Since booking a trip via iDTGV from Paris to Toulouse a month ago and having to share my e-mail, I now receive updates on their special deals.
For those of you who are uninitiated with iDTGV, it is a sister company of regular TGV service that requires all travelers using the service to book their trip online and print their own 'boarding pass'.
If you don't print your boarding pass, it will cost you 5 Euros extra before boarding to get your seat confirmed. I know because having booked my trip on short notice while still in Copenhagen, I did not have access to a printer.
Their prices are usually lower than regular TGV, especially if you are a bit flexible with your travel plans.
iDTGV just announced cool winter prices starting at 19 Euros one way, good for travel from December 8, 2011 to March 28, 2012.
A quick search for Paris Gare de Lyon to Marseille Saint Charles on December 8 gave me a best price of 22 Euros with 4 options in the morning (7:16, 8:16, 10:15, 11:16). Oddly all of these were on regular TGV not iDTGV which came up at 24.90 Euros at 11:16...
Paris to Marseille takes only around 3 hours and 15 minutes, city center to city center and no need to deal with airport security checks.
Since my first encounter with iDGTV was from Paris Montparnasse to Toulouse Matabiau, I checked prices offered today for December 8 and the 19 Euros fare was available for 2 trains (both iDTGV) at 11:30 AM (the one I took) and 5:20 PM (good for someone who wants to put in a day of work before leaving. Both trips take around 5 hours and 20 minutes (via Bordeaux) as TGV tracks between Bordeaux and Toulouse still have to be built.
From Paris, besides Grenoble, Chambery might be the closest destination to the Alps and its ski resorts. Best price for a trip booked today (also for December 8 travel) was 34 Euros, Travel time is 2 hours and 50 minutes.
If there is one thing I wish was added aboard iDTGV (or TGV) trains, it would be internet service. I believe it is currently limited to a pilot test on one line.
I would also make sense for a service whose sales strategy is based on the web.
To make a search on travel in France including iDTGV, TGV and other options visit Voyages SNCF (French site only).
For an English language search and a broader number of choices for train travel in Europe visit TGV Europe site.
I noted the Elipsos trenhotel (Sleeper cars) with service between Paris and either Madrid or Barcelona plus Milan and Barcelona now offering an Indian Summer special at 69 Euros per person (one way). Paris to Madrid is a 13 hours trip. You leave around 8 pm and arrive next day around 9 am.
(* Map of destinations served by iDTGV from Voyages SNCF website)