Falling asleep in Paris at night and waking up the next day at the other end of France or Europe is possible thanks to night trains. Perfect for saving time and making the trip go much faster, the night train allows you to optimize your journey, save a night in a hotel and travel in a more ecological way than by plane or car. Are you tempted? Discover all the things you need to know about night trains in France and Europe!
Night trains: different degrees of comfort
In France, SNCF offers two prices for its night trains. The economy rate corresponds to one reclining seat with adjustable headrest, footrest and night light. The classic rate gives you access to one bunk. For long journeys, we can of course only advise you to choose a sun lounger. Again, you have two options: second-class berths (six-berth sleeper car) and first-class berths (four-berth sleeper car). The advantage is that regardless of which class you choose, you can choose the location of your berth when you buy your ticket: lower berth, middle berth or upper berth. “Lower Imperative” berths are also available at ground level for people with disabilities or people with vertigo.
Recently, SNCF also offers a “women only” reserved for women alone or with a small child. These places are located near the room and the controllers and are aimed at women traveling alone.
On board, the night trains offer full service: showers, toilets, wake-up call by the conductor, breakfast service, etc.
The night train, practical side
Some night train in Europe has a car bar where you can eat and quench your thirst. In France, the night Intercités are not yet equipped with them, so you will have to plan your meals and drinks in advance. Some night trains allow you to pre-order your meal online.
On the accessory side, SNCF distributes night set consisting of paper napkins, refreshing wipes and earplugs. However, we advise you to bring a padlock for your belongings, as well as an eye mask, as the trains are not plunged into complete darkness.
Namely that in most of them European night train, Bed linen is provided. This is usually a blanket or sleeping bag and a pillow. However, you must remember to bring pajamas and an extra blanket for the more cautious ones.
The best night train lines in Europe
If the night train saves time and a night in a hotel, it is also a completely unique experience! Here is our selection of best night train lines in France and Europe.
Paris-Nice Intercity at night
It is one of the most popular night trains in France and with good reason it allows it connecting Paris with the south of France the time for a pleasant night. This train departs every evening at 20.52 from Paris-Austerlitz station and arrives in Nice 12 hours later, at 9.06. It also serves Marseille, Toulon, Cannes and Antibes.
On the return trip, Intercités leave Nice at 19.16 and arrives in Paris at 7.55.
The Santa Express, from Helsinki to Lapland
Find a flight to Helsinki, then take your kids on one of the biggest adventures of their lives! The Santa Express departs from the Finnish capital and then stops at Rovaniemi, the official village of Santa Claus, located at the Arctic Circle. The journey then continues north, and more precisely to Kemijärvi, in the heart of Finnish Lapland. In the middle of winter, you have a good chance to see the incredible northern Light ! On board the Santa Claus Express, some luxury cabins have their own private bathroom.
The Calendonian Sleeper, from London to Scotland
Imagine traveling to London, falling asleep on a train in the capital and waking up in the heart of the Highlands… This mythical train line allows you to connect London to Fort William in one night. It will also be possible to reach Edinburgh or Inverness. On board a typical English sleeper train with its bar car equipped with sofas and its very British atmosphere. Ultimate luxury: On request, you can even have breakfast in bed!
The night train from Rome to Sicily
Yes, you read that right, this overnight train allows you to cross southern Italy in the middle of the night and wake up in the morning under the Sicilian sun. The train leaves Rome at 21.30 and arrive on the island at 9.30. Towards the end of the trip, the train boards a ship to cross the Straits of Messina. The crossing takes about an hour and will be one of your most unforgettable travel experiences!
EuroNight Lisinski, from Germany to Croatia
Treat yourself to a flight to Munich and experience a moment full of mystery and poetry during this crossing of a part of Europe. The EuroNight Lisinski train runs daily from Munich, Germany to Zagreb, Croatia. It therefore crosses part of Germany, Austria and Slovenia to reach the Croatian capital. On board, you can choose between one- to six-berth cabins and enjoy mobile food service, power outlets, a café and air conditioning.
Do you want to experience the night train at least once in your life? Which route appeals to you the most? 🙂