TGV - High Speed Train
The TGV (Train Grande Vitesse) started in 1981 with the Paris - Lyon line. Twenty years later, from June 2001, the Lyon - Marseille section of high-speed track opened, reducing travel time from Paris to Marseille to 3 hours. A London to Marseille trip (via the Eurotunnel) in only 6 and a half hours.
TGV Rail Map. Our own TGV rail map shows the main TGV routes in France (as of 2018).
The Marseille-Nice section of the line still uses the standard rail
system, at the standard speeds. There's some lovely scenery along the
coast better appreciated at the leisurely pace, but the trip takes two
and half hours, making the total Paris - Nice time 5 hours 30 minutes.
TGV to OUI
In mid 2017 the French rail service SNCF began rebranding the TGV trains to Oui . There are some who question the wisdom of throwing out an iconic symbol of high-speed French/Europan rail travel for the word "yes". Part of the reason is apparently because, from 2021, there will be competition from other rail companies using the French high-speed rail network, and a new stand-out name was deemed necessary.
The new train service is being named inOui, beginning with the new Paris - Bordeaux line opened in July 2017, and followed by the renaming of the Paris - Strasbourg line. All the French TGV lines should be renamed inOui by 2020. To maintain a certain level of confusion, the trains will still be TGV's, so you can have a choice of being on a TGV or an inOui, whatever train you're riding.
The inOui rebranding coincides with upgrading the rolling stock to offer Wifi, roomier and more comfortable seats, more luggage space and restaurant cars.
The term inOui for the high-speed trains fits with the overall branding scheme of OuiGo (low-cost train service), inCar (SNCF's car hire service) and inBus (SNCF's coach service).
Reservations and Tickets
You can reserve your seats and buy your tickets directly from the
TGV / OUI website (English).
You have the option of reserving your seats via the web,
and paying for your tickets later, at the station. The train stations
(gare SNCF) in the larger towns have kiosks where you can purchase the
The TGV Méditerranée line connects Paris with the South and the Southeast of France, serving Lyon, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille. For the Mediterranean coast, the TGV travels at a slower speed for Toulon, Cannes and Nice. For the Southwest, the TGV also connects with Nîmes, Montpellier, Béziers, Narbonne and Perpignan. This is an extension of the original TGV Sud-Est line that linked Paris and Lyon from September 1981.
TGV Atlantique connects Paris with the Britanny and the west of France. This line serves Le Mans, Tours, Nantes, Rennes, Qimper and Brest.
The TGV Nord-Europe line goes north from Paris to Lille and to the English-Channel coast at Dunkerque, Calais and Boulogne. The Lille TGV hub is a link to destinations in Belgium, The Netherlands and northern Germany.
Eurostar. The TGV Eurostar line (www.eurostar.com) between Paris-Gare du Nord and Londres-Waterloo takes 3 hours. Some of the trains also stop at Lille Europe, Calais-Fréthun or Ashord International. In November 2007, with new tracks between the channel and London's new Saint Pancras station, London-Paris will be 2 hours 20 minutes, and London-Brussels under 2 hours.
The Thalys train links Paris and Brussels, in 1 hour 30 minutes.