Reservations in France

France is one of the most popular countries in Europe. It's also a country where there are limited seats for Eurail Pass holders on many trains. Therefore it's important to make your reservations as early as possible and avoid fully-booked trains. Most French high-speed trains and night trains can be reserved up to 2 months in advance.
 

French trains with limited seats for Eurail Pass holders
Regional trains in France
Alternative routes for French trains


The video below tells you more about train travel in France and making reservations.

When you travel with Eurail, your Pass gives you access to most trains in Europe. But it's good to know that the majority of trains in France need to be reserved in advance. As many of the popular routes in France get busy and because there are limited seats on international French trains for Eurail Pass Holders, we recommend making your reservations as early as possible. You can make your reservations either at the train station, or if you bought your Pass from Eurail.com, you can head to our website and let our reservations team take care of them for you. If you have any questions, we're here to help.

Read on to learn more about trains with limited seats and how to find find alternatives.

French trains with limited seats for Eurail Pass Holders

 

It’s good to know that the number of seats available for Eurail Pass Holders is limited on the following trains:

We highly recommend you reserve these trains as soon as possible. If you leave booking these reservations too late, there’s a big chance the allocation of seats to Eurail Pass Holders will be full. Reservations on the above trains can be made up to 2 months in advance.

Regional trains in France

 

The train you want to take may be fully booked for Eurail Pass Holders, or you may want to avoid having to pay the additional reservation fees. In these cases, we recommend using regional trains that don’t require a reservation.

This can mean a few more train transfers and longer journey times, but it also gives you the chance to see more of the beautiful French countryside. It’s not always possible to avoid trains with reservations, but it’s always worth checking on the Eurail timetable.

For more information, visit France by train.

Alternative routes for French trains

 

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 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.

Please keep in mind that train durations stated are approximate and include the time it takes to change trains.

 

 

Fastest route

  • Paris Nord to Amsterdam Central - High-speed Thalys* - 3hr 20min


*Reservation type: Mandatory; Limited seats for people with a Eurail Pass.


Alternative route (with some reservations)

  1. Paris Nord to Amiens - InterCités* - 1hr 20min

  2. Amiens to Lille Flandres - Regional TER - 1hr 20min

  3. Lille Flandres to Antwerp Centraal - InterCity - 2hr 5min

  4. Antwerp Centraal to Rotterdam Centraal - InterCity - 1hr 15min

  5. Rotterdam Centraal to Amsterdam Centraal - InterCity - 40min

  • Total train travel time: 7hr 40min


*Reservation type: Mandatory; Limited seats for people with a Eurail Pass.

 

Fastest route

  • Paris Gare de Lyon to Barcelona Sants - High-speed TGV* - 6hr 30min


*Reservation type: Mandatory; Limited seats for people with a Eurail Pass.


Alternative route (with some reservations)

  1. Paris Austerlitz to Port Bou - Intercité de Nuit* - 10hr 33min

  2. Port Bou to Barcelona Sants - Regional - 2hr 36min

  • Total train travel time: 13hr 9min


*Reservation type: Mandatory; Limited seats for people with a Eurail Pass.

 

Fastest route

  • Paris Nord to Bruxelles Midi - High-speed Thalys* - 1hr 25min


*Reservation type: Mandatory; Limited seats for people with a Eurail Pass.


Alternative route (no reservations)

  1. Paris Nord to Amiens - TER - 1hr 20min

  2. Amiens to Lille Flandres - TER - 1hr 20 min

  3. Lille Flandres to Tournal - InterCity - 20min

  4. Tournal - Bruxelles Midi - InterCity - 1hr

  • Total travel time: 4hr

 

Fastest route

  • Paris Est to 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 40min

 

Fastest route

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

*Reservation type: Mandatory

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

  • Paris Gare de Lyon to Zurich Hb - High-speed TGV* - 4hr 5min

*Reservation type: Mandatory

Alternative route (some reservations)

  1. Paris Est to Belfort Ville - InterCités

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

  • Paris Montparnasse to Bordeaux St Jean - High-speed TGV* - 3hr 15min

*Reservation type: Mandatory

Alternative route (some reservations)

  1. Paris Austerlitz to Vierzon Ville - InterCités - 1hr 40min

  2. Vierzon Ville to Limoges Benedictins - TER - 2hr 5min

  3. Limoges Benedictins to Périgueux- TER - 1hr 20min

  4. Périgueux to Bordeaux St Jean - TER - 1hr 25min

  • Total travel time: 6hr 30min

 

Fastest route

  • Paris Gare de Lyon to Marseille St Charles - High-speed TGV* - 3hr 20min

*Reservation type: Mandatory

Alternative route (no reservations)

  1. Paris Bercy to Lyon Part Dieu - TER - 5hr 5min

  2. Lyon Part Dieu to Marseille St Charles - TER - 3hr 35min

  • Total train travel time: 8hr 40min

 

Fastest route

  • Paris Gare de Lyon to Nice-Ville - High-speed TGV* - 5hr 40min


*Reservation type: Mandatory.


Alternative route (with some reservations)

  1. Paris Bercy to Lyon Part Dieu - TER - 5hr 5min

  2. Lyon Part Dieu to Marseille St Charles - TER - 3hr 35min

  3. Marseille St Charles to Nice Ville - TER - 2hr 35min

  • Total train travel time: 11hr 10min

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