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Trains in France


Explore France by train with an Interrail Pass! Travel from the romantic capital of Paris to the glistening coast of the Côte d’Azur, past the snow-capped Alps and through sprawling vineyards in the Bordeaux region.


Please keep in mind that French high-speed and night trains always need reservations in advance and often have limited seating for Interrail Pass holders.


Train types in France

The French railway network is mostly run by SNCF. You can check train times with the Interrail timetable.

Map with main train connections in France
Map with main train connections in France

Regional and intercity trains in France


Reservations for regional trains are not required (except for the TER trains).



  • Connects most French cities and towns, with frequent services.
  • Certain ‘Nomad’ trains in the Normandy region have mandatory reservations
    • €1.7 reservation fee can be made via Rail Europe and at French stations


InterCité (InterCity)

  • Connects major cities and towns in France.
  • Reservations are not required for most InterCité trains.
  • The SNCF website has a map of InterCité trains that do require a reservation (in French only: Blue=reservations required; green=reservations not required; Purple=night trains)


Paris: suburban RER trains

RER trains connect central Paris with suburban areas of the city. Please note these trains are NOT included in the Pass. Keep this in mind when you're travelling to:

  • Orly Airport
  • Charles de Gaulle Airport
  • Disneyland Paris
  • Versailles

Domestic high-speed trains in France


  • Connects popular destinations like Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille and Nice.

  • Travels at speeds of 320 km/h (200 mph).

  • Features luggage racks, power sockets, and snacks in a restaurant car.

  • Reservations are required.


International high-speed trains in France


  • High speed trains to Great Britain, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands on the routes:
    • Paris – London
    • Paris – Brussels
    • Paris – Brussels – Antwerp – Rotterdam – Amsterdam
    • Paris – Brussels – Liège – Cologne – Düsseldorf – Dortmund
    • Disneyland Paris – Brussels – Antwerp – Rotterdam – Amsterdam
  • Reservations are compulsory for these trains, which can get fully booked. We recommend making your reservation as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
  • Read more about special booking conditions on our dedicated Eurostar page.
  • Services to Brussels, Amsterdam and Dortmund are operated by red-coloured former Thalys trains.



TGV & ICE to Germany

  • Connects French cities to various destinations in Germany, such as:        
    • Paris – Frankfurt, Freiburg, Stuttgart & Munich (Germany)
    • Marseille – Frankfurt (Germany)
    • Bordeaux – Frankfurt (Germany) Running on Saturdays 08 July – 26 August
    • Bordeaux – Freiburg (Germany) Running on Saturdays 01 April – 02 September
    • Reservations are required.


TGV to Barcelona

  • Connects Paris with Barcelona (Spain).
  • Reservations are required.
  • Quickly sells out in summer, travel by Intercités de Nuit to Latour de Carol or Cerbère as an alternative.


RENFE AVE to Spain

  • Lyon – Barcelona
  • Marseille – Madrid
  • Reservations are required


TGV Lyria

  • Connects Paris to Geneva and Zurich (Switzerland).
  • Reservations are required.


TGV to Brussels

  • Connects various cities in France with Brussels (Belgium), such as:
    • Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nantes, Rennes & Strasbourg to Brussels.
  • Reservations are required.


TGV to Luxembourg

  • Connects Paris and Montpellier to Luxembourg City (Luxembourg).
  • Reservations are required.


TGV to Italy

  • Connects Paris to Turin and Milan (Italy).
  • Reservations are required.


Train stations of bordering countries

An Interrail Pass valid in France covers travel to some train stations of bordering countries:

  • Basel (Switzerland)

  • Geneva (Switzerland)

  • Portbou (Spain)

  • Ventimiglia (Italy)

Domestic night trains in France

Intercités de Nuit

Connects Paris to various destinations in the east, west and south of France:


The Intercités de Nuit runs on the following routes:

(A map can be found here: Carte IC 2024 version Finale (

  • Paris – Toulouse (Daily)
  • Paris – Foix – Latour de Carol (Daily)
  • Paris – Nîmes – Montpellier – Perpignan – Cerbere (Only daily in the summer)
  • Paris – Bayonne – Pau – Lourdes – Tarbes (Daily)
  • Paris – Rodez – Albi (Not daily)
  • Paris – Aurillac (Not daily)
  • Paris – Marseille – Toulon – Cannes – Nice (Daily)
  • Paris – Briançon (Not daily)


Use the Intercités de Nuit as an alternative route to Spain


Both the night trains to Latour de Carol and Cerbère are good alternatives for the busy TGV route to Barcelona. The night train to Bayonne is a good alternative to reach San Sebastian and Bilbao via Hendaye.

  • Search for Paris to Latour de Carol in our timetable and find the local train to Barcelona on the Rodalies website (‘La Tor de Querol-Enveitg’).
  • Search for Paris to Cerbere and Cerbere to Barcelona in separate enquiries in our timetable.  This train only runs daily during summer season.
  • Search for Paris to Hendaye in our timetable and find the local trains to San Sebastian and Bilbao on Euskotren* to Spain. RENFE trains to San Sebastian and Madrid depart from Irun, which is a 30 minute walk across the border or a 4 minute train ride by Euskotren.*

*Euskotren is not part of the Interrail network. Buy your tickets locally in Hendaye from vending machines or at the ticket desk.


Reservations are required for these trains. 


International night trains in France

ÖBB Nightjet

  • Paris - Munich - Vienna
  • Paris – Strasbourg – Mannheim – Halle – Berlin


Popular connections

France has an extensive high-speed train network, which will get you where you want to go a lot faster compared to the regional train system. However, for the high-speed trains you'll need to book a seat reservation. We'll explain you more about reservations a bit further down on this page.


Compare train travel times between regional and high-speed TGV trains in France:


Route Regional High-speed
Paris to Bordeaux 11h 30m 2h
Paris to Lyon 5h 2h
Paris to Marseille 10h 30m 3h
Paris to Nice 16h 5h 30m
Paris to Nantes 5h 2h 15m
Paris to Strasbourg 5h 1h 45m
Paris to Lille 3h 1h
Route Which train? Travel time Reservations
Lyon to Geneva (Switzerland) Regional 2h None
Paris to Amsterdam (Netherlands) Eurostar 3h 30m Required
Paris to Brussels (Belgium) Eurostar 1h 30m Required
Paris to Cologne / Dortmund (Germany) Eurostar 3h 30m / 5h Required
Paris to London (Great Britain) Eurostar 3h 30m Required
Paris to Barcelona (Spain) TGV 6h 30m Required
Paris to Munich (Germany) TGVÖBB Nightjet 5h 30m / 11h
Paris to Frankfurt (Germany) ICE & TGV 4h Required
Paris to Geneva (Switzerland) TGV 3h Required
Nice to Genova / Milan (Italy)(via Ventimiglia) Regional and InterCity 3h / 5h Optional
Paris to Turin / Milan (Italy) TGV 5h 30m / 7h Required
Perpignan to Barcelona (Spain) TGV 1h 30m Required
Paris to Vienna (Austria) ÖBB Nightjet 15h (overnight) Required
Paris to Barcelona (Spain) via Latour de Carol Intercités de Nuit and Rodalies de Catalunya 15h Required only for
Intercités de Nuit
Paris to San Sebastian and Bilbao (Spain) via Hendaye TGV to Hendaye  or Intercités de Nuit to Bayonne and Euskotren to Spain 4h 40m / 13h 30m (overnight)
to Hendaye
Pass not valid on Euskotren


International ferry connections to and from France

  • Great Britain to France
    Get an Interrail discount of 30% off Irish Ferries journeys from Rosslare in Ireland to Cherbourg (19h 30m) or Roscoff (18h 30m) in north-west France.



Interrail reservation self-service system

  • Interrail
  • TGV, ICE, Eurostar, Nightjet, Intercités de Nuit
  • TGV to Barcelona

Administration costs when booking through Interrail self-service

  • € 2,- p.p.per train
  • Additional € 9,- per order (for paper tickets)

With railway carriers

  • B-europe: Domestic trains
    • TGV, Intercités, Intercités de Nuit
  • SNCB (b-europe): International trains
    • International TGV’s including Lyria and all Eurostar trains 
  • ÖBB Nightjet: Only Nightjet

Other platforms

  • Rail Europe: TGV (Lyria), ICE, Eurostar, Intercités (de nuit) and Train Nomad regional trains 

An explanation of how each booking platform works can be found here: How do I book my reservations


By calling SNCF

  • Call SNCF call centre
  • Select #85 for English
  • You can book both domestic and international reservations
  • The SNCF call centre currently only accepts payment via American Express


At the station

AVE trains (RENFE) can only booked at train stations in Spain at the moment. This also applies for domestic reservations within France.


Which trains in France require reservations?

  • TGV high-speed trains

  • ‘Nomad’ trains in the Normandy region – the €1.7 reservation fee can be made via Rail Europe and at French stations

  • All international high-speed trains (such as the Eurostar and ICE)

  • All night trains

You can make reservations up to 3 months in advance. The number of seats available for Interrail Pass Holders is limited on the TGV, Eurostar trains, certain InterCités trains and the Paris-Frankfurt ICE train. Please reserve your seats on these trains as far in advance as possible.


For more information about reservations for French trains:


Eurostar trains are popular and therefore, usually sell out quickly. Make sure to get your seat reservation in time. Alternatively, find trains without seat reservations in our timetable by toggling on the ‘no reservation needed’ button.



Get your Pass for France

Interrail France Pass

  • Explore all of France and Monaco by rail.

  • Youth discounts, as well as family and senior discounts.

  • Additional benefits like discounts on City Cards.

  • Prices from € 144


View France Passes 

Interrail Global Pass

  • Travel by train as much as you like in France and up to 32 other European countries.

  • Discounts available for youth, seniors and families.

  • Prices from € 212


View Global Passes 


Tips and tricks for France

French main train stations

Paris has several hub stations, which can connect you to most of the main cities in France. The main stations in Paris are:

  • Lyon

  • Nord

  • Austerlitz

  • Bercy

  • Est

  • Montparnasse.


The main railway stations in France usually have great facilities, including:

  • Lockers

  • Cash machines and a foreign exchange desk

  • Restaurants and cafés

  • Tourist information

  • Elevators, escalators and access for disabled passengers

Free bus travel

Interrail Pass Holders can travel for FREE on the following bus routes:

  • Digne to St Auban

  • Digne to Veynes

  • Oloro to Canfranc (Spain)


Discounted travel to Ireland

Discounted travel by ferry is available for Interrail Pass Holders.

  • 30% off ferry travel to Rossclare (Ireland).


See all Pass benefits for France


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