Nice on the French Riviera Nice on the French Riviera
August 26, 2013

Paris to Nice by train

by Abigail King in Train routes

Nice lies at the heart of the sun-soaked French Riviera and Paris lies, well, at the heart of the world if you listen to Parisians. Paris has spectacular scenery, high fashion, ridiculously good food, plenty of history and enough romance to sweep the most hardened cynic off their feet. Nice, meanwhile, offers an antidote to big-city life with its curving beachfront and charming terracotta roofs. It also provides easy access to the hotspots of St. Tropez, Cannes and Monte Carlo. With a Eurail pass, you can travel direct from Paris to Nice by train or stop off in the sassy cities of Marseille and Lyons instead.

How to get from Paris to Nice by train

You essentially have three main options with a Eurail pass. You can go direct, paying for a reservation and booking well in advance. You can hop on a regional train, enjoying more freedom plus the chance to see some fabulous connecting cities. You can also take an overnight train.

By high-speed train

Crossing the length of the country in just five and a half hours, the direct TGV service runs 8-10 times a day from Paris Gare du Nord station. Reservations cost 9 Euros if made at French rail stations, but the number of places set aside for Eurail customers is limited.

By night train

The Intercité de nuit night train departs from Paris Austerlitz and takes just under twelve hours to reach Nice. It makes several stops, though, so if you’re a light sleeper, this may not be the best option. Reservation fees range from 6 to 20 Euros depending on class and sleeper type (sleeperette or couchette – 4 or 6 beds.) It’s a popular route, so reserve in advance.

By regional train

If queuing for reservations just isn’t your style and you like to see something of the countryside you’re passing through then take the regional route. Leaving from Paris Bercy station, take the Regional-Express to Lyon Part Dieu. Hop off there or else transfer straight onto the Regional-Express to Marseille-St-Charles. Marseille, the bad boy of France, makes for another intriguing visit, or you can just press right on to Nice-Ville with your final regional connection. The fastest regional connections get you from Paris to Nice in twelve hours.

Poppy fields in France
Depending on the time of year, you’ll see snow, poppies or slices of the sunny Mediterranean coast.

Getting to the right Paris train station

Paris has many train stations. Make sure you head to the right one. You’ll need one of these stations to make the Paris to Nice journey:

Paris Gare du Nord

This is the Eurostar terminal, as well as the station for travel into Belgium and the Netherlands. It also connects to the main airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle. It’s also well connected by metro and bus across the city. It’s a huge place, though, so leave plenty of time to reach the platform you need.

Gare de Bercy

Small by Parisian standards, Gare de Bercy is the starting point for the regional train to Lyon. Reach it by bus or by Metro to the Bercy stop. It’s a short walk from there.

Gare d’Austerlitz

As another of Paris’ main hubs, Gare d’Austerlitz is well-connected by bus, metro and RER to the rest of the city. A simple, direct journey on Metro Line 5 takes you from the Eurostar arrival point, Gare du Nord, to Gare d’Austerlitz.

Arriving at Nice-Ville train station

Nice-Ville is the main station in Nice. Its stone sculptures and forged steel rooftop serve as a good introduction to the heady days of glamour along the French Riviera. You can reach the city centre on foot, although a bus or tram may help weary legs. There are also direct shuttles connecting Nice-Ville to the airport.

Top 2 stop offs on the way to Nice

Visit one of these beautiful French cities on your way to Nice from Paris:

  1. Marseille

    Marseille, France

    Marseille is France’s brazen coastal city with an international vibe. The birthplace of the French National Anthem (the Marseillaise,) the place is peculiarly anti-France and pro-Marseille. Tuck into local specialty bouillabaisse at the lively Old Port. Climb to the Pharo gardens for a view of the harbour and Château d’If, the inspiration for Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo.

    Marseille-St-Charles is a grand station with a series of steps leading towards the town centre. It has left luggage lockers and all the amenities you’d expect.

  2. Lyons

    Old town in Lyons, France

    Lyons is a lively, thriving, edgy city. It stands out even in France as having high-quality cuisine, and it packs a punch in terms of art and history. Trace the Romans with the amphitheatre that overlooks the city, check out world-famous art at the Musée des Beaux Arts, indulge in the historic UNESCO-recognised old quarter and look for the arcades that camouflaged the French Resistance as they fought against the Nazis.

    The size of the city means you’ll need to use the metro to make the most of it. And of course, with a flexible Eurail pass, if you change your mind about where you want to go, Lyons has plenty of other routes with which to tempt you.

    Find out what the Eurail pass is and how you can travel between top French cities and other European destinations in comfort.