Travelling on an Intercités de Nuit train
At a glance
- Night train
Travelling through the night on SNCF’s air conditioned Intercités de Nuit French sleeper trains is a good, though not luxurious, way of reaching your destination while saving on hotel costs.
The Intercités de Nuit trains run direct from Paris to Briançon in the Alps, Toulouse and the Pyrenees, Latour de Carol on the Spanish border, which is then just a short hop from Barcelona after breakfast. It also runs between Paris, Perpignan and Portbou in Spain every day in summer, Fridays and Sundays during winter months.
For a good night’s sleep, opt for a couchette, even if you are travelling on a budget. You can choose between a compartment with four or six berths. If booking a single berth only, be prepared to share the compartment with fellow travellers. Solo female travellers or male travellers can book a space in a women-only or men-only couchette compartment respectively.
© Matthieu Raffard / SNCF
Before you board
Ticket checks and X-rays of luggage take place before boarding Intercités de Nuit services from Paris, so it's advisable to arrive at the train station at least 30 mins before departure. At all other train stations, there are no check-in procedures before boarding the train.
On Intercités de Nuit services from Paris, you can pre-order some of your meals online, including breakfast or a simple meal to be delivered to your seat or your compartment. Orders for this airline-style service must be placed at least 72 hrs before departure. You also have the option of bringing your own food and drink to enjoy onboard the night train.
Booking and printing options
Intercités de Nuit tickets are usually open for bookings 90 days in advance, although sometimes it can be as little as 40 days in advance.
Seat reservation is compulsory on Intercités de Nuit trains.
Get the lowest prices on Intercités de Nuit by booking early and don’t wait until the last minute as cheaper seats sell out quickly.
Classes of service
Intercités de Nuit trains provide three main types of accommodation: Reclining Seats, 6-Berth Couchettes and 4-Berth Couchettes.
Intercités de Nuit 4-Berth Couchette (First Class) Since all compartments are the same size, you might choose the slightly more expensive four-bed variety (also called First Class) for extra space. Four-berth compartments are a great option for a family or friends travelling together. Compartments can also be booked for single occupancy at a price. This latter option is called Espace Privatif.
Intercités de Nuit 6-Berth Couchette (Standard Class)
Accommodation in a six-berth couchette compartment is designated as Standard Class. There are three padded bunk beds on each side of the compartment, a pillow and a sleeping bag are provided and each berth has a reading light. All compartments can be securely locked from the inside. A toilet and wash basin are located at the end of each carriage. Luggage can be stored under the bottom bunks or in a space above the door.
Intercités de Nuit Reclining seats
All Intercités de Nuit services offer seated overnight accommodation. This consists of reclining seats with footrests and adjustable headrests. Since some fellow travellers might opt to keep their reading lights on to work or read, go prepared with earplugs and an eye mask to secure some rest.
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