View of RomeView of Rome
October 29, 2013

Train options from Paris to Rome

by Abigail King in Train routes

Let’s face it, Paris and Rome are simply two of the glitziest cities in Europe, if not the world. Both are synonymous with great fashion, food, architecture and history, not to mention a wonderful sense of appreciating beauty and simply enjoying life.

There are almost as many ways to make this iconic journey as there are types of pizza, pasta and pastry. You can speed through France and Italy using only high speed connections. You can travel while you sleep on an overnight train. Or you can make the most of your freedom by using regional trains and stopping off in Lyon, Nice or Marseilles.

Or you can head across the mountains into Switzerland, slosh back beer in Munich or stop for a ski break in Innsbruck. With so many options, the journey between Paris and Rome can become an adventure in its own right.

How to get from Paris to Rome by train

Bear in mind that on fast, overnight and regional train services in Italy and France you’ll need to make a reservation in advance and pay a small fee to do so. Some places are limited so the earlier you can do this the better. Travel on regional trains is slower but simpler: simply hop on and off within the countries your pass is valid for.

You can find more details on travelling between France and Italy by train here.

Also bear in mind that if you do travel to or through Switzerland, Germany and Austria you will need a pass that is valid in those countries as well. Reservations are rarely required in those countries but always check the fine print for particularly important connections.

A night train in France

Regional train in France: en voyage!

Head to the Mediterranean coast from Paris Austerlitz station on the Intercité de Nuit overnight train. On this train, you can reserve a spot in a six-bed couchette (20 Euros) or take a reclining seat (9 Euros).  Keep in mind that this train has a limited seat allocation for pass holders so I recommend you reserve as soon as possible. From Nice, take the SNCF regional train along the French Riviera to the border town of Ventimiglia. The views along this route are truly amazing, so be sure to have yor camera at hand. In Ventimigli, cahange for Milan and then on to Rome, using either high-speed or slower regional services.

You can also travel to Nice using regional trains, stopping off in the lively cities of Lyons and Marseilles en route.

A night train in Italy

TGV in fields

Take the fast TGV train from Paris Gare de Lyon station to Turin’s Torino Porta Susa station in Italy. Switch there for the InterCity Night train to Roma Tiburtina station and wake up in the Eternal City of Rome.

Travel via Switzerland

Train running beside Lake Geneva

Grab a high-speed train to Geneva, Switzerland from Paris and from there you can take a fast Eurocity service passing alongside Lake Geneva and through an abundance of mountain landscape to Milan. From Milan, you can travel fast with a reservation or slow on the regional trains to reach your final destination of Rome.

Travel via Germany and Austria

Stop off in Munich, Germany for a beautiful train ride across the snowy Alps as part of your journey. Take a City Night Line train from Paris Est station to Munich and either spend the day there before hopping on the City Night Line to Rome or break up the Munich- Rome part of the journey with a sojourn in either mountainous Innsbruck, Austria or Shakespeare-tinged Verona.

Travel direct to Rome

Thello night trains run direct to Rome from Paris Lyons station in around 15 hours. Unfortunately, Thello is a private rail company and isn’t included in the Eurail pass yet so you’ll need to buy a separate ticket to use the service. Find the details here.

Getting to Paris train stations

Ah, my, but there are loads of different train stations around Paris so make sure you pick the right one. All are well served by public transport but here are a few details to help you along:

  • Paris Gare du Nord this is the Eurostar terminal and the main station connecting France to Belgium and the Netherlands. It’s huge so leave plenty of time to reach the platform you need. It’s also the main connection to airport Paris Charles de Gaulle.
  • Gare de Bercy – is smaller than most and acts as the starting point for regional trains to Lyons.
  • Gare d’Austerlitz – for the overnight train to Nice.
  • Gare de Lyon – home to the grand Train Bleu restaurant, the Thello trains and TGV services to Turin.
  • Gare de Paris-Est – a grand Parisian station and the launchpad for trains to Munich.

Arriving in Rome

Again, like most big cities, Rome has more than one train station.

  • Roma Termini – is the main, central station that receives services from Munich, Verona, Milan and the direct Thello service from Paris. It also connects to the Leonardo da Vinci Airport.
  • Roma Tiburtina receives some services from Ventimiglia and Milan and Roma Ostiense collects trains that travel via Genoa. Both connect to Rome’s Fiumicino airport.

Scenic stops along the way

Depending on the route you decide to take to travel by train from Paris to Rome, you might want to enjoy exploring one of these cities as well.

Nice, France

Nice, France

Nice soaks up the splendour of Provence and shares it through its open air markets, expansive beachfront and promenade and range of accommodation that eases the wallet when compared to neighbours Cannes and St Tropez.

Munich, Germany

Oktoberfest Munich

As the flamboyant capital of Bavaria, Munich struts its stuff. Nothing is done by halves in the city that’s famed for Oktoberfest, dazzling Christmas Markets and irritating its northern compatriots with its refusal to stay quiet. Leave your bags at the left luggage so you can explore this Bavarian city for a few hours before retunring to the train.

Innsbruck, Austria

Innsbruck, Austria

Grab a quick taste of Austria in Innsbruck, gateway to the ski slopes and home to pastel-pretty riverside views.

Verona, Italy

Romeo and Juliet balcony

Balance up your “city view” of Italy with a stop in gentle Verona. Check out the amphitheatre, the surrounding hills and even the balcony of Romeo & Juliet fame. It’s fictional, of course, but that hasn’t stopped thousands of other lovers so why should you let it stop you?

Thinking about making this route yourself and stopping at some other great destinations along the way? Then find out more about the Eurail passes.