Intercités (France)

Intercités trains are French express trains which dont travel on the high speed lines.

These insights into the travelling experience when taking these trains, refer to the premium Intercités services on which seats have to be reserved - more info below.




These premium Intercités services, which used to be branded 'Teoz',  operate on these three routes:

(1) Paris (Austerliz)  – Limoges – Brive la Galliarde – Toulouse

(2) Bordeaux – Toulouse – Narbonne – Nimes – Montpellier – Marseille

(3) Paris (Bercy) – Nevers – Vichy – Clermont Ferrand

What can be confusing, particularly for rail pass users, is that the national rail company in France, SNCF, also uses Intercités branding on other routes on which seat reservations are NOT compulsory.

Therefore ShowMeTheJourney has classified THOSE other SNCF InterCity train services as IC (France).

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On Board:

Some coaches used on these Intercités services have been refurbished/modernised - but not all!

The refurbished coaches, in particular, feel spacious and compare favourably to other non-high speed European trains.

Whether you will be travelling in a refurbished coach/carriage won’t be clear until the train arrives.

On un-refurbished Intercités the travel experience can feel like stepping back in time

Though regardless of whether the train has been updated, the seating areas feel more spacious than on a TGV and more seats line up with the windows – which are larger too.

The refurbished Intercités are also more spacious and stylish than the best of the newer TER trains.
However, in contrast, he yet to be refurbished Intercités coaches don't compare favourably with the latest TER trains.

Though, what can let any Intercités train down are the fact that many Intercités coaches are typically in need of a good wash - the windows can be exceptionally grimy.

On board announcements are in French language only, but the conductors MAY speak English.
So you can usually verify any questions when they pass through the train to check tickets.

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Tickets and Reservations:

Special deal 'ECO' tickets are made available on some Intercités departures, they cost from only €15, but can only be booked on the French language version of the Oui.SNCF website.


Book a ticket for one of these premium Intercités train service online or at a station and your seat reservation(s) will be automatically included.
Note that if you have a ticket for a journey Intercités train, it won't be valid for journeys by TGV trains.

Because the tickets for journeys by these trains are departure specific, In the event of travel disruption, it can be worth stopping by an 'Accueil' info desk in a station to see what your options are.

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Managing Luggage:

You can usually avoid heaving heavy bags on to the racks above the seats, see if they’ll fit between the seats or in the alcoves at the ends of the coaches.

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There are bar/buffet coaches available on some of these premium Intercités services - the Intercités menu

On the longer routes a catering trolley MAY be pushed through the train, enabling hot/cold drinks and snacks to be ordered from a seat - we have taken five journeys by these trains and have only once seen a catering trolley.

However, a service which is available on most Intercités departures, is that you can pre-order a light meal online, and have it delivered to your seat during the journey.
You cannot request this service when you are on the train.

However, if you are taking a long trip by Intercités we recommend take food/drink on board with you.

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Rail Pass Users:

If you will be using an InterRail or Eurail pass and have a a choice between taking an InterCités train or a TER train, or between taking an InterCités train and a TGV train - AVOID taking the Intercités.

Taking a TER train won't incur the €10-20 reservation surcharges (which are payable on the Intercites) - and the differences in journey time can be marginal.
It's also fairly likely that the TER train will be more modern and comparatively comfortable.

The reservation fees for rail pass users are the same whether you travel by Intercités or TGVs
So if you're happy to pay the reservation fees, then it's likely that the TGV will get you to where you want to go faster.

However, if you do want to or need to travel on one of these premium Intercités trains - the info on how to book rail pass reservations is available HERE.

An intro to train travel in France

How to buy tickets for French train journeys

Riding ON French trains

Travelling on European daytime trains

Travelling on European overnight trains

International train routes to/from France

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Bistro (Hot Food)
Bar (Cold Food)
Double Deck
High Speed
First Class
Second Class

Rail passes and reservations

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