London to Nice, Bordeaux, Marseille or Lyon from £62...

...by Eurostar & high-speed TGV.  From £115 return.  No baggage fees, no airport taxes, less stress, up to 90% less CO2, direct to the city centre, children under 4 go free.  Book online here

Take Eurostar & TGV high-speed train from London to Nice, Marseille, Lyon, Bordeaux, Avignon, Strasbourg, Perpignan or anywhere in France

The no-fly zone...  A 186 mph double-deck TGV to Nice, boarding at Paris Gare de Lyon.

   
 

Take the high-speed train to France...

Take the train to France, the civilised stress-free alternative to flying.  Take Eurostar from London to Lille or Paris, then a 186 mph TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) through the French countryside with a glass of red wine in hand to Avignon, Marseille, Nice, Nîmes, Montpellier, Perpignan, Lyon, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Rennes or Nantes...  Or save time, taking a late afternoon Eurostar to Paris then a couchette on the overnight Train Bleu from Paris to Cannes, Antibes or Nice.  It's comfortable and affordable:  London to to Lyon or Bordeaux from £109 return, London to Nice, Marseille or Perpignan from £119 return.  Unlike a flight, that's city centre to city centre, with no baggage fees, no airport taxes, significantly less impact on the environment and infants go free.  Bring your own bottle of wine if you like, there are no rules against that on the rails!

Train times, fares & how to buy tickets...

  London to Paris - Other UK towns & cities to Paris & France

  London to Disneyland & Versailles

  London to Nice, Cannes, St Tropez, Monte Carlo, Toulon

  London to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille

  London to Nîmes, Montpellier, Béziers, Narbonne, Perpignan

  London to Biarritz, Lourdes & Tarbes

  London to Lyon & Grenoble

  London to Bordeaux

  London to Strasbourg

  London to Limoges, Brive, Cahors, Toulouse

  London to Vichy & Clermont Ferrand

  London to Le Mans, Angers, Rennes & Nantes

  London to Normandy

  London to Mont St Michel

  London to Calais, Lille, Boulogne, Etaples, Amiens & Northern France

  London to Bourg St Maurice, Chamonix & French Alps (Ski Trains page)

  London to Corsica

  London to any other destination in France

  Starting your journey from other UK towns & cities

  How to buy train tickets from anywhere in Britain to France

  Train travel in France, a beginner's guide

  Trains from Paris to other European cities

  Trains from other European cities to Paris

 Choose your destination here...

   Wait for the page to load then select your destination here:    

 

Also on this page...

 Interactive map:  Click on a destination...

 ...for train times & fares from London, and how to buy tickets.

London to Paris by Eurostar

  What are French TGV trains like?

  What are French overnight trains like?

  About changing trains in Lille 

  Hotels & accommodation in France   

  Send your luggage in advance   

  Car hire in France   

  Short breaks to France by train

  Holidays & tours to France by train   

  Travel insurance, EU Health Card & SIM cards 

Information on other pages...

  How to cross Paris by metro or taxi  

  European train travel general information

  Train seat numbering plans

  Ski holidays in the French Alps by train

  Luggage on trains

  Left luggage at stations

  Child age limits & travel with kids

  Taking your bike

  Taking your dog

  Taking your car - motorail

  People with disabilities

  What's Eurostar like?

  Train Bleu restaurant, Paris Gare de Lyon

Sponsored links...

 

Useful country information

Train operator in France:

 

SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer), www.voyages-sncf.com.  To check train times & fares & book trains within France see www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com (residents of any country).  To check for disruption affecting trains in France (in French), see www.infolignes.com.  Eurostar trains from London to Paris: www.eurostar.comCorsican Railways Nice-Digne railway Petit Train Jaune.

   

Buy French train tickets:

 

...in the UK  ...in the USA  ...in Canada   ...in Australia  ...in NZ  ...in Asia, Africa, S.America   ...direct from SNCF

Paris bus & métro:

 

www.ratp.fr.  For a Paris metro map, select 'plans'.

Railpasses:

 

Beginner's guide to European railpasses    Buy a rail pass online

Time zone:

 

GMT+1 (GMT+2 from last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).    

Dialling code:

 

+33

Currency:

 

£1 = approx 1.15 euros  Check current exchange rates

Tourist information:

 

www.franceguide.com    Guidebooks     Tours to France by train

Hotels & guesthouses:

 

Paris hotels   France hotels   Finding accommodation in France  Reviews: www.tripadvisor.com

Motorail & car hire:

 

Motorail: taking your car by train    Car hire in France

Page last updated:

 

24 November 2014.  Train times partially updated for 14 Dec 2014 to 13 June 2015.


London to Paris

 

Buy Eurostar tickets from London to Paris

Booking tips:

  You can buy tickets direct from Eurostar at www.eurostar.com. You print out your own ticket.

  Eurostar bookings open 120 days ahead, or at certain periods up to 180 days ahead.

  If you use eurostar.com, I recommend selecting United Kingdom - English top right, whatever your actual country, then you can buy tickets starting in 130 UK towns & cities.

  Business Premier & Standard Premier = 1st class with drinks & meals. Standard = 2nd class.

 You print out your own ticket, or collect it at the station.

  For journeys beyond Paris, it can be better to book at uk.voyages-sncf.com (formerly www.raileurope.co.uk), see the section relevant to your final destination for advice.

 Tips on choosing a specific Eurostar seat

 Buy special connecting UK train tickets

Eurostar train first class from London to Paris & Brussels

A Eurostar at St Pancras in London.  More information about Eurostar.

Eurostar train first class from London to Paris & Brussels

Eurostar first classTips for choosing your seat.

Eurostar second class from London to Paris & Brussels

Eurostar standard class.  Only cars 5 & 14 have power sockets for laptops.  Cars 1 & 18 are family-friendly with baby-changing rooms.

Tips for choosing your seat

 
 
 
  The cafe-bar on a Eurostar train from London to Paris or Brussels

The cafe-bar:  Each Eurostar has two café-bars (cars 6 & 13) serving drinks & snacks.  Eurostar has teamed up with upmarket retailer Waitrose to offer a range of wraps & sandwiches plus hot dishes such as Chicken Tikka Massala.

Introducing Eurostar:  See the London to Paris page...

Eurostar is the high-speed passenger train from London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord via the Channel Tunnel, taking just 2 hours 15 minutes at up to 300km/h (186 mph).  Typically, 95% of Eurostar trains run on time or within 15 minutes, against just 63%-69% of flights on the same routes, and it's not surprising that Eurostar has now captured over 70% of the London-Paris market from the airlines.  See the London to Paris by Eurostar page for more information, including the three classes of accommodation on board, check-in procedures, luggage arrangements, food & drink, and tips for choosing the best seats.

Eurostar times, fares & tickets:  www.eurostar.com

Eurostar fares work like airline fares, so book in advance for the cheapest seats.  Fares start at £39 one-way or £69 return 2nd class, £107 one-way or £189 return 1st class (limited availability, no refunds, no changes to travel plans).  Some Eurostars stop at Ebbsfleet & Ashford in Kent, many call at Lille in Northern France, a few call at Calais Fréthun station a few kilometres outside Calais.  You can book online at www.eurostar.com with print-at-home tickets, or you can collect them from the e-ticket machines at the station.  You can book by phone, calling Eurostar on 08432 186 186 (+44 1233 617575 from outside the UK).  Eurostar bookings open 120 days before departure, or at certain periods up to 180 days ahead.  Tips on choosing a specific Eurostar seat.

Short city breaks to Paris...

For cheap breaks from the UK to Paris combining Eurostar with a hotel, check the following companies.  A short break can be cheaper than booking Eurostar and a hotel separately - and in some cases if you need to travel at short notice, cheaper than a regular Eurostar ticket, if the cheaper fares have sold out.

  Railbookers, www.railbookers.com,

  Eurostar themselves, www.eurostar.com

  Last Minute, www.lastminute.com

 French Travel Service, www.f-t-s.co.uk, 0844 84 888 43 (pls quote 'seat61' when you book).

The alternative London to Paris by train & ferry

It's still possible to travel from London to Paris by train & ferry if you want, although it takes 9 hours and you now have to buy separate train and ferry tickets.  It also costs more than a cheap return ticket on Eurostar.  But you get to sail across the English Channel from the White Cliffs of Dover, you avoid going through the Channel Tunnel if that's an issue for you, and if you have to travel at very short notice it can sometimes be cheaper.  For more information see the London to Paris by train & ferry page.


Other UK towns & cities to Paris & France

UK towns & cities to Paris with a Eurostar through ticket...

You can buy through tickets to Paris from over 130 different UK towns and cities at www.eurostar.com, but only if you use the UK version of the Eurostar website.  These 130 UK towns & cities will not be listed as destinations if you use the French, Belgian or US versions of the Eurostar site.  So even if you live in France, if you want to buy a ticket from (say) Paris to York, you will need select 'United Kingdom' top right at www.eurostar.com, irrespective of where you live.  It seems that UK train companies don't want to do business in euros, only pounds.  Or perhaps they just don't want French or Belgians going anywhere beyond London!

UK towns & cities to Paris with separate Eurostar & UK train tickets...

Alternatively, even if your local station isn't one of Eurostar's select 130 stations, you can buy a separate ticket to a special destination called 'London International CIV', designed for use with Eurostar tickets.  These exist from almost all stations in Britain,  they include the Underground fare across London to St Pancras if required, they generally have few or no time restrictions (so an off-peak price applies even in the peak), and you're covered by the international CIV conditions of carriage so if there's a delay to the UK train and you miss your Eurostar, you are entitled to be re-booked on a later one, no problem.  For more details and to check prices & buy tickets from your local station to London International, see the How to buy connecting UK train tickets page.

Any station in Britain to anywhere in France with www.loco2.com...

At www.loco2.com you can book from ANY British station to Paris or anywhere in France as one transaction.  It simply adds a ticket from your chosen British station to London International CIV (as described above) to an onward Eurostar + French train ticket.

West of England or South Coast to Paris...

By ferry+train:  If you live in the West Country or along the south coast, consider a ferry crossing from Plymouth, Poole, Southampton, Portsmouth or Newhaven to France, then a train onwards to Paris.  First check ferry routes, times and fares at the Seat61 Ferry shop (all routes & operators), or at www.brittanyferries.co.uk, www.ldlines.co.uk or www.condorferries.co.uk.  Then check UK train times from your local station to the UK port using www.nationalrail.co.uk.  Finally, check train times & fares from the French port to Paris and book online at www.loco2.com.  Allow at least an hour, preferably 90 minutes, between train and ferry on both sides of the Channel.

By Night Riviera sleeper + Eurostar:  From Devon or Cornwall, you can also use the overnight Night Riviera sleeper train to London then a morning Eurostar to Paris, for details see here.

Scotland to Paris...

By daytime trains...  You can buy through tickets from Glasgow or Edinburgh to Paris by daytime inter-city train & Eurostar at the Eurostar website.  This occasionally (wrongly) comes up with 'no trains available', but you can always buy a separate ticket from Scotland to London International CIV as explained here.

By Caledonian Sleeper + Eurostar:  A time-effective way to avoid flying is to hop on the overnight Caledonian Sleeper from Inverness, Aviemore, Aberdeen, Perth, Dundee, Fort William, Glasgow, Edinburgh to London, then take a morning Eurostar to Paris.  See the Caledonian Sleeper page for details.

Belfast or Dublin to Paris...

Belfast or Dublin to Paris using Eurostar, via London:  You can buy a cheap SailRail train+ferry ticket from Belfast to London for £49, or Dublin to London for €46 each way, see the Northern Ireland page or Ireland page for timetables, fares & full details.  Then book Eurostar separately at www.eurostar.com, from £39 one-way or £69 return.  Allow plenty of time to cross London, including time for the Eurostar check-in and any delay to your train from Scotland or Holyhead to London.  When connecting with a non-changeable, non-refundable Eurostar, bear in mind that the all-weather cruise ferries are very reliable, but the fast ferries can be cancelled in bad weather.

Belfast or Dublin to Paris using the Rosslare-France or Cork-France ferries, avoiding London:  Travel by train from Belfast to Dublin then Dublin to Rosslare or Cork (see www.irishrail.ie), then sail either by Irish Ferries cruise ferry from Rosslare to Roscoff or Cherbourg in France (see www.irishferries.com) or by Brittany ferries (www.brittany-ferries.co.uk) from Cork to Roscoff or Cherbourg for a train to Paris (see www.loco2.com).  To plan this, start by checking ferry sailing dates & times at www.irishferries.com or www.brittany-ferries.co.uk.  Then work out the best connection from Dublin to Rosslare or Cork using www.irishrail.ie, then the connection from Belfast also at www.irishrail.ie.


London to Disneyland

London to Disneyland by direct Eurostar...

  • A Eurostar runs direct from London to Disneyland Paris on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Sundays (daily in school holidays).  It leaves London St Pancras at 10:15, calling at Ebbsfleet 10:34, Ashford at 10:58 and arriving Marne la Vallée-Chessy, the station right next to Disneyland Paris, at 13:57.  The entrance to the Disneyland Park, Disney Studios and Planet Hollywood is just outside the station to the right.  Book online at www.eurostar.com

  • Returning, the Eurostar leaves Marne la Vallée-Chessy (Disneyland) on Fridays & Sundays at 16:54, arriving Ashford 18:05, Ebbsfleet 18:27 and London St Pancras at 18:47.  It also runs on Mondays & Wednesdays at 18:02 arriving Ashford 19:04, Ebbsfleet 19:26 and London 19:46.  Remember to allow for the 30 minute Eurostar check-in, at the top floor level of Marne la Vallée-Chessy station.

  • See www.disneylandparis.com to book holidays and short breaks to Disneyland Paris, including the Eurostar, hotel accommodation and entrance to the Disneyland park or buy Eurostar tickets separately at www.eurostar.com.


London to Versailles

How to get to the Chateau de Versailles...

  • The famous Chateau at Versailles (www.chateauversailles.fr) is 30-40 minutes southwest of central Paris using a frequent express metro train on RER line C to Versailles-Rive Gauche station.  Versailles-Rive Gauche is 5 minutes' walk from the entrance to the Chateau.  Just buy a Eurostar ticket to Paris at www.eurostar.com then buy an RER ticket from central Paris (zone 1) to Versailles (zone 4) when you get there, the fare is about €4 each way.  RER line C runs directly to Versailles-Rive Gauche from various RER/metro stations in central Paris, including the Gare d'Austerlitz, St Michel-Notre Dame, Musée d'Orsay, Invalides, & Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel.  From the Gare du Nord, take RER line B two stops to St Michel-Notre Dame, then change onto RER line C to Versailles-Rive Gauche.  See www.ratp.fr for a plan of the RER network

  • Travel tip:  A nicer way to reach Versailles from central Paris to to go to the Gare St Lazare and take Transilien line L to Versailles-Rive Droite.  These Transilien suburban trains run every 15 minutes, taking about the same time as the RER C route, but unlike RER C almost all the journey is above ground with views of wealthy Parisian suburbs, a Seine crossing, and the towers of the financial district at La Défense.  You arrive at Versailles-Rive Droite which is a slightly longer walk from the chateau, but you walk through the old part of town and can enter the chateau through its gardens at the 'Bassin de Neptune' rather than through the car park as with the walk from Versailles-Rive Gauche.


London to Nice, Cannes, St Tropez, Monte-Carlo

 

Chill out by train to Nice...

Take Eurostar & TGV high-speed train from London to Nice, Marseille, Lyon, Bordeaux, Avignon, Strasbourg, Perpignan or anywhere in France

Lunch at the Train Bleu restaurant, then stroll to your TGV.  There's no check-in to worry about!

London to Nice by train:  A first class 'club duo' table for two on the upper deck of the Paris-Nice TGV Duplex.

Relax. A table for two in first class, upper deck on a TGV Duplex from Paris to Nice, perfect...Chill out by high-speed train from London to Nice!

Chill... Bring your own picnic & wine or visit the café-bar.  You arrive in the centre of Nice.

London to Nice by train from £62...

It's easy to travel from London or anywhere in the UK to Cannes, Nice or Monte Carlo by Eurostar and high-speed TGV, a chance to chill out with a good book and a glass of wine, and maybe even have lunch in Paris on the way.  It's affordable, too, with cheap fares if you book in advance, centre to centre with no hidden fees. 

What are the options?

What's the train ride to Nice like?

Settle back into your TGV seat and watch the scenery glide past with a glass of red to hand.  From Lille or Paris as far as Lyon, the TGV passes rich green farmlands and picturesque French villages with pretty churches.  South of Lyon, the TGV flies at ground level along the Rhône Valley, crossing and re-crossing the River Rhône on dramatic viaducts high above the valley floor, passing more pretty villages and the occasional hilltop chateau, then through the hills of Provence to reach Marseille.  Watch out for a huge viaduct over the Rhône just before Avignon, with views of the famous Palais des Papes in the distance to the left - though if you can spot anyone dancing sur le pont d'Avignon you have better eyesight than me!  You'll see the Alpine foothills in the distance to the left, and catch a glimpse of Marseille harbour with its Chateau d'If of Count of Monte Cristo fame to the right before arriving at Marseille St Charles station.  If you're bound for Cannes, Nice or Monte Carlo, the scenery along the Côte d'Azur is wonderful, as the train runs along the coast past yacht-filled harbours, beaches, rocky inlets and millionaires' villas.  Take a bottle of your favourite wine with you (there are no rules against this on the rails), put your feet up and enjoy the ride...

The Man in Seat 61 says:  "Attending a conference on the Côte d'Azur, I travelled from London to Nice by train.  A morning Eurostar to Paris, lunch at the Train Bleu restaurant at the Gare de Lyon, then an afternoon TGV Duplex to the South of France, with a 1st class Club Duo seat on the upper deck.  Wonderful!  I put my feet up & relaxed, watched the French villages of the Rhone Valley pass by, caught up on my reading & emails and watched a movie on my iPhone.  To anyone who has only known the stresses of airports, flights & motorways, chilling out on a high-speed train is a revelation..."

Watch the video guide:  On board a double-decker TGV Duplex (Paris-Nice)

Watch the video guide:  On board a single-deck Christian Lacroix TGV (Lille-Nice)

Option 1, London to Nice via Lille...

This is the easiest option.  Take a Eurostar from London to Lille, make one simple same-station change of train at Lille onto a direct TGV to the South of France, by-passing Paris.  Ideal if you've luggage, kids or mobility problems.  But for a wider choice of departures and in many cases cheaper fares, also check out journeys via Paris in option 2 belowTips for changing trains at Lille.  The direct Lille-Nice TGV is a single-deck TGV with a Christian Lacroix designer interior.

 London ► Nice

 Eurostar, 30 minute check-in

Mondays-Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras

depart

06:50

08:58

12:58

06:57

08:58

12:58

08:58

12:58

 Lille Europe

arrive

09:30

11:26

15:30

09:29

11:30

15:30

11:30

15:30

 Easy change at Lille onto a high-speed TGV...

 Lille Europe

depart

10:43

13:03

15:54

10:43

13:03

15:54

13:03

15:54

 Marseille

arrive

15:46

17:46

20:46

15:46

17:46

20:46

17:46

20:46

 Toulon

arrive

  17:14 m

18:44

   22:06m

  17:14 m

18:44

   22:05m

18:44

   22:05m

 St Raphael for St Tropez

arrive

  18:06 m

19:39

  

  18:06 m

19:39

 

19:39

 

 Cannes

arrive

  18:32 m

20:03

 

  18:32 m

20:03

 

20:02

 

 Antibes

arrive

  18:43 m

20:15

 

  18:43 m

20:15

 

20:15

 

 Nice

arrive

  19:05 m

20:37

 

  19:05 m

20:37

 

20:37

 

How to read these timetables:  It's easy, you read downwards, each column is a journey you can take.  You change trains at the grey bar.

How to buy tickets   What is Eurostar like?   What are TGVs like?   Tips for changing trains at Lille  

How to reach St Tropez, Monte Carlo, Juan les Pins, Menton    No Eurostars run on 25 December.

c = Avignon Centre station in the town centre, not Avignon TGV station.

m = change at Marseille.

Always check train times for your specific dates using www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com, as the times here don't take account of day-to-day changes in timetable.  Don't book any Eurostar tickets until you have confirmed onward train times.

 Nice ► London

 High-speed TGV...

Mondays-Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Nice

depart

09:27

09:27

09:27

 Antibes

depart

09:46

09:46

09:46

 Cannes

depart

09:58

09:58

09:58

 St Raphael for St Tropez

depart

10:23

10:22

10:22

 Toulon

depart

11:15

11:15

11:15

 Marseille

depart

12:14

12:14

12:14

 Lille Europe

arrive

16:57

16:57

16:57

 Easy change at Lille onto Eurostar, 30 minute check-in

 Lille Europe

depart

17:36

17:36

18:36

 London St Pancras

arrive

18:06

18:06

19:10

How much does it cost?

  • Eurostar offer combined Eurostar+TGV fares from London to Nice, Cannes, Antibes or Toulon, starting at £68 one-way or £119 return 2nd class, £135 one-way or £239 return 1st class via either Paris or Lille.  Like air fares, fares increase as the cheaper seats are sold, so book early & shop around for the cheapest departure.  Check the online booking system to see prices for your date of travel.

  • Children under 4 go free.  Children 4 but under 12  £54 one-way, £95 return.  Youth fares (aged 12-25) start at £65 one-way, £109 return.  Senior fare (over 60) from £65 one-way, £109 return.

How to buy tickets...

The view from the train...
View from the train to Nice

Whether you go via Lille or Paris, the train skirts the Cote d'Azur between St Raphael and Nice, past rocky headlands, yacht-filled bays and millionaires' villas.  This is the way to arrive!  For more photos of the train ride to Nice, see the Paris to Nice by train page.  Photo courtesy of Mike Sloan.

Option 2, London to Nice via Paris...

This is the fastest, cheapest & most frequent option, if you don't mind changing trains & stations in Paris.  Take Eurostar from London to Paris in just 2h16, change stations in Paris by metro or taxi as explained here, then take a 186mph double-decker TGV Duplex from Paris to Nice in 5h37.  Although a same-station change in Lille is easier, you'll find a wider range of departures via Paris, and usually cheaper fares available.  Why not take an earlier Eurostar and have lunch at the fabulous Train Bleu restaurant inside the Gare de Lyon before chilling out on an afternoon TGV Duplex to the Sunny South of France?  For an account of the journey in pictures, see the Paris to Nice by train page.

 London ► Nice

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mondays-Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras

depart

05:40

07:55

10:25

12:25

13:31

20:01

08:25

09:17

12:25

12:25

20:01

08:19

12:25

13:31

20:31

 Paris Gare du Nord

arrive

09:17

11:17

13:47

15:47

16:47

23:17

11:47

12:47

15:47

15:47

23:17

11:47

15:47

16:47

23:47

 Cross Paris by metro or taxi to the Gare de Lyon and board a high-speed TGV Duplex...

 Paris Gare de Lyon

depart

10:49

12:49

14:49 Fri

16:49

17:45 Fri

 08:49

12:49

14:49

16:49

17:45

 08:49

12:49

16:49

17:45

 08:49

 Toulon

arrive

14:38

16:40

18:38 Fri

20:37

21:38 Fri

|

16:40

18:38

20:37

21:38

|

16:40

20:37

21:38

|

 St Raphael

arrive

|

17:28

19:29 Fri

|

22:30 Fri

13:32

17:28

19:29

|

22:30

13:32

17:28

|

22:30

13:32

 Cannes

arrive

15:53

17:53

19:54 Fri

21:54

22:55 Fri

13:57

17:53

19:54

21:54

22:55

13:57

17:53

21:54

22:55

13:57

 Antibes

arrive

16:06

18:06

20:05 Fri

22:06

23:06 Fri

14:09

18:06

20:05

22:06

23:06

14:09

18:06

22:06

23:06

14:09

 Nice Ville

arrive

16:26

18:26

20:29 Fri

22:26

23:26 Fri

14:26

18:26

20:29

22:26

23:26

14:26

18:26

22:26

23:26

14:26

How to read these timetables:  It's easy, you read downwards, each column is a journey you can take.  You change trains at the grey bar.

Fri = This TGV runs on Fridays only.

f = arrives/departs at Lille Flandres station, 500m walk from Lille Europe Eurostar/TGV station.

Shaded = time-effective journey with overnight hotel stop in Paris.

By all means choose an earlier evening Eurostar outward or a later morning one inwards.

Suggested hotels near the Gare du Nord or Gare de Lyon in Paris

How to buy tickets    What is Eurostar like?    What are TGVs like?    How to reach St Tropez, Monte Carlo, Juan les Pins, Menton

Always check train times for your specific dates using www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com, as the times here don't take account of day-to-day changes in timetable.  Don't book any Eurostar tickets until you have confirmed onward train times.

 Nice ► London

 High-speed TGV Duplex...

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Nice

depart

 07:34

 09:34

11:34

17:34

 07:34

 09:34

11:34

17:34

 07:34

 09:34

11:34

17:34

 Antibes

depart

 07:54

 09:54

11:54

17:53

 07:54

 09:54

11:54

17:53

 07:54

 09:54

11:54

17:53

 Cannes

depart

 08:05

 10:05

12:05

18:04

 08:05

 10:05

12:05

18:04

 08:05

 10:05

12:05

18:04

 St Raphael for St Tropez

depart

|

 10:29

12:29

|

|

 10:29

12:29

|

|

 10:29

12:29

|

 Toulon

depart

09:21

 11:21

13:21

19:21

09:21

 11:21

13:21

19:21

09:21

 11:21

13:21

19:21

 Paris Gare de Lyon

arrive

13:10

15:11

17:11

23:15

13:10

15:11

17:11

23:15

13:10

15:11

17:11

23:15

 Cross Paris by metro or RER to the Gare du Nord and take Eurostar, 30 min check-in...

 Paris Gare du Nord

depart

15:13

17:13

18:43

 07:13*

15:13

17:13

19:13

 08:13*

15:13

17:13

18:43

 07:13*

 London St Pancras

arrive

16:39

18:30

20:00

 08:32*

16:39

18:30

20:39

 09:30*

16:39

18:30

20:00

 08:32*

How much does it cost?

  • Eurostar offer combined Eurostar+TGV fares from London to Nice, Cannes, Antibes or Toulon, starting at £68 one-way or £119 return 2nd class, £135 one-way or £239 return 1st class via either Paris or Lille.  Like air fares, fares increase as the cheaper seats are sold, so book early & shop around for the cheapest departure.  Check the online booking system to see prices for your date of travel.  Children under 4 go free.  Children 4 but under 12  £54 one-way, £95 return.

  • Alternatively, you can buy separate Eurostar & TGV tickets.  London to Paris by Eurostar starts at £39 one-way, €69 return.  Paris to Nice, Cannes, Antibes or Toulon starts at just €25 each way.

How to buy tickets...


Option 3, London to Nice by overnight train...

This is a time-effective option that may save a hotel bill too.  The Paris-Nice overnight train is none other than the famous Train Bleu, although it lost its proper sleeping-cars in 2007 and now has only couchettes.  This train uses the classic (non-high-speed) route between Paris and Nice.

London ► Nice overnight...

  • Travel from London to Paris by Eurostar, leaving London St Pancras at 16:22 and arriving Paris Gare du Nord at 19:47.  Cross Paris by metro or taxi to the Gare d'Austerlitz

  • Travel from Paris to the South of France by Intercité de Nuit couchette train, leaving Paris Gare d'Austerlitz at 21:22 and arriving Toulon 06:39, St Raphael (for St Tropez) 07:39, Cannes 08:05, Antibes 08:15, and Nice Ville at 08:37.

    This train has 4-berth 1st class couchettes and 2nd class 6-berth couchettes, see the photos & information here.  Times may vary, so always check times online for your date of travel.  By all means book an earlier Eurostar if you'd like some time in Paris.  Why not book an earlier Eurostar & have dinner at the famous Train Bleu restaurant at the Gare de Lyon before strolling across the Seine (5 min walk) to the neighbouring Gare d'Austerlitz to board your sleeper south?

Nice ► London overnight...

  • Travel from the South of France to Paris by Intercité de Nuit couchette train, leaving Nice Ville at 20:00, Antibes 20:19, Cannes 20:30, St Raphael (for St Tropez) at 20:56, Toulon at 21:55, arriving Paris Gare d'Austerlitz at 07:39.  This train has 4-berth 1st class couchettes and 2nd class 6-berth couchettes, see the photos & information here.  Times can vary, so always check times for your specific date of travel.  Cross Paris by metro or taxi to the Gare du Nord.

  • Travel from Paris to London by Eurostar, leaving Paris Gare du Nord at 09:13 and arriving London St Pancras at 11:30.

How much does it cost?

  • London to Paris by Eurostar...

     From £39 one-way, £69 return 2nd class.

     From £107 one-way, £189 return 1st class.  Child, youth, senior fares 

  • Paris to Cannes, Antibes, Nice or Monaco starts at £33 one-way or £66 return in a 6-berth 2nd class couchette, or £57 one-way or £114 return in a 1st class 4-berth couchette.  Like air fares, prices rise as cheaper tickets are sold.  Reclining seats start at £18 one-way, £36 return, but I strongly recommend booking a couchette in a safely-locked compartment so you can sleep, a seat is a false economy.

How to buy tickets...

On board the overnight train to Nice...     Watch the Intercités de Nuit video

The overnight train from Paris to Nice, arrived at Nice   A couchette on the overnight train to Nice

The Train Bleu overnight train from Paris, arrived at Nice Ville...  More photos & information about French Intercités de Nuit

 

French couchettes are equipped with lightweight sleeping bags for a cosy night's sleep...


Connections to other towns on the Cote d'Azur...

St Tropez...

For St Tropez, travel by train to St Raphael.  Buses leave St Raphael bus station (right next to the railway station) for St Tropez every hour or two, journey time 90 minutes, fare just €2.  See www.varlib.fr for bus times - click Horaires then look for bus 7601.  You will need to buy a ticket on the bus.  Be warned that traffic into St Tropez in high summer can be a nightmare, with major delays.

Juan les Pins, Villefranche sur Mer, Beaulieu sur Mer...

These all have railway stations on the Cannes-Nice-Monaco main line, served by hourly local trains, but long-distance trains don't stop there.  So for Juan les Pins, travel to Antibes and switch to a local train there, journey time 5 minutes.  For Villefranche and Beaulieu, travel to Nice and change to a local train there.

Monaco-Monte Carlo, Menton & Ventimiglia...

Frequent local trains link Nice with Monte Carlo, Menton and Ventimiglia on the Italian border, roughly every half hour.  Nice to Monte Carlo takes 21 minutes, Nice to Ventimiglia takes 48 minutes.


How to buy train tickets from the UK to anywhere in France...

It's easy to buy train tickets from anywhere in Britain to anywhere in France, here I'll explain the best options.  Booking online saves paying phone booking fees, and I recommend using www.loco2.com.  But don't forget there are other ways to book online too.  You can also book by phone or in person, or get a train travel specialist to arrange a tailor-made trip.

 

 
 

For hotels...

Try my two favourite hotel sites...

(1) www.booking.com allows you to book your accommodation before train bookings open, with free cancellation.

(2) hotelscombined.com has just been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013:

Click here for suggested hotels in Paris.

 

Option 1, buy online at www.loco2.com...

  • Use the form on the right or go to www.loco2.com.  You can buy one-way or return tickets, in either direction.  Infants under 4 go free with no ticket necessary, children under 12 can travel at the child rate.

  • International credit cards accepted!  Anyone from any country can use www.loco2.com, as all credit cards are accepted and you'll usually get a print-at-home or a collect-at-station ticket.

  • Booking usually opens 92 days ahead.  Eurostar usually opens 120 days ahead and at certain periods up to 180 days ahead, but I strongly recommend waiting until your onward French trains open for booking, so that times & prices can be confirmed before you buy a non-refundable non-changeable Eurostar ticket.  Just so you know, the big annual timetable change happens on the 2nd Sunday in December, and most years, bookings for dates after this up to and including the Christmas & New Year period open around mid-October, significantly less than 92 days ahead.  On the other hand, in recent years French Railways have opened bookings further ahead than the usual 92 days over the summer months, so by all means try a booking and see if trains appear. 

  • You can book from any station in Britain!  www.loco2.com allows you to book to or from any British station (even Little Kimble), not just from London.  It does this by adding a ticket from your local station to London International CIV, which gives you travel to London St Pancras (including the Underground if you need it) and the protection of the CIV international conditions of carriage so if your UK train is delayed and you miss your Eurostar, you are entitled to travel on a later one even if you have a non-changeable ticket.  In many cases these fares have fewer or no peak-hour restrictions, too, so they allow Monday-Friday peak-time travel at off-peak prices.  More explanation (and the ability to buy a ticket to London International CIV separately if you need to) here.  Little Kimble to Juan les Pins?  No problem!

  • You can book to any station in France.  This system can sell tickets to or from any French station on any French train, including TGVs, Intercités, overnight couchette trains or TER local trains, although it cannot sell the special iDTGV trains which run once or twice a day on a handful of routes.

  • Fares vary like air fares, so book as far ahead as you can:  Fares for Eurostar & French long-distance trains are cheaper in advance, more expensive closer to the date of travel, so book as early as you can and search for the cheapest departures.  Remember that the cheapest tickets mean no refunds, no changes.

  • Tip:  Want to go via Lille to avoid crossing Paris?  A same-station change in Lille is much easier than crossing Paris, although you'll usually find a wider choice of departures and often cheaper prices via Paris.  To filter out the many options via Paris leaving just the ones via Lille, simply click '+ Add via/stopover' and enter 'Lille Europe'.  If you don't see any journeys, try adjusting the departure time.  For some destinations such as Orleans or Clermont Ferrand there are no direct services from Lille so you'll really have to go via Paris.

  • Tip:  Choose an upper deck seat on a TGV Duplex:  I recommend an upstairs seat for the best views if you use a double-decker TGV Duplex in France.  These now operate almost all services from Paris to Lyon, Avignon, Marseille, Nice, and some services from Lille to the South, too.  Unlike some sites, www.loco2.com allows you to choose upper or lower deck.  Seat numbers 11-58 = lower deck.  61-128 = upper deck.

  • Tip:  Upgrade to 1st class on French trains often for very little extra cost!  Most booking sites won't let you mix & match 2nd class on Eurostar (on which 1st class is expensive) with 1st class on your onward French train, on which 1st class can cost little more than 2nd class and can even be cheaper, because of the way the pricing quotas work.  With Loco2 there's an easy solution:  Before running the enquiry, click '+ Add via/stopover', enter Paris Nord (or Lille), select 'specific duration' & enter (say) 1 hour.  In the search results, instead of showing a total price for London to your French destination, it will allow you to select a class & price from London to Paris (or Lille) and a separate class & price from Paris (or Lille) to your final destination.  See if there's a cheap 1st class fare for your onward French train!

  • Tip:  Don't be afraid to split the booking in Paris!  For complete control, first book from your local station to Paris (or Lille), add to basket, then book from Paris to your final destination remembering to allow at least 60 minutes to cross Paris trains southbound, 90 minutes including Eurostar check-in northbound.  Add to basket and checkout.  You can easily adjust the Paris time this way, to stop off in Paris or perhaps have lunch at the Gare de Lyon.  SNCF's database now has some sub-standard 40-minute cross-Paris connections when I'd recommend at least 60 minutes, so this is the way to avoid those, too (Loco2 cannot edit these sub-standard connections out, but have thoughtfully added a warning when a sub-60-minute cross-Paris connection comes up).

  • Tip:  Children under 4 go free, but what if you want them to have their own seat?  Babies & infants go free on all European trains (see age limits here) and don't need a ticket, you just bring them along, but they don't get their own seat.  If you want them to have their own reserved seat on a French long-distance train, you can pay a fixed fee called Forfait Bambin.  This can't yet be booked on Loco2, so you'll need to book from your local station to Paris or Lille using www.loco2.com, then book your onward French train separately using www.capitainetrain.com.  There's more explanation about Forfait Bambin on the train travel with children page.

  • Tip:  If you want sole or dual occupancy of a couchette compartment on a French overnight train:  On French overnight trains you can book sole or dual occupancy of a 4-berth couchette compartment, this facility is called Espace Privatif, see details of the cost & how to buy tickets here.  However, Espace Privatif can't be booked online at Loco2, you need to use www.capitainetrain.com instead.

  • Train seat numbering plans:  These plans may help:  TGV seat numbering plansCouchette numbering plans.

  • Who powers Loco2?  www.loco2.com is powered by uk.voyages-sncf.com (formerly Rail Europe UK, www.raileurope.co.uk), so has exactly the same trains & prices, but with significant extra functionality, such as the ability to book from any British station not just London, choice of deck on TGV Duplex, and the 'via/stopover' facility.  Unlike Rail Europe UK, Loco2 accepts overseas credit cards as well as UK ones.  In principle, prices are the same as you'll find on French Railways' own site en.voyages-sncf.com, converted into pounds, remembering of course that it can't sell iDTGV.

  • The Man in Seat 61 says:  "Loco2 has been started by two young entrepreneurs who are passionate about European train travel, and it shows.  They use the trains themselves, and want to make booking them easy.  Although constrained by having to connect to uk.voyages-sncf.com rather than directly to SNCF's own system at en.voyages-sncf.com, what they have been able to do so far is remarkable.  They've added a connection to UK National Rail so you can book through to or from any British station, and they've now added a connection to DB (German Railways), with more connections likely to come.  This is the site to watch..."

Option 2, other ways to buy train tickets online...

  • Option 2, book with Eurostar:  www.eurostar.com sells tickets from London or 130 selected UK towns & cities to around 70 major French towns & cities, so more limited than Loco2 and it can't book overnight couchette trains, but it can be worth checking prices at www.eurostar.com.  It has two potential advantages, firstly, after payment you can choose your specific seat on Eurostar (although not on any onward French trains) and secondly Eurostar.com is sometimes cheaper than Loco2 for the UK part of the journey because the fare they use is a special rate agreed privately with UK train operators which is often slightly cheaper than the publicly-available rate used by Loco2.  So if your local station is one of Eurostar's 130 and you're heading to a major French city not Petit Piddling Sur Le Marsh, www.eurostar.com can be worth checking.  It issues print-at-home tickets and accepts all credit cards so can be used by anyone from any country.

  • Option 3, buy tickets online at uk.voyages-sncf.com (formerly Rail Europe UK):  If you live in the UK you can buy tickets from London to anywhere in France at uk.voyages-sncf.com (formerly www.raileurope.co.uk), a subsidiary of SNCF French Railways.  They're the UK's biggest European ticket retailer, and backed by UK call centre.  However, as uk.voyages-sncf powers Loco2.com, you'll find exactly the same trains and prices as on Loco2, but without Loco2's added features such as the the ability to book from any British station not just London, the ability to specify a via/stopover point, and the ability to choose which deck you sit on in a TGV Duplex.  As uk.voyages-sncf.com only accepts UK credit cards, it can only be used by UK residents.  It's worth knowing that although uk.voyages-sncf.com now looks almost identical to the main French Railways website en.voyages-sncf.com, there are significant functionality differences, and in some cases price differences, see this table comparing the features of the various sites selling French train tickets.

  • Option 4, split the booking, using Eurostar.com then Capitainetrain.com:  For complete control and the maximum choice of seating options, I myself often split the booking.  You can book from London or 130 UK towns & cities to Paris (or Lille) at www.eurostar.com with an opportunity to choose your seat on Eurostar, then book the onward French train at www.capitainetrain.com with a full range of seating options including the ability to select upper or lower deck on a TGV Duplex or a table for two in 1st class, and on some TGV routes a forward-facing seat.  Both sites issue print-at-home or collect-at-station tickets and accept all credit cards so work fine for anyone from any country.  Splitting the booking in this way allows you to adjust your cross-Paris transfer time so that you have at least 60 minutes between trains and/or can have time for lunch in Paris.  It also allows you to mix and match 2nd class on Eurostar (as 1st class is expensive) with a cheap 1st class deal on the French train, as this sometimes costs only a little more than 2nd class, and in some circumstances can actually be cheaper.  Unlike some other sites, Capitainetrain can sell iDTGV tickets, and can sell Forfait Bambin tickets if you have an infant or baby and want them to have their own seat on a French train, you can see how Capitainetrain's features compare with other websites for booking French trains in this comparison table.

  • Option 5, buy from Rail Europe in the United States, Canada, Australia, Asia, Africa or South America:  If you live outside Europe you can book with www.raileurope.com (USA), www.raileurope.ca (Canada) or www.raileurope-world.com (Australia, NZ, Asia, Africa, South America).  All these sites charge a booking fee, and none give seating options.  I'd also recommend a price comparison with the other sites mentioned above, as I have known www.raileurope.com suppress the cheapest fares for the US market, meaning you could make significant savings using www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com instead.  In addition, see this table comparing the features of the various sites selling French train tickets.

Option 3, buy tickets by phone or in person...

  • You can buy tickets by phone, although a booking fee is charged.  In the UK, call International Rail on 0844 248 248 3, lines open 09:00-17:00 Mondays-Fridays, or Rail Europe on 0844 848 5 848, lines open 09:00-19:00 Mondays-Fridays, 09:00-18:00 Saturdays.

  • To buy in person, Rail Europe have a travel centre for personal callers at 193 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EU, open 10:00-18:00 Mon-Fri, 10:00-17:00 Saturdays.  There is also a Trainseurope desk at St Pancras International, located in the National Rail travel centre under platforms 1-4, open 10:00-17:00 every day of the week - ironically, Eurostar's own ticket office at St Pancras cannot sell tickets beyond Paris!

Option 4, have your trip professionally arrangedRailbookers.com... 

  • Rather than book trains & hotels yourself independently, you can get an expert company such as Railbookers to arrange your whole trip to your own specification.  Hotels, train tickets and transfers can all be sorted as one booking in one phone call.  As you're then effectively booking a package, they'll look after you if anything happens such as a strike or major delay.  Railbookers now operate in the UK, USA & Australia.  Just tell them when and where you want to go, and they'll create the best rail holiday or tour for you.

      UK call 020 3327 0761, www.railbookers.com

    Call toll-free 1-800-408-3280 or www.us.railbookers.com.

      Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, www.railbookers.com.au

      New Zealand call toll-free 0800 002 034 or see website.

Option 5, take an escorted tour to France by train...

  • If you'd prefer to go to Spain on an escorted tour with a convivial group of travellers rather than travelling solo, here are the two UK companies which arrange escorted tours by train from the UK to destinations all over Europe on various dates through the year.  Both companies are part of the same group.

      Rail Discoveries, www.raildiscoveries.com, 01904 730 727...

      Great Rail Journeys, www.greatrail.com, 01904 527 120...


London to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille

 

Travel by Eurostar & TGV high-speed train from London to Nice, Marseille, Lyon, Bordeaux, Avignon, Strasbourg, Perpignan or anywhere in France

Relax by train to Provence:  A TGV is the stress-free way from the UK to Provence...  What are TGV trains like?

London to Avignon, Aix or Marseille from £62...

It's easy to travel from London or anywhere in the UK to Avignon, Aix or Marseille by Eurostar & high-speed TGV, a chance to chill out with a good book & a glass of wine, and maybe even have lunch in Paris on the way.  With cheap fares if you book in advance, it's affordable too.

Option 1, London to Provence via Lille...

This is the easiest option.  Take a Eurostar from London to Lille, make one simple same-station change of train at Lille onto a direct TGV to Provence, by-passing Paris.  Ideal if you've luggage, kids or mobility problems.  But for a wider choice of departures and in many cases cheaper fares, also check out journeys via Paris in option 2 below.

 London ► Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille

 Eurostar, 30 minute check-in

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras

depart

06:50

08:58

12:58

15:04

06:57

08:58

12:58

08:58

12:58

15:04

 Lille Europe

arrive

09:30

11:26

15:30

17:26

09:26

11:30

15:30

11:30

15:30

17:26

 Easy change at Lille onto a high-speed TGV...

 Lille Europe

depart

10:43

13:03

15:54

18:26

10:43

13:03

15:54

13:03

15:54

18:26

 Avignon TGV

arrive

|

17:07

20:06

22:40

|

17:07

20:06

17:07

20:06

22:38

 Aix en Provence TGV

arrive

15:29

17:31

20:28

23:03

15:29

17:31

20:28

17:31

20:28

23:03

 Marseille

arrive

15:46

17:46

20:46

23:18

15:46

17:46

20:46

17:46

20:46

23:18

 Marseille, Aix en Provence, Avignon ► London

 High-speed TGV...

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Marseille

depart

 06:44

07:14

09:14

12:14

 06:44

07:14

09:14

12:14

 06:44

07:14

09:14

12:14

 Aix en Provence TGV

depart

|

07:28

09:28

12:28

|

07:30

09:28

12:28

|

07:30

09:28

12:28

 Avignon TGV

depart

07:15

|

09:50

12:52

07:15

|

09:50

12:52

07:15

|

09:50

12:52

 Lille Europe

arrive

11:38

11:56

14:03

16:57

11:38

11:57

14:03

16:57

11:38

11:57

14:03

16:57

 Easy change at Lille onto Eurostar, 30 minute check-in...

 Lille Europe

depart

13:30

13:30

15:36

17:36

15:30

15:36

15:36

17:36

12:36

12:36

15:30

18:36

 London St Pancras

arrive

14:05

14:05

16:05

18:06

16:05

16:05

16:05

18:06

12:57

12:57

16:05

19:10

How to read these timetables:  It's easy, you read downwards, each column is a journey you can take.  You change trains at the grey bar.

How to buy tickets   What is Eurostar like?   What are TGVs like?   What are Intercités de Nuit couchette trains like?   How to buy tickets

f = arrives/departs at Lille Flandres station, 500m walk from Lille Europe Eurostar/TGV station.

Avignon TGV station is 3 miles from Avignon city centre & Avignon Centre station.  A new rail link from Avignon TGV station to Avignon Centre station opened in December 2013 and shuttle trains now run every 15-30 minutes, journey time 5 minutes, fare around €1.80.  If you'd rather travel to Avignon Centre, simple specify 'Avignon Centre' when booking at www.loco2.com and it'll add the shuttle train for an extra £1.50.

Aix en Provence TGV station is 10 miles from Aix city centre.

Always check train times for your specific dates...  The timetables here are simplified, and don't take account of day to day changes in timetable.  Please check train times for your date of travel using www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com, times may vary on certain dates, and remember that booking only opens 92 days ahead.  No Eurostars run on 25 December.

How much does it cost?

  • Eurostar offer combined Eurostar+TGV fares from London to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence & Marseille, starting at £68 one-way or £119 return 2nd class, £135 one-way or £239 return 1st class via either Paris or Lille.  Like air fares, fares increase as the cheaper seats are sold, so book early & shop around for the cheapest departure.  Check the online booking system to see prices for your date of travel.  Children under 4 go free.  Children 4 but under 12  £54 one-way, £95 return.  Youth fares (aged 12-25) start at £65 one-way, £109 return.  Senior fare (over 60) from £65 one-way, £109 return.

  • Alternatively, you can buy separate Eurostar & TGV tickets.  London to Paris by Eurostar starts at £39 one-way, €69 return.  Paris to Nice, Cannes, Antibes or Toulon starts at just €25 each way.

How to buy tickets...


Option 2, London to Provence via Paris...

This is the fastest, cheapest & most frequent option, if you don't mind changing trains & stations in Paris.  Take Eurostar from London to Paris in just 2h16, change stations in Paris by metro or taxi as explained here, then take a direct 186mph double-decker TGV Duplex from Paris Gare de Lyon to Nice in 5h37.  Although a same-station change in Lille is easier, you'll find a wider range of departures via Paris and often cheaper fares available.  Why not take an earlier Eurostar and explore Paris for a while, or have lunch at the fabulous Train Bleu restaurant inside the Gare de Lyon before boarding your TGV to the Sunny South of France?

 London ► Avignon, Aix en Provence, Marseille  (Mondays-Saturdays)

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

 London St Pancras

depart

05:40

07:55

09:17

10:25

12:25

13:31

14:31

15:31

20:01

08:01

09:17

10:01

12:25

14:01

20:01

 Paris Gare du Nord

arrive

09:17

11:17

12:47

13:47

15:47

16:47

17:47

18:47

23:17

11:17

12:47

13:17

15:47

17:17

23:17

 Cross Paris by metro or RER to the Gare de Lyon and board a high-speed TGV Duplex...

 Paris Gare de Lyon

depart

10:37

12:37

14:19

15:07

17:07

18:19

19:07

20:19

07:37

12:37

14:19

14:37

17:07

18:19

07:37

 Avignon TGV

arrive

13:16

|

|

17:46

19:46

20:58

21:51

22:59

10:16

|

|

17:16

19:46

20:58

10:16

 Aix en Provence TGV

arrive

13:40

15:39

|

18:10

20:10

|

22:14

23:22

10:39

15:39

|

17:39

20:10

|

10:39

 Marseille

arrive

13:58

15:54

17:24

18:24

20:24

21:29

22:29

23:37

10:54

15:54

17:24

17:54

20:24

21:29

10:54

 London ► Avignon, Aix en Provence, Marseille (Sundays)

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in...

Sundays

 London St Pancras

depart

09:22

10:25

12:25

13:31

15:31

16:22

20:01

 Paris Gare du Nord

arrive

12:47

13:47

15:47

16:47

18:47

19:47

23:17

 Cross Paris by metro or RER to the Gare de Lyon and board a high-speed TGV Duplex...

 Paris Gare de Lyon

depart

14:19

15:07

17:07

18:19

20:19

21:07

07:37

 Avignon TGV

arrive

|

17:46

19:46

20:58

22:59

23:51

10:16

 Aix en Provence TGV

arrive

|

18:10

20:10

|

23:22

00:14

10:39

 Marseille

arrive

17:24

18:24

20:24

21:29

23:37

00:29

10:54

How to read these timetables:  It's easy, you read downwards, each column is a journey you can take.  You change trains at the grey bar.

Shaded = Time-effective journey with overnight hotel stop in Paris.  By all means choose an earlier evening Eurostar or later morning TGV outward or an earlier evening TGV & later morning Eurostar inwards. Suggested hotels near the Gare du Nord or Gare de Lyon in Paris.

How to buy tickets   What is Eurostar like?   What are TGVs like?   What are Intercités de Nuit couchette trains like?   How to buy tickets

Avignon TGV station is 3 miles from Avignon city centre & Avignon Centre station.  A new rail link from Avignon TGV station to Avignon Centre station opened in December 2013 and shuttle trains now run every 15-30 minutes, journey time 5 minutes, fare around €1.80.  If you'd rather travel to Avignon Centre, simple specify 'Avignon Centre' when booking at www.loco2.com and it'll add the shuttle train for an extra £1.50.

Aix en Provence TGV station is 10 miles from Aix city centre.

Always check train times for your specific dates...  The timetables here are simplified, and don't take account of day to day changes in timetable.  Please check train times for your date of travel using www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com, times may vary on certain dates, and remember that booking only opens 92 days ahead.

 Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon ► London  (Mondays-Saturdays)

 High-speed TGV...

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

 Marseille

depart

06:06

07:36

09:36

10:36

11:31

13:36

15:36

19:06

07:36

08:36

09:36

10:36

11:31

13:36

15:36

19:06

 Aix en Provence TGV

depart

06:21

07:51

09:51

|

11:51

13:51

|

19:21

07:51

|

09:51

|

11:51

13:51

|

19:21

 Avignon TGV

depart

06:43

08:14

10:14

|

12:14

14:14

16:08

19:43

08:14

|

10:14

|

12:14

14:14

16:08

19:43

 Paris Gare de Lyon

arrive

09:23

10:53

12:53

13:41

14:53

16:53

18:53

22:23

10:53

11:41

12:53

13:41

14:53

16:53

18:53

22:23

 Cross Paris by metro or RER to the Gare du Nord and take Eurostar, 30 min check-in...

 Paris Gare du Nord

depart

11:13

13:13

15:13

16:13

17:13

19:13

21:13

07:13

13:13

14:13

15:13

16:13

17:13

19:13

21:13

08:13

 London St Pancras

arrive

12:30

14:39

16:39

17:39

18:30

20:41

22:39

08:32

14:39

15:30

16:39

17:39

18:30

20:41

22:39

09:30

 Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon ► London  (Sundays)

 High-speed TGV...

Sundays

 Marseille

depart

06:06

07:36

08:36

09:36

10:36

11:31

13:36

15:36

19:06

 Aix en Provence TGV

depart

06:21

07:51

|

09:51

|

11:51

13:51

|

19:21

 Avignon TGV

depart

06:43

08:14

|

10:14

|

12:14

14:14

16:08

19:43

 Paris Gare de Lyon

arrive

09:23

10:53

11:41

12:53

13:41

14:53

16:53

18:53

22:23

 Cross Paris by metro or RER to the Gare du Nord and take Eurostar, 30 min check-in...

 Paris Gare du Nord

depart

11:13

13:13

14:13

15:13

16:13

17:13

19:13

21:13

07:13

 London St Pancras

arrive

12:30

14:39

15:30

16:39

17:39

18:30

20:41

22:39

08:32

How much does it cost?

  • Eurostar offer combined Eurostar+TGV fares from London to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence & Marseille, starting at £68 one-way or £119 return 2nd class, £135 one-way or £239 return 1st class via either Paris or Lille.  Like air fares, fares increase as the cheaper seats are sold, so book early & shop around for the cheapest departure.  Check the online booking system to see prices for your date of travel.  Children under 4 go free.  Children 4 but under 12  £54 one-way, £95 return.

  • Alternatively, you can buy separate Eurostar & TGV tickets.  London to Paris by Eurostar starts at £39 one-way, €69 return.  Paris to Avignon, Aix or Marseille starts at just €25 each way.

How to buy tickets...


 

Direct Eurostar from London to Lyon, Avignon, Marseille

Coming soon:  Direct Eurostar from London to Lyon, Avignon, Marseille... 

What are Eurostar trains like?

More details (when available) at www.eurostar.com/uk-en/eurostar-deals/eurostar-train-deals/straight-to-the-sunshine.

Option 3, by direct Eurostar to Lyon, Avignon, Marseille...


Option 4, the budget option:  Ouigo...


Sponsored links...

 

London to Nîmes, Montpellier, Perpignan

What are the options?

Option 1, by Eurostar & TGV via Lille...

Easily the most stress-free way to travel from London to the south of France is to take a Eurostar to Lille and make a simple same-station change of train onto a 186 mph high-speed TGV direct to Nîmes, Montpellier, Béziers, Narbonne or Perpignan, with no need to cross Paris.  South of Lyon, the TGV runs along the Rhône Valley, crossing and re-crossing the River Rhône, flying at ground level through the hills of Provence over some breathtaking viaducts, passing pretty French villages and the occasional chateau.  If you're bound for Sète, Narbonne or Perpignan, watch out for your first sight of the Mediterranean coast, and for the flamingos on the various étangs (lakes) which the train passes or crosses on a causeway.

 London ►Nîmes, Montpellier, Perpignan

 Eurostar, 30 minute check-in

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart

08:58

12:58

 14:04*

08:58

12:58

08:58

12:58

14:04

 Lille Europe arrive

11:26

15:30

 16:26*

11:30

15:30

11:30

15:30

16:26

 Easy change at Lille onto a high-speed TGV...

 Lille Europe depart

13:03

15:54

17:03

13:03

15:54

13:03

15:54

17:03

 Nîmes arrive

  17:25 y

20:33

21:33

  17:25 y

20:29

  17:25 y

20:29

21:33

 Montpellier Saint-Roch arr.

  17:53 y

21:02

22:02

  17:53 y

20:58

  17:53 y

20:58

22:02

 Narbonne arrive

  18:54 y

   22:42 m

  23:06 f

  18:54 y

   22:45 m

  18:54 y

   22:45 m

23:06

 Perpignan arrive

  20:40 p

   23:18 m

  23:44 f

  20:40 p

   23:22 m

  20:40 p

   23:22 m

23:44

How to read these timetables:  It's easy, you read downwards, each column is a journey you can take.  You change trains at the grey bar.

* = Only runs on Fridays until 4 Jan & from 8 Feb 2015, runs Mondays-Fridays from 29 March 2015 onwards.

f = Runs to Narbonne & Perpignan on Friday nights only, the TGV terminates at Montpellier on Monday-Thursday.

g = Runs from Perpignan & Narbonne on Mondays only, on Tuesdays-Fridays it starts at Montpellier.

m = Change trains at Montpellier.

y = Change trains at Lyon Part Dieu.

p = For Perpignan, change trains at both Lyon Part Dieu and Montpellier.

How to buy tickets     About changing trains in Lille    What is Eurostar like?     What are TGVs like?

There are many other journey possibilities changing trains and stations in Paris.

Always check train times for your date of travel using www.loco2.com as times may vary on specific dates.

 Perpignan, Montpellier, Nîmes ► London

 High-speed TGV...

Mondays-Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Perpignan depart

   05:18 g

   06:19 m

   11:19 m

 

   06:19 m

   11:19 m

05:18

   06:19 m

   11:19 m

 Narbonne depart

   05:54 g

   07:09 m

   12:09 m

   05:31 m

   07:09 m

   12:09 m

05:54

   07:09 m

   12:09 m

 Montpellier Saint-Roch dep.

06:58

08:58

14:58

06:58

08:58

14:58

06:58

08:58

14:58

 Nîmes depart

07:26

09:26

15:26

07:26

09:26

15:26

07:26

09:26

15:26

 Lille Europe arrive

11:56

14:03

19:56

11:56

14:03

19:56

11:56

14:03

19:56

 Change at Lille onto Eurostar, 30 minute check-in...

 Lille Europe depart

13:30

15:36

20:30

13:30

15:30

20:30

13:30

15:30

20:30

 London St Pancras arrive

14:05

16:05

21:03

14:05

16:05

21:03

14:05

16:05

21:03

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

Option 2, by Eurostar & TGV via Paris

If you don't mind changing stations in Paris by metro or taxi, this option can be faster, more frequent and in many cases you'll find cheaper fares this way than via Lille.  Indeed, if you allow an extra hour or two, you can have a meal at the amazing Train Bleu restaurant inside the historic Gare de Lyon, making a virtue out of a few hours in Paris!  You'll see the same great scenery along the rural Rhone Valley then across the South of France as taking the Lille route.

Couchette on the Paris-Nice overnight trainOption 3, by Eurostar & overnight train via Paris...

This is the most time-effective way to the South of France, using an Intercité de Nuit couchette train.  The train has 1st class 4-berth couchettes and 2nd class 6-berth couchettes, and you can reserve a compartment for sole or dual occupancy if you like.  See the Intercité de Nuit video guide.

London ► Narbonne, Perpignan

 Perpignan, Narbonne ► London

Travel tips...

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...


London to Biarritz, Irun, Lourdes & Tarbes

There are two options:  You can travel by Eurostar to Paris, change trains and stations, then take either a daytime TGV or an overnight couchette train from Paris to Biarritz or Lourdes.  Or you can take Eurostar to Lille and travel by direct TGV from Lille to Bordeaux, with (usually) another change there.  This avoids the need to change trains and stations in Paris.  Times via Paris (which has the most frequent departures) are shown below.  You can check train times for either route at www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com.

 London ► Biarritz, Irun, Lourdes, Tarbes

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mon-Fri

Mon-Sat

Daily

Daily

Mon-Thur

Fri

Sat

Fri

Mon, Fri, Sun *

Sun-Fri

Daily

 London St Pancras depart

05:40

07:55e

 09:17e

 09:17e

10:25

12:25

12:25

14:31

16:22

20:01

20:01

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive

09:17

11:17e

 12:47e

 12:47e

13:47

15:47

15:47

17:47

19:47

23:17

23:17

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare Montparnasse & board a high-speed TGV...

sleeper

hotel

hotel

 Paris Gare Montparnasse depart

10:28

12:28

14:28

14:28

16:04

17:28

17:28

19:28

  21:54 a

07:28

08:28

 Dax

15:00

17:00

19:00

19:00

21:00

22:00

22:00

23:58

07:37

12:00

13:00

 Bayonne

15:32

17:32

19:32

|

|

22:32

|

00:32

08:33

12:35

|

 Biarritz

15:43

17:43

19:45

|

|

22:45

|

00:45

08:45

12:48

|

 St Jean de Luz

15:59

18:00

19:59

|

|

22:59

|

00:58

08:59

13:02

|

 Hendaye (frontier, French side)

16:11

18:11

20:11

|

|

23:11

|

01:11

09:11

13:15

|

 Irun (frontier, Spanish side)

 

18:20

 

|

|

 

|

  

09:22

13:24

|

 Pau

 

 

 

20:11

22:06

 

23:13

  

06:29

 

14:11

 Lourdes

 

 

 

20:38

22:40

 

23:38

 

05:58

 

14:38

 Tarbes

 

 

 

20:58

22:57

 

23:56

 

05:41

 

14:59

 Tarbes, Lourdes, Hendaye, Biarritz ► London

 High-speed TGV

Mon-Sat

Daily

Daily

Daily

Daily

Daily

Daily

Mon, Fri, Sun *

 Tarbes

06:02

 

10:16

 

 

16:08

 

22:46

 Lourdes

06:20

 

10:39

 

  

16:32

 

22:25

 Pau

06:49

 

11:06

  

  

17:00

 

21:54

 Hendaye (frontier)

|

06:45

|

09:45

12:45

|

17:45

19:07

 St Jean de Luz

|

06:59

|

09:59

12:59

|

17:59

19:19

 Biarritz

|

07:13

|

10:13

13:13

|

18:13

19:32

 Bayonne

|

07:25

|

10:25

13:25

|

18:25

19:44

 Dax

08:00

08:00

12:00

11:00

14:00

18:00

19:00

20:39

 Paris Gare Montparnasse arrive

12:33

12:33

16:33

15:33

18:33

22:33

23:33

  07:18 a

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare du Nord for Eurostar, 30 min check-in

hotel

hotel

sleeper

 Paris Gare du Nord depart

15:13

15:13

18:13e

17:13

20:13

07:13

07:13

09:13

 London St Pancras

16:39

16:39

19:39e

18:30

21:39

08:30

08:30

10:39

How to read these timetables:  It's easy, you read downwards, each column is a journey you can take.  You change trains at the grey bar.

*  By Intercités de Nuit couchette train with 1st class 4-berth and 2nd class 6-berth couchettes, and reclining seats.  Not 24, 31 December.  It runs daily at certain times of year.  It now runs via Toulouse.  Watch the Intercités de Nuit video.

a = the Intercités de Nuit couchette train arrives/departs Paris Gare d'Austerlitz, not Paris Gare Montparnasse.

e = the exact time of the Eurostar connection varies by day of the week, so check when booking.

Shaded = time-effective journey with overnight hotel stop in Paris.

By all means choose an earlier evening Eurostar outward or a later morning one inwards.

Suggested hotels near the Gare du Nord or Gare de Lyon in Paris

Please check train times for your date of travel using www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com, as times vary on different dates.

How to buy tickets    What is Eurostar like?    What are TGVs like?   What are Intercités de Nuit couchette trains like?

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

On board the TGV...

Refurbished TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, second class   First class car on TGV-Atlantique

TGV 2nd class (left) & 1st class (right).  The interior is designed by Christian Lacroix, with power sockets at all seats.  On the TGV Atlantique route from Paris to Brittany, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Lourdes, Tarbes & the Spanish border, one 1st class car has a conventional open plan layout, the other two have a unique layout with bays of two seats facing across a table one side of the aisle, and semi-compartments of 4 seats around a table on the other, as pictured above.  Very civilised! 1st class photo courtesy of Rafal Tomasik.


London to Lyon & Grenoble

London to Lyon by train from £61 one-way or £109 return...

The easiest and most painless way to travel from London to Lyon is to take Eurostar to Lille and make a simple same-station interchange in Lille onto a direct TGV to Lyon, with no need to change trains and stations in Paris.  Relax over a glass or two as you swish past the French countryside, the green hills just north of Lyon are especially pretty.  It's almost as fast as flying, but far more enjoyable with no airport security queues in sight.  Services with one easy change at Lille are shown in the timetables below.

Alternatively, you can take Eurostar all the way to Paris, change trains and stations in Paris, and take a TGV from Paris to Lyon.  Although not as simple as the route via Lille, going via Paris offers an almost hourly departure from London, and cheap fares seem more plentiful this way.  You can also (of course) stop off in Paris.  Train times via Paris are not shown below, but there are hourly Eurostars from London to Paris Gare du Nord (journey 2 hours 40 minutes) and hourly TGVs from Paris Gare de Lyon to Lyon (journey 2 hours).  Almost all Paris-Lyon TGVs and a few Lille-Lyon services are now impressive double-deck TGV Duplex.  If you want to go via Paris, just check times using either www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com.

 London ► Lyon & Grenoble

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart

06:50

08:58

12:58

15:04

17:04

06:57

08:58

12:58

16:04

08:58

12:58

14:04

15:04

17:04

 Lille Europe arrive

09:30

11:26

15:30

17:26

19:26

09:26

11:30

15:30

18:26

11:30

15:30

16:26

17:26

19:26

 Easy change at Lille onto a high-speed TGV...

 Lille Europe depart

10:43

13:03

15:54

18:26

20:02

10:43

13:03

15:54

20:02

13:03

15:54

17:03

18:26

20:02

 Lyon Part Dieu arrive

14:00

16:00

19:00

21:30

23:24

14:00

16:00

19:00

23:24

16:00

19:00

20:00

21:30

23:24

 For Grenoble, change at Lyon:

 Lyon Part Dieu depart

14:16

16:14

19:14 

22:12

-

14:16

16:14

19:14

-

16:14

19:16

20:14

22:15

-

 Grenoble arrive

15:39

17:38

20:39 

23:38

-

15:39

17:38

20:39

-

17:38

20:39

21:33

23:44

-

 Lyon & Grenoble ► London

 Local TER train...

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Grenoble depart

-

07:22

09:20

12:22

15:22

-

09:22

12:22

15:22

-

07:22

09:22

12:22

15:22

 Lyon Part Dieu arrive

-

08:44

10:46

13:44

16:44

-

10:44

13:44

16:44

-

08:44

10:44

13:44

16:44

 High-speed TGV...

 

 

 

 Lyon Part Dieu depart

05:50

09:00

11:00

14:00

17:00

05:50

11:00

14:00

17:00

05:50

09:00

11:00

14:00

17:00

 Lille Europe arrive

08:57

11:56

13:57

16:57

19:57

08:57

13:57

16:57

19:56

08:57

11:56

13:57

16:57

19:56

 Easy change at Lille onto Eurostar, 30 minute check-in...

 Lille Europe depart

09:30

13:30

16:36

17:36

20:30

09:30

15:30

17:36

20:30

09:30

13:30

15:30

18:36

20:30

 London St Pancras arrive

09:57

14:05

16:57

18:06

21:03

09:57

16:05

18:06

21:03

09:57

14:05

16:05

19:10

21:03

How to read these timetables:  It's easy, you read downwards, each column is a journey you can take.  You change trains at each grey bar.

How to buy tickets    About changing trains in Lille    What is Eurostar like?    What are TGVs like?

Please check train times for your date of travel using www.loco2.com as times vary significantly by date.

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

Refurbished TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, first class   Refurbished TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, second class

TGV 1st class, refurbished.  Panorama photo...

 

TGV 2nd class, refurbished.  Panorama photo.


London to Bordeaux

London to Bordeaux by train from £61 one-way or £109 return...

The easiest and most painless way to travel from London to Bordeaux is to take Eurostar to Lille and make an easy interchange in Lille onto a direct TGV to Bordeaux, with no need to change trains and stations in Paris.  Relax over a glass or two as you swish past the French countryside.  However, although this avoids the need to change trains and stations in Paris, there are only a few options each day, as shown below.  Via Paris, there are hourly Eurostars to Paris Gare du Nord (in 2 hours 20 minutes) and hourly TGVs from Paris Gare Montparnasse to Bordeaux (3 hours) - the train times via Paris aren't shown here, but you can easily check them using the online timetable at www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com.

 London ► Bordeaux

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mondays to Fridays

 Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart

08:58

10:58

12:58

08:58

10:58

12:58

08:58

10:14

14:04

 Lille Europe arrive

11:26

13:26

15:30

11:30

13:26

15:30

11:30

12:54

16:26

 Easy change at Lille onto a high-speed TGV...

 Lille Europe depart

  13:08 f

  14:45 f

  17:09 f

  13:08 f

  14:45 f

  17:09 f

  13:08 f

  14:45 f

  17:09 f

 St Pierre des Corps (Tours)

15:59

17:59

19:59

15:59

17:59

20:00

15:59

17:59

20:00

 Poitiers arrive

16:41

18:41

20:41

16:41

18:41

20:40

16:41

18:41

20:41

 Angoulême arrive

17:32

19:32

21:32

17:32

19:32

21:32

17:32

19:32

21:32

 Bordeaux St Jean arrive

18:37

20:37

22:37

18:37

20:37

22:47

18:37

20:37

22:37

How to read these timetables:  It's easy, you read downwards, each column is a journey you can take.  You change trains at the grey bar.

f = This train arrives/departs Lille Flandres station, not Lille Europe, an easy 500m 6-minute walk from Lille Europe Eurostar/TGV station.

How to buy tickets    About changing trains in Lille    What is Eurostar like?    What are TGVs like?

Please check train times for your date of travel using www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com (anyone), as times vary on  certain dates.

Only journeys via Lille are shown here.  There are many other journey opportunities changing trains and stations in Paris, check times and prices at www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com.

 Bordeaux ►London

 High-speed TGV

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Bordeaux St Jean depart

09:23

11:23

09:23

11:23

09:23

11:23

 Angoulême depart

10:27

12:25

10:27

12:25

10:27

12:25

 Poitiers depart

11:15

13:16

11:15

13:16

11:15

13:16

 St Pierre des Corps (Tours)

11:59

14:01

11:59

14:01

11:59

14:01

 Lille Europe arrive

14:37

16:38

14:37

16:38

14:37

16:38

 Easy change at Lille onto Eurostar, 30 minute check-in...

 Lille Europe depart

15:36

17:36

15:36

17:36

15:30

18:36

 London St Pancras arrive

16:05

18:06

16:05

18:06

16:05

19:10

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...


London to Strasbourg

London to Strasbourg by train from £61 one-way or £109 return

There are two options:  You can travel by Eurostar to Paris, walk over to the nearby Gare de l'Est and take a high-speed TGV from Paris to Strasbourg (this is the fastest route with the most departures and probably the cheapest fares).  Or there is one service a day with one same-station change at Lille, slightly slower but avoiding a 10 minute walk in Paris if you have very heavy luggage or mobility problems.  Train times for both routes are shown here.  You can check train times at www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com.

 London ► Strasbourg  (via Paris)

Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mon-Fri

Sat

Mon-Fri

Mon-Fri

Sat

Sun

Daily

Daily

Mon-Fri, Sun

Sun

Mon-Fri

Mon-Fri, Sun

Fri, Sun

 London St Pancras depart

07:01

07:31

07:55

09:17

09:31

09:22

10:25

13:31

14:31

15:31

15:31

16:22

17:31

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive

10:17

10:47

11:17

12:47

12:47

12:47

13:47

16:47

17:47

18:47

18:47

19:47

20:47

 10 minutes walk to the Gare de l'Est then high-speed TGV...

 Paris Gare de l'Est depart

10:55

11:25

12:55

13:55

13:55

13:55

15:25

17:55

18:55

19:55

19:55

20:55

21:55

 Strasbourg arrive

13:14

13:42

15:14

16:18

16:18

16:18

17:42

20:14

21:14

22:14

22:14

23:15

00:14

 London ► Strasbourg  (via Lille)

 Eurostar (30 min check-in)

Mon-Fri

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart

14:04*

14:04*

14:04

 Lille Europe arrive

16:26*

16:26*

16:26

 Easy change at Lille onto a high-speed TGV...

 Lille Europe depart

17:24

17:24

17:24

 Strasbourg arrive

21:06

21:06

21:06

How to read these timetables:  It's easy, you read downwards, each column is a journey you can take.  You change trains at the grey bar.

* = On Mondays-Thursdays until 28 March 2015, also Fridays 5 Jan to 7 Feb, you'll need to leave London earlier, at 12:58 arriving Lille 15:30.

** = On most Fridays before 28 March, and from 29 March onwards, there's also an earlier Eurostar leaving Lille at 16:36 arriving London 16:57.

f = Arrives at Lille Flandres station, an easy 500m 6-minute walk from Lille Europe Eurostar/TGV station.

v = until 31 August 2013 you can also use a later Eurostar, leaving London at 14:04.

Please check train times for your date of travel using www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com, as times vary on certain dates.

How to buy tickets    What is Eurostar like?    What are TGVs like?

 Strasbourg ► London  (via Paris)

 High-speed TGV...

Mon

Mon-Sat

Mon-Fri, Sun

Mon-Fri, Sun

Daily

Daily

Mon-Fri, Sun

Sat

Mon-Fri, Sun

Daily

Mon-Fri, Sun

 Strasbourg depart

05:41

06:46

07:16

08:46

10:16

11:42

14:46

14:46

15:46

16:46

17:46

 Paris Gare de l'Est arrive

08:05

09:05

09:35

11:05

12:35

14:06

17:05

17:05

18:05

19:05

20:05

 10 minutes walk to the Gare du Nord for Eurostar, 30 min check-in...

 Paris Gare du Nord depart

09:13

10:13

11:13

12:13

13:13

15:13

18:13

19:13

19:13

20:13

21:13

 London St Pancras arrive

10:39

11:39

12:30

13:30

14:39

16:39

19:39

20:39

20:41

21:39

22:39

 

 Strasbourg ► London  (via Lille)

High-speed TGV

Mon-Fri

Saturdays

Sundays

 Strasbourg depart

12:16

12:16

12:16

 Lille Europe arrive

15:58

15:58

15:58

 Easy change at Lille onto Eurostar, 30 minute check-in

 Lille Europe depart

  17:36**

  17:36**

16:36

 London St Pancras arrive

  18:11**

  18:06**

16:57

How much does it cost?

  • Eurostar offer combined Eurostar+TGV fares from London to Strasbourg starting at £61 one-way or £109 return 2nd class, £129 one-way or £229 return 1st class.  Like air fares, fares increase as the cheaper seats are sold, so book early & shop around for the cheapest departure.  Check the online booking system to see prices for your date of travel.  Children under 4 go free.  Children 4 but under 12  £48 one-way, £85 return.  Youth fares (aged 12-25) start at £59 one-way, £99 return.  Senior fare (over 60) from £59 one-way, £99 return.

  • Alternatively, you can buy separate Eurostar & TGV tickets.  London to Paris by Eurostar starts at £39 one-way, €69 return.  Paris to Strasbourg starts at just €20 each way.

How to buy tickets...

On board a TGV to Strasbourg...

 

New designer interiors...  The new TGV trains from Paris to Strasbourg, Nancy, Metz & Reims feature chic new interiors by designer Christian Lacroix.  Left:  1st class.  Right:  2nd class. 

Watch the video - inside a Christian Lacroix TGV


London to Limoges, Brive, Toulouse

Trains from Paris Austerlitz via Limoges and Brive are conventional 125mph trains using the classic Paris-Toulouse route, most now composed of stylish and comfortable Téoz carriages, see the photos below.  The trains from Paris Montparnasse to Toulouse are 186mph TGV trains, using the high speed line the long way round via Bordeaux.

 London ► Limoges, Brive, Toulouse

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mon-Sat

Daily

Mon-Fri

Daily

Mon-Fri

Mon-Fri

Daily

Sat

Daily

Fri

Fri

Daily

Sat

Thur, Fri, Sun

Daily**

Daily

 London St Pancras

07:55e

09:17e

10:25

10:25

12:25

12:25

12:25

12:25

13:31

14:31

14:31

14:31e

12:58

15:04

18:01

20:01

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive

11:17e

12:47e

13:47

13:47

15:47

15:47

15:47

15:47

17:17

17:47

17:47

17:47e

|

|

21:17

23:17

 Cross Paris by metro from the Gare du Nord to the Gare d'Austerlitz or the Gare Montparnasse...

TGV*

TGV*

Sleeper

Hotel

 Paris Austerlitz depart

TGV

13:52

15:52

TGV

16:52

17:52

TGV

18:12

18:42

18:59

TGV

19:42

(via

(via

22:52

 07:53***

 Paris Montparnasse dep.

12:28

|

|

15:28

|

|

18:28

|

|

|

19:28

|

Lille*)

Lille*)

|

|

 Limoges

|

16:54

18:54

|

19:54

20:54

|

21:24

21:54

22:44

|

22:54

22:57

22:57

|

 10:54***

 Brive-la-Gaillarde

|

17:57

20:00

|

-

21:59

|

22:29

-

23:49

|

23:57

00:01

00:01

|

 11:59***

 Cahors

|

19:08

-

|

-

23:11

|

23:39

-

01:02

|

-

-

-

05:07

 13:03***

 Toulouse

17:57

20:22

-

20:57

-

-

23:58

00:46

-

02:06

00:53

-

-

-

06:45

 14:14***

How to read these timetables:  It's easy, you read downwards, each column is a journey you can take.  You change trains at the grey bar.

How to buy tickets    What is Eurostar like?    What are TGVs like?    What are French overnight trains like?

*  By Eurostar London-Lille & direct TGV between Lille, Limoges & Brive.  Northbound, arrives London 16:03 on Saturdays, not 14:03.  Saves crossing Paris, so a good option!

**  By Intercités de Nuit couchette train between Paris & Toulouse, with 2nd class 6-berth couchettes, 1st class 4-berth couchettes, reclining seats.  Southbound, you leave London 17:31 on Saturdays.  Watch the Intercités de Nuit video.

*** Runs two hours later on Sunday mornings.

e = Eurostar connection varies on certain dates or days of the week. 

Trains marked TGV are 186mph TGV trains.  Trains running via Limoges are 125mph Intercité (formerly Téoz) trains, see photos below.

Please check train times for your date of travel using www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com, as times may vary on  certain dates.

 Toulouse, Brive, Limoges ► London

 TGV or Téoz...

Mon-Fri

Sat, Sun

Mon-Fri

Mon, Fri,

Sat, Sun

Mon-Sat

Daily

Sat

Sun

Mon-Sat

Daily

Daily

Daily

Mon-Fri,

Sun

Daily

Daily

Daily**

 Toulouse

-

-

-

-

06:05

07:46

-

-

06:41

09:04

13:04

10:42

-

16:33

18:04

22:34

 Cahors

-

-

-

-

|

|

06:44

-

07:51

|

|

11:54

-

17:44

|

23:49

 Brive-la-Gaillarde

04:59

05:00

-

07:04

|

|

08:00

08:00

09:00

|

|

13:11

15:00

19:03

|

|

 Limoges

06:03

06:06

07:06

08:06

|

|

09:06

09:06

10:06

|

|

14:14

16:06

20:06

|

|

 Paris Montparnasse arrive

|

|

|

(TGV

11:49

13:40

|

|

|

14:33

18:33

|

|

|

23:33

|

 Paris Austerlitz arrive

09:08

09:18

10:18

via Lille*)

TGV

TGV

12:08

12:08

13:18

TGV

TGV

17:18

19:07

23:18

TGV

06:52

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare du Nord for Eurostar, 30 minute check-in...

Hotel

Hotel

Sleeper

 Paris Gare du Nord depart

11:13

11:13

13:13

|

14:13

15:13

14:13

14:13

15:13

16:13

20:13

19:13

21:13

07:13e

07:13e

09:13

 London St Pancras

12:30

12:30

14:39

14:03

15:39

16:39

15:30

15:30

16:39

17:39

21:39

20:41

22:34

08:30e

08:30e

10:39

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

On board a Téoz from Paris to Limoges, Brive & Toulouse...

SNCF Teoz train... 1st class 'Teoz' coach   2nd class 'Teoz' coach

Intercités, formerly Téoz:  Although merely 125mph trains, not TGVs, most Paris-Limoges-Brive-Toulouse trains now use stylish air-conditioned Téoz coaches like this, with a unique interior design.  1st class seats have power-recline and are fitted with power-points for laptops/mobiles.  There's a small children's play area in 2nd class, & baby-changing room.  There is usually a bar or refreshment trolley service.  Above centre:  1st class.  Above right: 2nd class.  Watch the videoSeating plan.


London to Vichy & Clermont Ferrand

Just hop on a Eurostar to Paris, change stations by taxi or metro to the Gare de Bercy, and catch a southbound express to the Massif Central...

 London ► Vichy, Clermont Ferrand

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Daily

Daily

Fri

Daily

not Sat

Daily

 London St Pancras

 08:31

 09:17

10:25

 11:31

13:31

14:31

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive

 11:47

12:47

13:47

 14:47

16:47

17:47

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare de Bercy for a InterCité Téoz train...

 Paris Gare de Bercy depart

13:00

14:00

15:00

16:00

18:00

19:00

 Vichy

15:53

16:53

17:53

18:56

|

21:53

 Clermont Ferrand

16:35

17:38

18:28

19:39

21:04

22:28

Eurostar times may vary at weekends, so please check times online for your specific date.

 

 Clermont Ferrand, Vichy ► London

 InterCité Téoz train...

Mon

Tue-Fri

Sat

Daily

Mon-Sat

Daily

Sun

 Clermont Ferrand

05:28

05:32

06:32

08:32

10:32

13:32

14:32

 Vichy

06:01

06:05

07:05

09:05

11:05

14:05

15:04

 Paris Gare de Bercy arrive

08:57

08:57

09:57

11:57

13:57

16:57

17:57

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare du Nord for Eurostar, 30 minute check-in

 Paris Gare du Nord depart

11:13

11:13

 12:13

15:13

16:13

19:13

20:13

 London St Pancras

12:30

12:30

 13:30

16:39

17:39

20:41

21:39

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...


London to Le Mans, Nantes, Rennes

The best way to reach Brittany is by taking a Eurostar to Lille and making one easy change of train in Lille onto a direct TGV to Brittany.  This avoids the need to change trains and stations in Paris.  There are a couple of good services daily, and these are shown below.  There are other services available too - use www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com to find them if you don't see a service that suits you in the timetable below.

You can also travel by Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord, change trains and stations in Paris, then take a TGV from Paris Gare Montparnasse  to Le Mans, Angers, Nantes, and Rennes.  This is less convenient, but there are a wider choice of departures and sometimes cheaper fares.  The 'via Paris' option is not shown here, but you can easily check times via Paris using the journey planner at www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com.

 London ► Nantes, Rennes & Brittany

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mondays to Fridays

 London St Pancras depart

06:50

06:50

10:58

10:58

15:04

15:04

17:04

 Lille Europe arrive

09:30

09:30

13:26

13:26

17:26

17:26

19:26

 Easy change at Lille onto a high-speed TGV...

 Lille Europe depart

  11:06 f

  11:06 f

13:52

13:52 *

17:52

17:52

   19:52 Fri

 Le Mans

14:28

14:28

16:27

16:27 *

20:28

20:28

   22:28 Fri

 Rennes

15:44

|

17:47

 |

21:56

|

|

 Angers

 

15:15

 

17:08 *

 

21:10

   23:09 Fri

 Nantes

 

15:52

 

17:47 *

 

21:49

   -

 London ► Nantes, Rennes & Brittany

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart

06:57

06:57

10:58

12:58

12:58

10:14

10:14

15:04

15:04

 Lille Europe arrive

09:29

09:29

13:26

15:30

15:30

12:54

12:54

17:26

17:26

 Easy change at Lille onto a high-speed TGV...

 Lille Europe depart

  11:06 f

  11:06 f

13:52

17:52

17:52

13:52

13:52

17:52

17:52

 Le Mans

14:28

14:28

16:27

20:28

20:28

16:27

16:27

20:28

20:28

 Rennes

15:46

|

17:49

21:58

|

17:49

 |

21:58

|

 Angers

 

15:15

 

 

21:10

 

17:09

 

21:10

 Nantes

 

15:53

 

 

21:49

 

17:52

 

21:49

How to read these timetables...  Each column is a service you can take.  You read downwards, changing trains where you come to the grey bar.

How to buy tickets    What is Eurostar like?    What are TGVs like?    About changing trains at Lille

* = runs Monday-Thursday. Does not run on Fridays.

f = departs from Lille Flandres station, an easy 500m 6-minute walk from Lille Europe Eurostar/TGV station.

Please check train times for your date of travel using www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com, as times may vary on  certain dates.

 Nantes, Rennes & Brittany ► London

 High-speed TGV...

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Nantes

 

06:05

 

14:04

 

06:05

 

14:04

 

10:05

 

14:04

 

 Angers

 

06:43

 

14:43

 

06:43

 

14:43

 

10:43

 

14:43

 

 Rennes

06:07

 |

14:08

|

06:07

 |

14:08

|

10:04

|

11:14

|

14:08

 Le Mans

07:33

07:33

15:33

15:33

07:33

07:33

15:33

15:33

11:33

11:33

12:32

15:33

15:33

 Lille Europe arrive

10:17

10:17

18:07

18:07

10:17

10:17

18:07

18:07

14:06

14:06

15:07

18:07

18:07

 Easy change at Lille onto Eurostar, 30 minute check-in

 Lille Europe depart

11:35

11:35

20:30

20:30

11:35

11:35

20:30

20:30

15:30

15:30

16:36

20:30

20:30

 London St Pancras arrive

11:57

11:57

21:03

21:03

11:57

11:57

21:03

21:03

16:03

16:03

16:57

21:03

21:03

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...


London to Normandy

  Brittany Ferries 'Bretagne' about to sail from Portsmouth to France...

A great way to go:  Brittany Ferries' excellent ship, the Bretagne waiting to sail overnight from Portsmouth to France...

There are two ways to reach Normandy, for example St Malo, Caen, St Lo, Arramanches, Cherbourg, or Le Havre.  You can travel by Eurostar and connecting trains via Paris, or you cross the Channel by ferry with Brittany Ferries or new operator LD Lines.  Caen makes a good base for visiting the D-Day beaches, although you can't get to the beaches by train, you'll need to use buses or a hire car.

By Eurostar...

Travelling by Eurostar and connecting trains will take about 6-7 hours and involves a change of trains and stations in Paris.  Fares start at £99 return 2nd class (£109 return to Cherbourg), £219 return 1st class (£229 to Cherbourg), booked in advance. Check fares and book online at www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com or call Rail Europe on 0844 848 5 848.

By ferry...

To go by ferry, you take a train from London (Waterloo) or your local station to Poole, Southampton or Portsmouth, then a taxi from the station to the port, then you cross the English Channel by ferry to Normandy.  First, check out the ferry routes, times and prices, using the Seat61 Ferry Shop or the operators' own websites, for example www.brittany-ferries.co.uk or www.ldlines.co.uk.  Routes include Portsmouth-St Malo, Portsmouth-Caen (Ouistreham), Portsmouth-Le Havre & Poole-Cherbourg.  Many of the ferries run overnight with comfortable cabins, allowing you to spend a full day at work on one day, sail overnight and arrive in Normandy for breakfast next morning.  Then check UK train times and fares from your local station to Portsmouth, Southampton or Poole using www.nationalrail.co.uk.  Remember to allow plenty of time to connect between train and ferry, at least 60-90 minutes, preferably more.  If taking a ferry from Portsmouth Continental Ferry Port, remember the station you want is Portsmouth & Southsea, not Portsmouth Harbour, taking a taxi to the ferry terminal.

Visiting the D-day beaches...

Bayeux makes a good base, as many of the tours depart from there, and it's easily reached by train from either Cherbourg, Paris or Caen (and don't forget to visit the Bayeux tapestry, showing a much earlier battle from 1066!).  Try these links for private or group tours of the D-Day beaches:  www.overlordtour.com, www.guided-normandy-tours.com, www.normandybattletours.com, www.dday-guide.com, www.ddaybattletours.com, www.firstnormandybattlefieldtours.comFeedback would be very welcome...

How to get to Mont St Michel...

Mont St Michel has no station, so you must either take a train to Pontorson-Mont St Michel station which is about 5 miles away (bus and taxi available) or take a train to Rennes and a connecting French Railways bus from there.  If you enter 'Mont St Michel' as your destination into www.loco2.com or  www.capitainetrain.com it will offer you both 'Pontorson-Mont St Michel' and 'Mont St Michel'.  If you select the latter, it will offer combined train+bus times and fares direct to Mont St Michel via Rennes.

Tip: When selecting your seating options on www.capitainetrain.com, don't panic when it says 'no places available' against the bus (or in French 'car').  That just means there are no allocated seats, you can sit where you like.  It does not mean the bus is full!


London to Calais, Lille & Northern France...

London ► Calais & Lille by Eurostar...

London ► Boulogne, Etaples, Le Touquet, Amiens & Northern France...

The train & ferry alternative...


London to the French Alps

 

French Alps ski resort connections...

Map of bus transfers to ski resorts from train stations served by Eurostar ski train & Rail Europe Snow Train

Dark blue line = stations served by Eurostar ski train & Rail Europe Snow Train

Light blue lines = bus or taxi transfers from rail stations.

There are two ways to reach the French Alps by train, getting your holiday off to a good start stress-free...

1. Eurostar ski train every winter Saturday, London to the French Alps, click here for details

A direct daytime Eurostar runs from London to the French Alps every Saturday from late December to early April.  It leaves London & Ashford in the morning and arrives early evening at Moutiers, Aime & Bourg St Maurice in the French Alps, see the map opposite for the resorts it serves.  This is the easiest and most civilised way to reach the Alps from London during the skiing season, and its available both to independent travellers and as part of many skiing holidays.  There's also an overnight Eurostar on Friday nights, although without any sleeping berths!  See the Ski by Train page for details.

2. Daily scheduled trains to the Alps, all-year round...

Alternatively, you can take regular, scheduled trains running daily, year-round to destinations all over the French Alps.  You can travel by day, taking Eurostar to Paris, crossing Paris by Metro, then a high-speed TGV to the Alps, or overnight, taking Eurostar to Paris, crossing Paris by Metro, then taking an overnight train with couchettes.  You'll find additional direct Paris-Bourg st Maurice trains on Fridays & Saturdays in the skiing season.

 London ► French Alps

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Daily

all year

Mon-Fri & Sun

all year

Daily

all year

See note A

Fri, Sat, Sun

(daily peak times)

See note A

Fri, Sat, Sun

(daily peak times)

 London St Pancras depart

10:25e

11:31**

10:25

18:01

18:01

 Paris Gare du Nord  arrive

13:47e

14:47**

13:47

21:17

21:17

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare de Lyon for high-speed TGV...

sleeper

sleeper

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart

15:11

16:11

14:41

 23:12 *

  23:12 *

 Chambéry

|

|

17:35

|

|

 Albertville

|

|

 18:51 g

|

06:05

 Moutiers-Salins

|

|

 19:22 g

|

07:14

 Aime la Plagne

|

|

 19:40 g

|

07:31

 Bourg st Maurice (for Les Arcs)

|

|

 19:56 g

|

07:49

 Annecy

|

|

 

06:59

 

 St Gervais

  19:56 h

21:56 h

 

08:44

 

 Chamonix

  20:50 j

-

 

   09:50 d

 

 French Alps ► London

 High-speed TGV...

Daily all year

Mon-Fri

all year

Mon-Sats

all year

Sat & Sun

all year

See note B

Saturday,

Sunday

See note C

Fridays

(Mon-Fri at times)

See note B

Saturday,

Sunday

See note C

Fridays

(Mon-Fri at times)

 Chamonix

07:14 j

   09:14 j

 

   10:14 j

   18:14 d

  19:14 d

 St Gervais

08:04 h

   10:03 h

 

   12:04 h

19:13

20:26

 Annecy

|

|

 

|

21:02

22:22

 Bourg st Maurice (for Les Arcs)

|

|

13:05g

|

|

|

20:05

21:08

 Aime la Plagne

|

|

13:21g

|

|

|

20:27

21:29

 Moutiers-Salins

|

|

13:38g

|

|

|

20:48

21:45

 Albertville

|

|

14:08g

|

|

|

21:35

22:25

 Chambéry

|

|

16:25

|

|

|

22:15

23:10

 Paris Gare de Lyon arrive

12:49

14:49

19:15

16:49

  06:31 *

  06:18 *

  06:31 *

  06:18 *

 Cross Paris by metro to the Gare du Nord for Eurostar, 30 min check-in  

 Paris Gare du Nord depart

15:13

17:13

21:13

18:13**

08:43

08:43

08:43

08:43

 London St Pancras arrive

16:39

18:30

22:39

19:39**

10:00

10:00

10:00

10:00

How to read these timetables  Each column is a service you can take.  You read downwards, changing trains where you come to the grey bar.

Important:  Trains to the Alps vary enormously by date & time of year, in fact I'd call SNCF's timetable on these routes a shambles, so use these times as a rough guide, and check for your own date of travel using www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com.

* = The Intercités de Nuit couchette trains depart/arrive at Paris Gare d'Austerlitz, not Paris Gare de Lyon.

** = Eurostar connection varies.  Check online and always allow 60+ minutes to cross Paris.

Note A:  By Intercités de Nuit couchette train between Paris & the Alps.  Runs on Friday, Saturday & Sunday nights all year round, runs every day in the winter ski season from mid-December to late March and in summer from early July to late August.  Check www.loco2.com to see if it's running when you want to travel.  This train has 1st class 4-berth & 2nd class 6-berth couchettes & reclining seats.  Couchettes are recommended, seats are not recommended.  The Eurostar connection leaves London at 17:31 on Saturdays, not 18:01.  Watch the Intercités de Nuit video.

Note B:  By Intercités de Nuit couchette train between the Alps & Paris.  Runs on Saturday & Sunday nights all year round.  This train has 1st class 4-berth & 2nd class 6-berth couchettes & reclining seats.  Couchettes are recommended, seats are not recommended.  Watch the Intercités de Nuit video.

Note C:  By Intercités de Nuit couchette train between the Alps & Paris.  Runs on Friday nights all year round, and runs Mondays-Fridays in the winter skiing season from mid-December to late March, and in summer from early July to late August.  Check www.loco2.com to see if it's running when you want to travel.  This train has 1st class 4-berth & 2nd class 6-berth couchettes & reclining seats.  Couchettes are recommended, seats are not recommended.  Watch the Intercités de Nuit video.

b = change at Bellegarde.

c = change at Bellegarde & St Gervais.

d = change at St Gervais.

e = Eurostar leaves London at 09:31 on most Saturdays.

g = change at Chambéry.

h = change at Bellegarde & Annemasse

j = change at Bellegarde, Annemasse & St Gervais.

Les Arcs is linked to Bourg St Maurice station by a funicular railway which runs every 20 minutes.

How to buy tickets online...

How to buy tickets by phone...


London to Corsica

UK to Corsica by train & ferry...

  Corsica Ferries' Mega Express II from Nice arrives in Ajaccio at sunset

Arriving in Ajaccio at sunset on Corsica Ferries Mega Express II from Nice...

Corsica is a fantastic destination, with Mediterranean beaches, great mountain scenery and excellent hiking opportunities - check out the GR20 walking route across the island.  Corsica doesn't get overcrowded, either, even in summer.  The Corsican tourist office website is www.visit-corsica.com.  UK to Corsica without flying?  No problem!   Just take Eurostar and a high-speed TGV or overnight couchette train from London to the south of France, then a ship or fast ferry across the sunny Mediterranean to Corsica.  Two ferry companies, SNCM (www.sncm.fr) & Corsica Ferries (www.corsicaferries.com), sail from Marseille, Toulon or Nice on the mainland to Bastia, Ajaccio and occasionally Calvi on Corsica.  There are also ferries from Italy (Savona & Livorno).  The crossing from Nice to Bastia takes 5 hours by ship or just 3 hours by fast ferry.  There are daily overnight ferries from Marseille to Ajaccio & Bastia with comfortable cabins.  Here are two suggested ways to reach Corsica, though naturally they aren't the only options:

London to Corsica, via SNCM's overnight ferry from Marseille...

London to Corsica, via Corsica Ferries' afternoon sailing from Nice...

SNCM's superb cruise ferry Danielle Casanova at Bastia, about to sail for Marseille   A cabin on the SNCM cruise ferry Danielle Casanova   Corsica Ferries' Mega Express II at the quayside in Nice's old port

More cruise liner than ferry:  SNCM's Danielle Casanova at Bastia, about to sail overnight to Marseille.

 

A standard cabin on the Danielle Casanova...

 

Corsica Ferries Mega Express Two at the quayside in the old port of Nice, bound for Ajaccio.

Custom-made holidays from the UK to Corsica, by train & ferry...

If you'd rather leave all the organisation to someone else, rail travel specialists www.railbookers.com (020 3327 0761) can tailor-make a holiday to Corsica by train and ferry for any length of time, leaving on any date you like, using a variety of train and ferry options.

Train travel in Corsica:  Ajaccio, Corte, Bastia, Ile Rousse, Calvi...

A scenic narrow-gauge train service links Bastia, Ponte Leccia, Corte, Vizzavona & Ajaccio (four trains per day), with a branch from Ponte Leccia to Ile Rousee & Calvi (two trains per day).  The line winds right up through Corsica's dramatic central mountains, which explains why the 152km from Ajaccio to Bastia takes 3½ hours!  Highly recommended, although it can get hot and crowded in summer.  It's run by French Railways (SNCF) though is branded CFC - Chemins de Fer de la Corse.  For a route map and timetables, see www.ter-sncf.com/corse//index.asp or Chemins de Fer de la Corse.  You may find more up-to-date timetables, as well as bus timetables, at independent website www.corsicabus.org.  Brand-new air-conditioned trains with panoramic windows are due in service at some point, linking Bastia & Ajaccio in under 3 hours at up to 100 km/h even on Corsica's narrow metre-gauge tracks.

Taking the train across Corsica, from Ajaccio to Bastia

Vizzavona:  An Ajaccio-Corte-Bastia train at Vizzavona...

  Train travel inCorsica - Viaduc du Vechju, between Vizzavona & Corte

The Viaduc du vechju, in central Corsica


Other destinations in France...

London to Dijon, Reims, Metz, La Rochelle, Versailles, Orléans, Blois...

You can get to just about anywhere in France by train from London.  Dijon, Reims, Clermont Ferrand, Versailles, Orleans, Blois, and so on.


Changing trains in Lille...

  Lille Europe station, served by TGV and Eurostar.

Lille Europe station is a modern station on the London-Paris TGV line on the edge of the city centre.  The other two platforms and the two non-stop tracks are out of sight underneath the the concourse to the right.  The main exit towards the city centre is in the background, it's a bridge across the tracks leading through the glass wall to the left.

  Conway's Irish Pub on Lille Europe station

Conway's Irish pub is the best place to wait in Lille Europe station, for a beer, coffee or meal.

  Lille Flandres station

Lille Flandres station, the original station 500m from Lille Europe in the city centre.

The easiest way to travel from London to major cities in the south of France is to change from Eurostar to a French high-speed TGV at Lille Europe station.  This is a simple same-station interchange that avoids the need to change trains and stations in Paris using the metro or taxi.  The TGVs from Lille by-pass Paris to the east on a high-speed avoiding line.

TGVs run direct from Lille to Lyon, Avignon, Marseille, Cannes, Nice, Bordeaux, Nîmes, Montpellier, Narbonne, Perpignan, Le Mans, Rennes, Nantes, Strasbourg & Toulouse.  However, for destinations such as Reims, Clermont Ferrand, Versailles you'll have to change in Paris as there's nothing from Lille.

Lille Europe station...

Visiting Lille city centre...

Lille Flandres station...


Send your luggage in advance

Ride the trains without heavy luggage... 

Send your suitcase ahead by Luggage Mule from around £30 each way.


The Train Bleu restaurant, Paris Gare de Lyon...

  Train Bleu restaurant sign

If you've time for lunch or dinner in Paris...

I highly recommend eating at the famous and remarkable Train Bleu restaurant inside the Gare de Lyon, on the main concourse, see the Train Bleu restaurant page for more details.

...or at the Gare du Nord, try the Brasserie Terminus Nord...

If you'd like a decent meal near the Gare du Nord rather than the Gare de Lyon, try the typically French Brasserie Terminus Nord (www.terminusnord.com), just across the road from  the front of the Gare du Nord.  It's good quality French cuisine in classic Parisian brasserie surroundings, and so handy for Eurostar.  Main dishes cost around €18-€20.


Motorail to France

French Motorail train  

 

For Motorail car-carrying trains to the south of France, see the motorail page.

French Motorail from Calais no longer operates, but a French Railways Auto Train car carrying service operates from Paris to major French cities including Nice and Narbonne.  For details see the motorail page.

 

 


Short breaks to France by train

Plenty of companies offer combined Eurostar+hotel deals for an economical short break in Paris or Lille.  There are times when a combined Eurostar+hotel offer can be cheaper than a normal Eurostar ticket!  Try:


Holidays & escorted tours to France by train

 

020 3327 0761 (UK)

1-800-408-3280 (USA)

1300 971 526 (Aus)

0800 002 034 (NZ)

 

01904 730 727

 

01904 527120

  French Travel Service - holidays by train to France
 

0844 84 888 43

Please quote 'seat61'

Several good companies organise holidays & tours to France by Eurostar & high-speed TGV, with regular departures, no airport hassles and no whole days spent in cramped coach seats on motorways.  Rail Discoveries & Great Rail Journeys offer escorted tours where you travel as a group with a tour manager and all the legwork done for you.  The French Travel Service offers affordable train+hotel holidays to destinations all over France.  Railbookers can tailor-make a holiday to key French cities to meet your own requirements, with departure on any date you like.

Railbookers for custom-made tours, holidays & breaks to France by train....

French Travel Service, www.f-t-s.co.uk, 0844 84 888 43. Pls quote 'Seat61.com'.

Great Rail Journeys, www.greatrail.com, 01904 527 120...

Rail Discoveries, www.raildiscoveries.com, 01904 730 727...


Car hire

Take the train to France, then hire a car:  www.holidayautos.co.uk

Compare 50 different car hire companies:  www.carrentals.co.uk


The European Rail Timetable & maps

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team have set up a private venture and published the first edition of a reborn European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online with worldwide shipping at www.europeanrailtimetable.euMore information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

A Traveller's Railway Map of Europe covers the whole of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  On the back are detailed maps of Switzerland, Benelux & Germany, plus city plans showing stations in major cities.  Scenic & high-speed routes highlighted.  Click to see sample.  Buy online for £15 plus postage worldwide (UK £2.80) at www.stanfords.co.uk/Continents/Europe/Maps--Atlases/Europe-A-Travellers-Railway-Map or buy for €13 + €5.50 postage worldwide at www.treinreiswinkel.nl.

 


Recommended guidebooks

Paying for a guidebook may seem an unnecessary expense, but it's a tiny fraction of what you're spending on your whole trip.  You will see so much more, and know so much more about what you're looking at, if you have a decent guidebook.  I recommend the Lonely Planet or Rough Guides as the best ones out there for independent travellers.  Click the images to buy the books - if you buy anything at Amazon through these links, Seat61.com gets a small commission (at no extra cost to you) to help support the site.  My own book, an essential handbook for train travel to Europe based on this website called "The Man in Seat 61", was first published in June 2008 and revised April 2010, and is available from Amazon with shipping worldwide.

Click the images to buy at Amazon.co.uk...

Alternatively, you can download just the chapters or areas you need in .PDF format from the Lonely Planet Website, from around £2.99 or US$4.95 a chapter.

    Lonely Planet Paris - click to buy onlineLonely Planet France - click to buy onlineLonely Planet Western Europe - click to buy onlineLonely Planet Europe on a shoestring - click to buy onlineThe Man in Seat 61 book - click to buy online

 

 

 

 

 


Find hotels in France...

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Hotels near the Gare du Nord, Gare de l'Est, Gare de Lyon & other Paris stations:

If you need to stay over between trains, here are some suggestions that are both very close and get good reviews:

Special hotels for that romantic break in Paris...

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels: www.hostelbookers.com...

Homestays: www.homestay.com...


Travel insurance & health card...

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Get travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without insurance from a reliable travel insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash (up to a limit) & belongings, and cancellation. An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year (I have an annual policy myself).  Don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, though, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from www.ehic.org.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Get a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low/no ATM fees

Taking out an extra credit card costs nothing, but if you keep it in a different part of your luggage you won't be left stranded if your wallet gets stolen.  In addition, some credit cards are better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card to save on calls & mobile data...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, so consider getting a global pre-paid SIM card for your mobile phone which can cut call & data costs by up to 90%.  At the time of writing, www.roamsure.com claims a definite 25% saving within the EU and up to 90% saving in the rest of the world.  Incoming calls are free in 73 countries, including all of the EU, the USA, Australia & South Africa.  There's no contract or commitment, and at time I write this Roamsure is offering a global SIM card for free when you buy £20 of call credit.  Seat61 gets some commission to support the site if you buy airtime from Roamsure.

 


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