YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Bargain Corner

New French Rail Pass

January 12, 1986|JACK ADLER

Travelers to France are being offered a new and more flexible rail pass. Under the France Vacances Special, you can buy coupons for nine of 16 days.

Generally, rail passes are sold for a specific number of consecutive days, which continue to elapse whether you're using the pass or not. But with the new France Vacances Special, you can break your rail journey without losing credit. For example, you can travel from Paris and remain for a day or two at Lyon or elsewhere and these days will not be eliminated. However, your nine- or 16-day set of coupons must be used within a one-month period.

This new pass was introduced to the North American market Jan. 1 at travel agencies. The pass must be bought in the United States and will be valid for six months from date of issue.

You Write In Dates

Passengers can write in the dates of travel themselves and have the coupons validated aboard the train. If you start your journey after 7 p.m. on one day, your coupon will be good until midnight the following day. However, if your rail trip starts earlier than 7 p.m. and goes beyond midnight, you'll be charged for two days.

As with the regular France Vacances rail pass, you get various bonuses. These include unlimited travel on the Paris Metro and bus system, round-trip transfers to and from the airport, free admission to the Pompidou Museum, car rental discounts and a 50% discount on the bateau mouches on the Seine.

You're also entitled to a free ride on the private and scenic narrow-gauge Chemin de Fer de la Provence railroad between Digne and Nice.

France Vacances Special is available for first- or second-class rail travel. It costs $199 for nine days first-class, $130 second-class. A 16-day pass is $250 first-class, $170 second-class. With the standard pass, prices start at $115 for a seven-day pass (remember, these are consecutive days) in second-class.

Both the new and regular pass make sense if you're going to spend a good deal of time in France. Otherwise, you might be better off with a Eurailpass good in France and throughout most of Europe.

For other information, contact French National Railroads, 9465 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills 90212, phone (213) 272-7967.

Los Angeles Times Articles