10 tips for traveling by train in France

10 tips for traveling by train in France

Planning a trip to France is difficult: you have to choose between the Cote d’Azur and Paris, rainy Normandy and the medieval castles of the Loire Valley. Luckily, rail transport in France is excellent: with the TGV high-speed line you can cross the country at 350 km/h in a few hours and not be limited to a couple of cities for your entire holiday. And to ensure that your journey leaves behind only pleasant memories, here are ten tips that will make your train travel easier, more enjoyable and cheaper:

1. Buy your ticket in advance. On the official website of the French railways SNCF you can buy an electronic ticket 60 days before your trip. Yes, you will have to plan your trip by day in advance, but it’s worth it: the difference between one TGV ticket bought in a couple of days and bought in a month is from €15 to €50.

2. Please note that regular trains and TGVs serve different stations. The latter are often located outside the city.

3. All French trains, including the TGV, are regularly late.There are also frequent strikes in France. Therefore, to save money and nerves, leave an hour for the transfer.

4. It’s easy to save on the main TGV routes. On the SNCF ouigo subsidiary sites, tickets cost from €10, on iDTGV from €19. But only if you buy your ticket in advance.

5. Do not buy a ticket for 1st class, it is almost no different from 2nd. The seats are equally comfortable, the only difference is the presence of a power outlet in the armrest and a greater distance between the seats.

6. Buy insurance, it’s cheap and useful. Insurance costs from €2 to €5, it makes it easy to exchange or return a ticket even at the last moment.

7. Don’t worry if the ticket doesn’t indicate the carriage or seat. There is no standing room in France, and most trains are a third empty.

8. Choose trains not by type, but by the convenience of the schedule. You shouldn’t overpay for a TGV. Most trains are equally comfortable: soft seats with armrests, bins near the seats, luggage racks, sockets, but there is no Wi-Fi anywhere.

9. Don’t forget to validate your ticket. Train tickets, with the exception of the TGV, are valid all day on this route. Therefore, if you are late for your train, feel free to take the next one. When composting, the station and time are marked on the ticket.

10. If you did not have time to buy a ticket, you can do it after departure. The controllers are located at the head of the train. You can buy a ticket from them, but it’s better to pay with a card. Just go to them as soon as you board the train – inspectors may come at the nearest station and then you will have to pay a fine.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top