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France's Train Revolution

France’s Train Revolution


Full Steam Ahead for Cheap Train Travel in France

Train travel will play a huge part in France’s Rugby World Cup 2023 Infrastructure. We take a look at how they are reacting to this.

We are huge fans of train travel. Trains, for us at least, are not about speed. Trains should meander; big windows offering up unspoiled views of rolling countryside. Weaving between snow dusted mountains. All the bits you would usually miss between point A and point B. It should be about the journey as much as the destination. You should be able to book on a whim, last minute and for a good price. 

The French have been so forward thinking here, they’ve gone backwards. Reacting to the disruption of the last few years, Ouigo (if you can forgive the clumsy, Franglais mash-up) is a throwback to 20th Century train travel.

The speed of the newer TGV has been swapped for the steady efficiency of older models and routes. Though significantly cheaper, they'll travel at half the speed of their more modern relatives. You'd be forgiven for indignantly declaring, “this will double my journey!" The more creative among us see this as an opportunity. That saving will go a long way towards a nice bottle of Bordeaux red and a carriage-emptying cheese to accompany it.

So the choice is simple; if you’re willing to spend a little more time, you’ll be repaid in the ability to travel vast distances for extremely reasonable fares, quite possibly in a private carriage, depending on the severity of your cheese selection. 

With the introduction of a new line from Paris to Lyon, along with a great network of pre-existing routes, the Ouigo model makes use of old lines and stations and creates access to previously costly and difficult to reach areas. The booking system is completely online, meaning no lengthy waits in ticket queues and the pricing model means even last-minute tickets will stay within a reasonable pricing bracket.

We’re very excited for the possibilities this presents our Supporters groups to explore France and experience train travel the way we think it ought to be for the Rugby World Cup in 2023. 

Listen to more on the Ouigo train network and how it is changing travel within France, with the excellent Simon Calder here – Ouigo – Slow and Cheap French Trains

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