Exploring France on a Shoestring: A Guide to Economic Rail Travel Across the Country Without High-Speed Trains

Ah, France and its wonders to explore! If you dream of traveling through this beautiful country without spending a fortune on transport, then the main railway lines are for you. Imagine traveling through picturesque landscapes, charming little villages and big historic cities, all without spending an extra penny on high-speed trains. Follow me, I will reveal to you all the secrets to discover France in an economical and unforgettable way.

Take advantage of rail offers for young people

Good news for young travelers! From July 1 and until August 31, 16-27 year olds can travel unlimited with regional trains (TER) and the Intercity for only €49 per month thanks to a special government offer. Certainly, the high speed trains (TGV inOui and Ouigo) are not included, but this formula is perfect for exploring France while taking your time.

Optimize your regional journeys

The Rail Pass gives you access to a vast network of regional journeys. For example, from Paris, you can join Lille in 2h10, Le Mans in 2h15, or even Dijon in 3 hours. Even Lyon, Strasbourg And Mulhouse are accessible in just 5 hours. It is entirely possible to cross France in one day thanks to a clever game of connections.

Advantages of TER journeys

TERs offer significant advantages. They not only allow “free” travel for Rail Pass holders, but also allow you to take your bike with you at no additional cost. In addition, these trains serve towns and villages often forgotten by TGVs, giving you the opportunity to discover little-known corners of France.

How to find eligible trips

To select only TER journeys on reservation platforms such as SNCF Connect, a classic search is enough. Then, filter the results by clicking on “Train type” then checking the “TER” box. If some routes are not displayed, consider dividing your trip into shorter segments.

For example, for a Paris-Avignon, proceed in two steps: Paris-Lyon then Lyon-Avignon.

Options for high-speed fans

Do you prefer them? high speed trains ? Opt for subscription Max Young. At €79 per month, this subscription allows you to travel as much as you want on the inOui and Ouigo TGVs. Please note, however, that the number of places is limited, especially during peak periods such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Additional Tips

  • Travel outside peak hours for more peace of mind.
  • Check the schedules in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises.
  • Bring snacks and drinks, especially if there is no bar car.

Whether you are an adventurer ready to take the time to travel around France or a fan of local discoveries, the railway infrastructures offer you a multitude of economical and practical solutions for traveling without resorting to TGVs!