Rail travel in France

Thello operates a daily round-trip between Marseille and Nice (continuing further east to Milan), with Intercity stock. Two classes are available:

A calendardescribes the time and days for each period. You can travel during priode bleue with a priode blanche ticket (as its more expensive), but you cannot do the opposite.

Book early (reservation opens 6 months in advance), as fares can be really expensive on Eurostar (up to €236 one-way between Paris and London in Standard class). If youre really flexible,Eurostar Snapoffers discounted tickets between 1 and 4 weeks before departure, but youll only get to select the day and a morning or afternoon departure: your exact schedule will be given only 2 days before departure.

Carte Enfant+, for youth under 12, gives the youth a 50% discount on the Loisir fare, and a 10% discount on the Prems fare, and to up to 4 persons accompanying the youth (related or not) a 25% discount on the Loisir fare, and a 10% discount on the Prems fare. Costs €75.

, the cheapest: if you are between 12 and 25 years old, older than 60, or travelling with a child under than 12 years old (related to you or not), you get a 25% discount. If you have a Carte Jeune, Carte Week-end Carte Senior+, or Carte Enfant+, you get a 50% discount.

SNCF operates almost all passenger lines within France, the only competitor is Thello, with a daily round-trip between Marseille and Nice.

RZD operates a weekly train between Paris, Strasbourg, and Moscow, through Germany, Poland, and Belarus, arriving/departing France on Thursdays.

Thalys operates high-speed between Paris, Brussels, Antwerp, and Lige, and between Lille, Brussels and Antwerp, as well as weekly summer seasonal services between Marseille and Brussels/Antwerp, and weekly winter seasonal services between Bourg Saint Maurice and Brussels/Antwerp. Free wifi and power sockets at the seat are available in all trains.

SNCFoperates most of the trains (high-speed, long-distance normal-speed, regional normal-speed).

There is an airport-like security screening before you can board the Thalys at Paris-Nord, try arriving at least five minutes before departure at the station.

second class (6 bunk beds in a compartment), first class (4 bunks) and Reclining seats.

. There is a bar in coach 4 or 14 that sells drinks, snacks, and microwaved meals, but no proper restaurant (there is no bar service between Paris-Lille and Paris-Reims). Wifi is slowly rolled out, SNCF expects all train to be offering wifi by the end of 2018.

London, Ashford, Lyon, Avignon, and Marseille, 1 to 5 times a week depending on the season, with an early morning departure from London, and an afternoon departure from Marseille. On the northbound way, you will be required to exit the train in Lille for passport and security controls, before reboarding the same train 75 mins later.

Thello operates two lines between France and Italy:

CP, EuskoTren, RENFE, and SNCF, operate trains between France and Spain.

Booking tickets online can be quite a confusing process: the SNCF does not sell tickets online by itself, and it is possible to book the same journey through a number of different travel agencies websites (in different languages and currencies). The fares for journeys inside France are the same with every travel agency.

SNCF and Thello operate trains between Marseille, Nice and Monaco.

Each company has its own conditions of carriage, and most of them do not accept SNCF reduction cards for international journeys (Ouigo is also distinct from SNCF within France despite being owned by SNCF).

): The world-famous French high-speed trains run from early morning to late evening in most of France (seenetwork map). Most trains operate to/from Paris, reaching Lille in 1 hr, Reims in 45 minutes, Metz or Nancy in 1 hr 30 mins, Strasbourg in 1 hr 45 mins, Dijon in 1 hr 30 mins, Lyon in 2 hrs, Marseille in 3 hrs, Nice in 5 hrs 45 mins, Montpellier in 3 hrs 30 mins, Toulouse in 4 hrs, Bordeaux in 2 hrs, Nantes in 2 hrs, Rennes in 1 hr 30 mins, but some trains also link cities without stopping in Paris. In the process of being renamed

) also exist, although they are slowly phased out. These include

Between Wissembourg and Neustadt an der Weinstraße (once every hour), with some trains continuing to Mainz and Koblenz on Sundays

Eurostar, IZY, SNCB, SNCF and Thalys offer services between France and Belgium, but mostly dont compete with each other.

These card can be bought online, but will have to be retrieved at a ticket office or a ticket machine before you travel.

are booking agencies owned by the SNCF. Fares will often be more expensive on these sites since they charge a premium for some reason.

Thalys operates trains between Paris, Lille, Rotterdam, Schiphol airport, and Amsterdam, as well as weekly summer seasonal services between Marseille and Amsterdam, and weekly winter seasonal services between Bourg Saint Maurice and Amsterdam (with intermediate stops in France and the Netherlands). Free wifi and power sockets at the seat are available in all trains.

On Monday to Friday, the train leaves Marseille at 15:29, and arrives in Nice at 18:02. On Saturday and Sunday, the train leaves Marseille at 11:24, and arrives in Nice at 14:04. On the other direction, the train leaves Nice every day at 19:55, and arrives in Marseille at 22:31. The train stops at Toulon, St Raphaël, Cannes, Antibes.

Wifi and power sockets are available in almost all trains.

Adult fares between Marseille and Nice range between €15-€30 in 2nd class and €20-€40, cheaper than the fixed price of TER regional trains.

Be extremely careful not to buy an e-billet or a printed ticket: the seller could cancel the ticket after the transaction, and you would be considered in fraud on board of the train.

Cabin, a bit more expensive but more comfortable, available with either 3 beds (from €75), 2 beds (from €95), 1 bed (from €115). A bottle of water and breakfast in the dining car are included.

Deutsche Bahn and SNCF operate a joint-venture service between Paris, Lorraine TGV, Forbach, Saarbrcken, Kaiserslautern, Mannheim, Frankfurt am Main, Strasbourg, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Ulm, Augsburg, Munich, as well as between Marseille, Lyon, and Frankfurt am Main (with intermediate stops between Marseille and Frankfurt). Some services are operated by SNCF trainsets (the train is therefore designated as TGV), while some other are operated by DB trainsets (designated as ICE). Both feature 2 classes of service, a trilingual crew (French, German, English), and power sockets at every seat. ICE trainsets offer free wifi within Germany only.

Standard Premier, the equivalent of the 1st class, with a light meal

This travel guide page was last edited at 20:30, on 13 May 2018 by Wikivoyage userTraveler100bot. Based on work by Wikivoyage usersThunderingTyphoons!Slasher-funHobbitschusterGround ZeroMx. GrangerIkan KekekandWrh2and Wikivoyage anonymous users125.255.224.251and49.197.33.220.

Detailed timetable are available onEurostar website.

SNCF and Thello operate trains to Italy.

The reserved seat rules are lax; you are allowed if you switch seats or use another seat (of the same class of course) if it is empty because the TGV is not fully booked or the other person agrees to switch with you. The only requirement is not to continue using a reserved seat if the person holding the reservation claims it.

French information booths, especially in larger train stations, can be quite unhelpful, especially if you do not understand much French. If something does not seem to make sense, just say excusez-moi and they should repeat it.

The beds are rather short (180 cm/5 ft 11 in): if youre tall you may have issues fitting in.

Paris, Lille, Calais Frthun in France, and Ashford, Ebbsfleet, and London in the UK, from early morning to late evening, several times a day

SNCF operates a TER line between Forbach and Saarbrcken (once every hour), with connections with trains arriving from Metz.

Beware: To avoid any form of fraud, your ticketmustbe punched by an automatic machine (composteur)before entering the platform areato be valid. Older machines are bright orange, newer machines are yellow and gray. The machines are situated at the entrance of all platforms. Failure to punch the ticket may entitle you to a fine even if you are a foreigner with a limited French vocabulary, depending on how the conductor feels, unless you approach the conductor as quickly as possible and request that your ticket be validated. Likewise if you step aboard a train without a ticket, youmustfind the conductor (contrôleur) and tell him about your situation before he finds you. However,e-Billetelectronic tickets do not have to be punched: in doubt, punch it anyway, you wont be fined for punching an e-Billet.

Carte Jeune, for youth between 12 and 27 years old, gives a 30% discount on the Loisir fare, and a 10% discount on the Prems fare. Costs €50.

DB operates two lines of regional trains between France and Germany:

French, English, German, Spanish and Italian language booking website. It aims to be as easy to use as possible. Unlike Voyages SNCF, you dont need your credit card to retrieve the tickets, only the reservation number and the last name entered for reservation. You can pay with Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Paypal. Tickets can be printed or downloaded on your mobile phone or Apple watch or Android watch. This website sells tickets for 19 European countries, including Deutsche Bahn (DB, german rails) tickets for trips in France and Germany, Lyria tickets for trips to Switzerland, Eurostar for trips to the UK, Thalys for trips to Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, Thello tickets for trips to Italy, and RENFE-SNCF for trips to Spain. For Alleo (SNCF-DB joined operation) journeys between France and Germany, Trainline automatically compares SNCF and DB fares, and shows you the cheapest of both (although its for the same train, SNCF and DB have their own fares).

International high-speed services connecting to the rest of Europe are operated by several companies, includingEurostar(London),Thalys(Brussels, Amsterdam, Cologne),izy(Paris-Brussels)TGV Lyria(Switzerland),DB(Germany) andRENFE(Barcelona).

Saarbahn operates a light-rail service between Sarreguemines and Saabrcken, with a departure every 30 minutes most of the day.

London, Ashford, Ebbsfleet and Marne-la-Valle – Disneyland, once a day, with a morning departure from London, and an afternoon departure from Marne-la-Valle.

While SNCF and DB jointly operate these trains, each operator has its own fares and fare system: compare the price between both operators before booking, or use Trainline as they automatically compare both prices and offer the cheapest one.

There is an airport-like security screening before you can board the Thalys at Paris-Nord, try arriving at least five minutes before departure at the station.

IZY, a brand of Thalys, operates up to three daily high-speed trains between Paris and Brussels, but with only a short part of the trip on high speed tracks: the journey is about 45 minutes longer compared to Thalys, but substantially cheaper.

SNCF operates a number of different kinds of high speed and normal trains:

To find your train, locate your train number and the departure time on the departures board. There will be a track (Voie) number next to the train and departure time. Follow signs to that track to board the train. You will have a reserved seat on TGV trains. On other long-distance trains, you can optionally make reservations (at least one day in advance); if you do not have one you may use any unused seat not marked as reserved. To find your reserved seat, first look for the train coach number (Voit. No). Pay attention to the possible confusion between track number (Voie) and coach (voiture) number (abbreviated Voit) As you go down the track, the coach number will be displayed on an LCD screen on the car, or maybe just written in the window or right next to the doors.

Business Premier, the equivalent of the 1st class, with a full meal, and access to Eurostar lounges in Paris and London

There is an airport-like security screening before you can board the Thalys at Paris-Nord, try arriving at least five minutes before departure at the station.

, as well as tickets with a reduction card, are exchangeable and refundable tickets (minus a fee) before the train departs. Tickets are generally cheaper the further in advance they are purchased.

For regional trains (TER) and Intercits without a reservation, tickets purchased at a ticket office are valid for any train within seven days, except there are two travel periods depending on the departure time of your train:

Carte Week-end, for anyone older than 28, gives you and any person accompanying you a 25% discount on the Loisir fare, and a 10% discount on the Prems fare, but on the condition that you book a round-trip or a circular trip of at least 200 km (125 mi), with at least a Saturday or a Sunday between the first and the last trip (you can do a round-trip on a Saturday or a Sunday, or leave on a wednesday and come back the following tuesday, but cannot do a round-trip on a Friday for example). While round-trips can easily booked only, circular trips can be bought at ticket offices only. Costs €75.

, which is an electronic ticket. Only available on some TGV services, you only need to have a printed e-ticket with you (from your own printer or from a ticket machine). Tickets can be reissued as many times as needed, but your name has to match the name on the ticket.

Eurostar is the only option, with high-speed trains between:

Many companies operates lines between France and the neighbouring countries, but there is almost no competition between them.

The SNCF websiteGares & Connexionsprovides live train schedules, keeping you informed about platform numbers and delays. This information is also available on smartphones via the free applicationSNCF.

SWEG operates a regional service between Strasbourg and Offenburg, with a train every 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Eurostar operates high-speed trains between Lille and Brussels, for a fixed price of €30 in 2nd class or €48 in 1st class.

If you plan to do more than 4 long-distance trips during your stay, investing in a reduction card may be worth it. They are valid 1 year, and you will need to put a photo on it:

, which… is not an electronic ticket at all. Its also a normal paper ticket, but purchased online. Again, if you lose it you have to buy another one.

CP operates a daily night-train between Hendaye and Lisbon.

Basically, the earlier you book, the cheaper it is. SNCF reduction cards are not valid.

On the main lines, TGVs often run in twos. There are two possibilities: either the two TGVs are considered as one train with one train number (in this case each coach has a different number); or the two TGVs are considered as separate trains which run together during a part of their journey, with two different train numbers (in this case, the two trains may have two close numbers such as 1527 and 1537), and each train will have its own coach numbering. So be sure you are in the right train (the train number is shown on the LCD screen, with the coach number).

French language booking website by Expedia and the SNCF. It can get sometimes confusing, and is known to hardly work when you try to buy a ticket from abroad or with a non-French credit card. Be careful: you will need the credit card that has been used for payment to retrieve your tickets from the ticket machines. If you dont have it, your tickets will be lost, and you will need to buy new tickets. Does not sell Thello tickets.

(second class). There is no food or drink service on board. A few trains are equipped with power sockets next to some or all seats.

, classic paper ticket, bought at a ticket office. If you lose it you have to buy another one.

If you are early, there is often a map somewhere on the track that will show how the train and car numbers will line up on the track according to letters that appear either on the ground or on signs above. That way, you can stand by the letter corresponding with your coach number and wait to board the train closest to your coach. You can easily go from one coach to another, so if you are very late, jump in any coach of the same class before the train starts, wait until most people are seated, then walk to your coach and seat number.

The Frenchnational railway networkis managed bySNCF Rseau, a branch of the nationalised companySNCF(Socit nationale des chemins de fer français).

Standard, the equivalent of the 2nd class

The SNCF fare system is a bit complex but still easy to understand.

Between Lauterbourg and Wörth am Rhein (once every hour)

SNCB operates intercity trains between Lille and Mouscron, Kortrijk, Ghent, Antwerp, Tournai, Mons, and Namur.

: the low-cost version of TGV, with service between Tourcoing (next to Lille), Rennes, Nantes, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Marseille, Strasbourg. Some Ouigo trains to Nantes, Rennes, and Bordeaux, leave from Paris-Montparnasse, but most Ouigo trains serve stations in the suburbs (Massy TGV, Marne-la-Valle-Chessy TGV – Disneyland, Charles de Gaulle airport TGV) that can be reached in about 45 minutes from the centre of Paris with public transit. This service is modeled after low-cost airlines: tickets are cheap (start at €10), but youll have to pay extra if you want to bring more than a hand luggage, a seat with a power socket, and youll have to be at the train station at least 30 minutes before departure. There is no food or drink service on board. There is no wifi on board, and no plans for it.

(first class) is less crowded and more comfortable but can also be about 50% more expensive than

Passenger trains are operated by different companies:

(a compartment with 2 real beds) were totally withdrawn from French overnight trains. However, you can ask for a private room (in first class). As of winter 2018, night trains link Paris with Briançon, Toulouse, Rodez, Latour-de-Carol, Cerbre. The train attendant sells snacks and drinks. Very few trains are equipped with power sockets next to some or all seats/beds.

All cars have air conditioning, all seats have a light, a table, and a power socket (type C, compatible with French and Italian systems). There is no wifi connection.

There are many kinds of fares on TGV and Intercits, but the two most important are:

Trains are a great way to get around inFrance. You can get from pretty much anywhere to anywhere else by train. For long distances, use the TGV (, orHigh-speed train) on which reservations are obligatory. But if you have time, take the slow train and enjoy the scenery. The landscape is part of what makes France one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

is a brand of SNCF, low-cost TGVs between Tourcoing (next to Lille), Rennes, Nantes, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Marseille. This service is modeled after low-cost airlines: tickets are cheap (start at €10), but youll have to pay extra if you want to bring more than a hand luggage, a seat with a power socket, and youll have to be at the train station at least 30 minutes before departure. Ouigo trains dont serve the main train stations of Paris, but stations in the suburbs (Massy TGV, Marne-la-Valle-Chessy TGV – Disneyland, Charles de Gaulle airport TGV) that can be reached in about 45 minutes from the centre of Paris with public transit.

As it is cheaper to book and purchase train tickets, especially those with reservations, in advance, there is a relatively lively trading of non-exchangeable and non-reimburseable train tickets on the Internet. See.

Deutsche Bahn, Saarbahn, SNCF, SWEG, and Thalys, operate trains to Germany.

and needs more content. It has atemplate, but there is not enoughinformationpresent. Pleaseplunge forwardandhelp it grow!

Text is available under theCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. By using this site, you agree to theTerms of UseandPrivacy Policy.

Thalys operates high-speed trains between Paris and Aachen, Cologne, Dsseldorf, Dsseldorf airport, Duisburg, Essen, and Dortmund. Free wifi and power sockets at the seat are available in all trains.

Lyria and SNCF operate trains to Switzerland.

Thellooperates a daily night train between Paris and Venice, and 3 daily day trains between Nice and Milan (with one train operating between Marseille and Milan)

SNCF operates high-speed trains between the east half of France (Strasbourg, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nice, Perpignan, butnotParis) and Brussels.

Carte Senior+, for anyone older than 60, gives a 25% discount on the Loisir fare (40% on the full fare Loisir fare in first class), and a 10% discount on the Prems fare. Costs €60.

, the more expensive: if you have a Carte Jeune, Carte week-end, Carte Senior+, or Carte Enfant+, you get a 25% discount (40% in first class with Carte Senior+).

Due to safety regulations, and the fact that the UK is not part of the Schengen area, Eurostar has airport-like facilities at the train stations, with passport control and X-Ray of your luggage: you willhave tobe at the train stationat least30 minutes before your scheduled departure (10 minutes if you hold a Business Premier ticket).

Couchette, cheaper but less comfortable, available with either 6 beds (from €35) or 4 beds (from €55). A bottle of water is included in the price, and you can buy breakfast or snacks in the dining car.

): Regional trains and the backbone of the SNCF system. TER are sometimes slower but do serve most stations. Available onEurailandInterRailpasses. As they are managed by each region, SNCF conditions of carriage do not fully apply, and you are not entitled for a refund in case of a delayed train. Booking is available in two classes:

: Long-distance normal-speed trains (seenetwork map. Includes lines with compulsory seat reservations (light green on the map) and lines for which seat reservations are optional (dark green on the map). The reservation-optional trains are what one will often use on passes. There is no food or drink service on board. A few trains are equipped with power sockets next to some or all seats.

, early bird fares, non-exchangeable and non-refundable

A night train between Paris (Gare de Lyon) and Venice (Santa Lucia), stopping at Dijon, Milan, Brescia, Verona, Vicence, Padova, Venice (Mestre). Two classes are available: