Lyon-Perrache station is closer to the old town area

Marseille to Lyon by train

How to take the train from Marseille to Lyon

When taking a train from Marseille to central Lyon there is a choice between:

(1) Taking TGV trains, which use the high speed line between the two cities.

  1. Taking less frequent TER trains which are also slower because they don't use the high speed line.
    But if the timings suit and you'll be booking tickets last minute at the station they will be cheaper.
    Or if you will be travelling with a rail pass, you can avoid the rail pass reservation fees payable on the TGVs by taking those TER trains instead.
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Routes

Option 1: taking the TGV trains

Travel Information

Final Destination: Various including Lyon, Bruxelles, Dijon, Strasbourg, Le Havre, Luxembourg and Geneve

When taking a train from Marseille to Lyon Part-Dieu station there is a choice between:

  1. Taking these TGV trains, which use the high speed line between the two cities.
  2. Taking the alternative TER trains, which are almost two hours slower because they don't use the high speed line.

If you will be buying tickets last minute at the station, those TER trains will be cheaper, but if you can book online in advance, particularly more than 10 days ahead, you will save by taking these TGV trains.

However, rail pass users should target those TER trains

Mon-Sat: 13 x trains per day
Sunday: 12 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.

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.

Taking the alternative TER services:

There are also slower TER trains between Marseille and Lyon, but the discounted 'Prems' tickets for these InOui services will be (much) cheaper, unless you're buying tickets no more than a few days before the travel date, OR on the day of travel.

So if you'll be buying last minute at the station, booking tickets for those alternative TER trains will be a much cheaper option.

Rail pass users can save money by taking those TER trains.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
SNCF Connect from €20

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 €20
Saveatrain from €20

Saveatrain Guide

Trainline from €20

Trainline Guide

RailEurope from €20

On this journey

Journey Features

High Speed

Good to Know

Taking the 'alternative' Ouigo services:

When you up this journey on Oui.SNCF or Trainline, you will see alternative (much cheaper) Ouigo services.

But three* of these four daily Ouigo services don't arrive at Lyon Part-Dieu station - instead they call at St.Exupéry station at Lyon airport; which is linked to Part-Dieu station by the Rhonexpress tram service.

Though if...

  • you don't mind having to make that transfer
  • putting up with the more basic service on the Ouigo train.
  • being at St.Charles station at least 30mins before the train departs
    ...you can usually make a big saving by taking those Ouigo services.

*The Ouigo train which departs daily at 18:44 arrives at Perrache station in Lyon city centre, so if that timing suits, it can be a particularly good option on this route.

Between Marseille and Avignon Between Marseille and Avignon
Between Avignon and Valence Between Avignon and Valence
Between Valence and Lyon Between Valence and Lyon

The high speed line by-passes the city of Lyon, so the train will come off it around 15 -20mins before it arrives at Part-Dieu station.

Option 2: taking the TER trains

Travel Information

Final Destination: Lyon-Part Dieu

When taking a train from Marseille to Lyon there is a choice between:

(1) Taking alternative TGV trains, which use the high speed line between the two cities.

  1. Taking these TER trains, which are more than 90 mins slower because they stick to the older route and don't use the high speed line.

If you will be buying tickets last minute at the station, these TER trains will be cheaper, but if you can book online in advance, particularly more than 10 days ahead, you will save by taking those TGV trains.

However, rail pass users should target these TER trains.

3 x trains per day

Tickets

Book early and save: No

Tickets will cost the same price if purchased at the station immediately before departure on these TER trains.

These TER trains between Marseilles and Lyon are slower than the TGV InOui trains, and the limited numbers of discounted 'Prems' tickets for those alternative TGVs will be (much) cheaper.

So if you're booking ahead, it's likely that those TGV trains will be a better option.

However, if you'll be buying at the station on the day, these TER trains will be around €10 cheaper.

Rail pass users should take these TER trains.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
SNCF Connect *

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

On this journey

Journey Features

Not High Speed

The railway travels through the valley carved by the River Rhone, but the glimpses of the river itself are fleeting, though south of Montélimar comes the most spectacular part of the journey where the railway travels through a narrower rocky gorge.

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