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by train to and from Paris and France

An Introduction

Travel to and from Paris by train, inc Paris station guides, which trains depart from each station, train times and crossing Paris on the RER and Metro

Why Go To Paris

Wikipedia guide to Paris

The Metro

Paris Metro and RER maps: here

Which Paris Station For Your Journey

Guide to which Paris station has trains to your destination:
Departure Guide

Paris Station Information

Detailed info for Paris mainline stations including location, destination lists Metro links and train departure information:
Station Guide

General Guide to Paris stations

The seven primary main line stations in central Paris form a ring around the city centre, so to reach the heart of the city the majority of passengers have to transfer to other means of public transport.

In addition to the Metro (the equivalent of the subway), the centre of Paris is also crossed by a number of commuter rail lines that can provide faster more convenient transfers.
This commuter rail network is known as the RER and it also provides rail links to both Charles De Gaulle (CDG) and Orly airports.

Each of the long distance rail routes into Paris has its own terminal and the stations are comparatively simple to navigate with platforms generally connected on one level to a central concourse featuring ticket offices, exits to the street and taxi ranks (Montparnasse is an exception), as well as entrances for Metro and RER stations.
The structure of the French rail network results in the majority of passengers having to transfer between terminals in Paris to make connections for onward travel from the capital.

How to Avoid Travelling Across Paris

Rail travellers can often avoid making transfers within Paris by taking advantage of the long distance TGV trains that pass around the outskirts of the city.
These trains also make calls at one or more of the TGV stations on the edge of Paris at CDG Airport, Marne La Vallée or Massy. Changing trains at these stations is easier than making transfers in central Paris, but passengers can only save time if good connections are available.
Passengers from Lille, northern France and Brussels can avoid Paris by taking direct TGVs to destinations in east, south and western France including Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseilles, Nantes and Strasbourg. Direct TGV trains also run to/from Bordeaux/Nantes/Rennes and Strasbourg/Lyon.

It’s therefore comparatively simple to avoid having to change trains and make transfers in Paris if you are travelling within France by TGV train. However, transferring between stations in Paris often cannot be avoided if you want to head to/from France and the French capital on international services.

TGV Express Trains to/from Aeroport CDG

Aeroport Charles De Gaulle in Paris has a station on the network of high speed railway lines in France, that is used by TGV trains to/from other cities in France and Brussels/Bruxelles.

However, these TGV trains from/to the airport don't operate to a fixed interval timetable, so there often long gaps between departures and many cities are served by only one or two direct trains from/to the airport.

If the timings below aren't convenient for the arrival/departure times of your flight, take an RER train to/from central Paris (see above) for a much greater choice of train departures.

TGV trains from Aeroport Charles De Gaulle TGV station>

Long distance trains depart from Aeroport CDG at the following times daily TO these destinations below:

  • Aix en Provence (TGV) at 06:58; 09:58; 11:40; (until Apr 2 11:58 not Tues-Thurs); 13:58; 16:58
  • Avignon (TGV) at 06:58; 08:30; 09:58; 11:40; 13:58; 16:58; 19:28; (Fri only 20:28)
  • Beziers (and Narbonne, Perpignan) at 11:58; 15:58; (Fri and Sun 17:58)
  • Bordeaux at 08:19; 10:16; 14:09; 16:21; 18:09
  • Brussels at 08:07; 10:37; 11:07; 13:10; 17:07; 19:08; 21:07
  • Dijon (and Mulhouse) at 19:58
  • Lille at 08:07; 09:07; (09:16 not Sun); (Sat only 09:30); 10:37; 11:07; 11:57; 13:07; 13:16 (Sat/Sun only 13:46); (Sun only 14:16); 15:50; 16:04; 17:07; 18:46; 19:08; 19:50; 20:06; 21:07; 21:16; 21:46; 22:07 (Sun only 23:08)
  • Lyon at 06:58; 07:25; 08:30; 09:58; 11:58; 13:58; 15:58; 16:58; 17:58; 19:28; 21:17
  • Marseilles at 06:58; 08:30; 09:58; 11:40; (until Apr 2 11:58 not Tues-Thurs); 13:58; 16:58; 19:28; (Fri only 20:28)
  • Montpellier (and Nimes) at 07:25; 09:58; 11:58; 15:58; 17:58; (Sun only 21:17)
  • Nantes at 09:49; 12:49; (14:49 not Fri/Sat); 18:48; (Fri only 20:49)
  • Nice (and Antibes Cannes) at 06:58; 11:40
  • Rennes at 09:49; 12:49; 14:49; 18:48
  • Poitiers at 08:19; (10:16 Mon-Fri); 14:09; 16:21; 18:09
  • Strasbourg at (07:29 Mon-Sat); 10:26; 12:36; 18:29
  • Valence (TGV) at 07:25; 09:58; 11:40; 11:58; 15:58; 19:28; (Fri only 20:28); (Sun only 21:17)
TGV trains to Aeroport Charles De Gaulle TGV station>

Long distance trains depart for Aeroport CDG at the following times daily FROM these destinations below:

  • Aix en Provence (TGV) at (Sat only 06:09); 07:30; 09:30; 12:14; 16:30; 17:29; (18:29 not on Tues-Thurs after Apr 5)
  • Avignon (TGV) at (Sat only 06:30); 07:15; 09:51; 12:48; 16:51; 17:51; (18:52 not on Tues-Thurs after Apr 5)
  • Bordeaux at 07:23; 11:23; 15:23; 17:23
  • Brussels at 07:05; 08:18; 10:18; 10:21; 12:18; 15:17; 16:17; 19:17
  • Dijon at 07:13
  • Lille departures from Lille (Europe) station except those marked* that depart from Lille (Flandres) station at 06:02; 06:09; 06:47*; 07:17; 08:36; 09:02; 09:21; 10:26; 11:02; 13:03; 13:08*; 13:52; 14:44*; 14:53; 16:02; 17:03; 17:52; 18:26; 19:00*; (Sun only 19:23); 20:02
  • Lyon at 05:50; 08:30; 09:00; 11:00; 15:00; 17:00; 18:00; 19:00; 20:00
  • Marseilles at (Sat only 05:52); 06:44; 07:14; 09:14; 11:17; 16:16; 17:14; (18:14 not on Tues-Thurs after Apr 5)
  • Montpellier (and Nimes) at 07:02/(07:29); 11:59/(12:25); 13:02/(13:29); 15:02/(15:29); 18:02/(18:29)
  • Nantes at (Mon-Sat 05:57); 10:05; 15:31; 17:55
  • Nice at 09:27; 14:27
  • Rennes at (Mon-Sat 06:07); (Sun only 11:14); 15:38; 18:07
  • Poitiers at 09:12; 13:12; 17:12; 19:12
  • Strasbourg at 06:01; 09:46; 12:16; (19:01 not Sun)
  • Valence (TGV) at (Sat only 07:05); 07:49; 08:20; 13:16; 14:16; 19:16

Travelling to/from Paris without using TGV trains - NEW

If you’re not using a rail pass to travel around or through France you don’t need to avoid the TGV trains, take every opportunity you can to obtain a discounted ticket – we tell you how in our ‘French Rail Tickets’ tickets guide to the left, and enjoy high speed train travel at its best.

However, for rail pass users TGV trains can be an obstacle to seeing France by train. For France Pass users, TGVs have to be reserved in advance. For InterRail users these reservation fees/supplements for TGVs can be comparatively expensive when the limited numbers of supplements at the lower rate have sold out. Supplements are therefore hard to obtain on the most popular trains.

Only limited numbers (quotas) of reservations/supplements are available to Eurail pass users on TGV trains and when they’re sold out (and they can sell out days/weeks in advance, particularly in the summer months), Eurail pass users have to travel by alternative non-TGV trains, or purchase separate tickets for the TGV.

Travelling to/from Paris can therefore be something of a challenge for rail pass users.
TGVs are the only direct trains between the French capital and the likes of Bordeaux, Lille, Marseilles, Montpellier, Nice and Strasbourg.
The overwhelming majority of trains between Paris and both Dijon and Lyon are TGVs.

However, there are less obvious alternative trains available when travelling to/from the French capital, that enable avoiding of the TGV. The journeys are also more scenic.
Those flat, largely featureless landscapes that the high speed lines which radiate from Paris travel through, soon become tedious, so cost savings aren’t the only benefit of taking the TGV.

To/from Lille (north of Paris)

To travel between Paris and Lille without using TGVs you can travel via the charming town of Amiens – which can be a great place to spend time between trains (slowing down in France can often be so much more rewarding than rushing around on the TGV).
Amiens is actually an ideal base for exploring the best of northern France by train. There are direct trains between Amiens and Boulogne, Etaples, Reims and Rouen.

From Paris To Lille

There is a daily express (IC) train that departs from Paris (Gare Du Nord) at 10:04 which arrives in Amiens at 11:10.
Every day except for Saturdays it connects in Amiens for a train to Lille that departs Amiens at 11:36 and arrives in Lille at 13:05, so you can be in Lille only three hours after leaving Paris.

However, connections aren’t so convenient on Saturdays. The most convenient train is the 08:28 from Paris (Gare Du Nord) to Amiens that arrives in Amiens at 09:47.
At 10:36 a train departs Amiens which arrives in Lille at 12:05.

From Lille to Paris

Connections that avoid the TGV are more awkward in this direction, particularly in the mornings and early afternoon and the fastest connections vary according to the days of the week.

On Mon-Fri take the 15:56 from Lille (Flandres) to Amiens, where it arrives at 17:27. At 18:14 a train departs from Amiens that arrives at the Gare Du Nord in Paris at 19:32

On Saturday/Sunday take the 16:02 from Lille (Flandres) to Amiens, where it arrives at 17:27. At 18:50 a train departs from Amiens that arrives at the Gare Du Nord in Paris at 19:56.

To/From Strasbourg (east of Paris)

Avoiding the TGVS when travelling between Paris and Strasbourg is awkward, but not impossible, you have to change trains twice; The fastest connections by far are listed below.

From Paris

Mon-Fri only
Train 1 – depart Paris (Gare de l’Est) at 07:36; arrive Bar Le Duc at 09:52
Train 2 – depart Bar Le Duc at 10:02; arrive Nancy at 11:09
Train 3 – depart Nancy at 12:15; arrive Strasbourg at 13:39

Saturday
Train 1 – depart Paris (Gare de l’Est) at 08:36; arrive Bar Le Duc at 10:52
Train 2 – depart Bar Le Duc at 12:25; arrive Nancy at 13:20
Train 3 – depart Nancy at 13:15; arrive Strasbourg at 14:41

Sunday
Train 1 – depart Paris (Gare de l’Est) at 08:36; arrive Bar Le Duc at 10:52
Train 2 – depart Bar Le Duc at 12:25; arrive Nancy at 13:20
Train 3 – depart Nancy at 14:15; arrive Strasbourg at 15:41

From Strasbourg

Daily
Train 1 – depart Strasbourg at 08:20; arrive Nancy at 09:43/09:45
Train 2 – depart Nancy at 10:11; arrive Bar le Duc at 11:15
Train 3 – depart Bar le Duc at 11:33; arrive Paris (Gare de l’Est) at 13:53

Alternative schedule on Mon-Fri and Sunday only

Train 1 – depart Strasbourg at 16:20; arrive Nancy at 17:43
Train 2 – depart Nancy at 18:00; arrive Bar le Duc at 18:59
Train 3 – depart Bar le Duc at 19:37; arrive Paris (Gare de l’Est) at 21:53

To/From Avignon, Dijon, Lyon and Marseilles (south east of Paris)

There is an alternative to travelling by the high speed line between Paris, Lyon and southern France.

Trains which take the line, that used to be taken by express trains before the high speed line was built, depart from/arrive at Paris (Bercy) station.

Metro Lines 14 and 6 serve Bercy station, but the Metro and SNCF stations are separate and not directly linked.
To reach the SNCF station from the Metro station you should turn right on exit at the stop of the steps and then turn right on to Boulevard Percy.
Walk to the Hotel Claret and turn right again and the SNCF station is ahead of you up the staircase/escalatur.

From Paris

Trains for Dijon and Lyon (Part Dieu) depart from Bercy station at the times listed below (the arrival times in Lyon are in brackets, the average journey time to Dijon is 2hrs and 50mins):

  • Daily 07:38 (12:44)
  • Mon-Fri 09:23 (14:40)
  • Sat/Sun 09:38 (14:40)
  • Mon-Sat 13:38 (18:44)
  • Daily 15:38 (20:44)
  • Mon-Fri 17:31 (22:44)
  • Sun 17:38 (22:44)

Connecting trains depart from Lyon (Part Dieu) station at:

  • 13:20 - arrive Valence (Ville) (14:26); Avignon (Centre) at 15:41; Arles (16:03); Miramas (16:21) and Marseilles (St Charles) (16:54)
  • 15:20 - arrive Valence (Ville) (16:26); Avignon (Centre) at 17:41; Arles (18:03); Miramas (18:21) and Marseilles (St Charles) (18:54)
  • 19:20 - arrive Valence (Ville) (20:26); Avignon (Centre) at 21:41; Arles (22:03); Miramas (22:21) and Marseilles (St Charles) (22:54)

From Lyon

Trains to Paris (Bercy )depart from Lyon (Part Dieu) DAILY at the times listed below (the time in brackets is the arrival time in Paris);

  • 07:16 (12:22) – departs from Dijon at 09:29
  • 11:16 (16:22) – departs from Dijon at 13:35 on Mon-Fri and 13:29 on Sat/Sun
  • 13:16 (18:22) – departs from Dijon at 15:29
  • 15:16 (20:22) – departs from Dijon at 17:29
  • 17:16 (22:22) – departs from Dijon at 19:29

Daily connecting trains to Lyon (Part Dieu) depart from:

  • Marseilles (St Charles) 07:06; Miramas 07:39; Arles 07:57; Avignon (Centre) 08:18; Valence (Ville) 09:34 – arrives Lyon (Part Dieu) at 10:40
  • Marseilles (St Charles) 09:06; Miramas 09:39; Arles 09:58; Avignon (Centre) 10:18; Valence (Ville) 11:34 – arrives Lyon (Part Dieu) at 12:40
  • Marseilles (St Charles) 11:06; Miramas 11:39; Arles 11:57; Avignon (Centre) 12:18; Valence (Ville) 13:34 – arrives Lyon (Part Dieu) at 14:40
  • Marseilles (St Charles) 13:06; Miramas 13:39; Arles 13:57; Avignon (Centre) 14:18; Valence (Ville) 15:34 – arrives Lyon (Part Dieu) at 16:40 (from Aug 10 only)

The majority of TGV trains between Paris and both Valence and Avignon depart from/arrive at the TGV stations on the high speed lines that are some distance from the town centres in Valence and Avignon.
These alternative trains depart from/arrive at stations in the town centres of Valence and Avignon.

To/From Marseilles/Nimes/Montpellier

The timings below apply from after March 25th 2012 only

Even if the TGV supplements on trains between Paris and Marseilles, Nimes and Montpellier aren’t sold out, this route is a great alternative to seeing the best of France by train, as much of it comprises one of the most spectacular journeys in France.

From Paris

The first train to take is the 09:03 IC* train from Paris (Bercy) station to Clemont Ferrand.
Rail pass users need to pay a €9 supplement/reservation fee to travel on this train, but unlike the TGV trains this supplement will virtually always be available.
However, our advice is to pay the supplement before heading to Bercy station.

Metro Lines 14 and 6 serve Bercy station, but the Metro and SNCF stations are separate and not directly linked.
To reach the SNCF station from the Metro station you should turn right on exit at the stop of the steps and then turn right on to Boulevard Percy.
Walk to the Hotel Claret and turn right again and the SNCF station is ahead of you up the staircase/escalatur.

The IC* train arrives in Clemont Ferrand at 12:28 and the train to Nimes departs from Clemont Ferrand at 12:50.

The 12:50 daily train from Clemont Ferrand has Marseilles (St Charles) as a final destination, it arrives in Nimes at 17:53 and Marseilles (St Charles) at 19:54.
A connecting train to Montpellier departs from Nimes at 18:13 and arrives in Montpellier at 18:47.

From Marseilles, Nimes (and Montpellier)

A train to Clemont Ferrand departs daily from Nimes at 14:18.
A connecting train to Nimes departs from Montpellier at 13:14.
The train from Marseilles and Nimes arrives in Clemont Ferrand at 19:16.

An IC* train to Paris (Bercy) departs from Clemont Ferrand at 19:26 and arrives in the French capital at 22:57
Rail pass users need to pay a €9 supplement/reservation fee to travel on this train, but unlike the TGV trains this supplement will virtually always be available.
However, pay this supplement before boarding the connecting train to Clemont Ferrand.

To/From Bordeaux

Avoiding the TGV trains when travelling between Paris and Bordeaux involves travelling via Limoges.

The easiest connections by far involve to changes of train at Limoges and Perigueux.
The trains between Paris and Limoges are IC* trains.
Rail pass users need to pay a €9 supplement/reservation fee to travel on these trains, but unlike the TGV trains this supplement will virtually always be available.
However, our advice is to pay this supplement before heading to the station in Paris if possible, and always pay the supplement before setting off from Bordeaux.

From Paris

Train 1 – 07:55 IC* train from Paris (Austerlitz) arrives in Limoges at 10:54. (the final destination of this train is Toulouse)
Train 2 - departs from Limoges at (11:03 Mon-Fri)/(11:11 Sat), arrives in Perigueux at 12:11/12:20.
Train 3 - (Mon -Sat only) departs Perigueux at 12:38, arrives Bordeaux at 14:06

OR

Train 1 - daily 13:53 IC* train from Paris (Austerlitz) arrives in Limoges at 16:55. (the final destination of this train is Toulouse)
Train 2 – daily departs from Limoges at 18:03, arrives in Bordeaux at 20:47

From Bordeaux daily

Train 1 – (09:23 Mon - Fri)/(09:28 Sat and Sun) train from Bordeaux; arrives Limoges at 12:08
Train 2 – IC* train departs from Limoges at 14:17; arrives Paris (Austerlitz) at 17:07

From Bordeaux – Sat/Sun

Train 1 – 10:44 train from Bordeaux; arrives Limoges at 13:21
Train 2 – IC* train departs from Limoges at 13:32; arrives Paris (Austerlitz) at 17:18

To/From Narbonne and Perpignan

There is a daily direct IC* train in either direction between Paris and both Narbonne and Perpignan.
Rail pass users need to pay a €9 supplement/reservation fee to travel on these trains.
However, as for the TGV trains, these supplements may not be available on the day on which you plan to travel.
Reservations on the IC* trains on this route can sell out days in advance, particularly in the summer.
However, additional trains (that aren’t listed in the timetable) operate on days of particularly heavy demand.

From Paris

A daily IC* train departs from Paris (Austerlitz) at 09:42, it arrives in Narbonne at 17:47 and Perpignan at 18:46 (the destination of this train is Cerbere, at Cerbere connections are available on to Port Bou and Barcelona).

From Narbonne/Perpignan

The IC* train departs from Perpignan at 08:16 and Narbonne at 09:20, it arrives in Paris (Austerlitz) at 17:18.