France's premier high-speed train:  The 186 mph TGV ...

TGVs now run all over France, the smooth, relaxing & less-environmentally-damaging way to travel.

Buy TGV tickets at: in € with no booking fee; in €, £ or $, small fee; in €, £ or $, small fee.

Booking opens up to 4 months ahead.


A guide to travel by TGV

TGVs or Trains à Grande Vitesse are the pride of SNCF (French Railways), running at up to 300 km/h (186 mph) on a high-speed network linking towns & cities across France.  In fact, trains reach 320 km/h (199 mph) on the newer TGV-Est & TGV-Rhin-Rhone routes.  Smooth & quiet even at high speed, it's a relaxing way to travel.  Some TGVs are single-deck, an increasing number are double-deck TGV Duplex.

Since 2017 SNCF's TGVs have been marketed under the brand name InOui, French for unheard of or exceptional.

small bullet point  Fares & tickets

small bullet point  Seating

small bullet point  Luggage limits, WiFi, food & drink

small bullet point  TGV travel tips

small bullet point  Guide to single-deck TGVs

small bullet point  Guide to double-deck TGV Duplex

small bullet point  Example TGV cafe-bar menu

Fares & tickets

1st class seats

2nd class seats

Luggage & facilities on board

Travel tips

  TGV ticket gates

Ticket gates.  These are being installed at the entrance to TGV platforms at main Paris termini.  Scan your ticket barcode to access the platforms.  This is Paris Montparnasse.

  TGV ticket gates

Composition des Trains

Train formation display, showing where along the platform each car of a train will stop, so you can be waiting in the right place when your train comes in!

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Single-deck TGVs

The Christian Lacroix interior

Most single-deck TGVs were refurbished with an interior by designer Christian Lacroix, including those on the TGV-Est route from Paris Est to Reims, Strasbourg, Metz, Luxembourg & some remaining single-deck TGVs on the TGV-Atlantique route from Paris Montparnasse to Tours, Bordeaux, Nantes, Lourdes, Rennes.  Incidentally, SNCF's in-house designer still hasn't forgiven Christian Lacroix for breaking the long-standing unwritten 'rules' and using warm colours in 2nd class, cooler colours in 1st class, so see what you think.  However, Lacroix's original patterned carpet and random lime green seats in 1st class have now been replaced by all-grey seats and all-grey carpet, watering down the design.

Seat numbering plans:  There are various types of TGV, you can find plans of the seating layouts on the train seat numbering page.

A TGV at Paris Gare de l'Est

A TGV at Paris Gare de l'Est, in the latest red, white and dark grey livery.

2nd class on a Paris-Milan TGV   Food on board the TGV from Milan to Paris

2nd class with mix of unidirectional seats & tables for 4.  Seats 2+2 across car width. Larger photo.


A cheese platter bought from the cafe-bar as the scenery sweeps by.

Cafe-bar on the Paris-Milan TGV   1st class on the Paris-Milan TGV

Cafe-bar selling tea, coffee, beer, wine, cold snacks & microwaved dishes.  Larger photo.


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

Later interiors

Another TGV refurbishment is in progress, so you'll see interiors like this starting to appear along with a new grey, silver & red TGV livery.

TGV 1st class seats, latest interior... TGV car in latest livery

TGV 1st class latest interior colour scheme.

TGV in current exterior colour scheme.

TGV in latest livery TGV 2nd class seats, latest interior...

TGV in current exterior colour scheme.

TGV 2nd class, latest interior colour scheme.

Older interiors

There are still some unrefurbished TGVs knocking about, and these older interiors often don't have power sockets in 2nd class.

TGV 1st class seats... TGV 2nd class seats...

TGV 1st class with two club duo seats on the left, a bay of 4 club quatre on the right, and rows of solo & duo seats behind.

TGV 2nd class.  Most seats are face-to-back, but there are some bays of 4 face-to-face seats, ask when booking.

Video guide:  Christian Lacroix TGV

The original patterned carpet and mixed lime green and grey seats in 1st class have now been replaced by all-grey seats & grey carpet, watering down the design.

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Double-deck TGV Duplex

On what routes do they operate?

These impressive 186mph double-deck high-speed trains now operate most Paris-Cannes-Nice trains, most Paris-Lyon trains, many Paris-Bordeaux-Biarritz-Hendaye/Lourdes trains, many Paris-Avignon-Marseille trains and even a few Lille-Lyon-Avignon Marseille trains.  They also operate some or all services from Paris to Basel, Zurich, Geneva, Stuttgart, Munich & Frankfurt, and Frankfurt to Marseille.  SNCF is no longer buying single-deck TGVs, all future TGV construction will be Duplex.

On board the train

You board the train through a wide sliding external door into a small hall at one end of the lower deck.  An internal door opens into a lower deck seating area, and a wide, short & easy flight of stairs leads to a landing at one end of the upper deck.  You walk along the train from car to car at the upper level, and the café-bar is also at the upper level.  There are toilets both upstairs & downstairs.

Upper or lower deck?

When reserving, you can usually choose a seat on either upper or lower decks if you buy online at or or book by phone, although you're not given a choice of deck if you buy tickets at some other sites or on the route to Barcelona.  If you have major problems climbing stairs the lower deck might be best, but for anyone else the top deck is strongly recommended for the best views of the scenery, as you'll be able to see over the top of the occasional sound barrier along the high speed lines.  For couples, an upper deck first class table for two (shown variously as Club duo or Dual face to face) is as good as it gets.  Families can book a Club quatre (Club four) in first class or Carré in 2nd class (also shown as Family or facing), both terms mean a table for four.

Seat numbering plan

TGV Duplex seating plan.  Seat numbers 11-58 = lower deck.  61-128 = upper deck.

How to tell if your TGV will be a Duplex

Run an enquiry on and find the train you're planning to travel on.  Select any fare, click the Seating link and click the drop down box that says No preference.  If the options include upstairs and downstairs, it's a Duplex!  If you see an upstairs and downstairs option and also see a Forward facing seat option, it's scheduled to be a new TGV Duplex Océane.  And if the train is due to have WiFi, it'll say Free WiFi at lower right.

1st generation TGV Duplex

1st generation TGV Duplex operate on French domestic routes including Paris-Lyon, Paris-Marseille, Paris-Nice, where they work alongside newer 2nd & 3rd generation trains.  There are power sockets at all 1st class seats, but usually not in 2nd class on these first-generation trains.  The first-generation trains are not equipped to run on international routes.

TGV Duplex, 1st class upper deck, first  generation   TGV Duplex, upper deck 2nd class, first generation

1st class:  TGV Duplex 1st class upper deck.

2nd class:  TGV Duplex 2nd class upper deck.

TGV Duplex at Nice Ville   TGV Duplex cafe-bar, first generation

A TGV Duplex at Nice in the original blue & grey

Cafe-bar, upper deck in car 4.

2nd & 3rd generation TGV Duplex

TGV Duplex trainsets of the 2nd & 3rd generations (known technically as Dasye & Euroduplex) have blue & purple interiors, with power sockets at all seats in both classes.  TGV Duplexes of this type operate the international routes from Paris to Barcelona, Paris to Germany, and all TGV-Lyria services from Paris to Switzerland.  They also operate the Marseille-Frankfurt TGV service.  2nd & 3rd generation TGV Duplex work alongside 1st generation TGV Duplex on French domestic routes such as Paris to Lyon, Avignon, Marseille & Nice.  Some are still painted blue & silver, but they're being progressively repainted into the latest grey, silver & red colours.

TGV Duplex at Frankfurt   Upper deck second class on board a TGV Duplex.

TGV Duplex at Frankfurt. These impressive 320 km/h double-deck trains link Paris with Nice, Marseille, Frankfurt, Munich, Barcelona & Switzerland.


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

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

Cafe-bar, upper deck in car 4 (or 14), serving tea, coffee, wine, beer, snacks & microwave-style dishes.


2nd class seats on upper deck with a mix of tables for 4 & unidirectional seating.  360º photo.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   An TGV Duplex at Paris Est.

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


A TGV Duplex.  The 1 near the door indicates 1st class, 2 indicates 2nd class.

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

The stairs from entrance hall to upper deck. Just 9 wide shallow steps with double handrails.  Not usually any problem!


Power sockets:  All 1st class seats have power sockets, 2-pin 230v.  2nd class seats have power sockets on 2nd & 3rd generation Duplex, but may not have on 1st generation Duplex.


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, which I personally prefer.

TGV Duplex Océane

3rd generation trains with a completely redesigned interior known as TGV Océane entered service in 2017, initially on the TGV Atlantique route from Paris Montparnasse to Brittany, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Lourdes & Hendaye on the Spanish border.  Some now also operate from Paris to Lyon and the south of France.  All seats in both classes have power sockets & free WiFi, 1st class seats also have USB ports.  A major innovation is that 1st class seats rotate to face direction of travel. The seats at the very end of each car don't rotate.  The new Océane interior may be retrofitted to earlier TGV Duplex sets in due course.

TGV Duplex Oceane arrived at Bordeaux   TGV Duplex Oceane at Bordeaux

A TGV Duplex Océane from Paris arrived at Bordeaux St Jean.  These TGV Duplex carry the latest grey, silver and red TGV colours and have an all-new interior.

TGV Océane cafe-bar   TGV Océane 2nd class seats

TGV Océane cafe-bar (above left) and 2nd class seats (above right).

TGV Océane 1st class seats   TGV Océane 1st class drop-down table

TGV Océane 1st class seats.  All 1st class seats (except the end ones) rotate to face direction of travel.  There are USB & 2-pin outlets above each drop-down table.

Video guide:  TGV Duplex

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Sample TGV café-bar menu

This photo of a TGV bar menu gives you an idea of what's on offer in a typical TGV cafe-bar.  Prices are from Autumn 2017.

Click the image to enlarge.

Typical TGV bar menu

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