Update Feb 22, 2013
Gares-en-mouvement.com has removed the itinerary builder from their site and are now asking visitors to use the individual train company sites for searching/building train itineraries.
Here’s the list of itinerary builders for French train companies, in English where available:
- Transilien – Normal-speed trains serving suburban Paris & cities in Ile-de-France
- Ter – Normal-speed trains serving departmental regions in France
- iDTGV – High-speed, often discount, Internet-sales-only branch of TGV train group. Limited destinations principally Paris, Lyon, Avignon, Bordeaux, Nice, Montpellier.
- TGV Lyria – High-speed Paris Switzerland trains
- Eurostar – High-speed Paris London trains
- Thalys – High-speed Paris, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany trains
- TGV – High-speed trains serving major cities across France
- Intercities – Normal-speed day & overnight trains serving major cities across France
- Thello – Normal-speed trains from Paris to Northern Italy
The information below is now out-of-date, but will be kept for posterity.
A powerful new train schedule/itinerary search tool by SNCF is now available at Gares-en-mouvement.com (only in French, see below for instructions on using the site). This site makes it easy to plan a train trip in France. This site is much easier to use than ticket reseller sites when searching for train timetables. Keep in mind that this site only provides train schedules and itineraries; You cannot buy train tickets from this site. To buy train tickets, use the official ticket reseller for your country of residence:
The great thing about finding train schedules using Gares-en-Mouvement is that it covers all of France from big cities like Paris, Lyon, Marseille, to the small villages like Beaune, and Chartres all on one website. Furthermore, it covers all the different types of trains you can take in France. There’s no need to switch websites to find schedules for each different train subsidiary of SNCF: Transilien, Ter, Voyages SNCF, idTGV, Corail Téoz, Corail Lunéa, etc.
However, I would not recommend using Gares-en-Mouvement for train itineraries within a single city such as on the Paris Metro & RER, as the results can be incredibly wrong with itineraries taking days. For train timetable searches within a city, use that city’s public transportation website instead, for example: RATP.fr for Paris, www.tcl.fr for Lyon, www.rtm.fr for Marseille, etc.
How to Search for Train Schedules/Timetables
Start by choosing a station or Gare as your departure city or point.
Then click on the link “Recherche d’horaires” (“Search Schedules”) on the left column of links.
You’ll be presented with a search page with departure point pre-filled and the date of travel set to today.
Enter a city after the “à“. You should see a list of stations appear below the text box after typing in the city name. Select your destination station from this list. Then set your travel date and time of departure. Finally, click Recherche (“Search”). (If you’re unsure of which destination station you should choose, enter just the city destination and the search tool will automatically select the largest station for the city).
A maximum of 3 train itineraries will be returned with the option of seeing details about each itinerary.
The results are ordered chronologically with the number of connections required (“changements”), and total travel time (“durée”).
Clicking the blue magnifying glass button beside an itinerary will show details of that trip basically each train or connection required.
Each connection will be shown with the type of train or other form of transport (as not all connections are by train, some are by foot or bus):
- BAN – Banlieue (“Suburban”) train either RER or Transilien train,
- Ter – Ter/Transilien commuter train,
- TGV – “Train à Grande Vitesse” / High-speed trains,
- “Autre mode de transport” – Walking (to make transfers between trains)
- CAR – Autocar (“bus”)
You can search different starting stations by simply changing the text within the text box beside “Voyage de” (“Trip from”). As you type the name of a city, the site will offer you suggestions of stations which show up automatically below the text box. This helps prevent spelling mistakes and gives you choices of which stations you can select. For example, typing in “Paris” in the first text box will return a multitude of results whereupon you can use your keyboard’s down arrow to move down the list and press Enter to select the station you wish to depart from.
Buying Train Tickets
Remember that Gares-en-Mouvement is for finding train schedules, not buying train tickets. For buying train tickets in France, here are the official resellers for your country:
When purchasing tickets, these sites will ask you where you want your tickets delivered. If your country is different than the region the website is covering, you’ll be redirected to the official reseller for your country of residence and you’ll have to start the ticket search process again.