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My friend and i are taking our first trip at the end of this month using the Eurail. we've already purchased our ticket- the Germany France combo. This is our first time using the Eurail and i am not completely sure how the service works. We are arriving in Frankfurt, and traveling to koln. from Koln we would like to make our way to Paris. our last stop is Bordeaux and then we need to make it back to Frankfurt to catch our flight home. With our EURAIL pass do we still need to book our spots some how on the train? what about traveling from country to country? How do we make sure we have spots on the trains we need???
The first warning I would give you is that, if you have the "Germany-France Pass," you cannot travel from Koeln to Paris on the pass with the direct trains, because they go through Belgium.
As for reservations, the answer varies depending upon which train you take. For example, if you're taking a TGV high-speed train in France, seat reservations are required and cost extra, even with your railpass (about EUR 8 or so). You can purchase seat reservations at most train stations up to 1 day in advance. In December, you're unlikely to run into a full train unless you're traveling just before Christmas or New Year's Eve.
To check schedules on your own, take a look at German Rail's website, http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en?ld=212.60&newrequest=yes& . For a good primer on how railpasses work, take a look at http://ricksteves.com/rail/rail_menu.htm .
Enjoy your trip!
By "using the Eurail" you must mean "using the Eurail pass", as there is no Eurail transport system, the railway operators whose services you will be using are those of the French and German national railways. To work out your itinerary, you can look up the timetable on e.g. http://bahn.hafas.de/bin/query.exe/en (which covers all train services in Europe, not just those of German Railways). On that site, when you click on "details for all" it will show you exactly where you would have to change (between Frankfurt and Paris, at least at Cologne and for some departures in several other places), and also whether the train is "subject to compulsory reservation" (e.g. Thalys, TGV). In that case, yes it applies to you even if you have paid for the transport itself by buying a Eurail pass, and you will either have to go to a station in advance to make seat reservations, or else change your plans and travel on trains that don't require reservations. Whether you need one or not depends entirely on the type of train and not whether it is national or international.
The TGV between Paris and Bordeaux only takes just over 3 hours but Bordeaux St. Jean to Frankfurt Hbf takes about 10 altogether. You would arrive at Paris-Montparnasse but must leave from either Paris-Nord to Cologne or Paris-Est to Mannheim - the D-Bahn site includes metro directions for crossing Paris.
P.S. Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, which is the forum you placed your question in, is a resort town on the French coast (Pas-de-Calais, 238 km from Paris) which is not even mentioned in your itinerary....
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