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Train tickets for springtime travel in France are now on sale , so prepare yourself for printemps. These tickets were released by France’s national rail operator, SNCF, 15 January 2019 and apply to train travel between 01 April and 12 May 2019. This is good news, as you can usually only book French trains three months ahead of travel, so thank you SNCF for extending this. Tickets for travel on all of SNCF's domestic network, including high-speed TGV and InterCity trains, are all available for these dates, as well as international services from France. So do check out your options to travel on high-speed trains between France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany and Spain.
Best places to go in France by train
France has a vast rail network meaning that taking the train is a fantastic way to explore the many sides of the country. There’s a world of French wonders to explore by train, Bordeaux is now only 2 hrs from Paris thanks to high-speed rail. Other top connections include trips from Paris to Marseille in the south or to La Rochelle on the western coast.
One of the key high-speed rail routes in France is from Paris to Lyon in just 1 hr 57 mins. Lyon is one of France's most artsy cities. The city’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, retaining its medieval charm - cobbled streets and all. Check out the ancient Théâtre Romain de Fourvière or, for a more contemporary arts world, book a play at the Théâtre National Populaire. The city has a wealth of art galleries and museums, the most recent being Musée des Confluences, a bold piece of deconstructivist design which was opened in 2014 on the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône, and is totally dedicated to science and anthropology.
To showcase some of the very best of France’s regional rail network, head from Digne-les-Bains to Nice. This route, even in the depths of winter, boasts some stunning French scenery. Multiple regional trains per day travel in each direction. This fine 3 hr run combines Riviera seascapes, inland Provence as well as the Alps.
International train trips from France
As well as journeys within France, good value tickets will also be available on international rail routes. For example:
Paris to Barcelona, one of Europe’s most popular rail routes takes 6 hrs 19 mins.
Paris to Turin, a 5 hrs 30 mins journey to reach one of Italy’s most stylish cities, a key base for the 'Slow Food' movement.
Paris to Zurich, 4 hrs and 3 mins from Paris to arrive in this swish Swiss city close to the German border.
Photo credits top to bottom: Windowscape iStock ©earleliason, Sunset on Saone river ©Frederic Prochasson, Purple lavender field in Valensole, France iStock ©ronnybas, Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona ©ake1150sb