Travelling on a TER train
At a glance
- Regional train
TER (Transport Express Régional) trains are comfortable local and regional train services that are found in most parts of France – although in the Greater Paris region they are known as Transilien. Operated by SNCF, TER services link cities with their hinterland, but this category of train is also a mainstay of rural France, serving country lines from Brittany to Provence. Some TER routes are remarkably long, with travel times extending to four hours or more.
Criss-crossing the regions of France, and sometimes providing key inter-regional services, TER trains are a common sight. Some routes extend over French frontiers to nearby points in Italy, Switzerland, Spain and other countries which border France.
TER trains vary in style from region to region, even from route to route, with the best rolling stock reserved for key inter-regional services and longer rural routes. You’ll even come across the occasional TGV operating a TER route (for example in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region) and there are a small number of trains that blur the distinction between TER and Intercités. Examples of fast TER services are the Interville (eg. Marseille to Nice) and Interloire (eg. Orleans to Nantes) routes.
TER trains can be double or single-deck.
©Yann Audic / SNCF
Before you board
There are no specific pre-boarding requirements for TER trains.
Bicycles can often be taken onboard TER trains for free. Read our Help article on taking your bikes on trains.
There are no rules against bringing your own food and drink onboard the train. On the contrary, it is perfectly normal. So whether it’s a sandwich bought at the station at the last moment, or a full-scale hamper with a bottle of Champagne, the train is the perfect place for a picnic.
Booking and printing options
TER tickets are open for bookings 120 days in advance.
Prior seat reservation on TER trains is not possible.
Classes of service
TER trains offer two classes of service: Standard Class and First Class.
TER First Class
Cast back a few years, and the majority of TER trains had two classes of seated accommodation. Today, First Class is much rarer with trains on more and more routes offering just Standard Class. Where it still exists, First Class is a bit more spacious and notably emptier than Standard Class. Few locals judge that the modest upgrade justifies the extra fare. As an example, you still find First Class on TER Interville and Interloire services.
TER Standard Class
All TER (and Transilien) trains offer Standard Class seated accommodation. What you get is immensely variable from modern plastic seats (fine for a short ride) to quite retro, old carriages which have seen better days but still offer soft and comfy seats. Seats are arranged in pairs on each side of a central aisle. Some of the double-decker TER trains have particularly good luggage space.
- Paris to Lyon from $27.46
- London to Bourg-Saint-Maurice from $135.95
- London to Moûtiers from $99.56
- Paris to Bourg-Saint-Maurice from $59.73
- Paris to Moûtiers from $67.29
- Geneva to Lyon from $37.76
- Chambéry to Bourg-Saint-Maurice from $15.79
- Chambéry to Moûtiers from $13.05
- Marseille to Avignon from $14.42
- London to Aime-la-Plagne from $129.08