Escape to the French coast this winter with these new night trains.
Already planning your Christmas break? France is about to open up to holidaymakers with a bunch of new train routes.
From the return of low-cost operator Ouigo’s Paris to Bourg route to a new night train serving the Mediterranean coast, these rail adventures are perfect for every type of traveller.
Booking for the new SNCF routes opening in December is now open. Here’s where you could go.
Ride out winter on the Mediterranean coast
With a new Intercités de Nuit service launching between Paris and Cerbère, you can spend the winter months in - slightly - warmer climes.
The night train will travel along France’s Mediterranean coast, serving new cities including Nîmes, Montpellier, Sète, Agde and Béziers, before resuming its usual stops from Narbonne to Cerbère. It will run daily during school holidays and Friday and Sunday nights for the rest of the year.
Though the French coast may be better known for its beaches and hiking, its towns and cities transform into winter wonderlands in the low season. Head to Narbonne and Montpellier for lively Christmas markets.
Take a night train to Lourdes to experience the meaning of Christmas
Lourdes is famed for its healing shrine, which during the festive season comes to life with music, processions and nativity scenes.
This December, the launch of a new Intercités de Nuit train route means you can fall asleep in Paris and wake up in the revered pilgrimage town.
When you’re not partaking of the Massabielle Grotto’s miraculous waters, you can pack up your skis and head to nearby Hautacam for some winter sports.
The new night train route will run daily from 10 December via Dax, Bayonne, Orthez, Pau and Tarbes.
Explore hidden Provence on a train from Paris to Toulon
You’ll soon be able to head all the way south to Toulon on Ouigo Grande Vitesse - SNCF’s low-cost TGV train service.
The new route from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport launches on 10 December with one round trip per day. It will whisk you to the Mediterranean port city of Toulon, a hidden gem of Provence with sandy beaches and a rich naval history.
The French Riviera might not seem like the obvious choice for a winter break. But during the festive season Toulon’s main square sparkles with a Christmas market complete with a nativity scene.
The new train service will go via Disneyland Paris’s Marne-La-Vallée Chessy station, Lyon Saint-Exupéry and Aix-en-Provence. Currently, completing this journey requires one to two train changes in Lyon or Marseille.
Make Bourg-Saint-Maurice your base for adventures in the Alps
For a more traditional winter escape, take the new Ouigo Grande Vitesse from Paris Gare de Lyon to Bourg-Saint-Maurice. The service will return for the season from 14 December until 24 March.
Located close to the Italian border, Bourg lies at the foot of the Les Arcs skiing area, making it a great base for snowsport holidays. A funicular railway takes you from the town to Arc 1600 ski resort in just seven minutes.
After a day on the slopes, you can warm up with a mulled wine at Bourg’s Christmas market which runs from 15 to 17 December.