Between Modane and the Italian border

Paris to Milano / Milan / Mailand by train

How to take a train journey from Paris to Milano/Milan

The overnight train service between Paris and Milano has been sadly withdrawn so travelling by the day on a through the Alps is now the only option for a direct Paris to Milan rail journey.

However, some positive news for this route is that Italy's national rail company, Trenitalia has introduced its ultra smart Frecciarossa 1000 trains to this route.
So along with the existing and continuing TGV services, an unprecedented five daily trains are now available from the French capital to northern Italy

Though when looking up this journey on the ticket agents, you'll also likely see other daytime options with connections between trains in Basel, Geneva, Lausanne or Zurich.
If you'll be happy to change trains and the connections are easily timed (more than 30 mins ideally) and the price is competitive then these other options are definitely worth considering.

The journey from any of those Swiss cities to Milan will also be more scenic than this route.

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Routes

Option 1: taking the TGV trains

Travel Information

Note that these trains depart from the Gare De Lyon in Paris.
They typically leave at 06:47, 12:47 and 14:43.

Final Destination: Milano P. Garibaldi (the 'Frecce; trains arrive at a different station in Milan)

All trains also call at: Modane, Bardonecchia, Oulx-Cesana-Claviere-Sestriere, Torino Porta Susa and Novara
The 'Frecce' trains don't call at Bardonecchia, Oulx-Cesana-Claviere-Sestriere and Novara.

Arriving in Milano:

Milano Centrale is the main station in Milano used by long distance trains, but the TGVs from Paris arrive at the city's main rail commuter hub, Milano Porta Garibaldi.

This station has rail links across the greater Milano area, as well as Metro links to the city centre and Milano Centrale station.

Connections in Torino:

Though the TGV which usually departs Paris at 12:47 offers connections at Torino Porta Susa into these Frecce departures:

  • 18:50 to Brescia, Verona, Vicenza, Padova, Venezia Mestre and Trieste
  • 19:10 to Bologna, Firenze and Roma.

3 x trains per day

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 4 months ahead of the travel date; usually (the booking window can be shorter in Oct-Nov).

If tickets aren't on sale yet for your travel date, then this is a journey for which it's worth signing up to the ticket availability notification service on Oui.SNCF.
Do that and you'll receive an email within moments of the tickets being released for sale.
It's worth making an effort as this is a journey on which the very cheapest tickets tend to sell out particularly fast.

When looking for tickets on Oui.SNCF tick the 'direct trains' box; on Trainline tick the 'fastest journeys' box.

The price is dictated by demand per departure, so book ahead and try and be flexible re: your departure and arrival times.

The Oui.SNCF (French national railways website) will indicate the cheapest price per day, click on this and you will be shown the departures on which this price is available.
There can be particularly big discrepancies per departure on this route.

Rail Pass Users:

If you have an InterRail or Eurail pass, these TGV France-Italy trains are at the top of the most expensive rail pass reservation fees charts.

As the rail pass reservation fees are more expensive than the discounted tickets, which will be available for this journey, you can save money by not using your rail pass on this trains and by booking tickets instead.

Definitely don't pay the reservation fee until you have checked the ticket prices on these TGVs and on the new Frecce services; and also don't leave it until the last minute before arranging reservations on this route.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Trainline from €29

Trainline Guide

SNCF Connect from €29

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

SaveATrain from €29

SaveATrain Guide

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - YesHigh Speed (partial)Mountain views

Good to Know

The TGV heading to Milano will often be joined to another TGV heading to a different destination on departure from Paris.
So don't be surprised, when looking at the departure displays at Paris Gare De Lyon, if you see a train departing at the same time and from the same voie (track/platform) as the train heading to Milano.
This other train will also have a different Train number.

You won't have to worry about boarding the wrong part of the train - your seat will have been assigned in the train heading to Milano.
The TGVs making the journeys to Italy also spell out where they will be heading to on the exterior of the coaches.

When boarding in Paris the train heading to Milano will be the front train, so you'll have to walk some way along the voie (platform/track).

Between Modane and the Italian border Between Modane and the Italian border
Near the Italian border Near the Italian border
Between Chambery and Italy Between Chambery and Italy
Between the border and Torino Between the border and Torino

This is, in our humble opinion, one of the most exciting journeys you can take on European express trains.

We love the mix of high speed travel and stunning Alpine scenery

Aside from the wow factor of the speed, most high speed train journeys aren't scenically interesting, when high speed lines pass through hills and mountains, they tend to dive into tunnels.

The journey becomes a lot more scenic once the train leaves the high speed line behind - and that's what makes this journey so exceptional the alpine views from a TGV train don't get better than this!

The Paris to Milan train journey has three distinct parts.

(1) First is the high speed line out of Paris.

(2) Then comes a passage through the western Alps with great views, particularly from the left of the train (when facing the direction of travel).

(3) Finally there comes the journey between Torino and Milano, on which these trains do not take the high speed line between the two cities.

Option 2: taking the Frecce trains

Travel Information

Two Frecciarossa 1000 trains per day in each direction have been added to the Paris ↔ Milano route via Lyon, Chambery, Modane and Torino/Turin.

Heading south they depart daily from the Gare de Lyon in Paris at:

  • 06:35 - arrives Torino Porta Susa at 13:18 and Milano Centrale at 13:50.
  • 15:16 - arrives Torino Porta Susa at 21:18 and Milano Centrale at 22:07.

Connections in Milano

The 06:35 from Paris connects with these other Frecce services on from Milano:

  • 14:10 to Bologna, Firenze, Roma, Napoli and Salerno (the 06:47 TGV connects into this train at Torino Porta Susa)
  • 14:30 to Bologna, Roma, Salerno, Lamezia Terme, Villa S. Giovanni and Reggio di Calabria
  • 14:45 to Verona, Vicenza, Padova and Venezia/Venice.
  • 15:10 to Genova, Savona, Albenga and San Remo

Milano Centrale also has Regionale services to Brescia, Bergamo, Parma and Modena.

2 x trains per day

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 4 months* ahead of the travel date

Frecciarossa 1000 trains on the domestic routes within Italy convey 4 classes of accommodation, but the Standard Premier service is not available on this international route.
Also 'Allegro' has been introduced as the branding for the Business Class, SMTJ isn't certain as to the reason for this, other than to make a distinction with the tickets on the domestic routes.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Trenitalia from €25

Trenitalia Guide

Trenitlalia is the national rail operator in Italy and in addition to its cheaper types of ticket; it also typically offers other discounts available to non-Italians, which include:

  • Group Offers, provides for a discount of up to 50% when 3-5 Adults travel together.
  • Family Offer for when groups of 2 - 5 people are travelling together and at least one of the party is a aged 11 and under.
  • The Children Free Offer is available for journeys by Frecce trains, when groups of 2 - 5 people are travelling together and at least one of the party is a aged 15 and under.
    Those aged 15 and under travel for free, but the Adults will need to purchase full price 'Base' tickets.

On this journey

Journey Features

High Speed (partial)Scenic - YesMountain views
Passing by Lac d'Aiguebellete on route to Chambery Passing by Lac d'Aiguebellete on route to Chambery
Passing a village between Chambery and Modane Passing a village between Chambery and Modane
Passing through Modane Passing through Modane
Between Oulx and Chiomonte Between Oulx and Chiomonte
Travelling through Chiomonte station Travelling through Chiomonte station
Between Susa and Torino Between Susa and Torino

These Frecce trains take the same route as the TGV trains, except for;

  • they leave the Paris to Lyon high speed line slightly earlier so that they can travel through Lyon
  • they travel on the high speed line between Torino and Milano.
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