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Lesson Transcript

Get Tips and Secrets for a Great Ride on the French Railway System!
In this lesson, we’re going to learn about the French railway system. I’m Becky, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 11 - Get Tips and Secrets for a Great Ride on the French Railway System!
Traveling by train in France is still one of the best ways to get around town. In France, you can find a wide variety of different train stations, architecturally speaking, referred to as modern, ancient, and listed.
The station of La Rochelle is a very beautiful white stone building. In the center of the facade, or façade, there is a tower with a clock. When you enter the station hallway, you can see a variety of magnificent mosaics. In the middle of the hallway, you will find the reception desk, the cafeteria, and the tobacco and news agents. Continuing straight ahead, you reach the platforms, or in French quai. They're protected under a huge glass roof that was recently renovated and repainted.
Returning to the hallway, to the right, you can find the ticket office, or in French billetterie. The queue is delimited, with everyone waiting their turn. The ticket agent helps customers find the ticket that best suits their trip. He or she asks all the possible questions so that travelers can find the best fare for them. For example, people under twenty-five are actually entitled to a discount! Elderly people, on the other hand, can find special fares online on private travel agency websites that deal with the railway authority, the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer français or "National Society of French Railways".
This website is voyages-sncf.com. There, you'll find great discounts, like the PREMs discounted tickets and last-minute offers. If you're in France for a longer period, you could take out a travel card, or carte de transport offered by the company. It will provide you with cheaper tickets, so don't hesitate!
One frustration with the French railway system is that the rail network is star-shaped. Thus, it isn’t unusual to have to travel for up to ten hours by train. Most of the lines go from Paris toward the borders. Side routes are multiplying, but you often have to go through Paris to cross the country, which isn’t always very convenient. Fortunately, there's a Train à Grande Vitesse, abbreviated as TGV, in English meaning a high-speed train. These type of trains travel at up to 320 kilometers per hour, making travel times much shorter!
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Have you ever traveled by train in France?
Until next time!