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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


Reservations for regional trains are not required (except for the TER trains).



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

  • TER trains in the Normandy region (€1.5 reservation fee, which can only be made at train stations).


InterCité (InterCity)

  • Connects major cities and towns in France.
  • Reservations are not required for most InterCité trains.
  • The SNCF website has a map of InterCité trains that do require a reservation (in French only: Blue=reservations required; green=reservations not required; Purple=night trains)


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


  • 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


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

  • Reservations are required.


Thalys (THA)

  • Connects Paris to Amsterdam (Netherlands), Brussels (Belgium) and Dortmund (Germany).
  • Reservations are required.


TGV & ICE to Germany

  • Connects French cities to various destinations in Germany, such as:        
    • Paris – Frankfurt, Freiburg, Stuttgart & Munich (Germany)
    • Marseille – Frankfurt (Germany)
    • Bordeaux – Frankfurt (Germany) Running on Saturdays 08 July – 26 August
    • Bordeaux – Freiburg (Germany) Running on Saturdays 01 April – 02 September
    • Reservations are required.


TGV to Barcelona

  • Connects Paris with Barcelona (Spain).
  • Reservations are required.


TGV Lyria

  • Connects Paris to Geneva and Zurich (Switzerland).
  • Reservations are required.


TGV to Brussels

  • Connects various cities in France with Brussels (Belgium), such as:
    • Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nantes, Rennes & Strasbourg to Brussels.
  • Reservations are required.


TGV to Luxembourg

  • Connects Paris and Montpellier to Luxembourg City (Luxembourg).
  • Reservations are required.


TGV to Italy

  • Connects Paris to Turin and Milan (Italy).
  • 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 - Rodez - Albi
  • Paris - Toulouse - Perpignan - Portbou (Spain)
  • Paris - Toulouse - Latour de Carol
  • Paris - Toulouse - Tarbes - Lourdes


Reservations are required for these trains. 


International night trains in France

ÖBB Nightjet

  • Paris - Munich - Vienna


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:


Route Regional High-speed
Paris to Bordeaux 11h 30m 2h
Paris to Lyon 5h 2h
Paris to Marseille 10h 30m 3h
Paris to Nice 16h 5h 30m
Paris to Nantes 5h 2h 15m
Paris to Strasbourg 5h 1h 45m
Paris to Lille 3h 1h
Route Which train? Travel time Reservations
Lyon to Geneva (Switzerland) Regional 2h None
Paris to Amsterdam (Netherlands) Thalys 3h 30m Required
Paris to Barcelona (Spain) TGV 6h 30m Required
Paris to Brussels (Belgium) Thalys 1h 30m Required
Paris to Cologne / Dortmund (Germany) Thalys 3h 30m / 5h Required
Paris to Munich (Germany) TGV / ÖBB Nightjet 5h 30m / 11h
Paris to Frankfurt (Germany) ICE & TGV 4h Required
Paris to Geneva (Switzerland) TGV 3h Required
Paris to London (Great Britain) Eurostar 3h 30m Required
Nice to Genova / Milan (Italy)(via Ventimiglia) Regional and InterCity 3h / 5h Optional
Paris to Turin / Milan (Italy) TGV 5h 30m / 7h Required
Perpignan to Barcelona (Spain) TGV 1h 30m Required
Paris to Vienna (Austria) ÖBB Nightjet 15h (overnight) Required
Paris to Barcelona (Spain) via Latour de Carol Intercités de Nuit and Rodalies de Catalunya 15h Required only for
Intercités de Nuit


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.



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 $ 76

Global Pass


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

Standard prices from $ 208



Tips and tricks for France

Quick facts

  • Capital: Paris

  • Population: 65 million

  • Language: French

  • Currency: Euro (EUR)

  • Dialing code: +33


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!

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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