Train Tickets France

Book all cheap trains in France

Rail Map France

Rail Map France

Facts

SNCF: National Railways France 

Booking horizon 3 months*
Trains TGV, Lyria, Thalys, Eurostar, OUIGO, Intercité, Intercité Nuit, Trains Express Régional
Tracks 29,902 kilometres
High speed network 1,876 kilometres
Passengers 1,122 million 
Longest tunnel 50.5 kilometres (Channel Tunnel)
Longest bridge 2.178 kilometres
Highest elevation 1,593 metres
Major stations Paris Gare du Nord, Paris Gare de Lyon, Paris Gare Montparnasse, Lyon Part Dieu, Marseille St Charles, Nice Ville, Toulouse Matabiau, Montpellier St Roch, Bordeaux St Jean

*Bookings for the summer are possible from February 

France by train

Country of high speed trains

France, the pioneer of high-speed rail in Europe. TGV, Eurostar and Thalys connect Paris with all important cities in France and Europe with speeds up to 330 km/h. Discover the most beautiful landscapes, cities and railway routes with the French Railways SNCF.

Travel by train through France. Book a rail pass for various days or a single ticket. For France you can book the Interrail One Country Pass and Eurail One Country Pass. When travelling on a Interrail or Eurail Pass you can make your reservations on Happyrail.com as well. Simply fill in your departure and destination station to book the reservation. 

SNCF - National Railways France

SNCF (Voyages) is the name of the railways in France. 

The high speed train of SNCF Voyages is the TGV. The TGV connects all major destinations in France and many big cities in countries nearby like Spain, Switzerland and Italy. On some routes like Paris to Marseille, Paris to Bordeaux and Paris to Strasbourg the TGV reaches speeds up to 300km/h. Paris-Marseille takes just 3 hours, very fast seen the distance of 700 kilometers. 

SNCF is also a large stakeholder in the Eurostar to London and the Thalys to Brussels and Amsterdam

Prem's

The promo fare of SNCF is called Prem's and is available 3 months before departure (train tickets for the summer are available from February) The Prem's fare availability is very limited. 

Here at HappyRail you can buy all domestic and international train tickets from SNCF Voyages at the same price.  

Prem - Promo Fares SNCF

Prem fares are the cheapest train tickets offered by SNCF Voyages. Prem tickets are available 3-4 months in advance and are limited available. If the cheapest fare is sold out a next higher Prem fare will be available. In genral Prem fares are sold out very quickly - it's recommended to book as early as possible. 

Trains in France - Intro

High speed trains 

  • TGV
    300 km/h, between all major cities in France, Paris to Nice, Paris to Marseille 

  • Thalys
    300 km/h, comfortable and very fast, Paris to Brussels, Paris to Amsterdam
     
  • Eurostar 
    300 km/h,  high speed train from Paris to London 

  • ICE International 
    German high speed train from Paris to Frankfurt and Munich

Regional and Intercity trains

  • TER Trains
    Regional trains between small cities / villages and major cities 

  • Intercité
    Long distance trains, relative fast, few stops 

Night trains in France

Travel by TGV

Routes: 

2nd class

  • Comfortable seats
  • Reservation included
  • Bistro coach where drinks, snacks and small meals are available for sale
  • Wifi available upon payment for all passengers on TGV-trains from Paris to the eastern part of France.
  • Power sockets at seats on some TGV-services
     

1st class 

  • Comfortable seats with more leg room
  • Reservation included
  • Quiet atmosphere
  • Power points at all seats 
  • Wifi available upon payment for all passengers on TGV-trains from Paris to the eastern part of France.
  • Bistro coach where drinks, snacks and small meals are available for sale

  • TGV - More info and photo's 

Travel by Thalys

Routes: 

2nd class

  • Comfortable seats
  • Reservation included
  • Bistro coach where drinks, snacks and small meals are available for sale
  • Free wifi for holders 
  • Power sockets at all seats

1st class 

  • Comfortable seats with more leg room
  • Reservation included
  • Quiet atmosphere
  • Power points at all seats 
  • Free wifi 
  • A light cold meal served at your seat is included in the price
  • Use of the NS International lounges in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport. Holders of the Thalys
  • ThePass and TheCard can use the Thalys-lounges in Brussels, Paris and Cologne.

Travel by Eurostar

Routes: 

2nd class

  • Comfortable seats
  • Reservation included
  • Bistro coach where drinks, snacks and small meals are available for sale
  • Free wifi on services operated by the new E320-trains between London and Paris
  • Power sockets in the new E320-trains and coaches 5 and 14 in the older trains
  • Check-in closes 30 minutes before departure

Standard Premier class 

  • Comfortable seats with more leg room
  • Reservation included
  • Quiet atmosphere
  • Power points at all seats 
  • Free wifi on services operated by the new E320-trains between London and Paris
  • A light cold meal served at your seat is included in the price
  • Check-in closes 30 minutes before departure

Business Premier Class 

  • Comfortable seats with more leg room
  • Reservation included
  • Quiet atmosphere
  • Power points at all seats 
  • Fully flexible tickets
  • Acces to the Business Premier lounges with free drinks, snacks and wifi
  • Free wifi on services operated by the new E320-trains between London and Paris
  • A warm three-course meal served at your seat is included in the price
  • Check-in closes 10 minutes before departure

  • Eurostar - More info and photos

How to book cheap train tickets in France?

Domestic train tickets

For all TGV and long-distance trains reservation is compulsory and your ticket is fixed to a certain date and time. Fares start at only €15 for short-distance journeys like Paris-Lille. Longer journeys start at €25.

Early booking for the cheapest fares is recommended, especially for the weekend and holiday dates. Booking opens 3 months in advance, in some cases/on some routes earlier. 

Fares for regional TER-trains are based upon a price per kilometer and reservation is not compulsory. Tickets for regional trains are valid on later trains within the period of validity of the ticket.

International tickets

Reservation is compulsory for Thalys services to/from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, Eurostar to/from London and all international TGV services to/from Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.

Fares start for €35 for the Thalys Amsterdam-Paris,  €59 for Eurostar London-Paris and €49 TGV Barcelona-Paris. Early booking is recommended to get the best fares, booking opens 4 months for departure for international TGV and Thalys, 6 months for the Eurostar.

How to travel by train to/in France

Trains London to Paris
London and Paris are connected by Eurostar-services through the Channel Tunnel; trains run almost every hour (travel time about 2h16min).

Trains Amsterdam/Brussels/Cologne to Paris
The Thalys runs the high-speed service from Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne to Paris.

Thalys trains run hourly from Brussels to Paris, every 30 min in the peak hours (travel time from Brussels to Paris is about 1h20). Amsterdam is connected about 12 times a day (travel time 3h18min), Cologne about 5 times (travel time 3h26min) of which 3 trains run from/to Düsseldorf (3h53min) and Essen (4h25min).

Thalys also offers a low-cost service calls “Izy”, which operates 2 times a day between Brussels and Paris. Fares for this train are cheaper, but the travel time is also 2 times longer as it runs over the old railway and not over the high speed line.

Trains Germany to Paris
From southern Germany there are 2 different routes to Paris. From Frankfurt to Paris 4 ICE’s and 1 TGV run daily to Paris, the travel time is about 3h50.

The other route is from Stuttgart (3h40min) via Karlsuhe and Strasbourg and is serviced by TGV-trains, 4 times daily. One train starts/ends in Munich (6h10min).

The city of Freiburg in Breisgau is also connected by 1 daily TGV , travel time 3h45min. Luxembourg has 6 daily TGV’s to Paris.

Trains Russia to Paris
The Russian Railways operate a 3-weekly night train from Moscow, Minsk, Warsaw and Berlin to Paris.

Take the night train between Berlin and Paris: Deutsche Bahn withdrew her CityNightLine sleeper train between Berlin and Paris late 2014, but there's still a 3-weekly night connection between Berlin and Paris offered by the Russian train connecting Moscow and Paris.

This train leaves from Berlin on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays arriving in Paris Est next morning. From Paris the train leaves on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Trains Switzerland to Paris
From Switzerland connections are offered by TGV Lyria, a co-operation of SNCF and Swiss Federal Railways SBB. Four TGV’s connect Basel with Paris (travel time 3h4min), of which one starts in Bern and three in Zürich, one service operates from Paris to Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland, but there is no return service. 

The Swiss city of Lausanne is connected with 5 daily TGV’s (3h40min), Geneve is being served by 8 TGV’s daily to Paris, travel time is 3h10min. 

Trains Italy to Paris
From Milano Porta Garibaldi station 3 daily TGV’s run to Paris, also calling in Turin, Torino Porta Susa. Thello runs an overnight service from Venice, Verona and Milano to Paris, offering couchettes and sleepers.

Trains Spain to Paris
From Barcelona to Paris a co-operation of RENFE and SNCF offers daily TGV’s to Paris, 2 daily trains from November to March, 4 trains in summer. A night train offering seats and couchettes  runs from the border station La-Tour de Carol in the Pyrenees to Paris, with a connecting service from Barcelona available. The daily Sud-Express runs from Lisbon to the border station of Hendaye, with a connecting TGV to Paris.

Insider tip:
Take the scenic route from Barcelona to Paris
: The TGV-connection from Barcelona to Paris is efficiënt and fast, but not very scenic.

As scenic alternative there is a night connection from the border station Latour-de-Carol to Paris with a connecting service from Barcelona available.

The suburban Rodalies-train leaves Barcelona Sants about 15.00 (time varies depending the day) and arrives in Latour-de-Carol at 18.15, the route is very scenic with the train winding his way trough the Pyrenees.

The connecting night train leaves Latour de Carol at 20.20 and arrives Paris next morning at 07.24.

The return service from Paris leaves 21.39, arriving in Latour-de-Carol at 07.51, the connecting Rodalies-service to Barcelona leaves at 08.50 with arrival in Barcelona at 11.56. 

Trains to Lille
The city of Lille in northern France is connected by Eurostar from London, all trains (6-9 each day) from London to Brussels call here. Frequent TGV’s als run from Brussels via Lille to the Southern of France bypassing Paris. Thalys operates a direct service from Amsterdam to Lille, mostly 2 trains each day. Belgian Intercity services run from Antwerp and Ghent to Lille every 2 hours. 

Trains to Strasbourg
The eastern city of Strasbourg is connected by frequent local trains from Germany (Offenburg and Switzerland (Basel). TGV-trains from Stuttgart and Karlsruhe to Paris also call at Strasbourg. A daily Thalys operates from Brussels to Strasbourg.

Trains to Lyon
The southern city of Lyon has international connections from Switzerland, regional trains run every 2 hours from Geneve to Lyon. A daily TGV connects Lyon with Frankfurt in Germany.

TGV-trains from Barcelona to Paris also call in Lyon (2 to 4 trains daily), a Spanish AVE-service is also running from/to Lyon each day.

One of the three daily TGV’s Milano-Paris calls at the Lyon Airport of St Exupery. TGV’s run from Brussels to Lyon almost every 2 hours.

Trains to Nice, Avignon and Marseille
Thello operates three daily EuroCity-connections from Milano and Genova to Nice of which one continues to Marseille.

A daily TGV operates from Brussels to Nice and other cities at the Côte d’Azur. The Russian Railways operate a weekly night train from Moscow, Minsk, Warsaw, and Vienna to Nice. Also a daily TGV runs from Geneva to Nice Ville. Regional trains operate from Ventimiglia to Nice and Tende to Nice. 

Avignon and Marseille are connected by 3 daily TGV’s from Brussels. Frankfurt, Basel and Geneva are connected each with 1 TGV daily to Avignon and Marseille. A Spanish AVE runs from Madrid and Barcelona to Marseille each day.

Eurostar offers a special direct service from London to Avignon and Marseille. The train runs on Saturdays only from November to March, on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays in April, May, September and October and on all days except Tuesday/Wednesday in July and August.

Thalys offers a summer-season direct service from Amsterdam and Brussels to Valence, Avignon and Marseille. This service runs every Saturday from late June until half August. 

Trains to Toulouse and Bordeaux
A daily AVE runs from Barcelona to Toulouse in southern France from early April to late August. There are no direct trains from abroad to Bordeaux, but this city is easy reachable with changing trains in Lille or Paris.

Regional trains run from Spain to Cerbere, La Tour de Carol and Hendaye. A regional train runs from Zaragoza to Canfranc on the border with a connecting bus available to Oloron and Pau. A daily night train runs from Lisbon to the border station of Hendaye, with connecting services available to Bordeaux.

Train Travel in France - Major routes

  • Excellent high speed rail network 
  • All major cities have many high speed speed connections to Paris each day
  • Comfortable trains 
  • Faster than flying: Paris to Lyon, Paris to Bordeaux

 

Train travel:High-speed trainRegional train
Paris - Nice

5hr 36min

12hr 28min

Paris - Bordeaux

3hr 19min

8hr 31min

Paris - Lyon

1hr 58min

5hr 06min

Paris - Marseille

3hr 05min

9hr 10min

Scenic routes within France

Clermont Ferrand-Nimes: 

Route of the Cevenol-train through the Auvergne. This route runs through scenic Allier-Valley which is only accesable by train.

St Gervais les Bains-Chamonix Mont Blanc-Martigny: 

Narrow-gauge route to the winter sport resort of Chamonix continuing to Martigny in the Rhone Valley in Switzerland.

Marseille/Valence-Gap-Briancon: 

Route from the Mediterranean coast/Rhone Valley up to Gap and Briancon in the high Alps.

Marseille-Nice-Ventigmiglia: 

Route along the Côte d'Azur to Nice and Italy via Toulon, Cannes, Antibes and Monaco.

Perpignan-Latour de Carol: 

The famous "Train Jaune" (Yellow Train) through the Pyrenees to the Spanish border station of Latour de Carol. Connecting service to Barcelona available.

 

 

train_jaune.jpg

Insider tip: Travel with the "Train des Pignes" from Nice to Digne: This narrow gauge railway runs from Nice at the Côte d'Azur to Digne in the middle of the Provence/Alps. The panoramic carriages runs through the suburbs of Nice, continuing to the lavendel flowers of the Provence finally arriving in the Alp town of Digne. Trains run 3 or 4 times daily, depending on the season.

Hotels near stations

Recommended hotels near train stations in France

We've selected the following hotels in France based on the location near the train stations. These hotels offer a comfortable stay for good rates.

Paris: Hotel Terminus Nord
Famous hotel opposite the Gare du Nord, ideally located when you're arriving by Thalys or Eurostar.

Paris: Hotel Maison du Pré
Basic but clean hotel near the Gare du Nord.

Lille: Hotel Suites Novotel
Comfortable hotel opposite the Lille Europe-station.

Eurail

  • One pass for all trains in Europe
  • Often cheaper than multiple single-journey tickets
  • Free travel on most panoramic routes
  • Discounts on ferries like Italy-Greece

  • Eurail - More information

Other European Countries