Trains in France, Tickets and Timetables

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Deutsche Bahn


Main Train Stations
French Train Companies
Popular French Train Routes
Trains in Europe


Trains in France: An Overview

The efficiency of the French train infrastructure has made train travel one of the most popular ways to travel 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

Main Train Stations in France

All big French cities have major train stations that are connected to other parts of the country as well as international cities. Below is a list of the major French train stations and their need-to-know details.

Paris Gare de Nord

Address: 18 Rue de Dunkerque,
75010 Paris, France
Free WiFi (30 minutes)
Luggage Lockers
Disabled Access
Public Transport to the City Center: Metro lines 4 and 5, Regional trains, multiple buses and taxis.

Gare de Lyon Part-Dieu

Address:5 Place Charles Béraudier
69003 Lyon
Free WiFi (30 minutes)
Luggage Lockers
Disabled Access
Public Transport to the City Center: Metro line B, Intercity Car 165, buses C1,C2,C3,C6,C7,C9,C13,C25,25,37,28,70

Gare de Nice

Address: Avenue Thiers BP 1463
6008 Nice Cedex 1
Free WiFi (30 minutes)
Luggage Lockers
Disabled Access
Public Transport to the City Center:Bus 99, Ligne D, Tram L1, Taxis.

Gare de Strasbourg-Ville

20 Place de la Gare
67000 Strasbourg
Free WiFi (30 minutes)
Luggage Lockers
Disabled Access
Public Transport to the City Center: Line 10, 2, G, Trams D, A, C, E and F, Taxis.

Train Companies and Trains in France

More information about SNCF and other train companies in France

The French train national rail company is called SNCF. SNCF operates regional express (TER) and high-speed Intercity TGV, iDTGV and Ouigo trains. While TGV high-speed trains are usually the fastest French 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 neighboring countries. o

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, soon to be known as TGV INQUI, 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. The new TGV IN QUI trains will cover more routes and will have amenities such as Wi-Fi, charging sockets and an onboard bar.

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 French train company, SNCF, and Italy's 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.

French Train Tickets

Most SNCF trains offer three types of tickets, but they might vary depending on the type of train you’ll travel on. Below you can find information on train ticket types for TGV trains.

Booking with Omio

When booking train tickets to France with Omio, you will be able to plan your trips efficiently and smoothly thanks to its journey app planner. To book a trip, first select where you want to travel to (in Europe, the U.S. or Canada) as well as the dates for your trip. Once you have decided on these details, you'll see clear and up-to-date information on which options are available to you including train types. At this point, you will have the choice to pay in different currencies, add on any personal discount cards, as well as having the chance to decide how to travel (i.e. slower for lower price or by picking the fastest travel time). Once booked, you will have access to all the tickets needed for your journey directly on a mobile device—no printer needed!

Train Companies in France

There are several train companies in France that travelers may want to get acquainted with before purchasing tickets for their trip. France has three train companies that provide only domestic routes, these companies are SNCF, TGV, and OUIGO. The SNCF is known to be the main operator of trains in France, these are typically high-speed regional trains, called Intercités, and also slower regional TER trains. The OUIGO company offers only six routes and it's known to be the low-cost alternative for high-speed trains in the country. The TGV company offers only a few routes as well, although it has plans to extend its network of high-speed trains in the future. On the other hand, six train companies in France offer international routes. Thello is a joint venture between SNCF and Trenitalia, therefore it provides day and night trains with routes going between Marseille and Milan, as well as Paris and Venice. Lyria is a partnership between SNCF and SBB (Switzerland) which provides high-speed trains with connections between Paris, Marseille and Dijon to main cities in Switzerland. Thalys also offers high-speed trains with routes that go from Paris to Amsterdam/Brussels/Cologne. The high-speed trains serviced by Eurostar operate routes that go from France to London, as well as Amsterdam and Brussels. The Renfe-SNCF collaboration provides direct routes with high-speed trains from the main cities in France to Barcelona and Madrid. Lastly, Eurocity has provided slower trains with routes that connect France to major cities in Europe.

Popular International Routes by Train

Travelers wishing to use trains for their visit to France from neighboring countries will find that Omio is a useful and convenient tool to use while booking their tickets. The main international routes that reach France usually depart and arrive from Paris and Lyon. Some of the most popular international routes by train go from London to Lyon/Paris, Amsterdam to Lyon/Paris, Brussels to Lyon/Paris, Berlin to Lyon, Barcelona to Paris, and Milan to Paris.

SNCF ticket types

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.


  • Cheapest TGV ticket type
  • Available to purchase three months in advance
  • Subject to availability
  • Non-exchangeable or refundable


  • Standard SNCF ticket
  • Cheaper when bought in advance
  • Can be exchanged or reimbursed up to the day before travel for a €12 fee
  • Non-exchangeable or refundable after train departure


  • Most expensive SNCF ticket
  • Most flexible ticket
  • Can be exchanged or reimbursed up until departure free of charge
  • Exchange up to two hours after your original train has departed


  • For short or medium distances
  • Valid for TER or regional trains
  • Valid for selected date only
  • Non-refundable or exchangeable


  • Valid for the France–Switzerland Lyria TGV train only
  • Lowest price option
  • Non-exchangeable or refundable


  • Valid for the France–Switzerland Lyria TGV train only
  • Can be exchanged until to departure for a €20 fee


  • Valid for the France–Switzerland Lyria TGV train only
  • Can be exchanged or refunded until departure for free
  • After departure, printed tickets are 50 percent refundable if claimed within two months
  • After departure, electronic tickets can be refunded 30 minutes afterwards

SNCF Offers

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.

Oui Tribu
    25 percent off group travel from four to seven people
  • - Available as an e-ticket only
  • - Tickets must be bought at the same time
  • - Valid only when the entire group travels together
  • Valid for the France–Switzerland Lyria TGV train only
  • - Non-refundable or exchangeable

Most popular train connections

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