A Ouigo train in Paris

A Ouigo TGV at Paris Gare de Lyon.  Fares start from just €10 at www.sncf-connect.com or www.thetrainline.com.

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Ouigo, a budget airline on rails

In 2013, SNCF (French Railways) created a separate subsidiary company called Ouigo to run lo-cost high-speed trains on key routes in France on the no-frills airline model.  Ouigo trains are one-class only with no catering, no first class, strict baggage limits with fees for larger or additional bags, it even costs extra for a seat with a power socket.  Tickets can only be bought online (and only from certain designated sellers), and you combine Ouigo with other connecting trains at your own risk.  But I'll say it again, it's cheap.

small bullet point  Where does Ouigo run?

small bullet point  How to check times & buy tickets

small bullet point  What are Ouigo trains like?

small bullet point  Luggage on Ouigo

small bullet point  Travel tips

small bullet point  The Man in Seat 61's opinion of Ouigo

Where does Ouigo run?

Ouigo links Paris with major cities including Lyon, Avignon, Aix, Marseille, Cannes, Nice, Nimes, Montpellier, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Rennes, Angers, Nantes, Strasbourg.  It also links Lille & CDG airport with Lyon, Avignon & Marseille.  It's less frequent than SNCF's regular TGV service, for example Ouigo runs Paris-Nice just twice a day.  Check routes and times at www.sncf-connect.com or www.thetrainline.com.

Ouigo classique trains:  In April 2022, Ouigo Classic started running between Paris, Tour or Le Mans, and Nantes.  These use refurbished classic carriages, not the TGV Duplex trains shown on this page, and they run on classic non-high-speed routes.  Another Ouigo Classique now links Paris, Dijon & Lyon via the original non-high-speed route.  These can also be booked at www.sncf-connect.com or www.thetrainline.com.

How to buy tickets

Buy tickets at www.thetrainline.com (small booking fee) or www.sncf-connect.com (the main French Railways website, no booking fee).

Booking opens up to 9 months head, sometimes as little as 2 months. 

Tickets are only available online, www.thetrainline.com & www.sncf-connect.com show both Ouigo and regular trains side-by-side so you can compare prices.

Fares start at only €10 to Lyon or Bordeaux, €19 to Cannes or Nice, but vary dynamically just like budget airline fares.

You can't buy Ouigo tickets at stations or by phone or on some train booking websites such as www.raileurope.comInterrail & Eurail passes aren't valid on Ouigo.

Ouigo Essentiel or Ouigo Plus?  These aren't two different classes, the seats are exactly the same.  If you pay the basic Ouigo Essentiel fare, then you can pay an extra fee to have a larger bag with you and another fee to choose a seat.  If you pay the extra €9, the bag fee and the seat choice fee are included, along with a faster boarding line at Paris stations and some streaming content on the WiFi.  So there's not much between the two, really!

After booking, tickets with your seat & car number are made available 3-4 days before travel, you can either print your ticket out or download the Ouigo app and load your ticket into it using your name and booking reference so you can show it on your phone.

PAYMENT FOR OUIGO TICKETS:  Whichever website you use to book, only credit/debit cards from the countries listed below are accepted.

Payment cards accepted:  Cards issued in Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, French Southern Territories, Germany, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Netherlands, New Caledonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, St Pierre & Miquelon, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, United Kingdom.

How to get around this problem if you live elsewhere:  Buy Ouigo tickets at www.thetrainline.com, then select the option to pay with PayPal.  If you use PayPal, you can book Ouigo wherever you live, no problem.

What are Ouigo trains like?

Ouigo uses French Railways TGV Duplex trains, which have had the cafe-bar removed, 1st class removed, and one class of high-density seating installed, 644 seats per 8-car train - and you'll sometimes find Ouigo departures consisting of two 8-car TGV Duplex sets coupled together with 1,288 seats!  They run at up to 300 km/h (186 mph) on France's high-speed lines.

Ouigo TGV train at Lyon St Exupery

An afternoon Ouigo train to Paris arrives at Lyon St Exupéry.  Two 8-car trains coupled together, 1,288 seats!

Ouigo train, stairs to upper deck   Ouigo train upstairs seats

9 steps to upper deck. Larger photo.


Upstairs seats on Ouigo, 2+2 across the car width.  Choosing the Power plug or Quiet options guarantees you an upper deck seat.  Larger photo.

Ouigo train, downstairs seating   Ouigo train luggage rack, upstairs

Downstairs on Ouigo, 1+3 across the car width.  You cannot specify a solo seat & might get the middle seat of 3, with no armrests.  Larger photo.


There are luggage racks & toilets both upstairs and downstairs.

A Ouigo train at Lyon St Exupery bound for Paris

Boarding a Ouigo train to Paris at Lyon St Exupéry.

Important:  Luggage on Ouigo

Tips for travel with Ouigo

The Man in Seat 61's opinion of Ouigo

Check-in for a Ouigo train, Lyon St Exupery   Scanning a Ouigo ticket

Ticket check for a Ouigo TGV from Lyon St Exupéry to Paris.


All they do at check-in is scan your ticket.

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