Travelling by train in France is quite common for both French nationals and visitors because France has an impressive and extensive national railway system known as SNCF.
The train a grande vitesse or TGV train is France’s ‘high-speed’ train
Visitors find that travelling by train in France allows them to move from city to city while being able to enjoy the French countryside as well as a relaxing means of transportation. Just about every French city has a train that passes through or very close by to make jaunting from location to location possible by train alone.
A number of ticket purchasing options are available for train travelers while in France. Some people prefer to make train reservations when taking the train, but it usually isn’t necessary when buying point to point train tickets.
Sometimes a French rail pass is the best way to go when using the train for locomotion in France. A French Railpass allows for four days of unlimited travel by train within a period of one month, a French Saverpass lets two or more individuals who are traveling together four days of unlimited travel by train within one month and the French Rail and Drive puts together three days of unlimited travel by train in addition to two days of a car rental. Other pass options include the France Youthpass for individuals under 26 for four days of unlimited train rides in two months, the France Senior Pass for Seniors over 60, the France Saver Senior Pass for two or more Seniors traveling together and the Paris Visite Pass. The Paris Visite pass is strictly for those who are journeying to Paris and its regions. Passes can be purchased from RailEurope.
The train a grande vitesse or TGV train is France’s ‘high-speed’ train. The TGV connects cities in France as well as travels to other countries like Belgium, Switzerland and England through the Channel Tunnel. The TGV is first and foremost a passenger train, although postal freight is sometimes carried between cities on TGV’s.
The TGV trains have superceded air travel in a number of cities in France. For example, traveling between Brussels and Paris can be done in just ninety minutes. Paris to Marseilles travel time has been significantly reduced as well. The TGV trains travel at speeds over 200 km/h or 125 MPH.
Traveling through France using the reliable and timely railway system can be the sole means of transportation for any visitor, but the first time a person uses them can be quite confusing. The rail system adheres to a strict timetable that can be found online or from any travel agent. It is always a good idea to plan on two different trains to one location in case something goes wrong trying to catch the first train.
The train systems are very user-friendly and have a number of stations available for those who are in need of assistance. People standing at locations with a sign that simply states “i” can be found at the train stations and more often than not speak English.
Tickets for the trains can be purchased on the Internet or at the station from computerized machines that are easy to use. Person to person counters are available as well, but know which line to wait in because local and long distance travel often have two separate service lines. Once tickets have been purchased, the ‘quai’ or platform where the train will be boarded can be found on the ticket.
When traveling by train in France, it is a good idea to know a little basic French to be able to follow signs and locate important departure areas to stay on schedule. French trains are very punctual and just a minute past departure time will have anyone waiting for the next train. Once the train is boarded, passengers simply need to sit back, relax and enjoy one of the best means of travel in France.