When it comes to France, the world capital of romance, travelling by train may add some spice. With your Interrail pass - strike a lively balance among the vibrant city of Paris, the historic Versailles, and the grandeur of the Bordeaux vineyards. Wait no more, as an extraordinary experience across the French Riviera awaits you.
Travelling by train in France
France quick facts
Population: 65 million
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Dialing code: +33
Trains in France
Get information about France’s rail network, various train types and reservation requirements.
More about trains in France
Places to visit
Grandiose palaces and enchanting castles
Just a stone’s throw away from Paris is Versailles, a place where you’ll be rewarded by the exquisitely decorated Palace of Versailles. It was once home to the French monarchy until the start of the French Revolution. Also, be sure to use your Interrail France Pass to get you to a real French château and if the wow-factor is important, Château de Chambord, will certainly impress. Located in the Loire Valley, the French Renaissance architecture blends both French and Italian style. This is the kind of castle that fairytales are woven from.
The Palace of Versailles is a 15-minute walk from the Versailles Chantiers train station. To reach Chateau du Chambord get off at Blois train station and then take the shuttle bus.
Island gem and turquoise riviera
A visit to Normandy’s north-west coast wouldn’t be the same without a day at Mont St Michel – a tiny island just 1 kilometre off the French coast. Give your calf muscles a run for their money, as you wander around the steep, quaint town atop this island. Down south, find gorgeous beaches dotted along the French Riviera and an influx of French heading that way at the height of summer. Try Nice, St Tropez or Montpellier and feel like you’re living the high life! And don’t forget a day at the tiny municipality of Monaco – aka millionaires’ fairground!
Take the train to Rennes, where you can pick up a bus to Mont St Michel.
Let the adrenaline flow
The Alps are not only an adventurer’s dream in winter, but in summer Europe’s great mountain range becomes a playground of cool, outdoor activities, including paragliding, white water rafting, rock climbing and mountain biking. Biarritz, situated in the French Basque Country, is Europe’s surf capital. There you can catch yourself some decent waves, whilst checking out the gathering of attractive surfer dudes and board babes. If you find man-made adrenaline-pumping a thrill, then the rollercoasters and water rides, at French theme park, Parc Astérix will have you hanging onto your seat.
From Biarritz’s main train station take bus number 2 to the beachfront. There is a daily shuttle bus running from the Louvre to Parc Astérix.
Paris: Everything and more
Every cliché ever uttered about Paris is true and that’s precisely why you should visit the French capital. Make sure you see all the tourist hotspots and by night fit in an ambience-absorbing walk along the Seine, with the Eiffel Tower gracefully twinkling in the background. Then, hit Rue de Lappe, in the heart of Bastille and enjoy its trendy offering of bars and clubs. As European cities go, Paris is one that absolutely should not be missed. Even if you’re not there for love, you’ll certainly get whisked along by the romantic breeze!
Rue de Lappe is a few minutes by foot from the Bastille Metro Station.
Techno, champagne and fine cuisine
Check out a popular place with party revellers, Spartacus club in Aix-en-Provence and be treated to your favourite techno and house DJs. For a great choice of French and international restaurants visit the buzzing student town of Lyon with more restaurants per square metre, than possibly any other city. Prices are quite reasonable too. A trip to France isn’t complete without experiencing the origin of their most important products: wine and champagne. Visit Épernay, 130 km by train from Paris and home to many world-renowned champagnes. Check out the local vineyards surrounding the town and get sloshed on a bubbly tasting tour.
Épernay is a 20-45 minute train journey from Reims.
Cannes international film festival
Although more of a film industry event than one for a budget-travelling backpacker, if you’re passing through, a stop-off to witness the madness and extravagance of the world’s most famous film festival will certainly be fun.
The train brings you directly into the centre of Cannes.
Monaco Grand Prix
One of the highlights of the Grand Prix calendar is Monaco’s street circuit. Get your hands on a ticket, make friends with a boat or apartment owner and be blown away by top views of one of the greatest Grand Prix races. Even if you don’t make it for the annual race, you can still take a leisurely stroll around this famous circuit.
The train brings you directly into the centre of Monaco.
Biarritz surf festival
This popular surf festival in France, regarded as one of the highlights of the surf season, includes competitions and shows. It attracts around 150,000 people each year. It’s as much about riding waves, as it is about partying hard.
From Biarritz’s main train station take bus number 2 to the beachfront.
Interrail passes for France
Most popular passes with France
Interrail Global Pass from € 200
The Interrail Global Pass is the flexible and budget-friendly way to get around up to 30 countries in Europe. Travel by train from one cool destination to the next. One day you're on a pub crawl through Amsterdam and the next you're white-water rafting in Interlaken, Switzerland.View Interrail Global Pass
Interrail France Pass from € 154
The Interrail France Pass let's you travel comfortably to all highlights of France, like Paris, the French Riviera or the Loire Valley.View Interrail France Pass
All Interrail passes with France
Here's a list of all Interrail passes for your travels through this country: