Monthly Archives: February 2009

Inspiration – Elizabeth Gilbert

By | February 15, 2009 | in Attractions

A friend of mine recently became a fan of TED (Technology. Entertainment. Design) and it led me to watch this 18 minute talk on creative genius by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love.  She talks about inspiration, where it comes from, how people deal with it, and offers an idea of how to we can channel it as a positive force rather than a destructive one (often afflicting tormented artists).

It’s quite an interesting, if not inspirational, talk in itself and I recommend it for a watch to anyone who has to deal with the creative process in their work (hopefully all of us).

For me personally, Paris by Train draws its inspiration from the belief in spreading knowledge and having a positive impact on people’s lives.  One of the biggest effects I hope this site has is to reduce anxiety.  It can be a tough thing to set foot in a country where there may be serious barriers to communication.  The idea of not being able to get to shelter or to feed yourself due to an inability to simply communicate is a scary thought. And to some it is enough to stop cold any ideas or dreams of visiting far off places to experience different cultures and perspectives.  So, Paris by Train is my small stab at helping make this leap of faith by travelers a little bit less scary, allowing them to focus on the beauty of discovery & learning different places & people.  To help people look forward to such an experience with anticipation instead of anxiety, I think is something well worth the effort.

Paris Market Tours – Nice Cooking Classes

By | February 11, 2009 | in Attractions

I recently met Rosa Jackson, a Canadian culinary educator & prolific food writer based in Nice & Paris.  She currently offers French Provençal cooking classes in sunny Nice with her cooking school Les Petits Farcis.  When not in Nice, she’s leading culinary/market tours in Paris (Edible Paris).

If you’re looking to get to know the local food scene in either Paris or the Provence region of southern France, you need to get in touch with Rosa at either or

Read about a typical cooking class with Rosa at Gourmet magazine.

TGV Pro Tickets Exchange Refund

By | February 10, 2009 | in Tickets

TGV Pro train ticket exchange & refund policies are unique.  I’ll attempt to explain the conditions of sale for these business class TGV train tickets below.TGV Ticket

First misconception: Pro tickets are first class train tickets.  This is not true.  Pro tickets can be bought for seats in either the first class or second class train cars on TGV trains

The main difference between Pro (Business) and Loisir (Leisure or Economy or other types of) tickets is their refund/exchange policy.

Exchange and Refund Conditions for TGV Pro tickets:

  • TGV Pro tickets are exchangeable for another TGV ticket on any other TGV train route, without exchange fee, up until your train leaves. You must pay any differences in fares, if applicable.
  • TGV Pro ticket holders, from one hour before your scheduled departure to one hour after your scheduled departure, may take trains on the same route, without exchanging your ticket.  This does not guarantee you a seat!  If you have time, you should visit a automated ticket vending/exchange machine (Yellow for any type of TGV ticket, Purple for Pro TGV tickets) to officially exchange your ticket and reserve a seat.
  • TGV Pro tickets are fully refundable up until the time of departure of your scheduled train, free of cancellation fees.
  • After your scheduled train departs and up until 60 days afterwards, you will lose 50% of your ticket value for any refund or exchange of the ticket.  After 60 days, an unused TGV Pro ticket is worthless.
  • Exchanging/Refunding tickets using automated machines or ticket counters in any major train station is free of charge.
  • You may cancel/refund a TGV Pro ticket by telephone at any time up until 60 days after scheduled departure. To speak to a SNCF travel agent by phone to exchange/refund tickets call 08 92 35 35 01 when in France (0,34€/min).

If you are unsure of your travel plans in terms of schedule, it may make sense to purchase TGV Pro train tickets. Loisir tickets are exchangeable, free of service charge, up until the night before the day of travel.  On the day of travel, Loisir TGV tickets are subject to a 10€ exchange/refund fee (plus difference in fares if applicable).  After the departure of your scheduled train, Loisir tickets are worthless.