There are so many great cities to visit in France which are easily accessible by train. Here is our pick of the very best.
No selection would be complete without mentioning one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the world. Paris is a city which you have to visit at least once in a lifetime. There are so many things to see and do in Paris that you could spend a whole lot of time there and only just scratch the surface of what there is to explore and experience.
When you think of Paris you tend to think first about the major tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, The Palace of Versailles and Notre Dame. These are all amazing places to visit, but also consider some lesser known places to visit.
Why not take some time to visit the Musee Marmottan-Claude Monet which houses one of the largest collections of Monet’s art and a wonderful display of Empire furniture? La Conceirgerie is located close to the famous Saint-Chappelle, but is much less touristy and is a wonderful example of a Medieval Palace. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is a lovely park which is largely undiscovered by tourists.
Paris is famous for its amazing food. Whether you are dining at a restaurant with three Michelin Stars (Paris has ten restaurants with this accolade), or enjoying a crepe from a street vendor by the side of the Seine, there is something very magical about the food in Paris.
One thing that is certain if you visit Paris – you will always be planning to go back and enjoy more of this wonderful city.
It is very easy to visit Paris by train. There are fast rail connections between many European cities and Paris.
The French Riviera is known for its beautiful beaches, historic buildings and lively culture. If you are visiting the French Riviera by train, we suggest making a stop in Nice. The pace of life is very laid back and it is an easy city to get around.
The beach in Nice is one of the most famous in the South of France. Le Promenade des Anglais is a wonderful place to take a leisurely stroll.
There is so much more to Nice than the famous beach. Old Town is a complex labyrinth of streets with so many shops, cafes and restaurants it is difficult to know where to look first. Yes, its touristy, but it also a lot of fun and no amount of ice cream shops and gift stores will take away the sense of history in the winding streets.
Visiting the bustling street markets is another must do. It is well worth allocating some time to exploring these wonderful displays of food and crafts.
There are many historical sites to visit including the Russian Cathedral which is widely thought to be the most beautiful Orthodox Church outside of Russia. To go even further back in history you can visit the Roman archeological site at Cimiez Hill.
The train station is in the heart of the city. Many hotels and tourist destinations are within easy walking distance of Nice station. If you do not want to walk it is very easy to use the local tramway to get around the city.
Strasbourg should be on your wish list of great cities to visit in France by train. It is just a two-hour train ride from Paris to Strasbourg.
Strasbourg is a beautiful medieval city. It will particularly appeal to those who want to explore the rich history of the area. The focal point of the city is the Notre Dame Cathedral. It was built in the 15th century out of pink sandstone, and the tower had the distinction of being the tallest building in Europe for over 200 years.
Those who love great food will particularly enjoy a visit to Strasbourg. If you would like to experience fabulous food in an authentic setting, head for one of the many taverns in the town.
A particularly great time to visit Strasbourg is during December when you can visit the famous Christmas Markets.
Strasbourg is of course the center of great political power as it houses the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and the Palace of European Human Rights. If you have an interest in the workings of the court system you will be pleased to learn that some of the hearings are open to the public.
A visit to Lyon is a must for anyone who wants to sample some of the very best food in France.
Lovers of architecture will also find Lyon a fascinating place to visit. Old Lyon is famous for its wonderful Renaissance buildings. The Primatiale Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral is one of the finest examples of a Gothic Cathedral in Europe.
Fourviere Hill is designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is fascinating to explore this Roman archeological site. Summer is a great time to visit as this area plays host to the Nuits de Fourvieres Festival.
The incredibly comfortable efficient TGV now offers a direct train service from London to Marseilles which takes just six and a half hours. The route is particularly beautiful and was once a regular journey stop for the Orient Express.
Once you have arrived in Marseilles there is plenty to see and do. Marseilles is a large and thriving French port. It is very cosmopolitan in culture but has a strong sense of its own history.
All visitors should spend some time exploring the Old Port of Marseilles. Take a stroll around the old streets and remember to visit the excellent Musee des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Meditarranee.
If you want to explore the more cosmopolitan side of the city you should take some time to walk around the Capucin district. Here you will step into a different world of the North African souk markets. A fascinating place to explore the North African heritage of Marseilles.
There are so many wonderful cities in France to explore by train. Which one will you visit first?