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Half price sale on train discount cards launches today in France

Sale cuts cost of annual ticket but some versions of the card now offer fewer discounts

The cards offer discounts on tickets for France’s high-speed train (TGV) services Pic: Markus Mainka / Shutterstock

A week-long sale offering a 50% discount on the cost of SNCF’s popular ‘Avantage’ railcards launches today. 

Until September 5, the cost of any of the three ‘Avantage’ railcards offered by the state-owned rail operator will be €24.50, instead of the usual €49.

Once bought, the railcard has to be activated within five months of purchase, after which the discounts are automatically applied for 12 months.

The cards can be purchased through the official SNCF website.

At least 4.5 million people have the ‘Adulte’ version of the card (for ages 28 to 59), with millions more having the ‘Jeune’ (12 - 27) or ‘Sénior’ (60+) versions.

The card caps the maximum price of a ticket on TGV (high-speed) trains, depending on the length of the journey, alongside discounts of up to 30% on a number of other French train services such as regional TER lines.

For journeys of less than 1 hour and 30 minutes, prices are capped at €39, for journeys of between 1 hour 30 and three hours €59, and journeys of more than three hours at €79 – provided part of the journey takes place at the weekend, and you have the ‘Jeune’ or ‘Sénior’ version.

‘Adulte’ card sees price cap rises

These caps, however, rise by €10 (to €49, €69, and €89 respectively) from today (August 29) for the standard ‘Adulte’ card.

The increase was announced by the rail operator in July. It said it was necessary in the face of inflation and rising energy costs both for their services and station infrastructure. 

“This year we are facing a 13% increase in charges, but we have only decided to increase ticket prices by an average of 5%,” SNCF director Alain Krakovitch said last month. 

He also added that “In the majority of cases” those who have an ‘Adulte’ card are still paying “less than the maximum price” for their journey. 

Read more: Daily France to Spain trains to launch from September 1

Further train travel discounts on way

Alongside the week-long sale for their most popular discount card, the SNCF announced further discounts would be offered throughout September. 

Although it has not given exact information, the company said discounts to tickets would apply to “business travellers and [journeys] to European destinations,” with sales taking place until October 2. 

Also worth noting: the Centre Val-de-Loire, Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Pays de la Loire regions are all offering a ‘back-to-school’ discount on season tickets for their regional TER services. 

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