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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.

Domestic connections in France

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

Map with popular train routes in France
Map with popular train routes in France

Train types in France

The French railway network is mostly run by SNCF. You can check train times with the Eurail timetable.

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 in France

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 in France

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

 

Thello

  • Connects Marseille/Nice to Milan (Italy) 
  • Reservations are not required, but they are recommended because of the popularity of the train.

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. 

International night trains in France

Thello night train

  • Paris - Milan - Verona - Venice

 

Reservations are required for this train.

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)

International train connections to and from France

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
Marseille to Milan (Italy) Thello 7.5 hours Recommended
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 for trains in 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

Places to visit in France


    Eiffel Tower, Paris
Eiffel Tower, Paris

Paris - a cultural center of the universe

The ‘city of lights’ is known for its art, architecture, fashion and cuisine. For centuries, the world standards for culture, cooking and couture have been led by the Parisians. And they wouldn’t have it any other way. The list of places to visit is almost endless: the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysée. Paris must be seen to be believed.

The Eiffel Tower is an 8-minute walk from train station Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel.

    Chateau and vineyard in Margaux, Bordeaux
Chateau and vineyard in Margaux, Bordeaux

Docking at the Port of the Moon

The port city of Bordeaux offers natural and man-made wonders of all kinds. Known, of course, as one of the finest wine regions in all the world, you can spend your entire visit sipping vino. But set down your glass, and sample the sights and sounds of the city. With nearly 350 registered national monuments, the architecture of Bordeaux has remained virtually unchanged since the 18th century, except for a polish and shine.

Bordeaux train station Gare de Bordeaux-St. Jean is centrally located in the city.

    The basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere, Lyon
The basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere, Lyon

History made real in Lyon

The centuries-old city of Lyon is a delight for the senses. Feast your eyes on the glorious landscapes, treat your taste buds to the sumptuous Beaujolais wines, breathe in the air as you sail along the rivers Rhone and Saône, and listen to the lessons of history in the centuries-old architecture, monuments and galleries. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that Lyon has been honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Station Lyon-St. Paul is in the center of the town, in walking distance of museums, galleries and monuments.

    The Château of Versailles
The Château of Versailles

Regal rewards in Versailles

Come for the palace, stay for the passion. The Château of Versailles was once home to King Louis XVI and his extravagant wife Marie-Antoinette. Don’t miss the Hall of Mirrors and Marie-Antoinette’s elaborate gardens. In Versailles, you can stroll through the secret pedestrian pathways and discover craftsmen of all kinds. Artistry and function, architecture and beauty. 16th century style, and 21st century appeal.

It’s a 10-minute walk to the Château of Versailles from station Versailles-Rive Gauche.

    Cap d'Antibes, Cote d'Azur
Cap d'Antibes, Cote d'Azur

Soul-quenching sun in the French Riviera

Stroll through the open markets and sip the local Bellet wine, explore the museums that fill the city, stretch out on your own piece of white sandy beach, or embark on a scuba-diving adventure, and you’ll know that Nice, and the rest of the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur), is like heaven on earth. The people are as warm and breezy as the weather, and enjoyment is in high demand.

Station Nice-Ville sets you off in the center of town, at the heart of all the Riviera’s activities.
france-paris-woman-in-metro-looking-at-eiffel-tower

Rail passes for France

 

Culture, history, and incredible French food awaits! A Eurail Pass lets you speed in style through breathtaking countryside direct to the heart of France’s great cities. Admire fine art in Paris and fine wine in Bordeaux, explore the vibrant streets of Lyon, and relax on the sun-soaked beaches of Nice and Cannes, all by train. 

Rail Pass options for France

France Pass

 

This Pass allows you to explore all of France!

 

Standard prices from € 67

Global Pass

 

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


Standard prices from € 185

Pass benefits in France

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)

 

Bus travel

Eurail Pass holders also travel for free on these international bus routes:

  • Digne – St Auban

  • Digne – Veynes

  • Oloro – Canfranc (Spain)

 

See all pass benefits in France

Top Attractions in France

More about France

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: LyonNordAusterlitzBercyEst and 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