Travelling on an Intercités train
At a glance
- Regional train
Intercités services are run by SNCF, the French national railway company, on medium to long-distance routes within France. The name Intercités is an umbrella term that now includes most classic (ie. non-TGV or Trains à Grande Vitesse) long-distance services. Intercités trains are fast, air-conditioned, modern, and comfortable.
Styled as ‘classic’ French trains, daytime Intercités often serve cities that lie beyond the extremities of the high-speed network. These include routes from Paris to Clermont-Ferrand, Bordeaux to Nice and Paris to Toulouse. Slightly lower-grade Intercités trains, not requiring advance reservations, serve other routes the length and breadth of France.
For information on overnight Intercités trains, read our guide on Intercités de Nuit.
Before you board
Make sure to print your tickets and to have them on hand before boarding the train.
All Intercités services have good luggage space above your head or in the centre of each carriage. Please note that your luggage has to be labelled.
The best Intercités trains have a special carriage offering a number of compartments reserved for families travelling with children, as well as a play area.
You can take your bicycle on board an Intercités train, though often this requires taking off the wheels and packing the bike into a bicycle bag. Read our Help article on taking your bikes on trains.
Booking and printing options
Intercités tickets are open for bookings 90 days in advance.
Seat reservation is dependent on your chosen Intercités train.
Get the lowest prices on Intercités by booking early and don’t wait until the last minute as cheaper seats sell out quickly.
Opt for off-peak Intercités trains when you have to travel at short notice. Off-peak Intercités trains are more affordable than ones that run mornings and evenings, Fridays and Sundays or during popular holidays.
Classes of service
Intercités trains provide two main classes of service: Standard Class and First Class. First Class is available on all but a handful of Intercités routes, and on certain daytime Intercités trains, First Class is arranged as a couchette carriage instead of seated accommodation.
On some Intercités trains from Paris to Toulouse (via Limoges and Brive), couchette carriages are available for daytime use and are designated as First Class. Each compartment consists of four padded bunk beds. Intercités services that have couchette carriages do not offer seated accommodation in First Class.
Intercités First Class
First Class seating on an Intercités train is more spacious and comfortable with three seats across the aisle rather than four. Some have reclining leather seats and most have power sockets at each one.
Intercités Standard Class
Seating in Standard Class on Intercités trains is arranged in airline-style seats (most of them reclining) in open-plan carriages with four seats across the aisle, either in pairs of two or as a group of three and a single.