France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Trains & Train Travel in France
You will probably ride trains on your trip to France—and you'll be happy you did.





France has an elaborate and highly useful railway network including local, regional, national and international lines. (Here's a PDF-download map of France's entire rail network.) It handles 15,000 departures daily, carrying 10 million passengers to 3,000 stations. More...

It's usually fairly easy and convenient to travel among French cities and towns, and even some villages, by train or by train and bus.

Train equipment is mostly well-designed, modern and comfortable.

Types of Trains

French trains range from the efficient Paris Métro through Paris-regional RER and Transilien trains to regional TER and national Intercités and low-fare Ouigo trains to high-speed TGV Inoui trains—and then there are others! More...

Riding the Train

Here's how to board your train easily (tracks/platforms, composition du train, repères & more), and what it's like riding the rails in France (seats, windows, bike racks, toilets). More...

Train Stations (Gare SNCF)

Most of France's 3000 train stations (gare) were built in the 19th century, and are thus near the historic centers of French cities even though the cities may have grown well beyond their 19th-century boundaries.

Large cities may have more than one train station (Paris has more than seven). TGV high-speed trains may have their own special station some distance from the traditional station.

Often you will find a useful selection of hotels near the train station, some older, but many of late 20th-century or 21st-century vintage.

Car rental/hire offices are commonly located right next to train stations, making it easy to pick up and return hired cars. More...

All but the smallest stations have snack and refreshment shops, though only the larger stations are likely to have sit-down restaurants.

Tourist offices (Offices de Tourisme) are commonly (but not always) located in, next to, or near train stations, making it easy for you to pick up maps, street plans, brochures, and to get help finding things or making hotel reservations.

Train Station-to-City

In cities and towns with municipal bus and tram systems, important bus and tram lines always start at, or pass near, the train station, helping you to get where you want to go in larger cities.

How to Buy Tickets

Buying train tickets can be a challenge because there are so many routes and types of trains. More...

As virtually all French trains require seat reservations, it's best to buy your tickets in advance. You can do it online or on a smartphone app. More...

The easy way is to not have to buy tickets at all—buy an Interrail or Eurail Pass instead. More...

Types of Trains

TGV High-Speed Trains

How to Buy Tickets

Onboard a French Train

Air Travel to & in France

Ship & Ferry Travel

Car Travel in France

Car Hire/Rental

Bus Travel

Transport in Paris

Transport in France

Paris Girls Secret Society, a novel by Tom Brosnahan


SNCF Locomotive, Paris, France

An SNCF TGV high-speed train locomotive in Paris.


TGV Train Routes

France TGV train routes map
TGV high-speed train routes in France.

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