France is one of the world’s most popular destinations for many reasons, one of them being that it has something to offer to travelers of all budgets! There is truly a Eurail France itinerary for everyone. Plus, the Eurail France Pass is on sale right now! (And stay tuned for an awesome giveaway at the end of this post!)
#1 Eurail France Itinerary for Small Budgets: Paris to French Riviera in the Off Season
We recommend starting this Eurail France itinerary in Paris. Once you arrive, take the RER B into the city center rather than a cab. A cab will set you back about $50, but the RER B costs around $10. And guess what: if you have a Eurail France Pass, RER B is included in the pass!
When you’re ready to move on from Paris, grab your Eurail France Pass and hop on the train. We recommend traveling during the off season (autumn is ideal) for lower prices on hotels, food, and basically everything else. This is a great time of year to experience the otherwise crowded French Riviera, and the trains make it easy to hop between the little towns. Cannes, Antibes, Nice, Monaco — these are all easily accessible from a pretty train ride along the sea, and the best part? The trains that run this route are the regional TER trains, meaning you just board with your rail pass and you don’t need to book any additional seat reservation supplements.
Try this: Economy Class on TGV. This is technically “second class” and is the perfect choice for travelers on a budget, because it’s still so comfortable! You won’t be cramped into a tiny airplane-sized seat, and you’ll be able to get up and stretch your legs and even pay a visit to the bar car if you’re hungry for a snack.
#2: Eurail France Itinerary for Medium Budgets: French Castles and Wine
So you don’t want to spend every last penny you’ve got, but you also want to treat yourself a little — you’re on vacation, after all! We recommend starting this Eurail France itinerary in Paris too. After Paris, hop on the train and head down to one of the many famous chateaux in the region! You’ll feel like a royal without having to pay a ton of money to do so. We recommend Chateau Chambord, one of the most recognizable chateaux in the world — take the train to Blois Chambord, and then either the shuttle or a taxi from the train station.
To continue the royal treatment, why not try some of the best wine that France has to offer? In 2017, the TGV train ride from Paris to Bordeaux was shortened by 1 hour, meaning that you can now reach the wine capital in just two hours. Make the most of your time and try one of the many fabulous (and affordable!) wine tastings, workshops, and tours.
Try this: Comfort Class on TGV. This is technically “first class,” and the great thing is that often, the cost of first class seats is often not much more than the cost of second class seats. This is way different than the airlines, where the difference in price can be hundreds of dollars!
#3: Eurail France Itinerary for Large Budgets: French Riviera + Culinary Feasts + Champagne!
You might only make it to France once in your lifetime — might as well make the most of it! Once again, we recommend starting in Paris. Treat yourself to a luxury dining cruise along the Seine and watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle when the sun goes down.
After Paris, take the train down to Monaco — even though it’s technically a different country, it’s still included as part of the Eurail France Pass! Try your luck at the famous casino and take in the stunning view from the hillside aquarium. Nice is just a 25 minute train ride away (included with your Eurail France Pass), and it’s home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. You’ll see like you stepped right onto the set of a classic French film from decades ago…
From Nice, it’s just about 4.5 hours via TGV to Lyon, which is indisputably the culinary capital of France and possibly of Europe. Try a classic “bouchon,” the style of restaurant traditional to this city, and maybe even mingle with a chef during a cooking workshop or pastry-making class.
After all of that delicious food, you’ll probably be a bit thirsty. Voila: Champagne! You can visit the most prestigious tasting rooms in Reims and Epernay, both of which are about 3 hours by train from Lyon (but this includes a transfer in Paris).
Try this: Premier Class on the TGV. This is first class again, but an even NICER first class. Premier class is often popular with business travelers, as it is quieter and more comfortable for getting some work done. Which also means it’s more comfortable for relaxing and enjoying your vacation! Plus, meals and drinks are included in the ticket price and are served to you at your seat. Plus, your ticket gets you access to lounges in various French train stations.
And now that business is done, time for the fun: a giveaway! Fill out the easy form below for a chance to win two Disneyland Paris day passes. We’ll choose three winners in 10 days, and the day passes will be good for one entry to the park within a year of the date that we issue them. Good luck everyone! (Open to US residents only — full terms and conditions available by clicking on the link in the contest widget below. By entering this giveaway, you acknowledge that you have read and accepted these terms and conditions). (And don’t forget you can get a MAJOR DISCOUNT on Eurail France Passes if you book now!)