Top routes and destinations from Italy to France
It's easy to travel by train between Italy and France, conveniently journeying between these two countries' major cities. Better yet, the stations and stops where the main train routes operate often place you directly in or near the city centre, letting you kick off your trip as quickly as possible.
Big city lights
In terms of city visits, they don't get much grander than Paris. However, direct trains from Italy also zip you straight to the fabulous cities of Marseille, Lyon or Dijon, all of which are worth a visit depending on what tickles your fancy – Marseille is a vibrant melting pot with amazing international cuisine, Lyon is your gateway to the Alps with endless summer and winter sport opportunities, and Dijon, the 15th-century capital of the Dukes of Burgundy, was largely undamaged during World War II and has more of its historical city core intact than other French cities.
Uncover quieter regions and villages
France and Italy both have excellent national railway systems, and even the smallest-seeming of villages usually has a train platform. That makes it easy to reach remote regions and villages where you can get a more authentic feel for local life. If you'd like to find yourself beside the seaside, that's easy, too – whether the Côte d'Azur beaches or the picturesque towns of the Cinque Terre, you'd be surprised how many places a train can get to.
Why take the train?
Instead of spending hours (and euros) getting to and from the airport, travelling by train means you can usually go straight from city centre to city centre. As well as saving loads of time and hassle, taking the train lets you relax and enjoy your journey – no stop-start boarding procedures or compulsory seat-belt fastenings means you’re free to stroll around the carriage, watch the scenery out the window, get some work done or read a book in peace.
Travelling with an Interrail or Eurail pass opens up a world of freedom and flexibility. But if your absolute preference is saving time and money, then you're really going to like this – overnight sleeper trains also double as a night's accommodation! You don't have to slum it, either – for example, the overnight sleeper between Venice and Paris offers beds in shared 4- or 6-person cabins as well as premium single or double cabins with your own private bathroom, breakfast service and a complimentary newspaper in the morning.
From Italy to Paris by train
Paris, a European cultural, social, and economic powerhouse, is hardly a city that needs an introduction. But the City of Light has a lot more going for it than the well-known tourist clichés – skip the croissant and instead eat modern Moroccan in the neighbourhood Le Marais, visit one of the cavernous jazz clubs on Rue des Lombards, or walk along sections of the abandoned Little Belt Railway that have been converted into public parks. It's easy to get direct trains from Italy to Paris. You can book right here with us through our partners SNCF.
The high-speed TGV train – which reaches speeds of up to 270 km/h, or 167 mph – runs three daily round trips between Paris, Turin and Milan. Taking just over seven hours from Milan to Paris, this is the fastest way to travel by train from Italy to Paris. But it's not the only way – if you're coming from the city where Romeo met Juliet, take the 10-hour train from Venice to Paris operated by Thello, which runs through Verona. This route also operates a sleeper service, so you can choose to book either a seat, a shared berth compartment or a bed in a private cabin.
From Italy to Lyon by train
Lyon is a beautiful, historic city, watched over by numerous church towers scattered across Fourvière Hill, the site where the city was founded by the Romans. As France's third-biggest city and the birthplace of cinema, it's also a vibrant modern metropolis with a rich art and theatre scene. A lot of people think of Lyon as the main point of entry to the many famous ski resorts of the French Alps, although the city itself is also certainly worth a visit for its mix of history, culture, and gastronomy.
It only takes 5h 48m to go from Milan to Lyon by train, following a beautiful scenic route towards and then through the mountains. It's a great time-saving option for anybody hoping to get some work done, video call the family back home, or binge a television show while travelling!
From Italy to the French Riviera by train
The playground of the rich and famous and a cursory setting for basically any James Bond movie, the Côte d'Azur – otherwise known as the French Riviera – gets every kind of jewel-in-the-crown cliché thrown at it that you can imagine. But once you see the special way the sun glistens off the sea, it's hard to argue that these praises aren't deserved. From the glitz and glamour of Monaco to the grand theatres of Cannes, the colourful streets of Nice to the picturesque seaside fortress of Antibes, trains get you straight to the very heart of the French Riviera's diverse towns.
The main train route from Italy to France here is the Milan to Marseille line, on which you can travel from Genoa to Nice in as little as 3h 01m. The real advantage of train travel in the French Riviera, though, is the brilliant local regional trains that connect the cities, towns, and even tiny villages along the coast. These stations are almost always located in the heart of town, often right by the beach, making it incredibly easy and stress-free to get around.
With so many train travel options and such great destinations, it's hard to think of reasons not to choose to travel by train from Italy to France. See our pages for information on trains in France and Italy, or to make a booking.