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      • Rail Connections from Charles de Gaulle Airport
      • Trains between Paris or Nice and Italy
      • Paris Day Trips: Versailles; Giverny & Monet's Gardens; Chartres; Reims & Épernay

  • Other Railpasses for France

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France Railpass

The French rail system is one of world's finest with service being frequent, punctual and fast. High-speed TGV trains, traveling up to 200 mph, run on routes out of Paris to all parts of France and beyond, such as Nice, Avignon, Lyon, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Geneva, Zurich, Barcelona, Brussels, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and London. There is also good regional rail service to the smaller French cities and villages that tourist like to visit, such as Cannes, Monaco, Beaune, Carcassonne, Arles, Nimes, Chamonix, Annecy, Bayeux, Rouen and Chartres.
Point-to Point Tickets Versus a Rail Pass
If you're focusing only on France, the France Railpass is often a bargain when compared to point-to-point tickets; but a direct comparison is difficult because France uses a market-based pricing system for point-to-point rail tickets, where there is a range of fares for any particular route with peak-time trains costing more (sometimes considerably more) than off-peak ones. Further complicating the matter, many of the cheapest French rail tickets sell out months in advance; to get these tickets, you need to buy as early as possible (can purchase up to 120 days out), but you will be locked into a particular date and time and change, if at all possible, may be costly. If you are only doing a day trip out of Paris or a few short rail trips, point-to-point tickets will probably be the best option; however, a France Railpass will often be cheaper for any itinerary involving a couple of longer rides. A striking example is the rail trip between Paris and Nice on the French Riviera; for two people traveling together, the 1st-class France Saverpass is actually cheaper than most 2nd-class round-trip tickets. The big advantage of a France Railpass is flexibility as you can usually travel on the train of your choice. With point-to-point tickets, you are often faced with this dilemma: you wish to depart at 9am to make the most of a precious vacation day, but the ticket costs $150 while the 11am train only costs $75. Choosing the cheaper ticket will help out on your budget, but you may have little or no time for sightseeing that day; with a pass you could take the best train for your schedule. The bottom line is that unless tickets are much cheaper than a pass, buy a France Railpass as it allows flexibility; you can make changes to schedules and routes if needed, something that is not possible at all on any of the cheaper French rail tickets.
Inexpensive Splurge
As there is on average only about a $15 per day price difference between 1st-class and 2nd-class France Railpasses, treat yourself to 1st class -- if traveling as a couple, you can often reserve two plush seats facing each other across a small table, where each of you will have an aisle and a large picture window to view the scenery. In addition, as you have much more personal space, it is easier to store luggage right at your seat. If traveling in a party of four, you can reserve Club 4 seating, where your seats are also arranged around a table with a large picture window.
Although we recommend 1st class for people with railpasses because of the small price differential, if you are buying point-to-point tickets and 2nd-class tickets are considerably cheaper, you will be ok with 2nd class. 2nd-class seats are very similar to coach seats on a plane; 1st-class seats are more like those in business class.

France Railpass Details
  • Unlimited rail travel on the French national rail network.
  • The France Railpass comes in two flavors:
    • A continuous pass where you choose 2, 4, 5, 8 or 15 days.
    • A flexipass where you choose 1 through 9 days of rail travel to be used anytime within 1 month, or 15 days of rail travel to be used anytime within 2 months (rail days can be used consecutively or non-consecutively).
  • The France Railpass is available in either 1st or 2nd class.
  • Discounts:
    • Saver:  2 or more people always traveling together get about a 15% discount per person off the adult fare.
    • Youth:  Travelers under the age of 26 on their first travel day can get a discounted pass in either 1st or 2nd class.
    • Senior:  Travelers  60 or more on their first travel day can get a discounted pass in either 1st or 2nd class; however, if you have two people traveling together, the Saverpass is actually slightly cheaper.
    • Children:  For families 2 children (aged 4-11) travel free per 1 adult or senior (children under 4 are always free).
  • Seat Reservations:
    • Seat reservations are required for high-speed trains in France (there is a charge for seat reservations (they are not free); reservations are not required for regional or local trains and usually can't even be made.
    • On French trains the number of seats available to passholders with a France Railpass is quantity controlled--even though a particular train still has point-to-point tickets for available, there may no longer be any passholder seats available. To help with this problem, France has a two-tiered passholder reservation system; there are a certain number of seats available at the normal reservation price and a greater number available at a higher price that usually can be purchased right up to the train's departure. But if you definitely need to be on a certain train, you should make that reservation as soon as possible (can be done online before you go; seats are available for sale 90-120 days out).
    • A few trains (for example, many of the international trains to/from France) have special passholder fares. The seat reservation is included in the passholder fare, but the price is usually higher than a regular reservation.

Questions About Rail Travel in France ?
Talk to a Real Person !
Before buying your France Railpass, talk to one of our rail experts about your French itinerary to make sure you make the most of your precious vacation time and get the right pass for your trip. Our rail consultants have traveled extensively in France.
For Info or To Order Your France Railpass
Just call BETS!
Call 800-441-2387
9am-5pm Mon-Fri (Eastern Time)

Order Your France Railpass Online Now

France Railpass


France Railpass Prices

Below are shown some sample prices for the France Saver Flexipass (requires 2 or more people who are always traveling together; however, price is per person. For an adult traveling solo, the pass price is about 18% more than the Saverpass price. There is also a Seniorpass (60 or above), but unless traveling alone, it is actually slightly more expensive than the Saverpass in both 1st and 2nd class. For people under 26, the Youthpass is slightly cheaper than a Saverpass in both 1st and 2nd class.
For the price of all other France Railpasses link here

France Railpass

(in 1 month)
2 Adults
1st Class
2 Adults
2nd Class
1 day
2 days
3 days
Extra Days
(up to 9 days)
About $30
About $25
  1. Children 4-11: 2 children are free per Adult; additional children 4-11 buy Youthpasses (no child fare) -- children under 4: free.
  2. Price is per person based on two or more people traveling together; children 4-11: see child policy in footnote 1.

Pass must be validated within 6 months of purchase. Prices are in U.S. dollars, and are subject to change due to fluctuations in the dollar to euro exchange rate.

  • To order this pass online, click on the text link to the right.
  • Or call Budget Europe to order your pass directly from one of our rail experts, who will make sure this pass is the best deal for you and will also happily answer any questions you have about rail travel at the same time.
  • 1-800-441-2387

For More Info,
To View a Rail Map
To Order Online,
Click the Link Below

France Railpass

Map of France

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Eurostar — The Fastest Way Between London and Paris

High-speed Eurostar "Chunnel" trains have made this an easy trip; you simply board right in the center of London and get off 2 hours and 15 minutes later in the heart of Paris. You have none of the airport hassles; you save time; and with nearly hourly departures, you can conveniently leave when you want. And about every 2 hours, there is a Eurostar train running between London and Brussels, taking just 2 hours. Brussels has hourly connecting trains to Amsterdam or to Germany.

There is a complicated tiered-fare structure for Eurostar, and no railpass covers this train; however, railpasses valid in Britain, France or Belgium do allow you to buy a passholder fare without using a day on your pass. For people 25 and younger, under 12, or 60 and over, there are youth, child and senior tickets available.

Tickets can be purchased up to nine months in advance; if you want a chance at the cheapest tickets, try to reserve as early as possible, especially for peak-time trains. You'll have a better chance of snagging a lower-cost fare if you can be flexible about travel times and avoid weekend and holiday travel.

Call BETS to book or for more information.

For More Info
About Eurostar,
To Order Online,
Click the Link Below

Eurostar Booking Center

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First Trip to France

For many "France" is only Paris. But Europe's largest country is a lot more than just the sights of Paris -- its real beauty lies in the bucolic countryside punctuated by crumbling orange-roofed villages lost in time. France, the country, like Paris, is not to be missed. Unfortunately, most tourists are able to go to France for only a week or two, and yet there are a year's worth of places to visit. With this in mind, this two-week circular trip, will give you an introduction -- but just an introduction -- to regional France. This itinerary is designed to take you, with short and easy train rides, to French cities and villages that still retain much of the look of your imagination -- historic old towns of twisting narrow streets inside medieval walls. From Paris, modern, comfortable TGV trains, traveling at nearly 200 mph, take you to the walled city of Avignon with its famous 14th-century Palace of the Popes; to Carcassonne, often called the world's most impressive fortified medieval town, with its double defensive walls and 52 towers dating from the 13th century; to Toulouse, a city of unique regional architecture, which serves as a base to visit Albi or Lourdes; to Tours, a university town in the Loire Valley that makes a good base to explore the many nearby chateaux before returning to Paris.

Train Travel Time
Sightseeing in Paris
Train to Avignon
2.75 hrs
Day trip to Arles
Day trip to Nimes (add 1 day)
20 mins
30 mins
Train to Toulouse*
* If wishing to go the French Riviera, Nice makes a good base to explore the surrounding Mediterranean villages and beaches, including Monaco and Cannes (both 30 min from Nice). A local rail service (valid with railpass) runs frequently to all towns along the coast. Add in 2-3 days.
4 hrs
Day trip to Carcassonne
Day trip to Albi or
Lourdes (if doing both, add 1 day)
1 hr
1 hr
2 hrs
Train to Tours
5.5 hrs
Day trip to Chateau de Chenonceau
Or you can train to Blois (40 min), rent a bike and enjoy a leisurely 10-mile cycle ride through the Forest of Chambord to the Chateau de Chambord, which along with Chenonceau is the consensus most spectacular chateau.
30 mins
Train to Paris
1 hr

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All Passes for France

Below is a complete list of all railpasses that are available for travel in France.

Point-to-Point Rail Tickets

Compare the Cost of a Pass Versus Tickets

Check Schedules

Get Your Tickets
Before You Go

Have questions? Just call BETS!
Our rail experts will gladly help you find the perfect railpass for your itinerary.

Call 800-441-2387

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For Your Information

  • Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) is connected to the Gare du Nord rail station in central Paris by Line B of the RER (Rapid Area Transport System; 35 mins; 4 trains/hr). Due to often congested road conditions, this is usually the quickest way to cover the 15-mile distance from the airport into Paris. From the Gare du Nord, located in the north part of Paris, it is only a short cab or Metro ride (usually no more than 2 miles) to most Paris hotels. Cost of this RER rail ticket is about $12; railpasses are valid on this line to the Gare du Nord rail station. There is a RER station in Terminal 2 (Air France terminal); but from Terminal 1, you must take the free CDGVAL shuttle, an automatic light rail line, to the RER station.
  • Connections from Charles de Gaulle Airport to other parts of France: There is a TGV rail station at the airport (in Terminal 2; need to take the automated shuttle from Terminal 1), from which you can take direct high-speed TGV trains to Lyon (2 hrs); Avignon (3.25 hrs); Aix-en-Provence (3.5 hrs); Marseille (4 hrs); and Nice (6.5 hrs). There are also direct trains to St. Pierre-des-Corp, near Tours and the Loire Valley (2 hrs); Bordeaux (4.25 hrs); Nantes (3 hrs); Rennes (3 hrs); Strasbourg (2.5 hrs); and Lille (1 hr). There are also direct trains to Brussels (2 hrs).
  • Paris Day Trip to Versailles: There are three rail/RER stations in Versailles. The Rive Gauche Station is the closest to the chateau (less than one-half mile) and is served by RER Line C5 from central Paris about every 15 minutes. The other two stations are just under a mile from the chateau: Chantiers Station is served frequently by both RER (Line C8) and national rail (from Montparnasse Station in Paris); and Rive Droite Station is connected to St. Lazare Station in Paris by national rail about every 15 minutes. Railpasses are valid on all services, but the ticket costs only about $5 each way. RER Line C runs through central Paris along the Left Bank of the Seine (south side of the river) and can be boarded at any Left Bank RER station. As RER Line C has several branches, you need to pay attention to which RER C you are getting on: Branches C5 and C8 both go to Versailles, but C5 takes you closer to the chateau entrance.
  • Paris Day Trip to Giverny & Monet's Gardens: Train 1 hr to Vernon (from St. Lazare Station in Paris), from where you can take a bus (meets most trains) or taxi the 4 miles to the gardens that were the inspiration for many of Monet's impressionistic works including his famous Water Lily series.
  • Paris Day Trip to Chartres: Only one hour from Paris (Montparnasse Station), Chartres is in its own right a charming French village, but is most famous for its magnificent 12th-century Gothic cathedral and its sublime "Chartres blue" stained-glass windows considered to be the most extraordinary medieval windows ever crafted.
  • Paris Day Trip to Reims and/or Épernay: Both are easily reached from Paris Est Station (Reims, 45 mins by high-speed train; Épernay, 1 hr 20 mins by local train). Reims is noted for its cathedral, the traditional coronation site of the French kings, and its champagne tours. Most of the famous champagne houses offer guided visits through the chalk caves to see how the precious bubbly is made. Nearby Épernay is home to several of the most prestigious houses, such as Moët & Chandon. As frequent local trains connect Reims and Épernay (25mins), ambitious people can combine both cities in a single day trip.

Train Between Paris or Nice and Italy
  • Day Trains from Paris: Many travelers ask us about rail service from Paris to Italy. Currently there are three daily trains from Paris (Lyon Station) all of which go to Milan (Porta Garibaldi Station); two depart in the morning and one in the afternoon. Despite the overall time of this trip (7hrs), this is an enjoyable ride as it takes you through a good stretch of scenic French countryside and then snakes through a portion of the French Alps into Italy via Turin before reaching Milan (Porta Garibaldi Station). People with railpasses must pay a supplement which includes a seat reservation. At Milan there is hourly train service to Venice (3 hrs), Florence (2 hrs), Lake Como (40 mins), Cinque Terre (3 hrs) and Rome (3 hrs). Depending on your destination in Italy, you may have to transfer stations in Milan (from Porta Garibaldi to Centrale).
  • Night Train to Italy: There is now only a single sleeper train, the Thello, between France and Italy. It runs daily between Paris and Milan/Venice (departs Paris Lyon at about 8pm, arrives in Milan Centrale at about 6am the next day and terminates in Venice Santa Lucia at about 9:30am; in the opposite direction, departs Venice about 7:30pm, departs Milan at about 10:30pm and arrives in Paris at about 9:30am the next day). Sleeper compartments consist of singles, doubles, triples and 4- or 6-person couchettes. These trains are often sold out, especially around holidays and in the summer months, and should be booked as early as possible (up to 120 days in advance). Railpasses are only accepted for a 25% discount off the adult fare on the privately-run Thello trains (for flexipasses, no use of a travel day is required); however, if you buy early, discounted tickets might well be cheaper than the passholder fare.
  • Day Trains from Nice: Thello also operates the only other through rail service to Italy, running three trains per day between Nice and Milan via Genoa (from Nice trains depart at about 8am, 2pm and 6pm; from Milan Centrale trains depart at about 7am, 9am and 3pm; travel time is 5 hrs). Railpasses are only accepted for a 25% discount off the adult fare on the privately-run Thello trains (for flexipasses, no use of a travel day is required).
If you have a railpass and want to avoid the Thello surcharge, you can take a local French train, which goes frequently from Nice or any village along the French Riviera, to the French-Italian border (Ventimiglia) and then change to an Italian-state railway train (Trenitalia) to continue on to Genoa or Milan. No matter which train you take much of the route is scenic, skirting a long stretch of the Mediterranean coast.
For more info on Thello trains or to buy Thello tickets click the link below.

Fares & Schedules

Passholder fares for people with railpasses are only available at thello.com

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Thalys Trains: Paris to Brussels, Amsterdam or Cologne

Thalys high-speed 186-mile-per-hour service operates on two routes: Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam and Paris-Brussels-Cologne. Between Paris and Brussels, there is about one train per hour, taking just 90 minutes to go from city center to city center. Depending on the day, eight or nine of these trains continue on to Amsterdam, with the total rail time between Paris and Amsterdam being only 3 hours and 25 minutes; another five trains continue on to Cologne, with the total rail time between Paris and Cologne taking 3 hours and 20 minutes. Cologne is a main rail hub with excellent connections to anywhere in Germany.

Getting to Brugge from Paris: Take any Thalys train to Brussels and change to a local train to Brugge (two local trains per hour, taking about 1hr).
Thalys trains and railpasses: Passes are accepted, but a passholder supplement, which includes a seat reservation, must be paid. In first class, the supplement for railpasses covering the entire route costs between $50-75 (depending on the city pairs) and in second class between $35-50 (on peak-time trains the passholder supplement costs more or may not be available at all). When traveling between Amsterdam and Brussels, you can easily avoid this surcharge on railpasses by taking the local intercity trains; however, the travel time is about three hours instead of two for the Thalys (trains are hourly and no seat reservation is required). When going between Paris and Brussels or Paris and Amsterdam, there is not a simple way to avoid the Thalys supplement. The only way is to take a domestic French train to Lille, France (seat reservation required; usually costs about $15) and then change to a local Belgian train. Unfortunately, the connection time in Lille is often only about five minutes; and unless you're in sprinting shape, you'll probably have to wait an hour for the next local train. Also besides the change in Lille, you'll often have to change trains one more time before getting to Brugge or Brussels.

Call BETS for more information.

For More Info
About Thalys Trains,
To Order Online,
Click the Link Below

Thalys Booking Center



BETS- The European Rail Experts