Take an SNCF train from Paris to Lyon and experience one of the best cities for gastronomy in all of Europe. Taking just under a couple of hours, TGV trains are an excellent way to travel, with plenty of space, great views and WiFi available on board – you can’t always say that about air travel! It’s worth opting for the train for this journey, as you can leave Paris in the morning (after a lie-in) and still easily be in Lyon in time for lunch.
Another great thing about this journey is that you’ll be going from city centre to city centre, that’s right, with no queues at all you can wander instantly from Lyon Part Dieu train station over to the Rhône River and up to La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière – a must-see piece of architecture when visiting Lyon. Ready to book? If not, you can find more information below, including FAQs and trip reviews.
TGV is the high-speed train service of the SNCF company. It connects the major cities of France at speeds of up to 200 mph (320 km/h). All TGV trains are equipped with a food carriage, a free WiFi connection, power sockets and fold-down tables. Two comfort classes are offered – First Class and Second Class, with flexible fare options available and access to the Grand Voyageur lounge in some stations.
OUIGO is the low-cost, high-speed train service operated by the French national train company SNCF. Despite having only one class on board, OUIGO trains offer the same comfort as Second Class seats on TGV trains, although OUIGO tickets are only available to purchase online. To make your journey as smooth as possible, arrive at least 30 minutes before departure and bear in mind that there's an additional fee for bringing a suitcase with you, having a seat with power sockets and travelling with a stroller/buggy.
TER (Transport Express Régional) trains are the regional service from SNCF that allow you to make trips to nearby towns and villages located within the same region. With 20 regions in France, TER trains are ideal for travelling to destinations not covered by high-speed services, although ticket prices vary between each region. TER trains have dedicated spaces for bicycles and allow animals on board. Not all TER trains include a First Class carriage.
SNCF is the national train operator of France. It operates all domestic trains and routes across France, as well as international services to Spain and Germany. There are three different types of domestic trains that operate under the SNCF banner – TGV (high-speed, full-service trains that connect the major cities in France), Intercités (usually a more frequent stopping service, but with all the amenities), and TER (regional train services with basic onboard facilities).
Most of the train companies across Europe release their tickets around three to six months in advance, many of which can be cheaper the earlier you book. If you know the dates you want to travel, you may be able to find some cheaper train tickets from Paris to Lyon by booking early.§
Many of the train services in Europe are also popular commuter services, lots of train companies increase ticket prices during “peak hours” (generally between 06:00 – 10:00 and 15:00 – 19:00 on weekdays). If you can, consider travelling outside of peak hours to find lower priced tickets.
On some of the busier routes, you might also have the option to take a slower or connecting train. It may take a little longer than some high-speed or direct services, but if you have a little extra time on your hands, you might find a cheaper fare. Plus, you'll have more time to enjoy the view of the countryside!
For specific information about how to get your hands on cheap tickets, check out our European train tickets hub.
The average journey time by train between Paris and Lyon is 3 hours and 0 minutes, with around 18 trains per day. The journey time may be longer on weekends and holidays, so use our Journey Planner on this page to search for a specific travel date.
The fastest journey time by train from Paris to Lyon is 1 hour and 56 minutes.
Train tickets from Paris to Lyon can start from as little as $2.52 when you book in advance and are usually more expensive when purchased on the day. Prices can also vary depending the time of day, route and class you book.
Yes, it is possible to travel from Paris to Lyon without having to change trains. There are 11 direct trains from Paris to Lyon each day. Though there may be fewer direct services available depending on your exact departure date.
The first train from Paris to Lyon leaves at 05:04. Times and services may vary during weekends and holidays.
The last train from Paris to Lyon leaves at 07:16. Trains that depart in the early morning hours or very late evening may be sleeper services, time and services may also vary during weekends and holidays.
Trains travelling from Paris to Lyon cover a distance of around 243 miles (391 km) during the journey.
Gare de Lyon
I love the Gare de Lyon – it’s huge! With its beautiful steeple, it’s probably the most charming train station in Paris. And what better starting place to travel to Lyon than...a station with the same name. Be careful not to get lost in the subway though, I almost missed my train trying to get out of it.
The train itself...
The train to Lyon is a two-storey TGV train. Each ticket shows your carriage and seat number, which made it very easy to find my seat. The seats are comfortable, whether you’re in First or Second class, and have an adjustable table, footrest and small rubbish bin. You also have the option of using a reading light, conveniently located just above your seat.
This TGV train includes free WiFi access. All you need to do is connect to SNCF's WiFi network “_SNCF_WIFI_INOUI”, then go to the “wifi.sncf” website via your internet browser. Once there, just pop in your six-letter booking reference and surname used for the booking.
Arriving in Lyon
After travelling at around 320 km/h for 1h 50m, I arrive at Lyon Part-Dieu – another huge station, it rivals the one I’ve just left in Paris. The station is located right in front of the Part-Dieu shopping centre, so you’ll have the chance to grab a bite to eat and do some window shopping straight away. That’s not to say you can’t shop inside the station either, you’ll find retail stores like Foot Locker, FNAC and Spirit almost as soon as you step off your train.
If you want to find some food inside the station, the Sand Soleil sandwich shop will give you what you need for a quick breakfast or coffee on the go. If you fancy sitting for a little longer before you leave, there’s also a Starbucks with comfortable seating.
When you leave the station, Lyon Part-Dieu is located on the right bank of Lyon. You’ll have to take the metro, bus or walk to reach the city centre, located on the other side. A visit to Lyon wouldn’t be complete without seeing the basilica Notre-Dame de Fourviere and admiring a panoramic view of the city. Believe me, it's worth it. I’d recommend taking one of the funicular trains up to the top though, it’s a bit of a climb!
Jorja is one of our trusted, hand-picked travel writers. The information for this article was recorded first-hand, based on her own genuine experience of the journey.