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updated February 2011
St Malo (35 Ile-et-Villaine, Brittany) joins the growing list of destinations served by the high speed TGV train, offering direct services to Paris, Rennes (35 Ile-et-Villaine, Brittany), Laval (53 Mayenne, Pays de la Loire) and Le Mans (72 Sarthe, Pays de la Loire). The fastest journey time to/from Paris is just under 3 hours.For more details CLICK HERE
SNCF (French Railways) are introducing from Winter 2005/6 - a new concept in train travel, made possible by their use of doube-deck trains on their high-speed TGV routes. If you're going from Paris to Aix-en-Provence,Avignon, Bordeaux, Cannes,Marseille,Montpellier,Nimes, St Raphael, Toulon or Toulouse you can choose your environment - either ZEN - tranquility - quiet, peaceful, no mobile phones, music or children - with a conductor to keep out the rowdies - or ZAP - where you can hire a DVD and player, or a games console, buy a magazine or have coffee served at your seat.. And given that the train goes city centre to city centre in little more than the flight time, then this sounds to be a pretty relaxing (or stimulating) way to get to the south of France from Paris - certainly less hassle.
Not everyone has to travel
by car, and the French railway system has to be one of the best in Europe
- especially on the highspeed TGV routes. In more rural areas the trains
may be a little more rustic, but nevertheless reliable, And in many areas
you can hire a bike from the station too.
- everyone knows about the high-speed service to Paris & Brussels but there are some through trains to other destinations such as Avignon on summer weekends. (leave London 07.09 arr Avignon 14.21) - and there are numerous connections in Lille which avoid having to change stations in Paris.
From the autumn of 2007 when the second section of the new high-speed rail link that runs from just south of Gravesend to London St Pancras opens, there will be a new international station at EBBSFLEET for Eurostar just off the M25 and A2 near Bluewater and Dartford , which will provide high speed services to Lille in 1h10 and Paris in 2h05. With 9000 parking spaces this promises to provide a good departure point for those who do not live in Central London and makes flying from London in these times of lengthy security delays quite unattractive. There will be another "International" station at Stratford in East London which will open later, and Ashford International will still be a stop for some trains. When the new sections are completed a full 20 minutes will be cut from the current journey time from Central London to Lille and Paris. The current best time from London (Waterloo) to Paris (Gare du Nord) is 2h35 and to Lille 1h40, Lille will become even more important in the network as it provides high-speed train TGV connections to many destinations in France without having to change stations in Paris - and of course Eurostar run some services direct from the UK to Avignon and the French Alpes. For more info see www.eurostar.com/
The next high-speed train under the Alps ... will be in 2020 - work is to start on a new high speed line linking Lyon and Turin in northern Italy - this massive project will include 53km of tunnels under the Alps and will cut the current travel time of 4 hours to just 1h45m!!
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