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Getting There By RailBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
France - Getting There By Rail
If you are travelling as a foot passenger on the train from the UK into France then you will depart from St Pancras station in London which goes to Paris via Lille and takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes approximately. It is also possible to change trains at Calais to head into Paris via Boulogne. Once in Paris travelling around France on a train is extremely easy to do as the rail network is extensive. You can reach all areas of the country often without the need to change to another train.
If you want to travel into France from other areas of Europe then the rail systems makes this easy to do. Services such as French Railways (SNCF) operate routes not only to neighbouring countries such as Belgium but also as far away as Moscow. The journey from Belgium to Paris can take only an hour and 50 minutes, while rail journeys to Moscow can take 50 hours. The long haul train services to destinations such as Moscow are often more luxurious than the shorter journeys and come with cabins with beds for overnight journeys.
Coming to France from various other European cities need not take too long, and many are connected by high sped rail routes. Average travel times vary but you can expect a journey from Frankfurt into Paris to take around 3 hours and 55 minutes. The trip from Madrid to Paris can take around 14 hours on the train, traveling through Bordeaux. The length of the journey is not necessarily dependant on distance between the two towns, Paris to Lyon take around 1 hour and 55minutes, while the relatively short journey between Nice and Marseilles takes on average just over 2 and a half hours. The many rail links around Europe means that whether you are travelling from Poland or from Italy, getting to France is easy. There may be several changeovers involved, but several of the routes are direct for more convenience. Paris is perhaps one of the most easily accessible of all the European cities seeing visitors from as far away as Norway and Greece arriving every year by rail.
Rail journeys into France are perhaps cheaper than you would think. Many people find it more cost effective and convenient than taking a flight and rail passes can make it that much more affordable. InterRail offers Global Passes that allow the user to travel through any of 30 European countries. The two types of Global Passes available are the ‘continuous passes’ that offer unlimited travel every single day, while the ‘flexi passes’ are valid for as set number of days although the days that pass is valid you can enjoy unlimited travel.
The Eurailpass works under a similar principle but it is only valid for those who are not residents of the European Union. The tickets are valid for a variety of durations, 15 days, 21 days, one month, two months or three months. You also have the option of choosing how many countries you want the pass to be valid for, the more countries you choose, the more expensive the pass will be. They are available to buy from the official website using a major credit card or by the internet payment service Paypal. Although France is well known for having an excellent public transport service, the handy rail system around the country and the easy and convenient ticket buying service makes it an extremely popular way to travel.
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