Eurostar Connections In Lille

Marseille to Lille by train

How to take the thrilling high speed train journey from Marseille to Lille

You can only take high speed trains across France from Marseille to Lille station, but both the regular TGV InOui services and low-cost, but more basic, Ouigo services share the route.
It's particularly worthwhile to click on the Train Guides below so that you can compare the two train services.

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Routes

Option 1: taking the regular InOui services

Travel Information

Final Destination: Bruxelles or Lille

All trains also call at: Marne La Vallée and Aeroport-CDG

You can avoid having to cross Paris from the Gare De Lyon to the Gare Du Nord by taking these direct trains from Marseille to Lille.

Monday to Friday: 4 x trains per day
Saturday: 5 x trains
Sunday: 4 x trains

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings usually open: 4 months ahead of the travel date - but bookings can open sooner when SNCF is running a promotion.

The train service between Marseille and Lille is now split between these TGV-InOui services and alternative Ouigo services.
Both services can be compared and booked on Trainline and Oui.SNCF, though those Ouigo services are usually more than 50% cheaper on this route.

Booking these InOui services:

When booking 2nd class tickets only one type of ticket will be available per departure, discounted 'Prems' tickets or 'Seconde' tickets; though the price of Seconde tickets are also typically cheaper when they are first placed on sale.
When booking 1st class tickets there will be a choice of Premiere tickets and Business Premiere tickets.

The two key T&Cs of booking Prems, Seconde, or Premiere tickets are:

  1. Up until two days prior to departure, these types of tickets can be refunded for no additional charge (big tick), but a €15 fee will be payable for making a refund in the two days prior to departure.
  2. It's also possible to exchange tickets to an alternative departure on the same journey, but you will have to pay any difference in price between the cost you paid and the cost at the time of the exchange.

Though if you book Business Premiere tickets, the key T&Cs are that tickets can be exchanged and refunded free of charge up to 30 minutes after departure, so if you get to the station just too late to miss the train you were originally booked on to, you won't lose out financially.

Seats will automatically be assigned when booking tickets for this journey, but rail pass users will need to be pay a reservation fee prior to boarding these TGV trains.

The price is dictated by demand per departure, so book ahead and try and be flexible re: your departure and arrival times, as trains leaving earlier or later can be cheaper.

When making an online booking, check that you’re looking at booking info for the direct trains - if you particularly want to avoid the transfer across Paris.

Though those journey options via Paris, which involve...

(1) Taking a TGV from Marseille to Paris Gare de Lyon 
(2) Making the transfer from the Gare De Lyon to the Gare Du Nord
(3) Taking a TGV train from Paris to Lille,

....can be cheaper than taking these direct trains.

Travelling with Eurail and InterRail passes:

In theory, if you will be travelling with a valid Eurail or InterRail pass, you can book reservations for these direct TGV-InOui trains.

However, whenever we have tried to book rail pass reservations for these InOui services to Lille, we have instead been given the option to travel via Paris; though if that occurs, you will only have to pay one fee.

Rail passes cannot be used on the alternative Ouigo trains, but if you will be travelling with a 2nd class pass, our guide to using rail passes in France, explains why taking a Ouigo train can be worth considering.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
SNCF Connect from €49

SNCF Connect Guide

SNCF is the national rail operator in France and not so long ago it recently simplified both the range of tickets and the term and conditions of using them.
Therefore the cheapest tickets also become more flexible too.

Other improvements included a simple integration of travelling with bicycles and rail pass users being able to book reservations for national journeys, without paying booking fees.

And it also recently launched SNCF Connect as replacement for its Oui.SNCF booking service.
You can set up a low price alert to let you know when the cheapest price is available for a future journey.

Something else to look out for is that simplest way of travelling with tickets is to use the SNCF Connect App, as booked tickets can therefore be stored on your mobile device, which can then be shown to the train conductors as proof of purchase.

SNCF Connect on Google Play

SNCF Connect in the App (Apple) store

SNCF also operates RailEurope, which is in effect a dedicated online booking service for making bookings from outside of Europe.
If you reside outside of Europe you may discover that SNCF Connect rejects phone numbers or card numbers, but RailEurope won't do so.
Though RailEurope will add booking fees when making a purchase

Download the SNCF Connect App from €49
Saveatrain from €49

Saveatrain Guide

RailEurope from €49
Trainline from €49

Trainline Guide

On this journey

Journey Features

High Speed

Good to Know

You can also now opt to travel from Marseille to Lille by Ouigo trains, they take the same high speed lines as these InOui services.

They're (much) cheaper than taking these standard InOui trains, but the on-board experience is more basic.

You also need to be at the station 30 mins prior to departure of Ouigo trains, so that you'll have time to pass through Ouigo's pre-boarding checks.

Option 2: taking the cheaper, but more basic Ouigo services

Travel Information

Final Destination: Lille-Flandres

When making a train journey from Lille to Marseille, you now have a choice of travelling by standard TGV InOui trains or by these Ougio trains.
So you can now opt to save money, but have a much more basic on board experience, and travel on a Ouigo.

Though a plus of taking a Ouigo for a Marseille to Lille train journey, can be that these Ouigo trains arrive at the main city centre station,

While most of those alternative TGV InOui services arrive at Lille Europe station.

2 x trains per day
Another daily train, the evening departures arrives at Tourcoing instead of Lille. Tourcoing-Sebastapol station on the Lille Metro is a a five minute walk from Tourcoing railway station.

Tickets

Online bookings usually open: 6 months ahead of the travel date

Tickets for the alternative service of TGV InOui trains are usually made available 4 months ahead, so if you look up this journey more than 4 months ahead on SNCF Connect, you may only see these Ouigo services, but they are not the only option on this route.

What is particularly worth being aware of when booking tickets for journeys by Ouigo train services, is that:

  • Premiere/1st class tickets are not available.
  • Reservations are included when booking, as they are on the TGV InOui trains, but you can opt to pay additional fess, or book a more expensive type of ticket to select a specific seat (more info is available on the Ouigo 'Train Guide').
  • The more expensive type of tickets also include an additional luggage allowance, click the Ouigo 'Train Guide' to access more info on the luggage allowances on Ouigo trains; they're more restrictive than on a TGV InOui train.
  • You cannot book or collect tickets for Ouigo trains at stations.
  • The two key T&Cs of booking either of the two types of ticket available for journeys by Ouigo trains are:
  1. The tickets are not refundable.
  2. Exchanges to alternative departures are possible until 1 hour before the beginning of the boarding procedure, but they incur a fee of €10 per passenger, with any price difference between the old and new ticket(s) also added to this fee.

Though these factors, and more, are why you can make big savings by opting to travel by these Ouigo trains and not on the standard TGV InOui trains.

Eurail and InterRail Pass Users:

Rail passes cannot be used on Ouigo trains, but if you will be travelling with a 2nd class pass, our guide to using rail passes in France, explains why taking a Ouigo train can be worth considering

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
SNCF Connect from €16

SNCF Connect Guide

SNCF is the national rail operator in France and not so long ago it recently simplified both the range of tickets and the term and conditions of using them.
Therefore the cheapest tickets also become more flexible too.

Other improvements included a simple integration of travelling with bicycles and rail pass users being able to book reservations for national journeys, without paying booking fees.

And it also recently launched SNCF Connect as replacement for its Oui.SNCF booking service.
You can set up a low price alert to let you know when the cheapest price is available for a future journey.

Something else to look out for is that simplest way of travelling with tickets is to use the SNCF Connect App, as booked tickets can therefore be stored on your mobile device, which can then be shown to the train conductors as proof of purchase.

SNCF Connect on Google Play

SNCF Connect in the App (Apple) store

SNCF also operates RailEurope, which is in effect a dedicated online booking service for making bookings from outside of Europe.
If you reside outside of Europe you may discover that SNCF Connect rejects phone numbers or card numbers, but RailEurope won't do so.
Though RailEurope will add booking fees when making a purchase

Ouigo from €16
Trainline from €16

Trainline Guide

On this journey

Journey Features

High Speed

Good to Know

Something not particularly obvious, is that these Ouigo trains are faster than the TGV InOui trains on this Marseille route (they actually skip more stations and avoid travelling through central Lyon).

However, this journey time saving will be negated by the need to be at the station 30 mins before the Ouigo train departs.
And that's because you need to pass through 'reception' before boarding a Ouigo train; the staff need to verify that all passengers are abiding by the 'rules' of travelling on a Ouigo train, no additional un-booked luggage, no bikes etc.

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