France by Train

Trains - Tickets - Tours

A Travel Guide For Train Travel In France.

Here you will find information for France about trains, routes, tours, connections, where to buy train tickets, and more.

Useful Information

Population: 66.99 million

Currency: Euro

Language: French

Capital: Paris

Country Code: +33

Time Zone: Central European Standard Time

Train Companies

The most trains in France are operated by the Société Nationale des Chemins de fer français (SNCF); however, other well known rail operators are listed below:

 

  • Thalys
  • Thello
  • TGV Lyra
  • Elipsos
france rail map railwayhero

Copyright: RAILWAYHERO

Train Tickets

Buy your train tickets for France online on the OUI.SNCF official homepage.

trainline-logo-250

Buy your cheap train tickets for Europe online on TRAINLINE.

Rail Passes

Interrail / Eurail Pass

Do you want to travel throughout Europe flexibly and comfortably? Then the Interrail Pass is perfect for you. With the Interrail Pass, you can visit 40,000 destinations in 33 countries in Europe. You can travel for up to 3 months by train.

TrAIN tYPES

Regional Trains in France

Paris Suburban Train (RER) connects the center of Paris with the Parisian suburbs.

  • No reservations required
  • Tip: These trains are not often included in any rail passes

TER frequently links many cities and towns in France

  • No reservations required

InterCité (InterCity) links large cities and towns in France.

  • No reservations required (for most train routes).

TGV links well-liked cities such as Nice, Bordeaux, Marseille, Lyon, and Paris and also offers international routes.

  • 1st Class: Rows of three seats (2+1)
  • 2nd Class: Rows of four seats (2+2)
  • Reservations required
  • Trains are equipped with power sockets, and air-conditioning and often with a bistro car offering a range of snacks and drinks.

Helpful Tip: if you have an Interrail/Eurail Pass for France it is valid for travel to stations in bordering countries such as Portbou, Spain; Ventimiglia, Italy; as well as Geneva and Basel, Switzerland.

International Trains in France

Eurostar (ES) connects Paris to London, England, and Lille to Brussels, Belgium.

  • 1st Class (Business Premier): Rows of three seats (2+1), inclusive of a meal, lounge access at terminal stations, as well as shorter check-in times at least 10 minutes before departure
  • 1st Class (Standard Premier): Rows of three seats (2+1), inclusive of a meal, check-in at least 30 minutes prior to departure
  • 2nd Class (Standard): Rows of four seats (2+2), check-in at least 30 minutes prior to departure
  • Reservations required
  • Most services are equipped with power outlets, WiFi, air-conditioning, and an on-board bistro offering a range of food and drinks.

InterCity Express (ICE) connects Paris to Munich and Frankfurt, Germany.

  • 1st Class: Rows of three seats (2+1)
  • 2nd Class: Rows of four seats (2+2)
  • First-class passengers may enjoy additional benefits such as magazines, power outlets, and in-seat service.
  • No reservations required; however, they are recommended due to the popularity of routes
  • Trains are equipped with electrical plug-ins, free WiFi, toilets, and air-conditioning. Trains are equipped with an onboard bistro offering a range of food and drinks.

AVE Elipsos Spain – France (AVE Elipsos) is operated by both the Spanish and French railway companies and links Paris and Marseille to Madrid and Barcelona.

  • 1st Class: Rows of three seats (2+1), onboard business lounge available
  • 2nd Class (Turista): Rows of four seats (2+2)
  • Reservations required
  • Trains are equipped with power sockets, air-conditioning, and a bistro car offering a range of food and drinks.

TGV Lyria connects Paris to Zurich and Geneva, Switzerland.

  • 1st Class: Rows of three seats (2+1)
  • 2nd Class: Rows of four seats (2+2)
  • Reservations required
  • Trains are equipped with electrical plug-ins, free WiFi, and air-conditioning. Trains are equipped with a dining car offering a range of food and drinks.
  • Bicycles are allowed on trains, but the bike needs an additional ticket (€10)’

TGV connects Paris to Italy, Spain, and Luxembourg; as well as connects Lille to Belgium.

  • 1st Class: Rows of three seats (2+1)
  • 2nd Class: Rows of four seats (2+2)
  • Reservations required
  • Trains are equipped with power sockets, and air-conditioning and often with a bistro car offering a range of snacks and drinks.

Thalys (THA) connects Paris to Brussels, Belgium; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Cologne Germany.

  • Premium Class: Rows of three seats (2+1), includes a meal, drinks, and newspapers
  • Comfort Class: Rows of three seats (2+1)
  • Standard Class: Rows of four seats (2+2)
  • Reservations required, book as soon as possible
  • Trains are equipped with power sockets, free WiFi, and air-conditioning. Trains are also equipped with a dining car offering a range of food and drinks.

EuroCity Thello (THELLO) connects Nice and Marseille to Milan, Italy.

  • 1st Class: Rows of three seats (2+1)
  • 2nd Class: Rows of four seats (2+2)
  • No reservations required; however, they are recommended due to the popularity of the route
  • Trains are equipped with electrical plug-ins, toilets, and air-conditioning. Trains are also equipped with an on-board bistro car offering a range of food and drinks.

Domestic night trains in France

Intercités de Nuit

Routes:

    • Paris – Gap – Briançon
    • Paris – Cannes – Nice
    • Paris – Marseille – Nice
    • Paris – Orléans – Cerbère
    • Paris – Toulouse – Perpignan
    • Paris – Orléans – Irun
    • Paris – Orléans – Toulouse
    • Paris – Orléans – Rodez
  • Reservations required
  • Couchette Carriage:
    • All couchettes are inclusive of bedding and a complimentary amenity bag
    • 4 berth couchette, denoted as 1st Class
    • 6 berth couchette, denoted as 2nd Class
    • Private compartments are also available “espace privatif”
    • Bathrooms are located in the coach carriage
  • Sitting Carriage:
    • 2nd Class offered, no 1st Class
    • Bathrooms are located in the coach carriage
  • Food cart offering a selected variety of drinks and food pass through the carriages.

Thello Night Train

Routes:

    • Paris – Milan – Verona – Venice
    • Marseille – Milan
  • Reservations required
  • Sleeping Carriage:
    • 1, 2, and 3-bed sleepers available denoted as 1st Class
    • 1 and 2-bed sleepers with private bathrooms are also available, also denoted as 1st Class
    • For sleepers without a private bathroom, toilets are located at the end of every carriage.
  • Couchette Carriage:
    • 4 berth and 6 berth couchettes available, denoted as 2nd Class
    • Bathrooms are located at the end of the carriage
  • The train is equipped with air-conditioning, power sockets, a coffee bar, and a bistro car.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Routes

Frequently Travelled Routes In France

National

From > To
Duration (h)
ChangesTransport
Paris to Lyon1:56DirectTrain (TGV)
Paris to Nantes2:25DirectTrain (TGV)
Paris to Nancy1:381Train (TGV)
Paris to Bordeaux2:11DirectTrain (TGV)
Paris to Strasbourg1:50DirectTrain (ICE)
Lyon to Marseille1:39DirectTrain (TGV)
Lyon to Bordeaux5:481Train (TGV)
Montepellier to Toulouse2:22DirectTrain (TGV)
Marseille to Bordeaux5:56DirectTrain (IC)
Nice to Marseille2:38DirectTGV

International

From > To
Duration (h)ChangesTransport
Paris to Amsterdam, Netherlands3:28DirectTrain (Thalys)
Paris to Brussels, Belgium1:26DirectTrain (Thalys)
Paris to Zurich, Switzerland4:04DirectTrain (TGV)
Paris to Barcelona, Spain6:39DirectTrain (TGV)
Paris to Frankfurt, Germany3:39DirectTrain (ICE)
Lyon to Geneva, Switzerland1:57DirectTrain (TER)
Lyon to Milan, Italy6:311Train (TER, TGV)
Nice to Monaco, Monaco0:24DirectTrain (TER)

France travel routes

From Amsterdam To Paris

From Amsterdam To Paris

Main Train Stations

  • Paris Gare du Nord
  • Paris Gare de l’Est
  • Paris Gare de Lyon
  • Paris Gare Montparnasse
  • Paris Gare d’Austerlitz
  • Paris Saint-Lazare
  • Nantes
  • Lyon
  • Bordeaux
  • Montpellier
  • Marseille
  • Toulouse
  • Nice
  • Nancy

Good to know

Best Time To Travel To France

We recommend traveling anytime between April – June, and September – November because of it being the shoulder seasons, you will see fewer tourists and the weather is still great. During summertime, popular destinations see an increase in tourists as well as prices. The country also shuts down except for the tourism industry from mid-July to the end of August when the French nationals take their holidays and explore their own country.

Smell the lavender in the purple fields of Provence, visit Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy perched on its own island, taste wines in the famous area of Bordeaux, shred the slopes in Chamonix, or appreciate the decadency of escargot and foie gras. Choose your time of year and you’ll be sure to do and see plenty!

  • High Season: June to September
  • Low Season: Oktober to March

 

Accommodation In France

Booking

The best place to find cheap hotels for is to book by www.booking.com. There you will find a large selection of cheap hotels, hostels, and apartments. > BOOK HERE

booking-logo

Hostelworld

If you are looking for a low budget accommodation, then go on www.hostelworld.com. They have the best choice of cheap hostels for backpackers and low budget travelers. > BOOK HERE

Hostelworld Logo

Guidebooks For France

Travel with a guidebook ease your journey to find best sights and things to do. Buy it on Amazon.

Travel Insurance

We highly recommend not to travel without insurance. Don’t fret! World Nomads offers many different travel insurance coverage plans to suit your trip best. > BUY HERE

World Nomads Logo