Suave. Niche. Chic. France! This is might not be what SNCF stands for but, in our opinion, it should. One of the oldest train companies in Europe, it’s far from slow and doddery. With an extensive high-speed TGV train network covering the entirety of France and beyond, SNCF makes it easy to go from Calais in the north to Marseille in the south or even Spain or Germany.
SNCF has its sights on becoming the first operator to offer carbon-neutral travel for no extra cost to passengers. Less waste=good taste, right?
Train travel in another country can be daunting, especially if you don’t know what to expect from the train company. To make things clearer, we've summarized some practical information about SNCF to help you get up to speed:
SNCF is France's main rail service and with Omio, you can compare and check all SNCF fares and timetables for journeys from [A] to [B] and easily book your tickets from our website or our app. When booking, you can choose the class, seat and type of ticket you want—whether it’s Prem's, Loisir or Pro). If you have an SNCF discount card, you can add it to your Omio booking and we'll apply the discount in the search results.
All SNCF offers are available directly on the Omio website. Find more details and information about the different SNCF travel cards so you can save money on your next train journey to France. You can also look at our cheap train tickets page to see if you can travel during off-peak times and take advantage of the lower prices on your next train journey.
SNCF has many different ticket types but don't let that overwhelm you. SNCF aims to give its customers as much flexibility as possible. Luckily, we're on hand to help you understand the different SNCF ticket types. Like trains in the U.S., train tickets are cheaper the further in advance you buy them so don’t dither and get yours ASAP.
Although SNCF has only a few recurring offers, they provide discounts for group travelers, which are available year-round! If you are traveling solo, then we recommend looking out for the Prem's ticket as far in advance as possible to get the best deal.
Traveling by train in France is an experience not to be missed, with high-speed and regional trains connecting most cities and towns, from Brittany in the northwest to Provence in the south. But it can be challenging if you don’t know the rules, especially if your French is très mauvais. That’s why we’ve compiled some helpful tips to help make it easier for you to get on board and on your way to your destination. Here’s all you need to know when traveling by train in France.
France is one of Europe’s most popular destinations and although big, it’s easy to explore by train, thanks to SNCF.
Of course, we can’t talk about France without mentioning Paris. The country’s capital is arguably a dream destination for most Americans. Loved for its romantic atmosphere, experiencing Paris in real life, is an experience like no other. From seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time, to strolling along the Seine, to having a leisurely lunch at a flower-adorned bistro. Paris is always a good idea.
Want to venture outside of Paris? Then you’re in luck. There are SNCF trains that will take you from the French capital to the rest of France.
With the TGV InOui, it takes just three hours to get to Marseille in the country's south. Meaning you can have breakfast in Paris followed by a fresh seafood lunch by the coast! Want to travel to Bordeaux or Strasbourg? With SNCF you can reach both in just a matter of hours from Paris.
SNCF is the state-managed railway network in France and it operates the TGV high-speed trains throughout France.
Each of France’s larger cities usually has a metro system, making getting around fast and efficient.
Paris also has RER trains, similar to commuter trains, that also have connections with the metro stations.
Want to enjoy croissants or a glass of Pastis in the birthplace of both delicacies? Get on board with Omio and get around France with SNCF.
The major stations operated by SNCF are all in France. Along with Paris Gare du Nord, the company runs services to Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and Lille but also runs high-speed trains to international destinations such as Geneva or Milan.
|Train Paris Lyon||From 05:50 to 22:00||20 trains a day||2h||from $20|
|Train Paris Lille||From 07:00 to 22:00||30 trains a day||1h||From $25|
|Train Lille Paris||From 05:50 to 21:20||20 trains a day||1h||From $25|
|Train Lyon Paris||From 05:15 to 22:35||20 trains a day||2h||From $20|
|Train Paris Nice||From 07:20 to 21:20||15 trains a day||2h||From $21|
|Train Paris Toulouse||From 06:30 to 22:00||15 trains a day||5h30||From $29|
|Train Toulouse Paris||From 06:00 to 22:50||15 trains a day||5h30||From $35|
|Train Nice Paris||From 07:00 to 20:00||20 trains a day||6h00||from $28|
|Train Paris Marseille||From 06:00 to 21:30||30 trains a day||3h20||From $27|
|Train Bordeaux Paris||From 05:00 to 20:30||30 trains a day||2h50||From $20|
On average, 10 percent of French trains are delayed or canceled. If your SNCF train has been canceled or delayed by more than 30 minutes, you may be entitled to compensation. Omio will automatically complete a compensation claim for you, by submitting the necessary paperwork for the affected journey. This way, you can get your money back quickly and seamlessly.
The compensation claim rules in case of delayed trains in France are as follows:
Make sure to benefit from this feature by booking with Omio for seamless ticketing compensation.
When making a purchase for a regional train (TER) or for a journey involving a bus leg, you will receive a booking number per e-mail, not the actual tickets.
This booking number will allow you to collect your tickets at any yellow SNCF self-service machine at a station in France. On the screen, simply choose "File and electronic ticket collection" and select “Collection with a file reference number”. Enter the booking number and last name of the buyer—as indicated on your voucher.
The credit card used to make the payment is required.
Leisure (first and second class)
The ticket can be modified and refunded free of charge, up to 31 days before departure and subject to a fee of 5€ from 30 days until 2 days before departure. The penalty rises to 15€ on the day before and the actual day of departure. Any price difference between the original and the new ticket will also have to be paid. The ticket can neither be modified nor canceled after departure.
Pro (first and second class) The ticket is exchangeable and refundable for free until departure. After that, you can exchange it up to 2 hours after departure from the departure station. Any price difference between the original and the new ticket will have to be paid.
Prem's The ticket may not be modified nor canceled.
Carte Senior+ / Jeune / Week-End / Enfant+: The ticket can be modified or canceled for free up until three days before departure and with a 5€ fee on the day before and the actual day of departure. The ticket may not be modified or canceled after the departure.