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A rail trip to France offers the chance to experience the breathtaking architecture, sophisticated art and the glorious food of one of the world’s most culturally identifiable countries.

France’s political and cultural history is as complex as it is impressive. It offers a starkly contrasting mixture of quaint, rural villages and huge cities you could spend a lifetime exploring. The French countryside is colourful and elegant; and the many successful French vineyards are just a single element of France’s beautiful greenery. While the major French cities are a spectacle in themselves, make sure you visit a few of the numerous little villages dotted about between the cities.

Things to know

  • Each February, the coastal French resort of Nice is transformed into a fiesta of colourful flowers for the Nice Carnival & Flower Parade. Flower covered floats and costumes characters take to the streets in a cloud of colour 
  • Situated in the small French village of Chartres, you will find the home and gardens of the famous painter Claude Monet. You can view the breath-taking grounds which inspired many of the artists’ works here
  • There are over 400 different types of cheeses originating in France and in fact, French cuisine is deemed so delicious that it actually has its own UNESCO World Heritage statue

Key Destinations

Mont Blanc Express
France by rail

France currently operates the second largest rail network in Europe, with a total of just under thirty thousand kilometres of railway spanning the country. Not only is it home of the Eurostar, transporting travellers from the UK via the English Channel, it also operates the highspeed TGV which connects all the major cities in the country. As well as its impressive highspeed network. France also offers some incredibly scenic rail journeys. One of the most stunning rides you can take is on the Mont Blanc Express
Monte Carlo
Fantastic cities

The highlight of France is no doubt Paris, its capital city. Here you can see iconic landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Notre-Dame Cathedral. The south of France is the playgroup for the rich and famous with Monte Carlo, home to the renowned grand prix circuit and St Tropez being the hotspots for jet-setters from all over the world. If sightseeing doesn’t take your fancy, you can disappear into one of the hundreds of dainty cafés located throughout the cities and sample the local delicacies.
French Food
Food and drink

France’s wine is world famous. The French are known for their attention to detail in wine making, where every flavour or element is heavily calculated, ensuring a complex and nuanced taste, regardless of the grape or vintage. French food is just as sophisticated: the nation’s breads, cheeses, and meats are among the world’s finest, and its restaurants are arguably the most sophisticated in the entire world. The food, wine and fine dining in France make it the ultimate holiday destination for any foodie or oenophile.  
Monet's Garden
Rich cultural history

In France the culture lives and breathes in its cities and is remembered in its museums and art galleries. Priceless works of art and spectacular sights are dotted all around the country, from the Louvre in Paris, to Monet’s Garden in Giverny; and on top of all of that, France’s assortment of opera, street performers, dance and music make it one of the most sought-after holiday destinations in the world. France’s cultural offering provides a rich, rewarding experience for visitors, and a rail holiday is a wonderful way to see and do as much as possible in this exciting country.i