I love traveling by train in France. It’s so much easier than driving (especially with holiday traffic jams on the highways, pricey toll roads, and the high price of gas) or even flying (no need to go to the airport three hours in advance or worry about carrying wine in your cabin baggage). In Paris there are six train stations, all connected to the metro system, and you usually don’t even have to be there more than 20 minutes before departure. The best part? If you’re paying attention, it’s also surprisingly inexpensive, even for high-speed TGV trips across the country. Here are three tips for getting the best rates on train trips, and how — after a few detours — I put them to use when purchasing tickets for our spring getaway to Annecy.