Intercite de nuit couchette

Comfortable couchette with pillow, sleeping bag, bottled water & amenities kit.

Buy tickets online...* in €, no booking fee; in €, £ or $, small fee;* in €, £ or $, small fee.


* Can also sell Espace_privatif

Overnight in a couchette from €29...

It's time-effective option!  Sleep your way from Paris to Nice, Cannes, Antibes, Toulouse, Perpignan, Latour de Carol or Cerbère on the Spanish border from €29 including a bed for the night.  Formerly branded Lunéa, French domestic overnight trains are now Intercités de Nuit.

small bullet point  On what routes do they run?

small bullet point  What are the trains like?

small bullet point  Couchettes

small bullet point  Reclining seats

small bullet point  Sole occupancy of a compartment - Espace Privatif

small bullet point  Luggage, bikes, WiFi

small bullet point  Food & drink, dinner before you board

small bullet point  Couchette berth numbering

small bullet point  Fares & tickets

small bullet point  Video guide

On what routes do they run?

Paris-Toulon-St Raphael-Cannes-Antibes-Nice (reinstated May 2021)

Paris-Toulouse-Latour de Carol (with connection to Barcelona)

Paris-Tarbes-Lourdes (reinstated December 2021)



Paris-Perpignan-Narbonne-Cerbère (daily in summer, Fri & Sun in winter)

Paris-Biarritz-Hendaye (for San Sebastian) only runs in July & August.

The French government withdrew funding for all Intercités de Nuit in 2016, leaving just a few running as socially necessary for the regions they serve.  However, there's good news:  President Macron has committed to the return of the Paris-Nice & Paris-Lourdes-Tarbes overnight trains.  The Paris-Nice Intercité de nuit returned from 20 May 2021, the Paris-Tarbes train will be restored from a date to be announced.

What are the trains like?  Watch the video

Intercités de Nuit overnight trains have 1st class 4-berth couchettes, 2nd class 6-berth couchettes and reclining seats.  There are no sleepers, sleeping-cars with 1 & 2 bed compartments were withdrawn from all French domestic overnight trains in 2007.  But if you want privacy you can book a whole couchette compartment for exclusive private use, see the Espace Privatif section below.

1st & 2nd class couchettes

Couchettes are simple flat padded bunks each provided with a fresh clean pillow, individual reading light and a lightweight sleeping-bag - a great idea, replacing the traditional sheet & blanket.  Each passenger gets a bottle of mineral water, earplugs (if you really need them), tissues & (in first class) sleep socks.  French couchette cars have been modernised with quiet carpeted interiors & soft fabric bunks.  Only bona fide passengers with tickets & reservations are allowed onto the platform, and there are minimal stops between 00:00 & 06:00 for a smooth, safe & secure journey through the night. 

1st class couchettes have 4 berths per compartment, upper & lower on each side of the compartment.  They feel much more spacious than 2nd class couchettes as they are slightly larger compartments with wider berths and only 4 people not 6.  Great for families or a group of friends.  If you want sole, dual or triple occupancy of a whole compartment, see the Espace Privatif section belowCouchette numbering plan.

2nd class couchettes have 6 bunks in each compartment, upper, middle & lower on each side of the compartment.  Obviously, if you have any mobility problems ask for a lower berth, but the cosy top bunks up in the roof space give you more privacy and are my own preference.  Having said that, although cars are air-conditioned with adjustable temperature control, bottom & middle bunks can be cooler than top bunks on a hot summer night.  You can book a whole compartment for just 4 or 5 of you if you like, see the Espace Privatif section belowCouchette berth numbering plan.

In both classes:  Men & women are mixed in couchettes as you don't normally fully undress, but women travelling alone can book a berth in a ladies-only compartment if they like.  If you've children, you can ask the train staff for a child safety rail for their bunk.  Compartment doors have a security lock which cannot be opened from outside even with a staff key, and staff are on duty if you need them.  There are washrooms & toilets at the end of the corridor.

Intercite de nuit overnight train in Paris

An intercité de nuit sleeper train boarding at Paris Gare d'Austerlitz.  Photo courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

InterCite de Nuit 1st class couchette, 4-berth   InterCite de Nuit 2nd class couchette, 6-berth   French couchette car corridor

1st class 4-berth couchettes, refurbished.  Courtesy of @Bristol_Phil. 2nd class photos courtesy Dan Chester.


2nd class 6-berth couchettes


Couchette car corridor.  Courtesy Dan Chester.

InterCite de Nuit 2nd class upper berth couchettes   InterCite de Nuit couchette

Upper berths showing compartment lighting & temperature controls, you can see the normal lock & security deadlock on the door.  Photos courtesy of Dan Chester.


Each couchette comes with a pillow, lightweight sleeping bag, bottled water, amenity kit with ear plugs & eye mask, reading light & power outlet.

The Paris to Nice sleeper running along the Mediterranean coast

The Paris to Nice Intercité de Nuit running along the Côte d'Azur in the morning sun.  Photo courtesy of Noam auf Gleis 13.

Reclining seats

Intercités de Nuit also have 2nd class reclining seats, and you'll also find overnight TGV trains on some routes with non-reclining seats.  However, a couchette allows you to sleep properly lying down in a safely-locked compartment, so is the recommended option and definitely worth the extra cost.  Travelling overnight in a seat is not recommended except in emergency.


Booking espace privatif in couchettes at

How the Private Compartment option appears on

  Espace privatif on

How the Espace Privatif option appears on

Private use of a whole couchette compartment

You can book a whole 4-berth or 6-berth compartment for 1, 2, or 3 people.  There are two ways to do this:

Option 1, buy multiple tickets...  Simply book 4 tickets in 1st class couchettes or 6 tickets in 2nd class couchettes to have sole occupancy for you and your companions.  Tip:  Use phantom children, not adults!  But there's a cheaper option, if it's available...

Option 2, pay the Espace Privatif supplement...  This offer doesn't always show up, but if it's available, 1, 2 or 3 people can book a whole 1st class 4-berth compartment and 4 or 5 people can reserve a whole 2nd class 6-berth compartment by paying an Espace Privatif supplement.

How much does Espace Privatif cost?

If you're travelling solo, you pay the 1st class couchette fare plus a supplement of €70 to have a whole 4-berth 1st class compartment all to yourself.

If there's 2 of you, you pay two 1st class couchette fares plus one €50 supplement.

If there's 3 of you, you pay three 1st class couchette fares plus one €40 supplement.

If there's 4 or 5 of you, you each pay the 2nd class couchette fare, plus one fixed-price supplement of €45 between you to get the whole 6-berth 2nd class compartment to yourselves.

How to book Espace Privatif:  First try booking at, easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee.  Run an enquiry with 1, 2 or 3 passengers selected, find the overnight train and click to buy a first class fare.  At the next stage, where it asks you to choose a top or bottom couchette, look for Extras and select Private compartment.

You can also try the French Railways website, a little more fiddly, only in €.  Select the fare for a 1st class couchette and at the point where it asks you to select an upper or lower berth you may see the option to pay a supplement for sole occupancy at the bottom.

If that doesn't work, add a phantom kid (or 2 or 3) and buy 4 tickets as per option 1 above, that's always the fall-back option!

Luggage, bikes, WiFi, showers

Luggage goes in your compartment with you.  There's space for bags under the bottom bunks, on the rack above the window, and in the big recess over the compartment door projecting over the ceiling of the corridor.

Bikes can be taken for a small charge on some routes, including Paris-Nice, Paris-Lourdes-Tarbes, Paris-Toulouse & Paris-Perpignan-Cerbère, but not Paris-Latour de Carol.  Bikes travel in dedicated bike spaces, but for some strange reason you can only book a bike space if you book a 2nd class couchette, not if you go 1st class.

WiFi is now being fitted as carriages are refurbished, so your car may or may not have WiFi.  3G/4G mobile data will work fine most of the way.  In the refurbished carriages, each couchette gets its own a power outlet, under the reading light.

Showers are available at Paris Austerlitz, consisting of 6 shower rooms two of which are wheelchair accessible.  Use of the showers is free to first class couchette passengers on a first come, first served basis.  A charge is made for 2nd class passengers.

Food & drink

There's no cafe or bar car, you should have dinner before you board.  You are of course free to bring your own food & drink (even a bottle of wine!) with you.

However, it's now possible to pre-order drinks & snacks for delivery to your couchette.  Go to any time before 12:00 on departure day (please let me know if that link stops working), order what you want, enter your train number, car & berth number, enter your name & email, and pay.  It will turn up soon after departure.  Feedback appreciated.

Evening meal before leaving Paris?

I'm not a fan of eateries at the Gare d'Austerlitz, but when heading south from Paris, why not have dinner at the famous Train Bleu restaurant at the Gare de Lyon?  After dinner, it takes 10 minutes to stroll across the bridge over the Seine from the Gare de Lyon to the Gare d'Austerlitz on the far bank.

Couchette berth numbering plan

In 1st class 4-berth couchettes, only the lower and top berth numbers are used.

Couchette berth numbering plan

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

Bike space on French overnight trains   Reclining seats on an Intercite de Nuit French overnight train

The voiture services (on some trains) has space for several bikes, a small charge is made, see the bikes by train page.


Reclining seats on an Intercité de Nuit.  Sitting up all night in a seat is a false economy - always book a couchette.

bullet pointWatch the video

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