By Emma Robiac
France is a country of hidden treasures. On a social level there are many forms of assistance to help people living here, but they are not always particularly well advertised and it is often by word of mouth that one discovers just what is available. This was the case for me regarding the “Carte Familles Nombreuses”.
The “Carte Familles Nombreuses” is essentially a travel card which is available to families with three children or more residing in France, whatever their nationality. It gives all members of the family, parents and children (including half brothers and sisters) access to reduced travel costs, up to -75%, on trains and buses (RATP and SNCF). Every member of the family is issued with his or her own card and must have the card in their possession when traveling to produce it at any moment if requested by a ticket inspector. The card is granted for parents and children under the age of 18 until the 18th birthday of the youngest child.
As well as providing cheaper travel, the “Carte Familles Nombreuses” also entitles the holder to reduced rates in certain shops (C&A, Intermarché, to name just two) and selected tourist attractions, restaurants and theme parks. As these reductions are not always well publicized, I have found it is a good idea to make a point of asking if the card is accepted before paying.
Application conditions are available on the SNCF website: http://www.voyages-sncf.com/services-train/famille/carte-familles-nombreuses