France - An Ideal Railway Getaway

Our closest neighbour across the Channel has been a popular holiday destination for British holidaymakers for decades. The majority of travellers tootle their way through France by car, but Dan May, Ffestiniog Travel’s European rail ticket specialist, believes for those who travel light there is a more appealing alternative of getting around France - the train!

The Eiffel Tower - © skeeze via Pixabay
Eurostar - © Rail Europe
Lille - © Simon Buckley
Lyon - © Simon Buckley
Pont Saint-Etienne, Limoges - © Limoges Tourisme
Saint Emilion in Aquitaine
TGV travels through France
TGV train in France

Travel in France by rail can be a fantastic, relaxing experience by ensuring you have all your travel plans in place and all your tickets physically in your hand before you travel. The options of where to go are endless as you can travel much further and faster by train, making it possible to visit more of the regions or cities in France you wish to see in one visit. Ffestiniog Travel can help plan and supply rail tickets for all train travel in France, high speed and regional networks, no matter how complicated the route.

If France is your route through to other European destinations you can plan onward rail journeys into Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Spain and beyond. By speaking to a rail ticket consultant, who is in a position to secure the best deals, in advance of your journey or holiday, you can work out the most cost effective way of travelling through France and Europe.

The high speed rail network in France makes travelling from Paris to various regions quick and efficient and in July 2017 another new high speed line will open to the Aquitaine region reducing the travel time to the South West of the country by over an hour. This region includes the beautiful Dordogne Valley, Bordeaux and the French Pyrenees. The fastest travel time from London, on Eurostar and TGV, to Bordeaux is now just 5 hours and 55 minutes approx. - covering a distance of just over 1,000km.

If travelling from region to region in France it is worth considering travelling via Paris, although the distance is greater, you may find that the journey time and certainly the comfort is better and you have the option of stopping off to enjoy the sights of the capital.

Smoother, worry free, journeys are assured by allowing plenty of time to change trains, using the "composition de train" to find out where your carriage will be on the platform and ensuring you are at the station in plenty of time to catch the train. Ffestiniog Travel can advise you on how to do this and, if travelling via Paris, we can supply metro or RER tickets in advance of arrival to avoid long queues at ticket machines. If there is an option to change at Lille for your onward journey we can also arrange this.

French rail reservations are available for sale 3 months prior to travel, sometimes earlier when the country is hosting a big event or in the run up to the summer holidays. We keep an eye out for these early openings as the cheapest tickets are available as soon as they go on sale. Plan your journeys well in advance and as soon as the ticket sales are open we recommend you book your tickets. Tickets only go up in price closer to the travel date so if you have definite plans don't hesitate.

There are many ways to enjoy France by train. Why not take a weekend city break, faster trains to and through France mean that the journey doesn’t eat into your leisure time too much. See Ffestiniog Travel’s Weekend City Breaks to find out about a short visit to nearby Lille or travel further south to Lyon together with other European destinations.

We also offer two tailor made French rail itineraries inspired by Michael Portillo’s Great Continental Railway Journeys. Travel to Lyon by train to enjoy France’s cuisine capital before taking the train south to the colourful Mediterranean port of Marseille.

Alternatively another Great Continental Rail Journey inspiration visits Bordeaux a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its wine-making and the elegant city of Limoges known for producing France's finest china. Visit both by rail and see how the French enjoy the finer things in life. Ffestiniog Travel can arrange sightseeing tours and visits in advance of your journey.

Travelling by train is a great way to see a country by land and our specialist rail ticket knowledge can help you choose the best route based on timescale and budget. Every enquiry is handled personally which may involve some time therefore we cannot offer an instant quotation service, but we will spend the time to find you the best deal – without obligation. Visit our Ticket Only page to find out more.

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Saturday, 23 September 2017
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