Like many European towns and cities, the train is one of the premier transportation methods. The Paris train stations are no different and offer a great way to travel both within France and to neighboring countries such as Spain, Switzerland, and Germany. Trains are clean, well maintained, and affordable for families of all sizes.
Getting around Paris by train
Like most of the major cities in Europe, Paris is also well connected via train. There is no main or central station serving Paris but rather six different train stations (that are not connected to eachother directly. You will probably want to know in advance at which station your train is arriving, so as to better choose a hotel and plan for transport within the city.
Gare du Nord, (10th Arrondissement)
- Paris Métro: Gare du Nord
- TGV trains to and from Belgium, the Netherlands, and Cologne, Germany (Thalys), and the United Kingdom (Eurostar) and regular trains from Northern Europe.
Gare d’Austerlitz, (13th Arrondissement)
- Paris Métro: Gare d’Austerlitz
- Regular trains to and from the center and southwest of France, Spain and Portugal and arrival of majority of the night trains.
Gare de l’Est, (10th Arrondissement)
- Paris Métro: Gare de l’Est
- ICE/TGV to and from Luxembourg, Saarbrücken, Kaiserslautern, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart, and Munich
Gare de Lyon, (12th Arrondissement)
- Paris Métro: Gare de Lyon
- Regular and TGV trains to and from Southern and eastern France including the French Alps, Marseille, Lyon, Dijon, and also Switzerland and Italy
Gare de Bercy, (12th Arrondissement)
- Paris Métro: Bercy.
- Overnight trains to and from Italy as well as regular trains to Auvergne
St Lazare, (8th Arrondissement)
- Paris Métro: St-Lazare
- Trains to and from Basse-Normandie and Haute Normandie
Gare Montparnasse, (15th Arrondissement)
- Paris Métro: Montparnasse-Bienvenüe
- TGV and regular trains to and from the west and south-west of France including Brest, Rennes, Nantes, and Bordeaux as well as the fastedt station if you are headed for Spain
The SNCF is the French national railway authority) and operates practically all trains within France with exception to the Eurostar train to St Pancras, London and the Thalys train to Brussels.
The TGV Lyria is a joint service offered by the French and Swiss railways for TGV Lyria trains running between Paris and Switzerland
The SNCF website allows visitors and tourists to reserve and buy tickets up to two months in advance. Like many transportation methods, there are significant discounts if you book weeks ahead. Reduced ticket prices are different for each day and each train and can be used only on the train the reservation is for. Surprisingly, round trip tickets (aller-retour) with a stay over Saturday night can be cheaper than a single one-way ticket (aller simple). A very limited selection of last minute trips are published on the SNCF website every Tuesday, with discounts of more than 50%.