How to get to Paris by train
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Paris, the famous City of Lights, is the premier destination of choice for people visiting France. Boasting a rich cultural heritage and world-famous culinary traditions, Paris will certainly amaze visitors with everything it has to offer. The city’s star attraction is the famous Eiffel Tower, which was constructed in 1889. An architectural marvel that has stood the test of time, the Eiffel Tower is perhaps the most iconic landmark of Paris, and visitors can take an elevator to the top for a panoramic view of the city. Another must-see iconic landmark is the Musée du Louvre, one of the best art museums in the world. At the Louvre, visitors can marvel at more than 35,000 works of art, including the world-famous Mona Lisa. If you wish to stay away from the deafening crowd, Pere-Lachaise Cemetery, the largest green space in the city, will have what you need.
Paris’ food scene is rich and vibrant, brimming with both traditional bistros and chic new restaurants. For those who enjoy a rustic French vibe, the 2ème arrondissement offers some great selections. If you feel like splurging a little bit, head over to Guy Savoy, one of the best restaurants in town.
Paris is a central hub of transportation in France and Europe, in general. Visitors can catch trains to other cities at one of the six central stations: Gare du Nord, Gare de l'Est, Gare de Lyon, Gare d'Austerlitz, Gare Montparnasse, and Gare Saint-Lazare. The main bus station is Paris Bercy Bourgogne - Pays d'Auvergne located not too far from Gare d'Austerlitz. The principal airports in the city are Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Paris–Orly, and Beauvais–Tillé Airport.
Image credit: Unsplash
Paris Gare de l'Est, or Paris East Railway Station, is in the city's tenth arrondissement. It mainly operates rail services to eastern France, but also into other countries. Gare de l'Est was the departure point for the legendary Orient Express, and the columned facade is just as opulent as you would expect. Its 1840s structure is divided into several halls containing top brands and food outlets. The station is linked to Lines 4 and 7 of the Paris Métro and just a short walk from the Gare du Nord.
Popular train stations in Paris:
Gare de Bercy Seine
Gare du Nord
What train companies travel to Paris, France?
Located in France, Paris is accessible by train from 314 other cities. You can choose from 2027 daily scheduled trips when you search for trains to Paris on Wanderu. Deutsche Bahn usually has the most trains on any given day.
Looking for other ways to get there? Bus tickets to Paris are also available.
Train companies serving Paris
|Train||Routes||Avg. Time||Avg. Price|
|Deutsche Bahn||925||5h 32m||$120.52|
|Deutsche Bahn with non-federally owned railway company||492||5h 48m||$120.25|
|DB Intercity-Express||310||5h 16m||$115.19|
|Non-federally owned railway company||81||4h 1m||$109.37|
|DB Intercity||3||8h 23m||$94.20|
The most popular Deutsche Bahn ICE routes travel to Berlin, Cologne, Paris, and Munich. Seating is spacious with a good amount of legroom, and onboard amenities include complimentary WiFi, restrooms, and a restaurant car selling beverages, snacks, sandwiches, and hot meals. Unlike the rest of the Deutsche Bahn network, ticket prices on Deutsche Bahn ICE services are not based on a per-kilometer rate but on specific station-to-station links.
Part of the FlixBus family, FlixTrain launched in 2018 to offer affordable and sustainable train travel in Germany. Its trains provide Wi-Fi, power outlets, air conditioning, onboard restrooms, and access to an entertainment portal full of movies, games, and music. In addition, each passenger gets a guaranteed seat, so you don't have to worry about standing in any aisles.
Deutsche Bahn IC is the German railway's long-distance train service provider with service across Germany and neighboring countries, including the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, and Poland. Onboard amenities include restrooms, power outlets, and a restaurant car where passengers can purchase drinks, snacks, and meals.
Thalys is a prominent high-speed rail operator connecting popular destinations in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. Thalys tickets come with a range of amenities to enhance the travel experience. Each ticket includes a seat reservation, and every seat has a power socket for convenient device charging. Complimentary onboard Wi-Fi keeps passengers connected throughout their journey. Accessible restrooms are available on-board, and passengers can purchase food and drinks from the on-board café, catering to the significant distances covered by Thalys trains.
Eurostar revolutionized cross-channel transportation between continental Europe and the British south coast, and it continues to operate passenger trains through the Channel Tunnel. Eurostar trains have spacious legroom and complimentary onboard WiFi, but you can upgrade to a Standard Premier ticket for reclining seats, more legroom, and a complimentary light meal. Business Premier (first class) seating is the same, plus access to the station lounges and a hot meal with alcoholic drinks (including champagne).
Frequently Asked Questions
The busiest train station in Paris is Paris Est. There are several other active stations in addition to this main station. The most popular train stations in Paris are:
- Paris Est
- Gare de Bercy Seine
- Gare du Nord
Getting to Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) by train is very simple. Many trains arrive at the Gare du Nord in Paris, or you can connect there via Paris’ metro.
Once at Gare du Nord, it's easy to get to CDG via train because the airport is served by a dedicated route, the RER B. Depending on whether or not your train is an express rail, the ride takes between 20-30 minutes. This route is extremely popular and operates from 5:00 am to midnight daily, arriving in a station underneath terminal 2.
- Compare train trips and prices on Wanderu.com or the Wanderu app.
- Select your preferred trip and checkout on Wanderu.
- Download or print your ticket from the train carrier.
- Show your ticket to board the train and find a seat.
- Sleep, read, work, or play on the journey to Paris.
- Deboard at your arrival station and begin your adventure in Paris.
How to Get Around Paris
The Metro, Paris' iconic subway system, is the best way to get around the city overall. It's extremely affordable, efficient, and fast, covering just about every corner of the city with 16 routes. At many Metro stops, trains arrive every 2-5 minutes, from 6:00am to midnight daily.
You can get single one-way tickets, but it's even more affordable to purchase a book of 10 or get a Mobilis one-day pass, which covers travel in Zones 1 and 2 (where most tourist attractions are). Buy passes at any Metro station or tourist information centers throughout the city.
The RER trains, which also serve both Paris airports, are another excellent option for getting around. A go-to for getting to outlying areas such as the Palace of Versailles or Disneyland Paris, the RER operates five express routes. They run from 6:00am to midnight like the Metro but don't come nearly as often.
While Paris' bus network is substantially smaller than that of the Metro and RER, it's still quite affordable and efficient. A one-way fare is the exact same cost as a Metro ride and the tickets are interchangeable. About 60 bus routes serve the entire metro area, operating daily from 7:00am to 4:00am.
Rideshare Apps & Taxis
There are taxis everywhere in Paris, but they aren't distinct like New York City's iconic yellow cabs. Instead, they're regular vehicles with taxi signs on top. You can try to hail one on the street or call ahead, but the preferred method is to walk up to a taxi rank, a queue where cars wait to be hired. You'll find these outside the airport, many hotels, and in popular tourist areas.
Uber has a presence in Paris, but isn't as popular as taxis — certainly due to the sheer number of cabs. Especially if you're in the heart of the city, it’s almost always faster and more convenient to simply walk up to a taxi stand.
Honestly, driving in Paris isn't recommended for visitors, as heavy traffic, scarce parking, an abundance of motorbikes and scooters, and confusing one-way streets and roundabouts are overwhelming even for locals. However, if you do find that you'd prefer to drive yourself around Paris, be sure to check Wanderu for the best deals on rental cars.
Must-See Places in Paris
No trip to Paris is complete without visiting one of the most iconic landmarks in the entire world. You can go all the way up to the top of the Eiffel Tower for panoramic views of the city, but if you're interested in photographing the tower, there are also several fantastic viewpoints throughout the city.
You truly can't go wrong with any of Paris’ incredible museums. An obvious choice is The Louvre, the largest museum in the world and home of the Mona Lisa. Spanning a massive 652,300 square feet (60,600 square meters), the museum houses 380,000 works of art.
Whether you book a river cruise, walk along its banks admiring the bridges, or book dinner reservations in a restaurant on a floating barge, experiencing The Seine is a must. Embrace your inner ‘Emily in Paris’ and snap a selfie along its banks to inspire your followers’ envy.
This charming, artsy district gives a peek into Old World Paris. The narrow, winding streets Hemingway once frequented are lined with cafés, bookstores, galleries, and churches.
Escape the city as French royals once did by visiting the lavish Palace of Versailles. Tour the decadent Hall of Mirrors, Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon, and nearly 2,000 acres of gardens. Plan to spend at least a few hours soaking up the gorgeous art and architecture in the palace.
France Travel Tips for International Visitors
There are a few things that international visitors to France should keep in mind.
Currency: Euro (€)
Tipping: Bars & restaurants automatically add a 15% service fee. Additional tipping is optional.
Legal drinking age: 18 years old (or 16 for beer & wine)
Useful French phrases:
“Bonjour” = Hello
“Parlez-vous Anglais?” = Do you speak English?
“Merci” = Thank you
Paris Tips for Travelers
There are a few Paris-specific customs and norms that visitors may not be familiar with.
It may be tempting to sprawl out or dip your toes into the green grass of Paris’s parks and gardens, but think twice before hunkering down. Sitting on the grass is prohibited in some of these areas, so if you don’t see anyone else doing it, that’s a good indicator to stay off!
Parisians get a bad rep for being rude to foreigners, but to them, the unobtrusive attitudes are simply their way of being respectful and polite - so don’t take it personally!
Using the toilette usually comes with a fee, even for patrons at dining establishments. Keep an extra 50 cents on hand, and don’t expect the restrooms to be exceptionally clean just because you paid to use them.
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