Alternative routes for French trains

Many French trains have a limited number of seats available to pass holders. If the French train you want to take is full, you‘ll need to find a different way to make your journey.

We’ve researched  alternative routes for the 10 most popular French train routes, domestic and international. We show the fastest option using trains with limited seats for pass holders as well as some alternative options. 

Alternative routes on 10 most popular French train routes

Please keep in mind that train durations stated are approximate and include the time it takes to change trains. At certain times of the day, timetables may state that a reservation may be recommended for the 'Schnellzug'.

 

 

Fastest route

From To Train type Travel time
Paris Nord Amsterdam Centraal High-speed Thalys* 3hr 20min

*Reservation type: Mandatory; Limited seats for passholders

Alternative route (with some reservations)

From To Train type Travel time
Paris Nord Amiens InterCités*  1hr 20min
Amiens Lille Flandres Regional TER  1hr 20min
Lille Flandres Antwerp Centraal InterCity 2hr 5min
Antwerp Centraal Rotterdam Centraal InterCity 1hr 15min
Rotterdam Centraal Amsterdam Centraal InterCity 40min
      7hr 40min

*Reservation type: Mandatory; Limited seats for passholder.

 

Fastest route

From To Train type Travel time
Paris Gare de Lyon Barcelona Sants High-speed TGV* 6hr 30min

*Reservation type: Mandatory; Limited seats for passholders

Alternative route (with some reservations)

From To Train type Travel time
Paris Austerlitz Port Bou Intercité de Nuit* 10hr 25min
Port Bou Barcelona Sants   2hr 36min
      15hr 15min

*Reservation type: Mandatory; Limited seats for passholders

 

Fastest route

From  To Train type Travel time
Paris Nord Bruzelles Midi High-speed Thalys* 1hr 25min

 

Alternative (no reservations)

From To Train type Travel time
Paris Nord Amiens TER 1hr 20min
Amiens Lille Flandres TER 1hr 20min
Lille Flandres Tournai InterCity 20min
Tournai Bruxelles Midi InterCity 1hr
      4hr 55min

 

Fastest route

From To Train type Travel time
Paris Est Frankfurt Main High-speed ICE / TGV* 4hr

*Reservation type: Mandatory; Limited seats for passholders

Alternative route (no reservations)

From To Train type Travel time
Paris Est Chalons en Champagne TER 1hr 35min
Chalons en Champagne Metz Ville TER 1hr 40min
Metz Ville Strasbourg TER 1hr 45min
Strasbourg Offenburg TER 30min
Offenburg Frankfurt (Main) Hbf InterCity 1hr 45min
      8hr 40mi

 

Fastest route

From  To Train type Travel time
Marseilles St Charles Geneva High-speed TGV* 3hr 40min

 

Alternative (no reservations)

From  To Train type Travel time
Marseilles st Charles Valence Ville TER 2hr 25min
Valence Ville Geneve TER 3hr 15min
      5hr 55min

 

Fastest route

From  To Train type Travel time
Paris Gare de Lyon Milano P. Garibaldi High-speed TGV 7hr 10min

 

Alternative route (with some reservations)

From To Train type Travel time
Paris Austerlitz Nice Ville Intercité de Nuit* 11hr 25min
Nice Ville Ventimiglia TER 50min
Ventimiglia Milano Centrale InterCity** 3hr 50min
      17hr 30min

*Reservation type: Mandatory; limited seats for pass holders
**Reservation type: Recommended

Alternative route (no reservations)

From To Train type Travel time
Paris Bercy Lyon Part Dieu TER 5hr 50min
Lyon Part Dieu Marseille St Charles TER 3hr 35min
Marseille St Charles Nice Ville TER 2hr 35min
Nice Ville  Ventimiglia TER 50min
Ventimiglia Milano Rogoredo   4hr 20min
      25hr 45min

Traveling 25 hours might not be something everyone is willing to do. However, instead of making the journey in one go you could also decide to make a stopover on the route and continue traveling the next day. How about having an early breakfast in Paris then have dinner in Marseille, continue your travels to Nice. Spend a bit of time discovering the beach city of Nice before continuing on to Milan. 

 

 

Fastest route

From To  Train type Travel time
Paris Gare de Lyon Zuerich Hb High-speed TGV* 4hr 5min

*Reservation type: Mandatory; Limited seats for pass holders

Alternative route (some reservations)

From  To Train type Travel time
Paris Est Belfort Ville Intercités* 4hr 5min
Belfort Ville Mulhouse Ville TER 35min
Mulhouse Ville Basel SBB TER 25min
Basel SBB Olten InterCity 25min
Olten Zuerich Hb InterCity 30min
      8hr 20min

*Reservation type: Mandatory; limited seats for pass holders

 

Fastest route

From  To Train type Travel time
Paris Montparnasse Bordeaux St Jean High-speed TGV* 3hr 15min

*Reservation type: Mandatory; limited seats for pass holders

Alternative route (some reservations)

From To Traintype Travel time
Paris Austerlitz Vierzon Ville Intercité 1hr 40min
Vierzon Ville Limoges Benedictins TER 2hr 5min
Limoges Benedictins Perigeux TER 1hr 20min
Perigueux Bordeaux St Jean TER 1hr 25min
      8hr 25min

 

Fastest route

From To Train type Travel time
Paris Gare de Lyon Marseille St Charles High-speed TGV* 3hr 20min

*Reservation type: Mandatory; limited seats for pass holders

Alternative route (no reservations)

From To Train type Travel time
Paris Bercy Lyon Part Dieu TER 5hr 5min
Lyon Part Dieu Marseille St Charles TER 3hr 35min
      9hr 15min

 

Fastest route

From To Train type Travel time
Paris Gare de Lyon Nice Ville High-speed TGV* 5hr 40min

*Reservation type: Mandatory; limited seats for pass holders

Alternative route (no reservations)

From

To

Train type

Travel time

Paris Bercy Lyon Part Dieu TER 5hr 5min
Lyon Part Dieu Marseille St Charles TER 3hr 35min
Marseille St Charles Nice Ville TER 2hr 35min
      12hr 30min

 

With some of the alternative routes you’ll be traveling a fair bit longer and you’ll need to switch trains a few times. This might not be for everyone. If you just want to get straight to your destination, here are your options:

  • Change your itinerary around a bit. Either take a different route, try a different date of travel or visit your chosen cities in a different order.

  • Buy a full fare ticket to travel within France. You can then save your travel days to use in destinations outside of France. Buy full fare tickets at the station, online or by phone.

  • Consider using alternative transport for any routes where the seat allocation to pass holders is full, for example flying or renting a car.

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