The high speed train service that crosses the France/Spain border to provide international daytime train journeys to/from Barcelona and Madrid is branded 'en coopéreation RENFE - SNCF' 

Reflecting the spirit of co-operation French railways (SNCF) and Spanish railways (RENFE) share the provision of the trains. 

The Spanish trains used for the service are these Spanish AVE (100) trains.


These trains are used on these routes:

(i) Lyon - Valence - Nimes - Montpellier - Beziers - Narbonne - Perpignan - Figueres Vilifant - Girona - Barcelona

(ii) Marseille - Avignon - Nimes - Montpellier - Beziers - Narbonne - Perpignan - Figueres Vilifant - Girona - Barcelona - Zaragoza - Madrid

(iii) Toulouse - Carcassone  - Perpignan - Figueres Vilifant - Girona - Barcelona*

TGV Duplex trains are used on the other 'en coopéreation RENFE - SNCF'  route Paris - Barcelona

TGVs can substitute for AVE trains on the Toulouse - Barcelona service, particularly at weekends.


Seats will automatically be assigned when booking tickets for journeys by RENFE-SNCF train services.

Rail pass users will need to have made reservations prior to boarding (see below).


These trains may be some of Europe's oldest high speed trains, but they're in the top tier in terms of comfort - the interiors feel less-like a cramped airline cabin - which is becoming the norm on other high speed trains.

Something to watch out for is that have you have booked a ticket on Oui.SNCF or at a French station, the SNCF reservation system seems to encounter problems with the seat numbers on these trains (they're particularly illogical).

All seats are assigned when booking point-2-point tickets, so you need to sit in the seat you have been allocated - but you may have trouble matching the seat number on your ticket, with the actual seat numbers.

If that is the case, initially sit in any spare seat, and then when the conductor comes to check the tickets, you can ask where you should be sitting and move if need be.

On the Marseille - Madrid trains a complimentary light meal is served to 1st class ticket/reservation holders between Barcelona and Madrid (except on Saturdays).

Max luggage allowance = 2 suitcases/large bags + item of hand luggage per person.

Using Rail Passes:

If you will be using a Eurail or InterRail pass you will need to make a separate reservation(s).

The fee for doing so depends on the distance you will be travelling. 

Example fees include:

Marseille - Madrid: 1st class = €48, 2nd class = €34

Lyon - Barcelona: 1st class = €26, 2nd class = €19

Toulouse/Beziers/Montpellier - Barcelona: 1st class = €20, 2nd class = €15.

Something to note is that your rail pass only has to be valid in France OR Spain.

So if you will be travelling with a 'one country pass' valid for France, you can use it to add Barcelona OR Madrid to your itinerary.

Paying for the reservation fee is likely to be cheaper than buying a separate ticket.

International train routes to/from France

International train routes to/from Spain

An overview of train travel in France

An overview of train travel in Spain

Travelling on European daytime trains

Travelling on European overnight trains

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

Rail passes and reservations

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