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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

TER

  • Connects most French cities and towns, with frequent services.

  • Reservations not required.

 

InterCité (InterCity)

 

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

TGV

  • 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 or a restaurant car.

  • Reservations are required.

 

International high-speed trains in France

Eurostar

  • Connects Paris and Lille to London (Great Britain) via the Channel Tunnel, and Lille to Brussels (Belgium).

  • Reservations are required.


ICE

  • Connects Paris to Frankfurt and Munich (Germany).

  • Reservations are required.


Renfe-SNCF en Cooperación

  • Connects Paris and Marseille to Barcelona and Madrid (Spain).

  • Reservations are required.


TGV Lyria

  • Connects Paris to Geneva and Zurich (Switzerland).

  • Reservations are required.


TGV

  • Connects Paris to Luxembourg City (Luxembourg), Lille to Brussels (Belgium), Paris to Turin and Milan (Italy) and Paris to Figueres (Spain).

  • Reservations are required.


Thalys (THA)

  • Connects Paris to Amsterdam (Netherlands), Brussels (Belgium) and Cologne (Germany).
  • 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.

  • Paris - Gap - Briançon
  • Paris - Marseille - Cannes - Nice
  • Paris - Toulouse - Perpignan - Portbou (Spain)
  • Paris - Rodez 
  • Paris - Toulouse - Latour de Carol
 

Reservations are required for these trains. 

Popular Connections in France

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 8.5 hours 3.5 hours
Paris to Lyon 5 hours 2 hours
Paris to Marseille 9 hours 3 hours
Paris to Nice 12.5 hours 5.5 hours
Route Which train? Travel time Reservations
Lyon to Geneva (Switzerland) Regional 2 hours None
Paris to Amsterdam (Netherlands) Thalys 3.5 hours Required
Paris to Barcelona (Spain) Renfe SNCF 6.5 hours Required
Paris to Brussels (Belgium) Thalys 1.5 hours Required
Paris to Cologne (Germany) Thalys 3.5 hours Required
Paris to Frankfurt (Germany) ICE 4 hours Required
Paris to Geneva (Switzerland) TGV 3 hours Required
Paris to London (Great Britain) Eurostar 3.5 hours Required
Paris to Milan / Genova (Italy)
(via Ventimiglia)
Regional and InterCity 4 / 2 hours Optional
Paris to Milan / Turin (Italy) TGV 6 / 7.5 hours Required
Perpignan to Barcelona (Spain) Renfe SNCF 1.5 hours Required

 

 

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 (19.5 hours) or Roscoff (18.5 hours) in north-west France.

Reservations for trains in France

Which trains in France require reservations?

  • TGV high-speed trains

  • All international high-speed trains (like Eurostar and Thalys)

  • 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, Thalys trains, certain InterCité trains and the Paris-Frankfurt ICE train. Please reserve your seats on these trains as far in advance as possible.

 

How to make reservations for French trains

  • Online: Through the Reservation service.

  • In person: At a ticket desk or self-service machine in French train stations.

  • By phone: Through one of the railway call centres.

 

For more information about reservations for French trains:

 
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 € 127

 

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 € 185

 

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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