French Rail in no longer one of the countries than can be chosen for travel as part of the popular three, four and five-country Eurail Select Pass.

The guess here as to why France withdrew from participation in the Select Pass is that too many passholders were unable to make seat reservations for the country's airline-style, capacity-controlled seat reservation system which puts Eurail passes on the lowest rung of the priority list. Seat reservations are required on all TGV trains in France and fewer seats are set aside for rail passes than for full-fare individual ticket holders and all other ticket and pass categories.

"Can you recommend the best rail daytrips from Garmisch-Partenkirchen?"...or cities such as Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin, Zürich, Interlaken, etc. It's a good question that pops up frequently in my email inbox. I'd love to have enough time to research and answer each one but like the old saw about "give a man a fish and he can eat for a day, but teach a man to fish and..." Well, you get the idea. So here's how to identify great rail daytrip destinations from European cities.

Recently, my wife, Liz, and I were fortunate to host visitors from Germany, friends we have known for several years. One of them travels the German rail system frequently and told me he often does so without a seat reservation (it is possible to have a ticket or rail pass that allows the ticket/pass holder to ride the train but does not provide a reservation for a specific seat). I explained to him that many Americans, even though they have a rail pass or a ticket, are leery of boarding a train not knowing where they will sit. My friend offer these tips: