The high-speed trains used in France are known as TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse = high speed train). With 149 destinations and a speed of up to 320 km/h (200 mph), the TGV is the fastest way to visit the various regions of France.
Eurail pass holders
Seat reservations are compulsory for Eurail pass holders and cost €9 when made at French train stations.
The number of seats available for Eurail pass holders is limited on TGV trains. Make seat reservations in high-season as soon as possible. View our train travel options between France and Italy, including routes that avoid TGV trains.
Domestic TGV routes
TGV trains operate all over France, with various connections to neighboring countries. The TGV network is no longer centralized in Paris. It is possible to go directly from northern France to Brittany or the Loire Valley, but also to the south of France. The main tourist regions of France are accessible directly from Charles de Gaulle airport.
These are the main domestic high-speed tracks where the TGV trains run:
- TGV Sud-Est (Paris-Lyon)
- TGV Atlantique (Paris-Le Mans and Tours)
- TGV Rhône-Alpes (Lyon-Valence)
- TGV Nord (Paris-Lille/Channel Tunnel)
- TGV Méditerranée (Valence-Marseille)
- TGV Est (Paris-Baudrecourt)
The south east TGV has been running for 15 years. It links Paris to Lyon and the south of France (Avignon, Marseille, Nice) but also Geneva, Lausanne and the Swiss Alps.
The TGV Atlantique carries over 40,000 passengers a day. It not only links Paris to the West of France, Brittany and the coast, but also to the South West. It takes one hour from Paris to the Loire Valley and its famous Châteaux (Paris-Tours: 1 hour) and 3 hours to the famous Bordeaux wine country.
The northern high-speed line has brought Northern France and Europe closer to the rest of France: Paris is now only 1 hour from Lille, 2 hours 35 minutes from London, via the Channel Tunnel, and 1 hour 25 minutes from Brussels.
The TGV Est connects Paris with Strasbourg (2.20 hours), Basel (3 hours) and Zürich (4.30 hours), reducing travel time by 1.5 hours.
Popular international TGV route: Paris (France - Milan (Italy))
This TGV train (formerly known as the Artesia de Jour) is a high-speed train with 4 daily return connections between France and Italy. Between Paris and Milan there is a bar coach and a trolley service both offering food which meets your personal and culinary tastes. Between Lyon and Milan trains have dining cars offering meals served at tables, but takeaway food is also available.
TGV trains operate on the following routes:
- Paris – Modane – Torino – Milano
- Lyon – Modane – Torino – Milano
Eurail pass conditions
- For the route Paris – Milano, Eurail pass holders have to pay a compulsory reservation fee of € 55 ( 2nd class) or € 75 (1st class).
- For the route Lyon – Milano, Eurail pass holders have to pay a compulsory reservation fee of € 30 (2nd class) or € 45 (1st class)
Tickets for the TGV route between Milan and Paris cannot be bought at Italian train stations. There's a Rail Europe office close to Milan Central station (Milano Centrale). Here you can book the TGV from Milan to Paris or get help finding alternative routes.
Address: Via Viturvio 1. 20214 Milano
Phone number: +39 0240 32 35
The office is a 15-minute walk from Milan Central Station.
More info at www.sncf.com.
Eurail passes for France
Seat reservations in France
Please note that the number of seats available for Eurail pass holders is limited on the following high-speed trains in France:
- TGV: all domestic and international routes.
- Thalys: on all routes between France and the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
- InterCité trains: on some routes that require reservations.
- ICE: Paris – Frankfurt route only.
We recommend that you make reservations as soon as possible, ideally 2 months in advance. To check availability for the train, contact a booking center or visit a European railway station.
If a train is fully booked for pass holders you can:
- check our alternative routes.
- buy a full-fare ticket (if this is the only train you take that day it saves you a travel day).