Trains to France
France has an extensive rail network, with high-speed trains operating along main lines and regional trains connecting remote communities right across France. You can buy French train tickets on our site and app; we are part of the family of companies owned by French rail operator OUI.sncf.
- Book French train tickets quickly and easily, including double-decker TGV Duplex and Intercités de Nuit night trains.
- Print-at-home or collect-at-station tickets available for every train.
- International connections by Eurostar, Thalys, TGV and TGV-Lyria to the UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and Spain among others.
- Discount 'Prems' fares offer discounts of up to 70% on advance bookings.
- Pay in euros, sterling or US dollars
France rail map
Image credits: map © 2017-2019 European Rail Timetable Ltd
Exploring France by train is easy and affordable. It’s four decades since France launched its first high-speed rail route. That was between Paris and Lyon. These days, fast TGV services connect most major cities across the country, and the network is still expanding. For example, the cities of Bordeaux and Rennes were both added to the high-speed network in 2017. The latest stretch of high-speed line, between Nîmes et Montpellier, opened in summer 2018.
Yet still, for many visitors, the highlight of French rail travel is exploring rural routes where trains meander through the countryside stopping off along the way. Rural France is still a happy antidote to the hectic rush of big cities. It is possible to devise long journeys across France relying entirely on slower regional trains (called regional express or TER for short). For example, you can travel from Paris to the Mediterranean by TER with just one change of train.
For travellers from Britain, Eurostar is the natural route to France. There are up to 20 direct Eurostar trains each day from London to Paris. And Eurostar also runs direct services to other French cities, among them Calais, Lille, Lyon and Marseille. Don’t assume if travelling from England to provincial French cities that Paris is the obvious connecting point. It’s often quicker and easier to change trains at one of the other French cities served by Eurostar. France has many other excellent international rail links, with direct trains to the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Italy and even Russia.
The principal French rail operator is SNCF, but a small number of longer-distance services are run by other companies, such as Thalys, Thello and the Spanish operator Renfe. In some parts of France, local rail services are operated by regionally based companies, but they are still integrated into the SNCF national ticketing system. So you’ll often just need one ticket to get from the coast of Brittany to the sunny shores of the Riviera or from the Alps to the Spanish border and beyond. On longer-distance journeys, book well in advance to get the cheapest tickets.