Reader Q&A: How to make a booking for bikes on French trains

Published by Lyn on 21 August 2013

Howham wants to know how to book his bike on a French train.

With a little planning, negotiating the French rail system with a bike is possible. Photo: Cécile Graat

With a little planning, negotiating the French rail system with a bike is possible.
Photo: Cécile Graat

Reader question: We want to make a booking on a train. On the SNCF website we can't see how to make a booking for the bikes. The booking form shows that you can take bikes on the sectors we want, but I cannot see how to make a booking for them. I don't want to leave it until we arrive in case they do not have space left. Can anyone shed any light on this?

Answer: There are a number of ways you can do this.

1) Follow our guidance here. Note that you need to search individual legs searately. A long journey that involves multple changes will not sow up as bike-friendly on the SNCF system. If you cannot take bikes on a TGV, for example, then look at the map here and break the trip down into smaller local legs and search them individually for TER or Intercite train options.

2) You can see this article on Trainline as it is generally bike-friendly and shows cycle optionsup clearly. As above, though, you may need to break trips down and search individual legs separately. 

3) Reservations can also be made directly at all SCNF/train station ticket offices in France.

Note that TGV and Intercites tickets involving bike carriage must be booked in advance. It is not easy (read: often impossible) to buy a regular seat and then tack a bike on later.

Note that not all trains require bike bookings. Loal TERs trains take bikes with just a regular seat ticket, whch can be bought on the day of travel.

For more on trains in France, see our article on bikes and French trains and our on on getting to France by train. See here for Eurostar travel.

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