French train tickets - ticket types & discounts

Loco2 is directly connected to the booking system of the French national rail operator, SNCF. There are plenty of cheap trains tickets available in France, with the cheapest found by searching as far in advance as possible.

Most French trains open for booking three months in advance (though many international trains to/from France open four months in advance), and this is when you'll find the cheapest tickets.

We always recommend booking as far in advance as possible to get the cheapest French train tickets. For more details on booking horizons, please see How far in advance can I book?

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French train ticket types & discounts

SNCF offers various different tickets with discounts of up to 70% on long distance trains, including high-speed TGVs.

Fare conditions vary, with the cheapest tickets usually offering the least flexibility while those that are more expensive tickets tend have fewer restrictive, often permitting refunds and exchanges. You should always check the fare conditions associated with your tickets before buying, and if necessary read more general information about Ticket Types: Fares & Flexibility.

Fare type Details Price/Discount
Prems 'Prems' tickets are the cheapest train tickets for long distance trains in France, offering a discount when booking non-flexible tickets in advance. Available nationwide on high-speed TGV services, InterCity and night trains (Intercités du Nuit). Must be purchased at least 14 days before departure. Up to 70% discount versus Flexible fares.
Tribu Discount for small groups on TGV and Intercity trains. Valid for groups of 4 to 7 people travelling together.  Variable depending on the route and how far in advance you book
Leisure
(Loisir)
Leisure tickets are less restrictive than 'Prems' but are available on the same services - high-speed TGVs, InterCity and night trains (Intercités du Nuit). Leisure 1 can be booked up to and including the day of travel; Leisure 2 must be purchased at least 10 days before travel, but the price of both varies depending on availability so neither is necessarily cheaper than the other. Variable, based on availability at the time of search.
Flexible (Pro) Full price tickets, offering maximum flexibility. Available up to and including the day of travel. Full price tickets.
Essential Promotional fares from Renfe-SNCF for France/Spain high-speed trains, offering up to 70% off Flexi fares. Book up to midnight the day before departure. Price depends on availability. Up to 70% discount on Flexi fares.
Flexi Full price tickets from Renfe-SNCF for France/Spain high-speed trains. Available up to and including the day of travel. Full price tickets.
Semi-flexible (Eurostar) Eurostar Semi-Flexible fares vary in price depending on availability. A discount is available for return tickets. Concessions are available for Youth and Senior fares (usually only a few £s off) and children (approximately 20% off). Available up to and including the day of travel but likely to be more expensive close to departure. Up to 85% cheaper than Fully Flexible tickets. From £45 one-way or £79 return.
Off-Peak semi-flexible return (Eurostar) Eurostar offers cheaper fares for return tickets at specified off-peak times. They are valid for travel from midday on Monday until Thursday evening and between midday and midnight on Saturdays. Available up to and including the day of travel but likely to be more expensive close to departure. From £69 return.
Saturday Night Away semi-flexible return (Eurostar) Compulsory return with a Saturday night away. These are more expensive than ordinary semi-flexible tickets due to the popularity of trips that span a weekend. Available up to and including the day of travel but likely to be more expensive close to departure. From £149 return.
Fully-flexible (Eurostar) Full price tickets, offering maximum flexibility. Available up to and including the day of travel. Most expensive.
French Connection (Eurostar) Tickets issued by Eurostar that combine Eurostar services with onward travel in France. They can be cheaper (but not always) than booking separate Eurostar and TGV tickets. Available from 3 months in advance of travel. Variable depending on route.
Espace privatif
Private use of an entire couchette compartment on a sleeper train. We currently don't have access to this fare since we are connected to the UK subsidiary of SNCF, but we are working hard to offer this fare soon.
Currently unavailable
Forfait bambin Free reservation for a child traveller under four years old on TGV, TER and Intercity trains. We currently don't have access to this fare since we are connected to the UK subsidiary of SNCF, but we are working hard to offer this fare soon.
Currently unavailable

Railcard discounts in France

Railcards  Details  Price/Discount
Carte Senior+  

Senior railcard for travellers over the age of 60. 
Card costs €60 and is valid for one year . Receive 25 - 40% discount in First Class, and 25% in Standard Class.
Carte Escapade
Weekend railcard for travellers over the age of 28.
Card costs €75 and is valid for one year. 25% off TGV, TER and Intercites trains, and up to 50% off weekend off-peak periods. 
Carte jeune 12 - 17
Youth railcard for ages 12-17. Card costs €50 and is valid for one year. 30% off TGV and Intercites trains with reservations, and up to 50% off TER and Intercites without reservations during off-peak periods.   
Carte jeune 18 - 28   Youth railcard for ages 18 - 28.      Card costs €50 and is valid for one year. 30% off TGV and Intercites trains with reservations, and up to 50% off TER and Intercites without reservations during off-peak periods.   
Carte enfant +
Child's railcard for travellers under age 12. Card costs €75 and is valid for one year. 50% discounts for children, and up to 25% discount for two travelling companions. 
Important things to note:
  • All tickets and special offers are subject to availability.
  • Please refer to the fare conditions for applicable terms.
  • Tickets are available in Euros or converted in GBP

We aim to keep this information up to date, but it should be referred to as a guide only. Please let us know if you think information needs updating.

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