely earned my vote as a top travel resource!

      Maggie LaCoste
      Experience France By Bike

  3. Love Capitaine! It is super easy, streamlined and their customer service is great! I wrote them a couple of times with questions and their responses were swift and helpful!

    1. Just one purchase on this website and you are a loyal customer forever!

      So happy that you agree! Let’s hope that more service providers follow their example.

      Maggie LaCoste
      Experience France By Bike

  4. Hello,

    Grat site!

    I’m planning a last minute cycling trip to ride the Ventoux and surrounding areas.

    I would like to take my bike on the TGV from Paris to Avignon. Are they really strict on bike case size? My Biknd case is 127cm long and I think they specify 120cm as the limit. Btw, the Biknd height is within the specified limit of 90cm (85cm). And they dont specify width, but mine is 31cm.

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!


    1. Hi Alex!

      Unfortunately this is one of those questions that will only be answered as you are experiencing it. In large part, it depends on the train official who is on duty when you board the train. I have never seen anyone measuring bike cases, so perhaps that is good news. The worst case scenario would be if they made you check it as checked luggage. It is a lovely time to visit Provence, so have a terrific time and let me know how it goes with the train! I guess that’s why cycling is such an adventure!

      Maggie LaCoste
      Experience France By Bike

    2. some tgv paris-avignon have places for bike . no need to fold it .

      for example tgv 6191 tuesday 24/06/2014 7 h 37 mn

      1. Thanks so much for the information!

        1. sorry for capitainetrain but http://www.voyages-sncf.com is easier to find train with bike place .

          why ? because when it displays the list of the train you see a bike icon or not . You don’t need to click on each train to see if it has bike place .

          we must suggest it to capitainetrain .

          note :
          – in all tgv bike places are at the 2 ends of the tgv .
          – many tgv from Paris Montparnasse station get bike places (2×4)
          – when you buy a bike place with your ticket you are automatically at the end of the tgv near bike places

          1. Thanks for the thoughts about SNCF, but that website is only in French so it’s difficult for most non-French speaking people to navigate. If you click English as your language of preference, you are taken to Rail Europe who, until Capitaine Train, had a monopoly on the purchase of train tickets for English-speaking countries. In addition, you cannot purchase bike tickets on the SNCF website, this must be done in person, over the phone or at an SNCF travel office. This is the reason why the Capitaine Train website is such an incredible resource for bicyclists traveling to France on holiday. It is the only service where you can actually purchase a ticket for your bicycle on a TGV at the same time that you book your ticket. In case you missed that, here is the link to booking a place for your bike: https://blog.capitainetrain.com/6555-take-bike-on-train-france.

            There has actually been so many comments on using Capitaine Train to book bicycle reservations that I will be writing a new post, just on this.

            Thanks again for your comments!

            Maggie LaCoste
            Experience France By Bike

  5. […] A relatively new travel company, Capitaine Train offers travelers an efficient platform for buying train tickets through the French Rail parent SNCF and Deutche Bahn, two of Europe’s largest train carriers. I came upon their website quite by accident, and I am so happy that I did.  I’ll definitely be purchasing my train tickets for my summer trip using Capitaine Train.  It’s certain to be much faster than purchasing tickets using Voyages-sncf.com, and cheaper than Rail Europe. Read more […]