Getting from Marseille to Nice has never been easier, thanks to daily direct train services from Marseille St-Charles station to Nice Ville station. In just two and a half hours, high-speed TGV trains by SNCF can drop you off in the middle of the action at Nice. Arrive early and walk to the centre of town in just 20 minutes. You’ll have plenty of time to explore some of the city’s most loved sights, such as the Prefecture Palace, the Nice Clock Tower and Sainte-Réparate cathedral, even if you’re just doing a day trip.
The best part about choosing train travel instead of driving? You save yourself the stress of navigating unknown roads and avoid the pain of finding city-centre parking.
Read on to find out more about this route, including FAQs and train times.
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.
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).
Thello, part of the Trenitalia Group, is an international railway service that connects France and Italy. Thello trains provide direct connections between Paris and Venice via Dijon, and Marseille and Milan via Nice. Trains between Paris and Venice are night/sleeper trains with three service levels. Choose either Standard shared berth compartments (4-6 berth), a standard bed cabin (1-3 people) which includes a welcome drink, breakfast, bed furnishings and a toiletry set, or treat yourself to a premium cabin (1-2 people) which feature a private bathroom with sink, shower and WC. Trains between Marseille and Milan offer Standard Class seating, as well as First Class, which has wider reclining seats for extra comfort.
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 Marseille St-Charles to Nice Ville 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 Marseille St-Charles and Nice Ville is 4 hours and 13 minutes, with around 7 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 Marseille St-Charles to Nice Ville is 2 hours and 39 minutes.
Train tickets from Marseille St-Charles to Nice Ville can start from as little as €20 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 Marseille St-Charles to Nice Ville without having to change trains. There are 6 direct trains from Marseille St-Charles to Nice Ville. Though there may be fewer direct services available depending on your exact departure date.
The first train from Marseille St-Charles to Nice Ville leaves at 05:58. Times and services may vary during weekends and holidays.
The last train from Marseille St-Charles to Nice Ville leaves at 17:50. 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 Marseille St-Charles to Nice Ville cover a distance of around 98 miles (158 km) during the journey.
If you’re making your way on foot to Marseille Saint-Charles station, don’t take the big stairs outside. A Marseille local once gave me this precious advice (especially handy if you have heavy suitcases with you) – turn to your left, at the foot of the stairs there’s a subway entrance. Enter there and look for the escalators going up – they’ll take you directly to the heart of Marseille St-Charles station. I can’t thank this person enough for helping me avoid a painful climb!
Departing Marseille Saint-Charles
Having arrived a few minutes before boarding time for the TGV Lyria towards Nice, I sat in the waiting area near the entrance. There’s also the opportunity to do some shopping here – there’s an Air de Provence perfume shop, a Micro Mania and a Relay inside the station. The toilets are located along platform A, but you’ll have to pay a fee for access. (€ 0.80). If you’re hungry, the station also has a McDonald's, but the Relay also sells snacks and sandwiches.
You’re advised to validate your ticket at one of the yellow machines located on the platforms before boarding the TGV Lyria. However, as I had an eticket I printed before going to the station, I was able to board without any issues or having to worry about validating.
On board the TGV Lyria
As you reserve a seat when you book the ticket, I had no difficulty finding mine on the train (each ticket will feature your carriage and seat number). The carriages of the TGV Lyria are numbered at each door, and you can see which carriage is where on the train by looking at the order on the screens located on the platform. As for your seat, you’ll find the number on the headrest of each seat inside the carriage.
You can leave your luggage in the dedicated areas at each end of the carriage. If you have smaller luggage or your suitcase isn’t too heavy, you can also store it on the shelf above your seat.
Speaking of seats, whether you’re travelling in First or Second class, they are very comfortable. I was in First Class on this trip, on a single seat near the window. In addition to the very quiet atmosphere in the carriage, each seat has a removable table, a footrest and an individual power socket, although there was no WiFi on this journey. The seats also recline, great for if you want to take a nap.
If you travel by day, make sure you don’t miss the amazing landscape through the window! You won’t be disappointed by the breath-taking mountains and glistening seas that roll by. The TGV Lyria journey from Marseille to Nice stops at Toulon, St-Raphael, Cannes and Antibes on its way to Nice Ville.
There was a bit of a delay during my journey, the train stopped near Toulon because of... goats on the track! The attendants told us the news with a touch of humour – not a problem at all!
I was very happy to eat at the TGV bar during the trip, located in the middle of the train, serving snacks and drinks. This bar offers menus by chef Mathieu Castex, but prices are rather high – € 4.80 for a cappuccino, €3 for a Coca-Cola or €7.50 for a croque monsieur.
Arriving in Nice
We end our trip at Nice Ville station, located north of the city and about 20-minutes from the sea. If you need to take a connection from here, the station is served by TGV, Intercity and TER trains to other French cities, TGV Lyria trains to Switzerland and Thello trains to Italy.
Estelle 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.