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France by Train

Your Eurail France Pass is the key to the world's most popular travel destination. Explore the romantic capital Paris, relax at the beach in the French Riviera and visit beautiful castles in the Loire Valley. Traveling by train through France is a guarantee for beautiful and varied scenery.

 

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

Train types in France

France Map major rail connections

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 these destinations in and around Paris:

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

Domestic high-speed trains

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

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 (the Netherlands), Brussels (Belgium) and Cologne (Germany).
  • Reservations are required.

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 - Toulouse - Rodez - Latour de Carol - Perpignan - Cerbère

 

Reservations are required for these trains. 

Train stations of bordering countries

A Eurail Pass valid in France covers travel to some train stations of bordering countries:

  • Basel (Switzerland)

  • Geneva (Switzerland)

  • Portbou (Spain)

  • Ventimiglia (Italy)

 

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.

 

View approximate train travel times between top cities in France with regional and high-speed TGV trains:

 

From/to High-speed train Regional train
Paris - Nice

5hr 47min

12hr 28min

Paris - Bordeaux

2hr 09min

8hr 31min

Paris - Lyons

1hr 57min

5hr 06min

Paris - Marseille

3hr 23min

9hr 10min

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 a Eurail 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

Many French trains require an advance reservation, including TGV high-speed trains, all international high-speed trains, and night trains (prices depend on desired sleeping accommodation). You can make reservations up to 3 months in advance.

Please note that the number of seats available for Eurail pass holders is limited on TGV, Thalys trains, certain InterCité trains, Eurostar trains and the Paris-Frankfurt ICE train. We advise you to reserve these trains as far in advance as possible.

 

How to make reservations for French trains

You can make reservations for domestic and international high-speed trains and night trains:

  • Through our Reservation Service.

  • At a ticket desk or self-service machine at local train stations.

  • By phone through one of the railway call centers.

 

Find out more about reservations

 

Get your Pass for France

France Pass

 

This Pass allows you to explore all of France!

 

Standard prices from $ 84

Global Pass

 

Be free to visit France and up to 32 other European countries.


Standard prices from $ 191

 

Pass benefits

Ferry travel

Discounted ferry travel to Ireland is an extra benefit of a Eurail Pass valid in France on these routes:

  • Roscoff – Rosslare (Ireland)

  • Cherbourg – Rosslare (Ireland)

 

Other benefits

Eurail Pass holders also get discounts on several hostels, city cards and even Disneyland!

 

Good to know

Quick facts

  • Capital: Paris

  • Population: 65 million

  • Language: French

  • Currency: Euro (EUR)

  • Dialing code: +33

French hub stations

France has several hub stations in Paris including: 

  • Lyon 
  • Nord
  • Austerlitz
  • Bercy
  • Est 
  • Montparnasse

 

From these train stations it's possible to connect to trains to most of France's main cities.

Station facilities

The main train stations in France usually have excellent facilities, often including:

  • Luggage lockers

  • Foreign exchange desks

  • Restaurants and cafés

  • Tourist information offices

  • ATM cash machines

  • Elevators and escalators

  • Access for disabled passengers

 

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