France Train Travel


France train travel is comfortable, efficient…. and very fast!

In fact, the new TGV East trains can go up to a record-breaking 300km/hr (which is around the same speed of an airplane before takeoff!)

Even if you plan to hire a car while in France, taking the train for part of your journey often makes more sense (and can often be faster) than driving.

For example, if you’re heading down to Nice from Paris, the train trip will take around 5 hours; driving, on the other hand, could take twice as long.

You can take the TGV directly from Charles-de-Gaulle airport so it’s really convenient.

Not only that, train travel in France is on the whole, very good: trains are on time, clean and safe.


Train Travel in France

France Train Travel: Booking Online

Train travel in France is run by SNCF, and includes the high-speed TGV trains.

If you want to buy your tickets in advance before you leave, you can book online through Rail EuropeSNCF’s overseas representative. You can search for and book domestic and international trains, InterRail passes and even Eurostar tickets through them (see more on this below.)

Once you’re in France, you can buy train tickets at virtually any train station. Just remember that with the TGV train you need to reserve a seat (not always the case with other local or regional trains in France). In any case, try and reserve a seat where possible, for your own peace of mind.

If you’d like to book tickets online while you’re in France, you can try SNCF (not the most user friendly of sites and you’ll need plenty of patience ).

France Train Travel and Beyond:
Europe Rail Passes

If you are planning on using the train extensively, Rail Europe has all sorts of passes depending on what your plans are; if you are travelling extensively, they are definitely worth looking into because they can save you money.Find out more about Rail Passes Here.

Eurostar Holidays

If you want to take the Eurostar to Paris, you can get there from London in around 2.5 hours – amazing.

The train leaves from St Pancras International (or Ebbsfleet International, recently opened in Kent) going to Paris-Gare du Nord.

You can go to Lille, Calais and Disneyland; Eurostar also has direct services to Avignon in the summer – you can get there in 6 hours.

If you want to hit the slopes for ski season, Eurostar can take you to Bourg St Maurice, near the popular resorts of Val d’Isère.Find out more about Eurostar tickets here. 

France Train Travel Times from Paris

Train times will of course vary depending on what type of train you are travelling on and which route.

As a guide, we’ve included here a list of approximate travel times to main cities from Paris – and they are the quickest services (most, if not all, by TGV).

Paris-Aix en Provence: 3hrs
Paris-Avignon: 2-3hrs
Paris-Bordeaux: 3hrs
Paris-Brest: 4hrs
Paris-Calais: 2hrs
Paris-Dijon: 1-2hrs
Paris-Lille: 1hr
Paris-Lyon: 2hrs
Paris-Marseille: 3-4hrs
Paris-Montpellier: 3.5hrs
Paris-Nantes: 2hrs
Paris-Nice: 5-6hrs
Paris-Reims: 1hr
Paris-Rennes 2hrs
Paris-Strasbourg: 2hrs20mins
Paris-Toulouse: 5hrs
Paris-Tours: 1hr10mins

Train Travel in France: that’s all there is to it. Bring a book, order a coffee from the bar, and enjoy the ride.)Find out more about trains in France here. 

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