Getting to Paris by Train

Travel Paris Train

If you’re traveling to Paris from another European city, trains can be an inexpensive and delightfully scenic option. There is no need to arrive hours before the train leaves, like there is at an airport, and you can often go directly from one city center to the other.

Prices and number of trips per day vary according to destination, the day of the week, season, and other criteria. Read on to find out more about getting the train to Paris.

Paris has 6 main rail stations, running the SNCF and TGV, all of which serve different parts of France and Europe.

  • Gare d’Austerlitz (13th): To the Loire Valley, southwestern France (Bordeaux, Pyrénées), Spain, and Portugal. (TGV to southwestern France leaves from Gare Montparnasse). To Barcelona (12hr) and Madrid (12-13hr).
  • Gare de l’Est (10th):To eastern France (Champagne, Alsace, Lorraine, Strasbourg), Luxembourg, parts of Switzerland (Basel, Zürich, Lucerne), southern Germany (Frankfurt, Munich), Austria, Hungary, and Prague. To: Luxembourg (4-5hr); Munich (9hr); Prague (15hr); Strasbourg (1hr); Vienna (15hr); Zürich (7hr).
  • Gare de Lyon (12th): To southern and southeastern France (Lyon, Provence, Riviera), parts of Switzerland (Geneva, Lausanne, Berne), Italy, and Greece. To: Florence (13hr); Geneva (4hr); Lyon (2hr); Marseille (3-4hr); Nice (6hr); Rome (15hr).
  • Gare du Nord (10th):Trains to northern France, Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and northern Germany (Cologne, Hamburg) all depart from this station. To: Amsterdam (4-5hr); Brussels (1hr); London (by Eurostar 3hr).
  • Gare Montparnasse (15th): To Brittany and southwestern France on the TGV. To Rennes (2hr) and Nantes (2hr).
  • Gare St-Lazare (8th): To Normandy. To Caen (2hr) and Rouen (1-2hr).



We now live in the time of the very fast TGV (train à grande vitesse) trains which means that much of France is accessible in only a few hours from Paris. The TGV runs from each of Paris's six major train stations, each of which has its own metro station.

The TGV is considerably more expensive than the dumpy old SNCF but when it knocks hours of your journey, the price is worth paying. Of course, the TGV has also revolutionized day-trip possibilities from Paris as now lots of great places are within a few hours of the capital.

If you want to find out more, check out our Day Trips From Paris section.


For anyone arriving in Paris from London, the Eurostar is without doubt the most convenient and fastest way to cross the Channel. Services to Paris, Gare du Nord, depart from the glittering new terminal at St Pancras International.

Thanks to the high speed track, it takes 35 minutes from Folkestone to Calais, 60 minutes from motorway to motorway, or 2 hours and 15 minutes from London's St. Pancras Station to Paris's Gare du Nord. The Belgian border is just a short drive northeast of Calais.

High-speed Eurostar trains use the same tunnels to connect London's St. Pancras Station directly with Midi Station in Brussels in around 2 hours.

If you plan to put your car inside the train, make a reservation. Without one you are unlikely to get on at all and if you do you will be charged 20% extra. Remember to check in at least half an hour before departure.