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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

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

France Map major rail connections

Regional and intercity trains in France

 

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

 

TER

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

  • Certain ‘Nomad’ trains in the Normandy region have mandatory reservations

    • €1.7 reservation fee can be made via Rail Europe and at French 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

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 in a restaurant car.

  • Reservations are required.

 

International high-speed trains in France

Eurostar

  • High speed trains to Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands on the routes:
    • Paris – London
    • Paris – Brussels
    • Paris – Brussels – Antwerp – Rotterdam – Amsterdam
    • Paris – Brussels – Liège – Cologne – Düsseldorf – Dortmund
    • Disneyland Paris – Brussels – Antwerp – Rotterdam – Amsterdam
  • Reservations are compulsory for these trains, which can get fully booked. We recommend making your reservation as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
  • Services to Brussels, Amsterdam, and Dortmund are operated by red-coloured former Thalys trains.

 

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.
  • Quickly sells out in summer, travel by Intercités de Nuit to Latour de Carol or Cerbère as an alternative.

 

RENFE AVE to Spain

  • Lyon – Barcelona
  • Marseille – Madrid
  • 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:

 

The Intercités de Nuit runs on the following routes:

(A map can be found here: Carte IC 2024 version Finale (sncf-connect.com))

  • Paris – Toulouse (Daily)
  • Paris – Foix – Latour de Carol (Daily)
  • Paris – Nîmes – Montpellier – Perpignan – Cerbere (Only daily in the summer)
  • Paris – Bayonne – Pau – Lourdes – Tarbes (Daily)
  • Paris – Rodez – Albi (Not daily)
  • Paris – Aurillac (Not daily)
  • Paris – Marseille – Toulon – Cannes – Nice (Daily)
  • Paris – Briançon (Not daily)

 

Use the Intercités de Nuit as an alternative route to Spain

 

Both the night trains to Latour de Carol and Cerbère are good alternatives for the busy TGV route to Barcelona. The night train to Bayonne is a good alternative to reach San Sebastian and Bilbao via Hendaye.

  • Search for Paris to Latour de Carol in our timetable and find the local train to Barcelona on the Rodalies website (‘La Tor de Querol-Enveitg’).
  • Search for Paris to Cerbere and Cerbere to Barcelona in separate enquiries in our timetable.  This train only runs daily during summer season.
  • Search for Paris to Hendaye in our timetable and find the local trains to San Sebastian and Bilbao on Euskotren* to Spain. RENFE trains to San Sebastian and Madrid depart from Irun, which is a 30 minute walk across the border or a 4 minute train ride by Euskotren.*

*Euskotren is not part of the Eurail network. Buy your tickets locally in Hendaye from vending machines or at the ticket desk.

 

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) Eurostar 3h 30m Required
Paris to Brussels (Belgium) Eurostar 1h 30m Required
Paris to Cologne / Dortmund (Germany) Eurostar 3h 30m / 5h Required
Paris to London (Great Britain) Eurostar 3h 30m Required
Paris to Barcelona (Spain) TGV 6h 30m Required
Paris to Munich (Germany) TGV / ÖBB Nightjet 5h 30m / 11h
(overnight)
Required
Paris to Frankfurt (Germany) ICE & TGV 4h Required
Paris to Geneva (Switzerland) TGV 3h 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
Paris to San Sebastian and Bilbao (Spain) via Hendaye TGV to Hendaye or Intercités de Nuit to Bayonne, and Euskotren to Spain 4h 40m / 13h 30m (overnight)
to Hendaye
Required.
Pass not valid on Euskotren

 

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

Eurail reservation self-service system

  • Eurail
  • TGV, ICE, Eurostar, Nightjet, Intercités de Nuit
  • TGV to Barcelona

Administration costs when booking through Eurail self-service

  • € 2,- p.p.per train
  • Additional € 9,- per order (for paper tickets)

With railway carriers

  • B-europe: Domestic trains
    • TGV, Intercités, Intercités de Nuit
  • SNCB (b-europe): International trains
    • International TGV’s including Lyria and all Eurostar trains 
  • ÖBB Nightjet: Only Nightjet

Other platforms

  • Rail Europe: TGV (Lyria), ICE, Eurostar, Intercités (de nuit), and Train Nomad regional trains 

An explanation of how each booking platform works can be found here: How do I book my reservations

 

By calling SNCF

  • +33 1 84 94 3635
  • Select #85 for English
  • You can book both domestic and international reservations
  • The SNCF call center currently only accepts payment via American Express

Which trains in France require reservations?

  • TGV high-speed trains

  •  

    ‘Nomad’ trains in the Normandy region – the €1.7 reservation fee can be made via Rail Europe and at French stations

     

  • All international high-speed trains (such as the Eurostar and ICE)

  • All night trains

You can make reservations up to 3 months in advance. The number of seats available for Eurail Pass Holders is limited on the TGV, Eurostar trains, certain InterCités trains and the Paris-Frankfurt ICE train. Please reserve your seats on these trains as far in advance as possible.

 

For more information about reservations for French trains:

 

Eurostar trains are popular and therefore, usually sell out quickly. Make sure to get your seat reservation in time. Alternatively, find trains without seat reservations in our timetable by toggling on the ‘no reservation needed’ button.

 

 

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 $ 211

                                           

 

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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