France Launches New Low Cost, High-Speed Train Service

Low cost
isn’t just for the skies anymore. This week, French rail service SNCF launched its new low cost service Ouigo, a no-frills option for the traveler that wants a more moderately priced ticket but wants to take advantage of the high-speed service that France is known for. The new train service will link Paris and Lyon to Marseille and Montpellier on the southern coast of France.

Service will commence April 2, 2013, but in an attempt to woo travelers, SNCF is offering up tickets for as low as 10 euros. Eventually tickets prices will go up to 85 euros. Regular TGV tickets can often be booked for much less if you happen to score a good promotion, but French travelers will tell you that often that means booking far in advance. Have a low cost option for last minute travel is always a good thing.

As is common with low cost airlines, room for baggage aboard the new Ouigo trains is limited, so if you’re planning on taking advantage, pack light, because after your first bag, your luggage will cost you.

Sound too good to be true? As with any low cost carrier, there are some catches:

  • You will have to catch the train in Marne-la-Vallée, where Euro Disney is located, just east of Paris.
  • You can only book on the Internet.
  • There is no bar. But don’t worry; you’re in France. You’re sure to find a bottle of red wine and a corkscrew at a local market.

[Photo Credit: Train Chartering and Private Rail Cars]

French TGV operator goes kid friendly on 2 routes

During the summer months, families with kids can take advantage of special kid-friendly TGV trains on their Paris-Marseille and Paris-Montpellier routes.

Once on board, kids will be entertained by characters from Disneyland Paris, and all children will receive a goodie bag. Kids will also be able to borrow portable DVD players, gaming consoles, books and comics.

In total, 4400 seats are put on sale for each train, with tickets for children under 12 going for a nice 60% off their normal price.

This is of course good news for people taking the TGV cross country with their children, but if you are traveling without kids on those trains, it may be a bit of a madhouse, unless of course you love the sound of screaming kids running up and down the aisles.

The special trains are running from July 4th till August 1st, and depart from Paris Gare de Lyon at 9:20 am and 2:16 pm, tickets are available from the SNCF website.