TGV & ICE to Germany, in Paris

TGV Duplex & ICE3 side by side at Paris Est.  Trains from Paris to Frankfurt & Stuttgart are jointly run by the French & German national railways.

Paris to Germany from €39.90

Trains between Paris Gare de l'Est and Saarbrücken, Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Frankfurt (Main), Stuttgart & Munich are run by SNCF (French Railways) and DB (German Railways) in co-operation.  In addition, one service a day links Frankfurt with Lyon, Avignon & Marseille.  Some services are operated by French TGV Duplex trains, others by German ICE3 trains, usually of the latest class 407 type.  This page explains what the trains are like with tips for using them.

Paris-Germany routes, DB & SNCF in co-operation:

Paris - Mannheim - Frankfurt (via Saarbrücken or via Strasbourg & Karlsruhe)

Paris - Strasbourg - Karlsruhe - Stuttgart - Munich

Frankfurt - Strasbourg - Lyon - Avignon - Marseille

small bullet point  TGV Duplex trains

small bullet point  Tips for travel by TGV Duplex & Video guide

small bullet point  ICE trains

small bullet point  Tips for travel by ICE & Video guide

small bullet point  Route map

small bullet point  What's the journey like?

small bullet point  Fares & how to buy tickets

small bullet point  Useful information

TGV Duplex

These 320 km/h (199 mph) double-deck high-speed trains have a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  There are luggage racks and toilets both upstairs and downstairs, you walk through the train at the upper level.  I recommend an upper deck seat for the best views, any seat number greater than 60 is upper deck.  TGV stands for Train á Grande Vitesse, which simply means high-speed train in French.  French Railways premier TGV services are now branded TGV-InOui, which literally means unheard of, in the sense of exceptional.

Frankfurt to Marseille TGV

The direct TGV Duplex from Frankfurt to Marseille, ready to leave Frankfurt am Main Hbf.

TGV Duplex cafe-bar   TGV Duplex upper deck 2nd class seats

The cafe-bar on the upper deck in car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks & microwave-style hot dishes.


2nd class seats, this is upper deck seating.  There's a mix or tables for 4 and unidirectional seating.  360º photo.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   A TGV Duplex at Frankfurt

1st class seats on the upper deck, a club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right. 360º photo.


TGV Duplex.  This is the daily TGV to Marseille, boarding at Frankfurt am Main Hbf.  You enter on the lower deck, with 9 stairs up to top deck.

TGV Duplex:  Stairs to upper deck   TGV Duplex:  Power outlets   TGV Duplex:  Luggage racks

The stairs to the upper deck. Just 9 steps, wide, shallow with double handrails.


Power sockets:  All seats in both classes have power sockets, 2-pin 230v.  Your train may have WiFi, whilst in France.


Luggage racks.  You take your bags on board with you and place them on the racks.  There are racks both upstairs and downstairs, both at the car ends and (as here) between the seats.

Tips for travel by TGV Duplex

Video guideMunich to Paris by TGV Duplex

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ICE stands for Inter-City Express, the brand name for German Railways premier high-speed trains.  There are various types of ICE (see the ICE page), but the type usually used on the services between Paris & Germany is ICE3 class 407, pictured below, running at up to 320 km/h (199 mph) on the high-speed line between Paris & the German border.  You may notice the similarity to Eurostar's e320, it's the same basic train.  These ICEs have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  However, unlike other ICE3s they don't have the viewing area at each end where you can look through the driving cab.

An ICE3 (class 407) to Paris at Frankfurt

A Frankfurt to Paris ICE3 (class 407) at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf

2nd class seats on a class 407 ICE3   Class 407 ICE3 1st class seats

2nd class seats


1st class seats

Bistro-restaurant on a class 407 ICE3   Lunch in the bistro on an ICE train

Restaurant car

Lunch in the restaurant car, with an Erdinger Weissbier

Cafe-bar on a class 407 ICE3   Lunch served at a 1st class seat on an ICE train

Cafe-bar, at the other end of the restaurant car

Meal served at my seat in 1st class

ICE3 class 407 luggage rack   ICE3 class 407 information screen   ICE3 class 407 entrance door

Luggage rack


Information screen at 302 km/h


Easy boarding: Walk up, step on

An ICE3 (class 407) at Paris Gare de l'Est

An ICE3 (class 407) at Paris Gare de l'Est

Tips for travel by ICE

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Video guideParis to Frankfurt by ICE3

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Route maps

Paris to Germany Alleo trains route map   Frankfurt to Marseille train route map

Click for larger Paris-Germany map   Click for larger Frankfurt-Marseille map

Highlighted, left-hand map:  Paris - Saarbrucken - Frankfurt, Paris - Strasbourg - Frankfurt, Paris - Stuttgart - Munich.

Highlighted, right-hand map: Frankfurt - Strasbourg - Lyon - Avignon - Marseille.

Red = high-speed lines.  Green = scenic sectionsBlack = conventional lines.

Buy the map.  Reproduced from the excellent European Rail Map with kind permission of the European Rail Timetable people.  I recommend buying this European Rail Map (and the European Rail Timetable), they ship worldwide,

What's the journey like?

The train leaves Paris and accelerates to 320 km/h (199 mph) on the TGV-Est high-speed line across rural France through the Champagne region.  If your train is routed via Strasbourg (meaning all Paris-Stuttgart and some Paris-Frankfurt trains), look out for Strasbourg cathedral in the distance on the left soon after leaving Strasbourg station.  It was to have two towers, but only the north tower was built (I always think it looks as if the south tower was launched!).  Even so, that north tower was the world's tallest building from 1647 to 1874.  Shortly afterwards the train crosses the river Rhine, which forms the border between France and Germany, before passing non-stop through Kehl.  Once in Germany, the train uses classic lines at lower speed, with some stretches of new-build high-speed line.

Scenery from a Frankfurt to Paris ICE train

Rural France at 320 km/h, from a Frankfurt to Paris ICE


How to buy tickets

Useful information

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