Strasbourg, France—Europe's newest high-speed train, the TGV East between Paris and Strasbourg, is a hit with Americans after just one day in operation.
Rail Europe, which handles ticket sales in North America, is selling up to four times as many tickets on parts of the route compared with last year.
"If you want the lowest fares, you need to book now," said Chris Lazarus, spokeswoman for Rail Europe. That's because, like airlines, the rail company adjusts prices based on demand.
Refundable one-way fares between Paris and Strasbourg start at $96; lower prices may be available for nonrefundable tickets. Seat reservations are required on TGV trains in France; contact www.raileurope.com or (888) 382-7245.
The new train began service between the two cities on Sunday, cutting the travel time nearly in half, to 2 hours and 20 minutes and linking the TGV network with Germany.
The train made its maiden voyage with 360 passengers, arriving on time and continuing on to Stuttgart, Germany, said Anne Premel, spokeswoman for the Strasbourg municipality.
Different branches of the line will cut travel time from Paris to several other European cities as well, including Frankfurt, Germany, and Zurich, Switzerland.
Trains on the new 252-mile line reaching Strasbourg via the French cities of Reims, Metz and Nancy travel at speeds of up to 199 mph, compared with a maximum of 186 mph for current TGV trains.
Planners foresee a network of high-speed lines stretching from Barcelona, Spain, to Budapest, Hungary. The plans are to create two axes that meet in Strasbourg: one running between Paris, Munich, Vienna and Budapest; the other linking Hamburg, Germany; Frankfurt; Lyon, France; and Barcelona.