There is only a 'classic' conventional railway line between Marseille and Nice, so both the TGV and TER trains between the two locations share the exact same route.
The TGV trains are slightly faster because they make fewer station calls and if you book in advance online they can can be cheaper too.
Though when booking tickets last minute at the station, the TER trains become the cheaper option and users of Eurail and InterRail passes can also save money by travelling on them.
However, despite the two train services operating on this route, there are fewer departures overall than you might expect.
Final Destination: Nice (or Menton)
All trains also call at: Toulon; St Raphael-Valescure; Cannes and Antibes
Most trains also call at calls at: Les Arcs-Draguignan
Between Marseille and Nice the French national operator SNCF provides a mix of TGV InOui trains and TER services.
There is little difference in journey time between the two services, as there is no high speed line between these towns.
The TER trains are around 5 - 10 mins slower because they call at more stations.
Mon - Thurs = 7 x trains per day
Friday = 8 x trains
Saturday = 7 x trains
Sunday = 9x trains
6 x trains per day
Book early and save: Yes (on the TGV trains)
Online booking usually open: up to 6 months ahead
If you're booking ahead, the discounted Exchangeable - Conditions Apply (Prems) tickets for the TGV trains will USUALY be around €3 more expensive than tickets for the TER trains.
So when booking in advance, and if the departure times suit, target the TGV trains, they're faster, only slightly more expensive, more comfortable*; and seat reservations will automatically be included when booking.
*=The TER trains used on this route are more similar to commuter trains, in comparison to more modern TER trains.
In contrast to the TGVs the TER trains have a fixed price, so you won't save by booking the TER trains online.
Booking at the station:
If you will be booking last minute at the station, you may as well as book tickets for the next train to depart, irrespective of which type of train will be providing the service.
Tickets for the TER trains will be around €3 cheaper, but there is little point in avoiding the TGV trains and hanging back for the next TER service instead.
Using rail passes:
Rail pass users should take the TER trains, there is no point in paying the rail pass reservation fees on the TGV trains, when there is such a small difference in journey times.
|Ticket Provider||Approximate Cost|
|Download the SNCF Connect App||*|
|Save A Train||*|
Though there are fewer trains operated by SNCF between Marseille and Nice than you might expect.
During the day the TER trains typically depart at two hourly intervals, so when no TGV trains are scheduled within these intervals there can be lengthy intervals between trains.
For example, there is a two hour gap between departures on these TGV or TER trains from around 09:57 to 11:57.
So even if you will be booking tickets last minute at the station, definitely look up the departure times, before heading off to Marseille St Charles.
An advantage of taking the TER trains on this scenic route, is that seat reservations aren't an option on these trains, so you're free to choose a seat when you board.
If you'll be taking a TER train, SMTJ's advice is to be at Marseille St-Charles in time for when the voie (platform/track number) is confirmed.
Then when you board head up to the upper deck and sit on the right of the train (when facing the direction of travel).
Do that and you'll be able to take in the wonderful views of the Cote D'Azur between Marseille and Toulon.
and from St Raphael to Antibes...
... and after departure from Antibes
All of the images and video were captured from the right of the train
Take a TGV and your reserved seat may be on the left of the train, and if it is you won't be able to see the best of the views from your seat.
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