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MAP: The proposed new routes for night trains in France

As the pandemic and increasing environmental concerns change the way we travel, France's transport minister has a dream - 10 night trains by 2030.

MAP: The proposed new routes for night trains in France
Photo: AFP

France already has two night train lines and another two are set to open up by the end of 2021, but for transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari this is only the start.

The minister has commissioned a report into greatly expanding France's night train network, both for domestic lines and inter-European routes and has declared his ambition to have 10 night train routes running by 2030.

 

He told Le Parisien: “I'm convinced that when the means are there, with a good quality of service and the right commercial offer, there is a clientele for night trains.

“With the ecological stakes, 'flyskam' (flight shame) and the pandemic that is reshaping the way we travel, the night train has everything to attract travellers.

“Look at Austria, they have 28 night lines. In France, the development of the TGV has eaten up the night trains and the offer has deteriorated. All that has to change.”

A government feasibility study has now been published and identified 7 possible routes for night trains, with Paris and Nice acting as 'hubs'.

 

The survey proposes the following routes:

  • Paris to south west France and into northern Spain, via Tours, Bordeaux and Bayonne
  • Paris to Marseille in a loop via Tours and Bordeaux before running along the south coast to Marseille
  • Paris to Barcelona via Brive
  • Paris to Toulouse via Orléans with branch lines to Clermont-Ferrand and Albi
  • Paris to Nice via Avignon and Marseille
  • Nice to Quimper in Brittany via Lyon, with a branch line going to Bordeaux
  • Nice to Metz via Strasbourg and Lyon, with a branch line crossing the Swiss border to Geneva and Lyon

Night trains already run between Paris and Briançon in the Alps and Cerbère in the Pyrenees and the two scheduled to begin by the end of 2021 are the Paris to Nice route and Paris to Tarbes in the south west.

 

The EU is also investing in rail connections, with plans for an ultra-rapid network that would make it possible to travel from Paris to Berlin in four hours.

READ ALSO MAP The plan for Europe's ultra-rapid train network

Once the two lines reopen in 2021 – which are funded until 2022 – there is no guaranteed funding or firm plans for other routes.

Djebbari said: “This still needs to be discussed at a ministerial level, with parliament and local authorities.

“These are proposals that need to be refined. Given the major work that needs to be carried out on the network, it will be difficult to open many others before 2025.

“But the history of night trains does not stop in 2022. It is also a question of regional planning. My ambition is 10 night trains by 2030.”

 
 

 

Member comments

  1. We would like to see the car trains put back onto the routes. We used to take the overnight train from Paris to Nice and put the car on the car train. The car train was recently withdrawn which is of no use to us. Will the car trains be reinstated?

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LIVING IN FRANCE

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer's here and the time is right for national celebrations, traffic jams, strikes, Paris beaches, and ... changing the rules for new boilers.

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer holidays

The holiday season in France officially begins on Thursday, July 7th, as this is the date when school’s out for the summer. The weekend immediately after the end of the school year is expected to be a busy one on the roads and the railways as families start heading off on vacation.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer

Strikes

But it wouldn’t really be summer in France without a few strikes – airport employees at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports will walk out on July 1st, while SNCF rail staff will strike on July 6th. Meanwhile Ryanair employees at Paris, Marseille and Toulouse airports will strike on yet-to-be-confirmed dates in July.

READ ALSO How strikes and staff shortages will affect summer in France

Parliamentary fireworks?

Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will present the government’s new programme in parliament on July 5th – this is expected to be a tricky day for the Macron government, not only does it not have the parliamentary majority that it needs to pass legislation like the new package of financial aid to help householders deal with the cost-of-living crisis, but opposition parties have indicated that they will table a motion of no confidence against Borne.

Parliament usually breaks for the summer at the end of July, but a special extended session to allow legislation to be passed means that MPs won’t get to go on holiday until at least August 9th. 

Fête nationale

July 14th is a public holiday in France, commemorating the storming of the Bastille which was the symbolic start of the French Revolution. As usual, towns and cities will host parades and fireworks – with the biggest military parade taking place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris – and many stores will remain closed.

As the national holiday falls on a Thursday this year, many French workers will take the opportunity to faire le pont.

Festival season really kicks in

You know summer’s here when France gets festival fever, with events in towns and cities across the country. You can find our pick of the summer celebrations here.

Paris Plages

The capital’s popular urban beaches return on July 9th on the banks of the Seine and beside the Bassin de la Villette in northern Paris, bringing taste of the seaside to the capital with swimming spots, desk chairs, beach games and entertainment.  

Summer sales end 

Summer sales across most of the country end on July 19th – unless you live in Alpes-Maritimes, when they run from July 6th to August 2nd, or the island of Corsica (July 13th to August 9th).

Tour de France

The Tour de France cycle race sets off on July 1st from Copenhagen and finishes up on the Champs-Elysée in Paris on July 24th.

New boilers

From July 1st, 2022, new equipment installed for heating or hot water in residential or professional buildings, must comply with a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling of 300 gCO2eq/KWh PCI. 

That’s a technical way of saying oil or coal-fired boilers can no longer be installed. Nor can any other type of boiler that exceeds the ceiling.

As per a decree published in the Journal Officiel in January, existing appliances can continue to be used, maintained and repaired, but financial aid of up to €11,000 is planned to encourage their replacement. 

Bike helmets

New standards for motorbike helmets come into effect from July 1st. Riders do not need to change their current helmets, but the “ECE 22.05” standard can no longer be issued – and all helmets sold must adhere to a new, more stringent “ECE 22.06” standards from July 2024

New cars

From July 6th new car models must be equipped with a black box that record driving parameters such as speed, acceleration or braking phases, wearing (or not) of a seat belt, indicator use, the force of the collision or engine speed, in case of accidents.

New cars II

From July 1st, the ecological bonus for anyone who buys an electric vehicle drops by €1,000, while rechargeable hybrids will be excluded from the aid system, “which will be reserved for electric vehicles whose CO2 emission rate is less than or equal to 20g/km”.

What’s in a name?

Historically, the French have been quite restrictive on the use of family names – remember the concern over the use of birth names on Covid vaccine documents? – but it becomes easier for an adult to choose to bear the name of his mother, his father, or both by a simple declaration to the civil status. All you have to do is declare your choice by form at the town hall of your home or place of birth.

Eco loans

In concert with the new boiler rules, a zero-interest loan of up to €30,000 to finance energy-saving renovations can be combined with MaPrimeRénov’, a subsidy for financing the same work, under certain conditions, from July 1st.

Rent rules

Non-professional private landlords advertising properties for rent must, from July 1st, include specific information about the property on the ad, including the size of the property in square metres, the area of town in which the property is in, the monthly rent and any supplements, whether the property is in a rent-control area, and the security deposit required. Further information, including the full list of requirements for any ad, is available here.

Perfume ban

More perfumes are to be added to a banned list for products used by children, such as soap-making kits, cosmetic sets, shampoos, or sweet-making games, or toys that have an aroma.

Atranol, chloroatranol (extracts of oak moss containing tannins), and methyl carbonate heptin, which smells like violets, will be banned from July 5th, because of their possible allergenic effects.

Furthermore, 71 new allergenic fragrances – including camphor, menthol, vanilin, eucalyptus spp. leaf oil, rose flower oil, lavendula officinalis, turpentine – will be added to the list of ingredients that must be clearly indicated on a toy or on an attached label.

Ticket resto limits

The increased ticket resto limit ended on June 30th, so from July 1st employees who receive the restaurant vouchers will once again be limited to spending €19 per day in restaurants, cafés and bars. The limit was increased to €38 during the pandemic, when workers were working from home.

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