London to Nice, Bordeaux, Marseille or Lyon from £68...

...by Eurostar & high-speed TGV.  From £120 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 a high-speed train to France...

It's the civilised 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 & affordable:  London to to Lyon or Bordeaux from £62 one-way or £110 return, London to Nice, Marseille or Perpignan from £68 one-way or £120 return.  That's city centre to city centre, 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, no rules against that on the rails!

Choose your destination:    

Train times, fares & tickets...

  London to Paris

  Other UK towns & cities to Paris & France

  London to Disneyland & Versailles

  London to Nice, Cannes, S.Tropez, Monaco, Toulon

  London to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille

  London to Nîmes, Montpellier, Narbonne, Perpignan

  London to Biarritz, Irun, 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, Amiens & Northern France

  London to Bourg St M, Chamonix & French Alps

  London to Corsica

  London to any other destination in France

  Eurostar information & check-in procedures

  Starting your journey from other UK towns & cities

  How to cross Paris by metro or taxi

  About changing trains in Lille

  How to buy train tickets from UK to France

Train travel within France...

  Train travel in France, a beginner's guide

  What are French TGV trains like?

  What are French overnight trains like?

 Interactive map:  Click on a destination...

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

London to Paris by Eurostar

  Paris to Nice by TGV

  Station guide: Paris Gare du Nord

  Station guide: Paris Gare de l'Est

  Station guide: Paris Gare de Lyon

  Train Bleu restaurant at Paris Gare de Lyon

International trains to & from France...

  Trains from Paris to other European cities

  Trains from Nice to other European cities

  Trains from other European cities to Paris

Other useful information...

  Useful country information - dial code, tourist info...

  European train travel general information

  Luggage on trains & Left luggage at stations

  Child age limits & travel with kids

  Taking your bike & Taking your dog

  Taking your car - motorail

  Train seat numbering plans

  Eurail passes - for overseas visitors

  InterRail passes - for European residents

  People with disabilities

  Hotels & accommodation in France

  Short breaks to France by train

  Holidays & tours to France by train

  Ski holidays in the French Alps by train

  Car hire in France

  Travel insurance & EU Health Cards

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.trainline.eu (residents of any country).  To check for disruption affecting trains in France (in French), see www.sncf.com/fr/horaires-info-trafic.  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:

 

12 June 2017.  Train times valid 11 June to 9 December 2017.


London to Paris

 

Buy Eurostar tickets at www.eurostar.com

  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 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 including a range of wraps & sandwiches plus hot dishes such as Chicken Tikka Massala.

See the London to Paris Eurostar 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.  For more information including the 3 classes on board, check-in procedures, luggage arrangements, food & drink, & tips for choosing the best seats, see the London to Paris by Eurostar page.

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

Eurostar fares work like airline fares, so book in advance for the cheapest seats.  Fares start at £45 one-way or £58 return 2nd class, £112 one-way or £169 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 03432 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.co.uk,

  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

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 £53, or Dublin to London for €50 each way, see the Northern Ireland page or Ireland page for timetables, fares & full details.  Then book Eurostar separately at www.eurostar.com, from £45 one-way or £58 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...

Back to top


London to Versailles

How to get to the Chateau de Versailles...

Back to top


London to Nice & Cannes

 

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 £68...

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)

For more photos of the train ride from Paris or Lille to Nice, see the Paris to Nice by train page.  Photo courtesy of Mike Sloan.

View from the train to Nice


Option 1, London to Nice via Lille...

This is the easiest option as there's no need to cross Paris, just one easy same-station interchange at Lille.  Take a Eurostar from London to Lille Europe and change onto a direct TGV to St Raphael, Cannes, Antibes or Nice, 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.

 London ► Nice

 Eurostar, 30 minute check-in

Mondays-Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras

depart

 06:50*

08:54

06:57

08:58

08:58

 Lille Europe

arrive

 09:30*

11:26

09:29

11:30

11:30

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

 Lille Europe

depart

10:43

   13:03**

10:43

   13:03**

   13:03**

 Marseille St Charles

arrive

15:49

17:46

15:46

17:46

17:46

 Toulon

arrive

  17:14 m

18:40

  17:14 m

18:40

18:40

 St Raphael for St Tropez

arrive

  18:06 m

19:37

  18:06 m

19:37

19:37

 Cannes

arrive

  18:35 m

20:03

  18:35 m

20:03

20:03

 Antibes

arrive

  18:47 m

20:15

  18:47 m

20:15

20:15

 Nice

arrive

  19:03 m

20:35

  19:03 m

20:35

20:35

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.

* On Mondays and Fridays the Eurostar departs earlier, at 06:13 arriving Lille 09:22.

** Departs at 12:52 until 30 July.

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

m = change trains at Marseille St Charles.

Always check train times for your specific dates using www.loco2.com or www.trainline.eu, 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

09:44

09:44

09:44

 Cannes

depart

09:56

09:56

09:56

 St Raphael for St Tropez

depart

10:23

10:23

10:23

 Toulon

depart

11:18

11:18

11:18

 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

17:35

17:35

18:35

 London St Pancras

arrive

18:06

18:06

19:10

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

On board the TGV.  More TGV info & tips...

The direct Lille-Nice TGV is usually single-deck TGV with a Christian Lacroix designer interior as shown below, but you may find this train consists of two TGV units, one of which is a TGV Duplex double-decker.  You can tell which sort of TGV you are booking if you use www.loco2.com or www.trainline.eu as both sites will give you the option of an upstairs or downstairs seat if it's a Duplex.  If you don't get that choice, it's a single-decker.

TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, second class   TGV 1st class by Christian Lacroix

2nd class with a mix or unidirectional seats & tables for 4.  Seats are 2+2 across car width.  Panorama photo.

 

1st class with a mix of unidirectional seats, solo seats, tables for 2 & tables for 4.  Seats 2+1 across car width.  Panorama photo.

Boarding a TGV   TGV bar car

Boarding a TGV at Paris Gare de Lyon...

 

Cafe-bar...  See sample TGV bar menu

Back to top


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 Gare du Nord in just 2h16, change stations in Paris by metro or taxi as explained here, then take a 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 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

09:24

10:24

12:24

13:31 Fri

20:01

09:24

11:01

12:24

13:31

20:01

09:24

12:24

13:31

20:31

 Paris Gare du Nord

arrive

09:17

12:47

13:47

15:47

16:47 Fri

23:17

12:47

14:17

15:47

16:47

23:17

12:47

15:47

16:47

23:47

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

 Paris Gare de Lyon

depart

10:19

14:19

15:19*

17:19

18:15 Fri

07:15

14:19

15:19

17:19

18:19

07:15

14:19

17:19

18:15

07:15

 Toulon

arrive

14:05

18:08

19:08*

21:04

22:06 Fri

11:06

18:08

19:08

21:04

22:08

11:06

18:08

21:04

22:06

11:06

 St Raphael

arrive

15:01

19:01

19:59*

|

22:58 Fri

|

19:01

19:59

|

22:59

|

19:01

|

22:58

|

 Cannes

arrive

15:28

19:27

20:28*

22:22

23:34 Fri

12:24

19:27

20:28

22:22

23:23

12:24

19:27

22:22

23:34

12:24

 Antibes

arrive

15:40

19:39

20:40*

22:35

23:37 Fri

12:36

19:39

20:40

22:35

23:35

12:36

19:39

22:35

23:37

12:36

 Nice Ville

arrive

15:58

19:57

20:56*

22:56

23:56 Fri

12:56

19:57

20:56

22:56

23:55

12:56

19:57

22:56

23:56

12:56

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.

*  Daily until 27 August 2017, then runs on Fridays & Saturdays only.

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.  Or a later morning TGV going south, or an earlier evening TGV going north.  Your call!

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.trainline.eu, 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

 07:04

10:02

11:02

17:04

 07:04

10:02

11:02

17:04

 07:04

10:02

11:02

13:59

17:04

 Antibes

depart

 07:20

10:21

11:18

17:20

 07:20

10:21

11:18

17:20

 07:20

10:21

11:18

14:18

17:20

 Cannes

depart

 07:32

10:33

11:30

17:32

 07:32

10:33

11:30

17:32

 07:32

10:33

11:30

14:30

17:32

 St Raphael for St Tropez

depart

|

11:00

11:57

|

|

11:00

11:57

|

|

11:00

11:57

14:56

|

 Toulon

depart

08:53

11:51

12:50

18:52

08:53

11:51

12:50

18:52

08:53

11:51

12:50

15:52

18:52

 Paris Gare de Lyon

arrive

12:41

15:42

16:41

22:41

12:41

15:42

16:41

22:41

12:41

15:42

16:41

19:41

22:41

 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

18:13

 07:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

 08:13

15:13

17:13

18:13

21:13

 07:13

 London St Pancras

arrive

16:39

18:32

19:39

 08:32

16:39

18:32

20:39

 09:30

16:39

18:32

19:39

22:39

 08:32

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

On board the TGV Duplex from Paris to Nice.  More Paris-Nice TGV info, scenery & tips...

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon   Upper deck second class on board a TGV Duplex.

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon. These impressive 186 mph double-deck trains link Paris with Nice in around 5h37.

 

2nd class table for 4 on TGV Duplex upper deck...

First class on board a TGV Duplex   A TGV Duplex from Nice to Paris.

1st class seats on the upper deck, with a club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right.

 

A TGV Duplex at Nice Ville station.  The red near the door indicates 1st class, pale green indicates 2nd class.

Back to top


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 only has couchettes.  This train uses the classic (non-high-speed) route between Paris and Nice.

UPDATE 2017:  Although the French government has withdrawn funding for all but a few intercités de nuit from October 2016, the Paris-Nice intercité de nuit will continue running until at least October 2017.  However, its future is uncertain beyond that unless another operator can be found.

London ► Nice overnight...

Nice ► London overnight...

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

On board the night 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...

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

St Tropez...

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

Monaco-Monte Carlo, Menton & Ventimiglia...

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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...

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

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

Option 4, have your trip professionally arrangedRailbookers... 

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


London to Avignon, Aix, 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-en-Provence or Marseille from £68...

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, Marseille

 Eurostar, 30 minute check-in

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras

depart

 06:50*

08:54

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

|

17:09

20:09

22:40

|

17:09

20:09

17:09

20:09

22:38

 Aix en Provence TGV

arrive

15:30

17:31

20:31

23:03

15:29

17:31

20:31

17:31

20:31

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, Avignon ► London

 High-speed TGV...

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Marseille

depart

06:14

07:14

09:14

12:14

06:14

07:14

09:14

12:14

 06:44

07:14

09:14

12:14

 Aix en Provence TGV

depart

06:29

07:28

09:29

12:29

06:29

07:30

09:29

12:29

|

07:30

09:29

12:29

 Avignon TGV

depart

|

|

09:50

12:51

|

|

09:50

12:51

07:15

|

09:50

12:51

 Lille Europe

arrive

11:03

11:56

14:21

16:57

11:03

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

11:35

13:30

15:35

17:35

13:30

13:30

15:35

17:35

12:35

12:35

15:30

17:34

 London St Pancras

arrive

11:57

14:05

16:05

18:06

14:05

14:05

16:05

18:06

12:57

12:57

16:05

18:06

* On Mondays the Eurostar connection leaves London at 07:19 arriving Lille at 09:51.  It still leaves 06:50 on Tuesdays-Fridays.

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's Eurostar like?   What are TGVs like?   What are Intercités de Nuit couchette trains like?    Map of Marseille

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 2013 and shuttle trains now run every 30-45 minutes, journey time 5 minutes, fare around €1.80.  If you'd rather travel to Avignon Centre, simply specify 'Avignon Centre' when booking at www.loco2.com and it'll add the shuttle train for an extra £1.50.  Map of Avignon showing stations.

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.trainline.eu, 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?

How to buy tickets...

On board the TGV.  TGV info & tips...

TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, second class   TGV 1st class by Christian Lacroix

2nd class with a mix or unidirectional seats & tables for 4.  Seats are 2+2 across car width.  Panorama photo.

 

1st class with a mix of unidirectional seats, solo seats, tables for 2 & tables for 4.  Seats 2+1 across car width.  Panorama photo.

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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, Marseille  (Mondays-Saturdays)

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

 London St Pancras

depart

05:40

07:55

09:24

10:24

12:24

13:31

14:22

15:31

20:01

07:55

09:24

11:01

12:24

13:31

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

14:17

15:47

16:47

23:17

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

 Paris Gare de Lyon

depart

10:37

12:37

14:37

15:37

17:37

18:37

19:37

 20:19*

07:37

12:37

14:37

15:37

17:37

18:37

08:37

 Avignon TGV

arrive

13:20

15:20

17:20

18:20

20:20

21:21

22:19

23:02

10:20

15:20

17:20

18:20

20:20

21:21

11:27

 Aix en Provence TGV

arrive

13:42

15:42

17:42

18:43

20:42

21:43

22:42

23:25

10:43

15:42

17:42

18:43

20:42

21:43

|

 Marseille

arrive

13:54

15:54

17:56

18:55

20:54

21:55

22:54

23:38

10:55

15:54

17:56

18:55

20:54

21:55

11:58

 London ► Avignon, Aix, Marseille (Sundays)

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in...

Sundays

 London St Pancras

depart

09:24

10:24

12:24

13:31

15:31

20:01

 Paris Gare du Nord

arrive

12:47

13:47

15:47

16:47

18:47

23:17

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

 Paris Gare de Lyon

depart

14:37

15:37

17:37

18:37

20:37

07:37

 Avignon TGV

arrive

17:20

18:19

20:20

21:21

23:22

10:20

 Aix en Provence TGV

arrive

17:42

18:47

20:42

21:43

23:46

10:43

 Marseille

arrive

17:56

18:59

20:54

21:55

23:58

10:55

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.

* = Times vary, it leaves Paris at 20:37 on Mondays and Fridays.

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.  Map of Avignon showing stations.

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.trainline.eu, times may vary on certain dates, and remember that booking only opens 92 days ahead.

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

 High-speed TGV...

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

 Marseille

depart

06:06

07:06

10:06

12:06

14:03

15:06

15:50

19:06

07:06

09:06

10:06

12:06

13:03

15:06

19:06

 Aix en Provence TGV

depart

06:21

07:21

10:21

12:21

14:21

15:21

16:06

19:21

07:21

09:21

10:21

12:21

13:17

15:21

19:21

 Avignon TGV

depart

06:43

07:43

10:43

12:43

14:43

15:43

|

19:43

07:43

09:43

10:43

12:43

13:46

15:43

19:43

 Paris Gare de Lyon

arrive

09:23

10:23

13:23

15:23

17:30

18:23

19:15

22:23

10:23

12:23

13:23

15:23

16:23

18:23

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

12:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

20:13

21:13

07:13

13:13

14:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

20:13

08:13

 London St Pancras

arrive

12:30

13:30

16:39

18:32

20:39

21:39

22:39

08:32

14:39

15:30

16:39

18:30

20:41

21:39

09:30

 Marseille, Aix, Avignon ► London  (Sundays)

 High-speed TGV...

Sundays

 Marseille

depart

07:06

09:06

10:06

12:06

14:03

15:06

15:50

19:06

 Aix en Provence TGV

depart

07:21

09:21

10:21

12:21

14:21

15:21

16:06

19:21

 Avignon TGV

depart

07:43

09:43

10:43

12:43

14:43

15:43

|

19:43

 Paris Gare de Lyon

arrive

10:23

12:23

13:23

15:23

17:30

18:23

19:15

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

12:13

14:13

15:13

17:13

19:13

20:13

21:13

07:13

 London St Pancras

arrive

13:30

15:30

16:39

18:30

20:41

21:39

22:39

08:32

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

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

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Option 4, the budget option:  Ouigo...

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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

12:58

 14:04*

08:58

12:58

12:58

14:04

 Lille Europe arrive

15:30

 16:26*

11:30

15:30

15:30

16:26

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

 Lille Europe depart

15:54

17:03

13:03

15:54

15:54

17:03

 Nîmes arrive

20:33

21:33

  17:25 y

20:33

20:33

21:33

 Montpellier Saint-Roch arrive

21:02

22:02

  17:53 y

21:02

21:02

22:02

 Narbonne arrive

   22:25 m

  23:08 f

  18:54 y

   22:25 m

   22:25 m

23:08

 Perpignan arrive

   23:18 m

  23:47 f

  20:40 p

   23:18 m

   23:18 m

23:47

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.

* = Runs on Fridays & Sundays all year round except in January.  Also runs on Mondays-Thursdays from 29 March until 3 September 2016.

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

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

m = Change trains at Montpellier.

y = Change trains at Lyon Part Dieu.

p = Change trains at Lyon & 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

   05:15 g

   06:19 m

   11:19 m

05:15

   06:19 m

   10:53 m

-

   06:19 m

   10:53 m

 Narbonne depart

   05:52 g

   07:09 m

   12:09 m

05:52

   07:09 m

   11:30 m

-

   07:09 m

   11:30 m

 Montpellier Saint-Roch depart

06:58

08:58

14:58

06:58

08:58

14:58

06:58

08:58

14:58

 Nîmes depart

07:27

09:26

15:26

07:27

09:26

15:26

07:27

09:26

15:26

 Lille Europe arrive

11:56

14:21

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

15:35

20:30

13:30

15:35

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...

On board the TGV...  TGV info & tips...

TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, second class   TGV 1st class by Christian Lacroix

2nd class with a mix or unidirectional seats & tables for 4.  Seats are 2+2 across car width.  Panorama photo.

 

1st class with a mix of unidirectional seats, solo seats, tables for 2 & tables for 4.  Seats 2+1 across car width.  Panorama photo.

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.

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London to Biarritz, Irun & Lourdes

There are two options, both benefitting from the opening of the extension of the Paris-Tours high-speed line all the way to Bordeaux from 2 July 2017.  This knocks another hour off the journey.

 London ► Biarritz, Irun, Lourdes, Tarbes  from 2 July

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Sat

Mon-Thur

Mon-Sat

Daily

Daily

Daily

Daily

Fridays

Mon-Fri,

 Sun

Daily

Mon-Fri,

 Sun

Sat

 London St Pancras depart

06:18

07:01

07:55

10:24g

10:24g

12:24

12:24

14:22

20:01

20:01

20:01

20:01

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive

09:47

10:17

11:17

13:47g

13:47g

15:47

15:47

17:47

23:17

23:17

23:17

23:17

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

hotel

hotel

hotel

hotel

 Paris Montparnasse depart

11:52

11:52

12:52

15:52

15:52

17:50

17:50

19:52

06:52

09:52

07:52

09:06

 Dax

15:16

15:16

16:15

19:16

19:16

21:14

21:14

23:12

10:12

13:13

11:14

12:25

 Bayonne

15:51

15:51

16:49

19:52

|

21:49

|

23:48

|

|

11:50

12:59

 Biarritz

16:04

16:04

17:03

20:05

|

22:03

|

00:02

|

|

12:04

13:13

 St Jean de Luz

16:20

16:20

17:19

20:21

|

22:19

|

00:17

|

|

12:19

13:29

 Hendaye (border, French)

16:35

16:35

17:34

20:37

|

22:34

|

00:33

|

|

12:35

13:45

 Irun (border, Spanish)

 

 

 

 

|

 

|

  

|

|

 

13:54

 Pau

 

 

 

 

20:16

 

22:16

  

11:03

14:13

 

 

 Lourdes

 

 

 

 

20:50

 

22:46

 

11:38

14:48

 

 

 Tarbes

 

 

 

 

21:05

 

23:02

 

11:54

15:04

 

 

 Tarbes, Lourdes, Hendaye, Biarritz ► London  from 2 July

 High-speed TGV

Daily

Mon-Sat

Mon-Fri,

Sun

Mon-Fri,

Sun

Daily

Daily

Mon-Fri,

Sun

Sun

Daily

Daily

Sun

 Tarbes

 

07:02

 

08:59

 

 

13:54

 

15:48

 

19:14

 Lourdes

 

07:20

 

09:23

 

 

14:18

 

16:12

 

19:31

 Pau

 

07:47

 

09:50

 

 

14:46

 

16:48

 

19:59

 Hendaye (border)

07:13

|

09:13

|

11:11

13:18

|

14:12

|

18:10

|

 St Jean de Luz

07:28

|

09:28

|

11:27

13:33

|

14:27

|

18:26

|

 Biarritz

07:49

|

09:49

|

11:48

13:54

|

14:48

|

18:47

|

 Bayonne

08:11

|

10:11

|

12:10

14:15

|

15:09

|

19:10

|

 Dax

08:46

08:46

10:46

10:46

12:41

14:46

15:44

15:44

17:45

19:41

20:48

 Paris Gare Montparnasse arrive

12:10

12:10

14:10

14:10

16:08

18:08

19:08

19:10

21:08

23:08

00:08

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

hotel

hotel

hotel

 Paris Gare du Nord depart

15:13

15:13

16:13

16:13

 18:13e

20:13

21:13

21:13

07:13f

07:13f

07:13

 London St Pancras

16:39

16:39

17:39

17:39

 19:39e

21:39

22:39

22:39

08:32f

08:32f

08:32

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 videoUPDATE:  Unfortunately, the French government has withdrawn funding for all but a few intercités de nuit from 1 October 2016, but the Paris-Hendaye/Tarbes intercité de nuit will continue running until July 2017.

e = the Eurostar connection runs an hour later on Saturdays.

f = the first Eurostar connection runs an hour later than this on Sunday mornings.

g = the Eurostar connection leaves London an hour earlier on Sundays, at 09:24.

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.

See 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.trainline.eu, 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 a TGV Atlantique.   More TGV info & tips...

The interior is styled by designer Christian Lacroix, and there are power sockets at all seats.  On the TGV Atlantique route from Paris to Bordeaux & 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 below.  Very civilised!

TGVs to the Spanish border at Paris Montparnasse   1st class on a TGV Atlantique showing semi-compartments

TGVs to Bordeaux, Biarritz & Hendaye waiting to leave Paris Montparnasse...

 

1st class with semi-compartments.

TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, second class   TGV bar car

2nd class on the TGV.  Most seats are unidirectional, there are some tables for 4.  See panorama photo.

 

The café-bar car, serving drinks, snacks and microwaved hot dishes.  See a typical menu here...

Back to top


London to Lyon & Grenoble

London to Lyon by train from £62 one-way or £110 return...

 London ► Lyon & Grenoble

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart

 06:50*

08:54

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

14:14

16:14

19:14 

22:14

-

14:14

16:14

19:14

-

16:14

19:14

20:14

22:14

-

 Grenoble arrive

15:38

17:38

20:38 

23:38

-

15:38

17:38

20:38

-

17:38

20:38

21:38

23:38

-

 Lyon & Grenoble ► London

 Local TER train...

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Grenoble depart

-

 

07:21

09:21

12:21

15:21

-

09:21

12:22

15:22

-

07:21

09:21

12:21

15:21

 Lyon Part Dieu arrive

-

 

08:46

10:46

13:44

16:46

-

10:46

13:44

16:44

-

08:46

10:46

13:44

16:46

 High-speed TGV...

 

 

 

 Lyon Part Dieu depart

05:50

08:00

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

08:56

11:03

11:56

14:21

16:57

19:56

08:57

14:03

16:57

19:56

08:57

11:56

14:03

16:57

19:56

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

 Lille Europe depart

09:30

11:35

13:30

16:35F

17:35

20:30

09:30

15:30

17:35

20:30

09:30

13:30

15:30

18:35

20:30

 London St Pancras arrive

09:57

11:57

14:05

16:57F

18:06

21:03

09:57

16:05

18:06

21:03

09:57

14:05

16:05

19:10

21:03

* On Mondays from 26 March 2017 the Eurostar leaves London at 07:19 arriving Lille at 09:51 (this is in fact the direct Eurostar to Lyon).  Still leaves 06:50 on Tue-Fri.

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?    Map of Lyon showing station

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...

On board the TGV.  TGV info & tips...

TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, second class   TGV 1st class by Christian Lacroix

2nd class with a mix or unidirectional seats & tables for 4.  Seats are 2+2 across car width.  Panorama photo.

 

1st class with a mix of unidirectional seats, solo seats, tables for 2 & tables for 4.  Seats 2+1 across car width.  Panorama photo.

Back to top


London to Bordeaux

London to Bordeaux by train from £62 one-way or £110 return...

 London ► Bordeaux until 1 July 2017

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart

10:58

12:58

10:58

12:58

11:04

14:04

 Lille Europe arrive

13:26

15:30

13:26

15:30

13:26

16:26

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

 Lille Europe depart

  14:45 f

  17:09 f

  14:45 f

  17:09 f

  14:45 f

  17:09 f

 St Pierre des Corps (Tours)

17:59

19:59

17:59

20:00

17:59

20:00

 Poitiers arrive

18:42

20:41

18:42

20:41

18:42

20:41

 Angoulême arrive

19:35

21:35

19:35

21:35

19:35

21:35

 Bordeaux St Jean arrive

20:37

22:37

20:37

22:47

20:37

22:37

 London ► Bordeaux from 2 July 2017*

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart

08:04

10:58

12:58

06:57

10:58

12:58

11:04

14:04

 Lille Europe arrive

10:26

13:26

15:30

09:26

13:26

15:30

13:26

16:26

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

 Lille Europe depart

  11:18 f

  14:47 f

  17:16 f

  11:18 f

  14:47 f

  17:16 f

  14:47 f

  17:16 f

 St Pierre des Corps (Tours)

13:58

17:58

19:58

13:58

17:58

19:58

17:58

19:58

 Poitiers arrive

14:32

18:32

20:32

14:32

18:32

20:32

18:32

20:32

 Angoulême arrive

15:12

19:12

21:12

15:12

19:12

21:12

19:12

21:12

 Bordeaux St Jean arrive

15:52

19:52

21:52

15:52

19:52

21:52

19:52

21:52

* = if travelling between 2 July & 6 August, check times online as they will vary from those shown here.

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.trainline.eu (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.trainline.eu.

 Bordeaux ► London until 1 July 2017

 High-speed TGV

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Bordeaux St Jean depart

07:23

09:23

07:23

09:23

07:23

09:23

 Angoulême depart

08:26

10:26

08:26

10:26

08:26

10:26

 Poitiers depart

09:17

11:17

09:17

11:17

09:17

11:17

 St Pierre des Corps (Tours)

10:01

12:00

10:01

12:00

10:01

12:00

 Lille Europe arrive

  13:01 f

14:30

  13:01 f

14:37

  13:01 f

14:37

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

 Lille Europe depart

15:35

15:35

15:35

15:35

15:30

15:30

 London St Pancras arrive

16:05

16:05

16:05

16:05

16:05

16:05

 Bordeaux ► London from 2 July 2017

 High-speed TGV

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Bordeaux St Jean depart

06:08

08:08

12:08

06:08

12:08

08:08

12:08

 Angoulême depart

06:46

08:46

12:46

06:46

12:46

08:46

12:46

 Poitiers depart

07:28

09:28

13:28

07:28

13:28

09:28

13:28

 St Pierre des Corps (Tours)

08:02

10:02

14:02

08:02

14:02

10:02

14:02

 Lille Europe arrive

  10:49 f

  12:44 f

  16:40 f

  10:49 f

  16:40 f

  12:44 f

  16:40 f

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

 Lille Europe depart

11:35

13:30

17:35

11:35

17:35

15:30

17:35

 London St Pancras arrive

11:57

14:05

18:06

11:57

18:06

16:05

18:06

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

On board the TGV.  TGV info & tips...

TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, second class   TGV 1st class by Christian Lacroix

2nd class with a mix or unidirectional seats & tables for 4.  Seats are 2+2 across car width.  Panorama photo.

 

1st class with a mix of unidirectional seats, solo seats, tables for 2 & tables for 4.  Seats 2+1 across car width.  Panorama photo.

Back to top


London to Strasbourg

London to Strasbourg in 5 hours by train from £57 one-way, £100 return

There are two good options: 

 London ► Strasbourg  (via Lille)  

 Eurostar (30 min check-in)

daily

*

 London St Pancras depart

12:58

14:04

 Lille Europe arrive

15:30

16:26

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

 Lille Europe depart

16:02

18:00

 Strasbourg arrive

19:01

20:58

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.

* = This 14:04 Eurostar runs some Sundays & Fridays only.  The Lille-Strasbourg TGV runs daily.

** = On Saturdays you leave Lille at 20:30 and arrive London at 21:03.

Check train times for your date of travel using www.loco2.com or www.trainline.eu as times vary on certain dates.

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

 Strasbourg ► London  (via Lille)  

High-speed TGV

daily

daily

daily

 Strasbourg depart

06:08

12:44

15:10

 Lille Europe arrive

08:56

15:28

17:58

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

 Lille Europe depart

09:30

17:35

  18:35**

 London St Pancras arrive

09:57

18:06

  19:03**

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

On board the TGV...  TGV info & tips...

TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, second class   TGV 1st class by Christian Lacroix

2nd class with a mix or unidirectional seats & tables for 4.  Seats are 2+2 across car width.  Panorama photo.

 

1st class with a mix of unidirectional seats, solo seats, tables for 2 & tables for 4.  Seats 2+1 across car width.  Panorama photo.

Back to top


London to Limoges, Brive, Toulouse

There are two rail routes from Paris to Toulouse:  The classic direct route from Paris Austerlitz to Toulouse via Limoges & Brive uses conventional 125mph trains, most now stylish and comfortable Téoz carriages, see the photos below.  The high-speed route from Paris Montparnasse to Toulouse via Bordeaux uses 186mph TGVs, this is a longer way round but it's still faster, especially so after 2 July 2017 when the Tours-Bordeaux high-speed line opens.

 London ► Limoges, Brive, Toulouse  until 1 July 2017

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mon-Thur, Sat

Daily

Mon-Fri

Daily

Mon-Fri

Mon-Fri & Sun

Daily

Sat, Sun

Daily

Fri

Daily

Daily *

Daily

 London St Pancras

07:55e

09:24e

10:24

10:24

12:24

12:24

12:24

12:24

13:31e

14:22

14:22

17:31

20:01

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive

11:17e

12:47e

13:47

13:47

15:47

15:47

15:47

15:47

17:17e

17:47

17:47

20:47

23:17

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

Sleeper

Hotel

 Paris Austerlitz depart

TGV

13:52

15:52

TGV

16:52

17:52

TGV

18:11

18:41

TGV

19:41

22:12

 07:53**

 Paris Montparnasse dep.

12:28

|

|

15:28

|

|

18:28

|

|

19:28

|

|

|

 Limoges

|

16:54

18:54

|

19:54

20:54

|

21:24

21:54

|

22:52

|

 10:54**

 Brive-la-Gaillarde

|

17:57

19:59

|

-

21:59

|

22:29

-

|

23:58

|

 11:59**

 Cahors

|

19:16

-

|

-

23:15

|

23:48

-

|

-

05:10

 13:03**

 Toulouse

17:55

20:24

-

20:57

-

-

23:59

00:50

-

00:55

-

06:30

 14:14**

 London ► Limoges, Brive, Toulouse  from 2 July 2017

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mon-Thur, Sat

Daily

Mon-Fri

Daily

Mon-Fri

Mon-Fri & Sun

Daily

Sat, Sun

Daily

Fri

Daily

Daily *

Daily

 London St Pancras

08:31e

09:24e

10:24

10:24

12:24

12:24

12:24

12:24

13:31e

14:22

14:22

17:31

20:01

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive

11:53e

12:47e

13:47

13:47

15:47

15:47

15:47

15:47

17:17e

17:47

17:47

20:47

23:17

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

Sleeper

Hotel

 Paris Austerlitz depart

TGV

13:52

15:52

TGV

16:52

17:52

TGV

18:11

18:41

TGV

19:41

22:12

 07:53**

 Paris Montparnasse dep.

13:52

|

|

16:52

|

|

18:52

|

|

19:52

|

|

|

 Limoges

|

16:54

18:54

|

19:54

20:54

|

21:24

21:54

|

22:52

|

 10:54**

 Brive-la-Gaillarde

|

17:57

19:59

|

-

21:59

|

22:29

-

|

23:58

|

 11:59**

 Cahors

|

19:16

-

|

-

23:15

|

23:48

-

|

-

05:10

 13:03**

 Toulouse

18:11

20:24

-

21:11

-

-

23:11

00:50

-

00:09

-

06:30

 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 Intercités de Nuit couchette train between Paris & Toulouse, with 2nd class 6-berth couchettes, 1st class 4-berth couchettes, reclining seats.  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.trainline.eu, as times may vary on  certain dates.

 Toulouse, Brive, Limoges ► London  until 1 July 2017

 TGV or Téoz...

Mon-Fri

Sat, Sun

Mon-Fri

Mon-Sat

Sat

Sun

Mon-Sat

Daily

Daily

Daily

Mon-Fri,

Sun

Daily

Daily

Daily *

 Toulouse

-

-

-

06:04

-

-

06:40

09:04

13:04

10:44

-

16:34

18:04

22:50

 Cahors

-

-

-

|

06:44

-

07:49

|

|

11:55

-

17:45

|

00:17

 Brive-la-Gaillarde

04:57

04:57

-

|

08:00

08:00

09:03

|

|

13:11

14:59

19:03

|

|

 Limoges

06:03

06:03

07:06

|

09:06

09:05

10:05

|

|

14:14

16:06

20:06

|

|

 Paris Montparnasse arrive

|

|

|

11:36

|

|

|

14:39

18:33

|

|

|

23:33

|

 Paris Austerlitz arrive

09:07

09:20

10:18

TGV

12:08

12:09

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

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

15:39

15:30

15:30

16:39

17:39

21:39

20:41

22:34

08:32e

08:32e

10:39

 Toulouse, Brive, Limoges ► London  from 2 July 2017

 TGV or Téoz...

Mon-Fri

Sat, Sun

Mon-Fri

Mon-Sat

Sat

Sun

Mon-Sat

Daily

Daily

Daily

Mon-Fri,

Sun

Daily

Daily

Daily *

 Toulouse

-

-

-

06:49

-

-

06:40

08:49

13:48

10:44

-

16:34

18:51

22:50

 Cahors

-

-

-

|

06:44

-

07:49

|

|

11:55

-

17:45

|

00:17

 Brive-la-Gaillarde

04:57

04:57

-

|

08:00

08:00

09:03

|

|

13:11

14:59

19:03

|

|

 Limoges

06:03

06:03

07:06

|

09:06

09:05

10:05

|

|

14:14

16:06

20:06

|

|

 Paris Montparnasse arrive

|

|

|

11:08

|

|

|

13:08

18:08

|

|

|

23:08

|

 Paris Austerlitz arrive

09:07

09:20

10:18

TGV

12:08

12:09

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

13:13

14:13

14:13

15:13

15:13

20:13

19:13

21:13

07:13e

07:13e

09:13

 London St Pancras

12:30

12:30

14:39

14:39

15:30

15:30

16:39

16:39

21:39

20:41

22:34

08:32e

08:32e

10:39

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

On board an Intercité from Paris to Limoges, Brive & Toulouse...

An Intercite train, formerly Teoz

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 cafe-bar or at least a refreshment trolley service.  Watch the video Seating plan.

1st class Teoz seats   2nd class seats on a Teoz train

1st class seats...

 

2nd class seats...

Back to top


London to Vichy & Clermont Ferrand

Just hop on a Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord, change stations by taxi or metro to the Gare de Bercy, and catch a southbound express to the Massif Central...  Trains between Paris and Clermont are usually Intercités with the Téoz-style interior, see the photos above.

 London ► Vichy, Clermont Ferrand

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Daily

Daily

Fri

Daily

Mon-Fri

Sun

Daily

 London St Pancras

 08:31

 09:24

10:24

 11:31

13:31

13:31

14:22

 Paris Gare du Nord arrive

 11:47

12:47

13:47

 14:47

16:47

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

18:00

19:00

 Vichy

15:59

16:59

17:59

18:59

|

20:59

21:59

 Clermont Ferrand

16:33

17:33

18:33

19:33

21:09

21:33

22:33

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

 

 Clermont Ferrand, Vichy ► London

 InterCité Téoz train...

Mon-Fri

Sat

Daily

Mon-Sat

Daily

Sun

 Clermont Ferrand

05:26

06:28

08:28

10:28

13:28

14:28

 Vichy

05:59

07:01

09:00

11:00

14:01

15:01

 Paris Gare de Bercy arrive

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

 12:13

15:13

16:13

19:13

20:13

 London St Pancras

12:39

 13:30

16:39

17:39

20:39

21:39

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

Back to top


London to Le Mans, Nantes, Rennes

Take the train to Brittany...

 London ► Nantes, Rennes & Brittany until 1 July

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mondays to Fridays

 London St Pancras depart

10:58

10:58

15:04

15:04

17:04

 Lille Europe arrive

13:26

13:26

17:26

17:26

19:26

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

 Lille Europe depart

13:52

13:52 *

17:52

17:52

   19:52 Fri

 Le Mans

16:27

16:27 *

20:28

20:28

   22:28 Fri

 Rennes

17:47

 |

21:58

|

|

 Angers

 

17:08 *

 

21:10

   23:08 Fri

 Nantes

 

17:50 *

 

21:49

   23:46 Fri

 London ► Nantes, Rennes & Brittany until 1 July

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart

10:58

12:58

12:58

11:04

11:04

14:04

14:04

 Lille Europe arrive

13:26

15:30

15:30

13:26

13:26

16:26

16:26

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

 Lille Europe depart

13:52

17:52

17:52

13:52

13:52

17:52

17:52

 Le Mans

16:27

20:28

20:28

16:27

16:27

20:28

20:28

 Rennes

17:47

21:58

|

17:47

 |

21:58

|

 Angers

 

 

21:10

 

17:08

 

21:10

 Nantes

 

 

21:49

 

17:50

 

21:49

 London ► Nantes, Rennes & Brittany from 2 July

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Mondays to Fridays

 London St Pancras depart

08:54

15:04

15:04

17:04

 Lille Europe arrive

11:27

17:26

17:26

19:26

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

 Lille Europe depart

11:51

17:52

17:52

     19:52 Fri, f

 Le Mans

14:26

20:26

20:26

   22:26 Fri

 Rennes

15:26

 |

21:17

|

 Angers

 

21:10

 

   23:14 Fri

 Nantes

 

21:50

 

   23:54 Fri

 London ► Nantes, Rennes & Brittany from 2 July

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Saturdays

Sundays

 London St Pancras depart

08:58

12:58

12:58

08:58

15:04

15:04

14:04

 Lille Europe arrive

11:30

15:30

15:30

11:30

17:26

17:26

16:26

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

 Lille Europe depart

11:51

17:52

17:52

  12:45 f

17:52

17:52

  19:44 f

 Le Mans

14:26

20:26

20:26

15:26

20:26

20:26

22:26

 Rennes

15:26

 |

21:17

16:28

 |

21:17

|

 Angers

 

21:10

 

 

21:10

 

23:14

 Nantes

 

21:50

 

 

21:50

 

23:54

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.

** = On Mondays the Eurostar connection leaves London 07:19 arriving Lille at 09:51.  It still leaves at 06:50 on Tuesdays-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.trainline.eu, as times may vary on  certain dates.

 Nantes, Rennes & Brittany ► London until 1 July

 High-speed TGV...

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Nantes

 

06:05

 

10:05

 

06:05

 

10:05

 

10:05

 

 Angers

 

06:43

 

10:44

 

06:43

 

10:44

 

10:43

 

 Rennes

06:10

 |

10:05

|

06:10

 |

10:05

|

10:04

|

11:10

 Le Mans

07:33

07:33

11:33

11:33

07:33

07:33

11:33

11:33

11:33

11:33

12:32

 Lille Europe arrive

10:17

10:17

14:07

14:07

10:17

10:17

14:07

14:07

14:06

14:06

15:07

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

 Lille Europe depart

11:35

11:35

15:35

15:35

11:35

11:35

15:35

15:36

15:30

15:30

16:35

 London St Pancras arrive

11:57

11:57

16:05

16:05

11:57

11:57

16:05

16:05

16:05

16:05

16:57

 Nantes, Rennes & Brittany ► London from 2 July

 High-speed TGV...

Mondays to Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

 Nantes

 

06:03

 

12:03

 

06:03

 

12:03

08:06

 

12:03

 Angers

 

06:44

 

12:44

 

06:44

 

12:44

08:48

 

12:44

 Rennes

06:26

 |

12:26

|

06:26

 |

12:26

|

|

10:35

|

 Le Mans

07:33

07:33

13:33

13:33

07:33

07:33

13:33

13:33

09:33

11:33

13:33

 Lille Europe arrive

10:07

10:07

16:07

16:07

10:07

10:07

16:07

16:07

  12:09 f

  14:11 f

16:07

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

 Lille Europe depart

11:35

11:35

17:35

17:35

11:35

11:35

17:35

17:35

15:30

15:30

17:34

 London St Pancras arrive

11:57

11:57

18:06

18:06

11:57

11:57

18:06

18:06

16:05

16:05

18:05

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

On board the TGV...  TGV info & tips...

TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, second class   TGV 1st class by Christian Lacroix

2nd class with a mix or unidirectional seats & tables for 4.  Seats are 2+2 across car width.  Panorama photo.

 

1st class with a mix of unidirectional seats, solo seats, tables for 2 & tables for 4.  Seats 2+1 across car width.  Panorama photo.

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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.  You can travel by Eurostar and connecting trains via Paris, or you cross the Channel by ferry with Brittany Ferries.  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...

By ferry...

Visiting the D-day beaches...

How to get to Mont St Michel...

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London to Lille & Northern France

London ► Calais & Lille by Eurostar...

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

The train & ferry alternative...

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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.

Unfortunately, the overnight couchette trains between Paris & Bourg St Maurice & St Gervais were discontinued from 1 October 2016.

 London ► French Alps

 Eurostar, 30 min check-in

Daily

all year

Mon-Fri & Sun

all year

Daily

all year

Fridays

all year

 London St Pancras depart

10:24e

11:31*

10:24

10:24

 Paris Gare du Nord  arrive

13:47e

14:47*

13:47

13:47

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

 Paris Gare de Lyon depart

15:11

16:11

14:41

15:49

 Chambéry

|

|

17:35

19:10

 Albertville

|

|

 19:14 g

19:44

 Moutiers-Salins

|

|

 19:50 g

20:19

 Aime la Plagne

|

|

 20:07 g

20:35

 Bourg st Maurice (for Les Arcs)

|

|

 20:22 g

20:52

 Annecy

|

|

 

 

 St Gervais

  19:56 b

20:56 b

 

 

 Chamonix

  20:50 c

-

 

 

 French Alps ► London

 High-speed TGV...

Daily all year

Mon-Fri

all year

Saturdays

all year

Daily

all year

Sat & Sun

all year

 Chamonix

07:14 c

   09:14 c

  09:14 d

 

   10:14 d

 St Gervais

08:04 b

   10:04 b

10:14

 

 12:48

 Annecy

|

|

|

 

|

 Bourg st Maurice (for Les Arcs)

|

|

|

12:38g

|

 Aime la Plagne

|

|

|

12:54g

|

 Moutiers-Salins

|

|

|

13:14g

|

 Albertville

|

|

|

13:45g

|

 Chambéry

|

|

|

16:23

|

 Paris Gare de Lyon arrive

12:49

14:52

14:49

19:19

17:49

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

 Paris Gare du Nord depart

15:13

17:13

17:13

21:13

19:13

 London St Pancras arrive

16:39

18:32

18:32

22:39

20:39

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.trainline.eu.

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.

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...

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.

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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, Corsica Linea (www.corsicalinea.com) & Corsica Ferries (www.corsica-ferries.co.uk), 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 overnight ferry from Marseille...

  • Leave London St Pancras by Eurostar at 08:54 (08:58 at weekends & some other dates), make one easy change of train at Lille and arrive Marseille St Charles at 17:46.  See the train times above for details.  London-Marseille starts at £68 one-way or £120 return, book the trains as shown above.

  • On arrival at Marseille's St Charles station, either take a taxi to the Corsica Linea (formerly SNCM) ferry terminal, or use the Marseille Metro (www.rtm.fr) from St Charles station 2 stops to Place de la Joliette, you want line 2, direction Bougainville, and the fare is around €1.50.  Place de Joliette metro station is just 50m from the entrance to the ferry terminal.  You can walk from the station to the ferry terminal via Marseille's famous Vieux Port, but it's a fair old way and not an attractive or easy walk once past the Vieux Port.

  • Sail overnight from Marseille to Ajaccio or Bastia, Corsica's first and second cities respectively.  Corsica Linea (www.corsicalinea.com, successor to defunct state-owned SNCM) sails overnight daily to both cities.  Sailing times vary, but the ship usually sails from Marseille at around 19:00-21:00 arriving Bastia or Ajaccio around 07:00-08:00.  The best ships to choose are the superb cruise ferries Napoleon Bonaparte or Danielle Casanova, which are amongst the most luxurious ferries in the Med (though not all sailings are operated by these particular ships).  Cabins have en suite toilet & shower, and even satellite TV if you don't mind watching 'Midsomer Murders' in French!  The best way to book the ferry is online at www.corsicalinea.com, you simply print out your own ticket and show it at the port, or you can book most ferry routes & operators to Corsica on the Seat61 online ferry booking page.  Alternatively, you can book by phone with their UK agent, Southern Ferries, on 020 7491 4968.

  • In the return direction, there are daily overnight ferries from both Ajaccio & Bastia to Marseille.  Allow at least 2 hours next morning to make the connection in Marseille, then choose one of the TGV and Eurostar services from Marseille to London shown above. You'll arrive in St Pancras in the early evening, less than 24 hours after leaving Corsica.

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

  • Leave London St Pancras at 16:31 by Eurostar on day 1, change trains & stations in Paris, taking the Train Bleu Intercités de Nuit couchette train to Nice, arriving 08:38 on day 2.  Alternatively, travel from London to Nice by daytimes trains and spend a night and morning in Nice.  See the train times & fares above, and book the trains online as shown above.  Spend the morning exploring Nice.  At lunchtime, walk or take a taxi past the Old Town and around the headland to Nice's old port from where the ferries leave.

  • Corsica Ferries (www.corsica-ferries.co.uk) have a more or less daily afternoon sailing from Nice to Bastia, and on some days another one to Ajaccio, leaving Nice around 14:00-15:00 and arriving in Bastia or Ajaccio around 19:30-20:30 (all on day 2 from London).  Top tip:  Even though it's a daytime ferry, spend an extra €30 on a private day cabin, so you can snooze, take a shower and freshen up.  Corsica Ferries ships are modern and very comfortable.  The easiest way to book the ferry is online at www.corsica-ferries.co.uk, you simply print out your own ticket and show it at the port, or you can book most ferry routes & operators to Corsica on the Seat61 ferry booking page.  The price varies depending on the season.

  • In the return direction there's normally a morning sailing from Bastia (and on some days Ajaccio) to Nice, leaving around 08:00.  Spend the afternoon in Nice, then take the Train Bleu Intercités de Nuit couchette train to Paris and a morning Eurostar home, see the train times & fares above.

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:  The 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.co.uk (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 delightfully scenic narrow-gauge train links Bastia, Ponte Leccia, Corte, Vizzavona & Ajaccio (four trains per day), with a branch from Ponte Leccia to Ile Rousse & 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 official site http://cf-corse.fr  or unofficiakl site 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 now in service, 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

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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.

  • Go to www.loco2.com or www.trainline.eu (residents of any country).

  • You can book from London to your final destination in one go.  Look for journeys with an easy-same-station change in Lille if there are any shown.  If you are offered this option, it's simpler than crossing Paris.

  • However, for journeys via Paris, it's often better to split the journey in Paris as follows.  This is so you can allow longer in Paris for a meal, or if an earlier Eurostar has cheaper fares available, it also allows you to avoid some sub-standard 40-minute cross-Paris connections which have unfortunately been pre-programmed into SNCF's database.  I recommend nothing less than 60 minutes for any cross-Paris connection between Paris Nord and Paris Gare de Lyon.

  • Step 1, book from Paris to your final destination at www.trainline.eu.  Step 2, allowing at least 60 minutes to cross Paris southbound, 90 minutes northbound (as this includes the 30 minute Eurostar check-in), book from London to Paris and back at www.eurostar.com.  In fact, using www.eurostar.com you can book not just from London but from 130 UK towns and cities, and you can choose an exact seat on Eurostar if you book this way too, see tips on choosing a seat here.

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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...

  • Lille Europe is a modern glass-and-steel station with four platforms straddling the London-Paris/Brussels high-speed line.  When you arrive by Eurostar, go up the escalators (or use the lifts) to the main concourse above the tracks, and check the indicator boards to see which of the four platforms your onwards TGV train will leave from. 

  • Allow at least 20 minutes to change trains on the outward journey, at least 40 minutes (which includes the 30 minute Eurostar check-in) on the return journey back to London.

  • Lille Europe has a coffee shop, small mini-market, newsagents and an Irish pub, a ticket office, staffed information point, car hire offices (Europcar, Hertz, Avis, Alamo), waiting room, bureau de change & (chargeable) WiFi access. 

  • The Eurostar check-in is at the extreme north end of the concourse in Hall 4. 

  • Lille Europe has no left luggage lockers, but there is a staffed left luggage office hidden away at the extreme south end of the concourse in Hall 1, charging €4 per item for 2 hours, €5.50 per item for up to 10 hours, €9.50 for up to 24 hours.  There is no ATM, although you'll find one if you walk into town. 

  • Conway's Irish Pub is the best place to wait between trains inside Lille Europe station, while you have a coffee or beer or quick meal. 

  • Alternatively, there's a 'Quick' fast-food hamburger restaurant on the far side of the square opposite the station's main entrance in the EuraLille shopping centre, which has free WiFi and a children's soft play area.  If you have time, there are plenty of restaurants in the city centre 10 minutes walk away, and Lille's Moules Frites are as good as those in Brussels.

Visiting Lille city centre...

  • Lille is a very pleasant city, great for a short break.  The mayor insisted that the high speed line was built through central Lille, whilst mayors in other cities wanted to keep it out of town.  Lille's mayor was proved right, as over the last decade since the line was built it has transformed Lille's economy, from run-down mining town to vibrant city of northern France. 

  • You can easily pop into the city centre if you have a long wait between trains, it's just 500m away.  Walk off the concourse via the main pedestrian exit, down the escalators to the 'arches' underneath the road bridge, and walk straight ahead of you.  Lille's restaurants do a great moules et frites, some say better than Brussels...

Lille Flandres station...

  • Lille's original station is a terminus called Lille Flandres, in the city centre an easy 500m walk from Lille Europe.  One or two TGVs to the south leave from Lille Flandres rather than Lille Europe. 

  • Walk off the main concourse via the main pedestrian exit, down the short escalators to the 'arches' underneath the road bridge, and walk straight ahead of you along the main road into town until you come to Lille Flandres, in the city centre.  You can't miss it!

  • Incidentally, the station facade at Lille Flandres was originally the Gare du Nord station building in Paris, built in 1869-1892.  It was dismantled & moved to Lille at the end of the 19th century when a new bigger Gare du Nord was built.  The clock and top storey were added when the station was rebuilt at Lille.

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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...

  Train Bleu restaurant sign

If you've time for lunch or dinner at Paris Gare de Lyon...

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 in 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:

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Holidays & tours to France by train

 

020 3327 0761 (UK)

1-888-829-4775 (USA)

1-855-882-2910 (Canada)

1300 971 526 (Aus)

0800 000 554 (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....

  • Railbookers can tailor-make a flight-free holiday or short break to France for you, with train travel, transfers & hotels included, leaving on any date you like.  For example, they offer a 2-night break to Avignon or a 6-night holiday to Nice & Cannes with daytime train travel by Eurostar & TGV.   If you tell them what you want, they'll advise you on the best trains, routes & hotels and sort it all out for you.  They get a lot of repeat business!

      UK call 020 3327 0761, www.railbookers.co.uk.

      US call free 1-888-829-4775, see website.

      Canada call free 1-855-882-2910, see website.

      Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website.

      New Zealand call toll-free 0800 000 554 or see website.

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

  • A well-known firm established over 45 years ago and originally part of French Railways, the French Travel Service is now a family business offering affordable train+hotel holidays all over France (even Corsica!) with travel by train instead of plane.

  • Train+hotel deals for all parts of France, including Cannes, Nice, Monaco, Lourdes, Bergerac, Strasbourg or the French Alps.

  • Train+ferry+hotel tour to Nice & Corsica.

  • Pease quote 'seat61' when you call them.

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

  • GRJ offers five-star escorted tours to France by train, with 1st class train travel and 5* or 4* hotels.  Tours include an 8-day tour to Nice & the Cote d'Azur, the Pyrenees or Lake Annecy & Mont Blanc, all with overland travel from London by train.  Great Rail Journeys also offer holidays by train to other European countries.  Check the tour details & prices online, then call 01904 527120 to book or use their online booking form.

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

  • Rail Discoveries offers escorted tours to France by train, with 3* or 2* hotels and travel by Eurostar & TGV.  For example, they offer a 6-day tour to Annecy & Chamonix in the French Alps, or a 7-day holiday from London to Nice & the French Riviera.  Check prices at www.raildiscoveries.com, then book online or call 01904 730 727.

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Car hire

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

  • City centres and cars don't mix well, so stick with the train for city-based tours.  But if you want to get out of the cities and into the countryside, hiring a car can be a great idea.  Start by trying Holiday Autos, www.holidayautos.co.uk, they're part of Lastminute.com so are reliable and have a wide range of locations and very good prices.

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

  • The award-winning website www.carrentals.co.uk compares many different car hire companies including Holiday Autos, meaning not only a cheapest price comparison but a wider choice of hire and drop off location.

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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 either www.stanfords.co.uk or 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.  Buy it online for £14.50 + postage worldwide (UK addresses £2.80) at www.stanfords.co.uk/Continents/Europe-A-Travellers-Railway-Map_9789077899090.htm or (in the Netherlands) for €13 + €5.50 postage from 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...

Lonely Planet Paris - click to buy online   Lonely Planet France - click to buy online   Lonely Planet Western Europe - click to buy online   Lonely Planet Europe on a shoestring - click to buy online

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.

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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 has been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel at a cheaper rate.

►► My recommended booking site:  www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings in one place here. 

You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a great feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

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 a romantic break in Paris...

  • There's the famous & flashy Paris Ritz in the Place Vendôme of course (over €500 a night) or the similarly-priced Le Meurice, but if you want a really special hotel for a luxury break or romantic weekend and can afford to splurge around €290 a night, I'd recommend the small, sumptuous and intimate L'Hotel.  It's on the bohemian left bank, walking distance from the Seine, the Ile de la Cité & Notre Dame.  Oscar Wilde spent the last days of his life here in room 16, and the hotel has been used by many famous people from Sinatra to Mick Jagger.  Rooms are on the cosy side, but they are beautifully decorated and have character that other hotels lack.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

  • www.tripadvisor.com is a good place to browse independent travellers' reviews of the main hotels, and it has the low-down on destination sights & attractions, too.

  • www.accorhotels.com:  If you want a consistently good-quality hotel at a reasonable price, rather than unique character, try the Ibis, Mercure & Sofitel hotels run by Accor group in almost all French cities, with online direct booking.  A city-centre Ibis hotel booked in advance online can be a very good deal.

Backpacker hostels: www.hostelworld.com...

  • www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in Paris and most other European cities at rock-bottom prices.

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Travel insurance & health card

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without proper travel insurance from a reliable insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash & belongings (up to a limit), and trip cancellation.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year - I have an annual policy myself.  However, don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, 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, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

        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 ww.nhs.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Carry a spare credit card, designed for 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.

 


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