What better way to discover the best of French culture than by exploring its luminous countryside and historic cities by train. Formed in 1937, SNCF is France’s national state-owned rail company and is one of the oldest train companies in Europe. Today SNCF provides some of the world's fastest trains on the high-speed TGV INOUI network and is generally considered one of the best in the world, with trains that are modern, comfortable and reliable.
SNCF’s TGV trains are fast and comfortable. Credit: Pixabay
SNCF trains are divided into separate fleets: TGV INOUI, Intercités, TER. Lyria and Ouigo, each catering to different journey routes, speeds and lengths. High-speed, long distance routes make it possible to breakfast in Paris and travel to Marseille for a seafood lunch three hours later. Rural trains wind through Brittany in the northwest to Provence in the south for a slower and more leisurely journey while theinternational SNCF network extends into Spain, Germany, Italy and further into Europe. This page provides you with all the information you need to travel with SNCF. Read on to discover how to buy cheap SNCF train tickets, SNCF routes and specific TGV train schedules.
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Omio is an official SNCF partner, meaning we’ll offer the latest deals for cheap SNCF train tickets, provide up-to-date information on all timetables, including the latestTGV train schedules, offer easy booking and send live updates and notifications if there are any changes to your journey. If you have an SNCF discount card, you can add it to your Omio booking and we'll apply the discount to the ticket prices in the search results. Need help along the way? There’s a dedicated helpline to answer questions to make your journey enjoyable and hassle-free. With the Omio app, you can search in the language of your choice, book tickets on the go and have everything sent directly to your phone.
The major stations in France are operated by SNCF, meaning nearly all train schedules in France will include SNCF train options. Along with Paris Gare du Nord, the company runs services to Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and Lille as well as high-speed trains to international destinations such as Geneva or Milan. Hundreds of train stations in France are served by the SNCF fleet. High-speed and long-distance TGV trains are scheduled to stop at most major train stations for international and national routes. Find out all you need to know about amenities, services and the location of all the major train stations in France.
SNCF has four main ticket types across its trains, aiming to give its customers as much flexibility as possible. There are slight differences between the different SNCF train tickets so make sure you book the right one for your journey. Don’t forget that the Omio applets you compare ticket prices, check timetables and reserve your ticket in one go.
The city of Nice in the south of France. Credit: Unsplash
TGV INOUI: The new identity for SNCF’s flagship TGV fleet is now TGV INOUI. The TGV INOUI were introduced in 2012 and have slowly replaced the older TGV models. These are the latest premium high-speed train service which come equipped with Wi-Fi, charging sockets, adjustable seats, and an onboard bar. France’s TGV was the third commercial high-speed service worldwide (the first two went to Japan), with the name TGV, short for Train à Grande Vitesse, directly translating to high-speed train. It is SNCF’s flagship train fleet, running on long-distance and international routes at 198 mph (320 km/h).
Ouigo offers cheap tickets on its low-cost, high speed train lines. Owned by SNCF, the Ouigo trains aim to make high-speed travel affordable. Using the same models as the TGV INOUI trains, but with fewer perks for a lower price. Its double-decker coaches offer greater capacity on its trains, and for those seeking a little more comfort there are options to pay a little extra for XL seats. It connects major cities from Paris to Lyon, Avignon, Aix, Marseille, Cannes, Nice, Nimes, Montpellier, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Rennes, Angers, Nantes and more Strasbourg.
Intercité covers SNCF’s city networks, connecting major cities and stations across all regions of France. There are 200 destinations on the Intercité network, with popular routes includingParis to Toulouse andLyon to Marseille. Trains come equipped with Wi-Fi, food and drink, quiet zones as well as the options to book in first or second class. Intercité trains also operate at night so if you have an early start or want to save forking out on hotel rooms, there is the option to book a reclining seat or a cabin with a couchette. This fleet of trains run at a maximum speed of 120 mph (200 km/h)
TER (Transport Express Régional) is SNCF’s regional train service, offering efficient, local train travel. These services tend to be slower with more stops in smaller destinations but are a great way to explore the countryside or commute out of the city to a neighbouring village. It’s possible to take bikes free onboard all TER journeys. The regions served by TER trains include: Brittany, Normandy, Occitanie, Provence-Alpes, French Riviera, New-Aquitaine, Center-Val-de-Loire, Hauts-de-France, Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Great East and Pays de la Loire.
Lyria: Lyria trains travel between France and Switzerland with more than 4 million passengers travelling on Lyria trains every year. You can reach Geneva, Basel, Lausanne and Zurich (and other major Swiss stations) from Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Lille or Dijon
SNCF trains are renowned for their speed and comfort. Trains are well-maintained and offer passengers amenities to ensure a safe and pleasant journey. Here’s a quick snapshot of the key information you need about SNCF trains:
The most sure-fire way of securing the best SNCF train tickets is to book as far in advance as possible as prices rise incrementally with demand. If you can be flexible with your travel date, you can also look for dates and times that offer cheaper tickets. During peak hours most companies increase their ticket prices. Look for connecting trains, which may be slower, but are cheaper than direct trains. Omio compares the prices at different times on any given date and allows you to choose quickly and easily find the cheapest available option.
SNCF provides a number of discounts for travellers which can be directly applied to tickets when checking out on the Omio page. For regular travellers on SNCF, it’s worth looking out for annual railcards which can reduce ticket prices up to 30 percent for the card holder. These include youth railcards and railcards for over 60s.
Going on vacation as a family or a group of friends? The good news is that discounts apply for group travellers all year-round on the Oui Tribu ticket! If you are travelling solo, then we recommend looking out for the Prem's ticket as far in advance as possible to get the best deal.
If your SNCF train has been cancelled or delayed by more than 30 minutes, you may be entitled to compensation. Omio will automatically complete a compensation claim for you, by submitting the necessary paperwork for the affected journey. This way, you can get your money back quickly and seamlessly.
The compensation rules in case of delayed trains in France are as follows:
Make sure to benefit from this feature by booking with Omio for seamless ticketing compensation.
Thanks to the high-speed TGV INOUI trains, travelling to major cities across France is a simple and easy way to get around, making it a popular choice for visitors and residents. TGV trains are scheduled to stop across major stations in France and now also connect parts of Europe including Milan and Geneva. Take a look at some of the most frequented routes, check out the latest TGV train schedules and book your holiday today, directly with Omio.
|Train Paris Lyon||From 05:50 to 22:00||20 trains a day||2h||from £16|
|Train Paris Lille||From 07:00 to 22:00||30 trains a day||1h||From £20|
|Train Lille Paris||From 05:50 to 21:20||20 trains a day||1h||From £20|
|Train Lyon Paris||From 05:15 to 22:35||20 trains a day||2h||From £15|
|Train Paris Nice||From 07:20 to 21:20||15 trains a day||2h||From £16|
|Train Paris Toulouse||From 06:30 to 22:00||15 trains a day||5h30||From £28|
|Train Toulouse Paris||From 06:00 to 22:50||15 trains a day||5h30||From £28|
|Train Nice Paris||From 07:00 to 20:00||20 trains a day||6h00||from £21|
|Train Paris Marseille||From 06:00 to 21:30||30 trains a day||3h20||From £21|
|Train Bordeaux Paris||From 05:00 to 20:30||30 trains a day||2h50||From 15€|
SNCF is the state-managed railway network in France and it operates the TGV INOUI high-speed trains throughout France.
Each of France’s larger cities usually has a metro system, so getting around is fast and efficient.
Paris also has RER trains, similar to commuter trains, that also have connections with the metro stations.
When making a purchase for a regional train (TER) or for a journey involving a bus leg, you will receive a booking number per e-mail instead of the actual tickets.
This booking number will allow you to collect your tickets at any yellow SNCF self-service machine at a station in France. On the screen, simply choose "File and electronic ticket collection" and select “Collection with a file reference number”. Enter the booking number and last name of the buyer—as indicated on your voucher.
The credit card used to make the payment is required.
Leisure (first and second class)
The ticket can be modified and refunded free of charge, up to 31 days before departure and subject to a fee of 5€ from 30 days until 2 days before departure. The penalty rises to 15€ on the day before and the actual day of departure. Any price difference between the original and the new ticket will also have to be paid. The ticket can neither be modified nor cancelled after departure.
Pro (first and second class) The ticket is exchangeable and refundable for free until departure. After that, you can exchange it up to 2 hours after departure from the departure station. Any price difference between the original and the new ticket will have to be paid.
Prem's The ticket may not be modified nor cancelled.
Carte Senior+ / Jeune / Week-End / Enfant+: The ticket can be modified or cancelled for free up until three days before departure and with a 5€ fee on the day before and the actual day of departure. The ticket may not be modified or cancelled after the departure.