Overview of Train Travel in France
The efficiency of the French rail infrastructure have made train travel one of the most popular transportation methods in France. High-speed trains, known as TGV services in France, are perfect for traveling between France’s major cities, while regional (TER) trains allow travelers to reach numerous small towns and villages. From popular destinations and train routes to information about train companies and how to buy cheap train tickets, this page provides an overview of everything you need to know about trains in France.
More information about SNCF and other train companies in France
SNCF is France’s national rail provider. SNCF operates regional express (TER) and high-speed Intercity TGV, iDTGV and Ouigo trains. While TGV high-speed trains are usually the fastest train option, they cannot always reach their top speed (200 mph) on some routes like Paris-Marseille and Lyon-Turin. SNCF also operates international train routes in cooperation with train companies in other countries.
|SNCF : SNCF, or the National Society of French Railways, is France's national rail provider. SNCF is responsible for all train routes in France at a local level, while regional trains or intercity trains are covered by TGV and iDTGV and Ouigo subsidiaries. The SNCF also covers international routes going in and out of France in cooperation with companies from neighboring countries.|
|TGV : TGV trains are high-speed trains operated by SNCF. Despite their name, only a few routes on the French rail network actually use high-speed trains including Paris-Lyon, Paris-Marseille, Paris-Montpellier, Paris-Lille and Paris-Tours. However, TGV has plans to extend its network of high-speed trains in the future.|
|Eurostar : Eurostar is a Franco-British company that connects the UK with France and Belgium by traveling through the Channel Tunnel. The main route the Eurostar runs connects Paris and London; however, other French cities like Lille, Calais, Lyon, Avignon, Marseille and Marne-la-Vallée also connected with the UK via Eurostar trains.|
|Thalys : Thalys trains connect France with Belguim and the Netherlands. Thalys trains connect French destinations like Paris, Lille, Lyon and Marseille with Brussels, Rotterdam and Amsterdam in Belgium and the Netherlands.|
|Lyria : Lyria trains travel between France and Switzerland with more than 4 million passengers traveling on Lyria trains every year. You can reach Geneva, Basel, Lausanne and Zurich (and other major Swiss stations) from Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Lille or Dijon.|
|Thello : Thello was created as a partnership between SNCF and Trenitalia in 2010 and provides trains between France and Italy. Three lines currently exist: Paris - Venice (via Dijon and Milan), Milan-Marseille (serving major stations of the French Riviera) and Milan - Nice. To continue your journey by train in Italy you have to use Trenitalia or Italo.|
Many companies operate modern fleets with comfortable, reclining seats, wifi and air-conditioning. Compare the services available.
Further facilities and services may vary according to the transport company and country of operation. For more detailed information about providers, please refer to our comprehensive list of luggage restrictions.
Most major cities in France are connected by train. The most popular train routes in France connect Paris with other major cities like Lyon, Marseille, Lille, Rennes, Bordeaux and Strasbourg. International train travel is also popular with SNCF offering routes to many major European cities in conjunction with other national train companies.