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Where can you get a night train from Paris?

The Local France
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Where can you get a night train from Paris?
A standard couchette compartment. Photo by JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE / Belga / AFP

It's fair to say that night trains are having a bit of a moment as routes all across Europe are resurrected - taking advantage of an urge for greener travel combined with the old-school glamour of a night train.


There's plenty to recommend a night train - apart from lowering your CO2 emissions, you're saving the cost of a night's accommodation as you'll be sleeping onboard.

There's also the excitement of going to sleep in one city and waking up elsewhere, along with the possibility that you might bump into Hercule Poirot (please note, this is not included in the ticket price).

At present, most of the departures from Paris are domestic routes, but there is now a Paris-Berlin link, with other European destinations to come.



All the French night trains leave from Gare d'Austerlitz, which is a bit of a shame because for real old-school travel glamour, dinner at Le Train Bleu restaurant, situated in Gare de Lyon, is ideal. This restaurant started life in 1901 serving dinner to the glamorous Belle Epoque crowd before they boarded the night train down to the Riviera. 

Still the two stations are just on opposite sides of the river, roughly 15 minutes walk away, so it's not impossible to do this (get the Crêpes Suzette if you do). 

Night trains run on a service called Intercité lignes de nuit - these are specially designed to be an overnight service so they have few or no stops en route and often go slowly to guarantee you a good night's sleep (for example the Paris to Nice service takes 12 hours, while the standard TGV from takes six hours). 

The standard accommodation for domestic French night trains are couchettes - compartments with six bunk beds. If you're not keen on sharing with strangers, you can reserve a private couchette (for a higher price, naturally) and women travelling alone can also request a women-only compartment. 

Prices start at €49 and the routes are;

  • Paris-Toulouse - aka la ville rose, the lively university town in south west France
  • Paris-Nice - the night train to the Riviera resort evokes (some of) the glamour of France's famous train bleu
  • Paris-Briançon - perched in the Alps, this is France’s highest city
  • Paris-Albi - world heritage site and birthplace of painter Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi is situated in south-west France
  • Paris-Argeles-sur-Mer - another seaside resort, this is in the Pyrénées-Orientales
  • Paris-Ax-les-Thermes - the spa resort in Haut-Ariège still offers water 'cures'
  • Paris-Cannes - the Riviera's glitziest destination
  • Paris-Lourdes - if you're going on a pilgrimage, why not travel in style?
  • Paris-Aurillac - launched on December 10th, this train connects Paris to the cute town of Aurillac in Cantal, central France

Other connections are under discussion, including services to Bordeaux, Tarbes, Avignon and Clermont-Ferrand.

Top tip - if you're taking a night train you will naturally arrive at your destination in the early morning. If you're staying in a hotel or Airbnb where you can't check in until later, many French stations are bringing back left-luggage facilities. If these are not available, there is a French start-up that, for a €6 per bag fee, offers a left-luggage service at venues including hotels and shops.

So you're free to explore without lugging a bag around with you. 



Vienna - this is the only international night train that's currently on offer from Paris. The service takes 14 hours and 30 minutes and departs from Paris Gare de l'Est. Prices start at €29 and are available from SNCF Connect.

Berlin - after a nine-year break, the Paris Berlin night train returned on December 11th, 2023. It will initially be a three-train-a-week service before becoming daily in October 2024. It stops at Strasbourg, Mannheim, Erfurt and Halle.

Milan, Venice and Barcelona? - here we get a little more vague, but there are apparently talks ongoing about creating night train services to Venice and possibly to Milan too, while Barcelona has also been mentioned as an option.

At present Paris is connected to Barcelona and Milan by direct (daytime) trains, but Venice requires a connection in Milan.


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