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Travel Info & Tips The 2023 Rugby World Cup By Train
Follow the 2023 Rugby World Cup by train

The 2023 Rugby World Cup By Train

All of the nine host cities for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France are served by high-speed TGVs, so taking the train between matches will be a great way of following the tournament.

| about 2 months ago
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The nine host cities for the 2023 Rugby Word Cup; Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Paris, St Etienne and Toulouse are all served by TGV trains; plus the stadiums in which the matches are being staged, all have good public transport connections with the their respective main railway stations.
So in theory following the tournament by rail will be eminently practical, hence this guide to experiencing the Rugby World Cup in France by train.

The core information:

The majority of the French railway timetables, which will be in operation when the tournament takes place between September 8th and Oct 27th, will actually commence on December 10th 2022.
Most European countries have one major annual amendment to their timetables, which occurs on the second Sunday in December.
As was the case when France hosted the football World Cup in 1994, additional trains may be added to the timetable at a later date, in order to ease the transport to ticket holders to the games.
However, with the tournament spread over a fairly lengthy period of time, it's likely that many attendees will be relying on the regular train service.

Though what would make a difference to how feasible it will be to travel to and particularly from the games by train, will be additional late night trains away from the host cities.
Matches commencing at 21:00 won't be over until around 22:40, which is later than any usual long-distance French train service has departed; Paris and Nice are the only host cities which are served by overnight trains.

Connections:

Three core types of train service are available when travelling long-distance in France during the day:

  1. TGV InOui = regular high speed trains
  2. Ouigo = low cost, but more basic high speed trains
  3. Intercités = express trains which don't use the high speed lines.
    Paris, Nantes and Lyon are also served by low cost, more basic Ouigo Classique services, which also don't use the high speed lines.

The non-express trains between cities are the TER services.

Paris and Nice are also linked by Intercités De Nuit trains.

On the usual French rail timetable, which will be likely be largely replicated in 2023, the following direct train services will be available.

FROM PARIS

Paris to Bordeaux

  • by TGV InOui; more than 15 trains per day; from 2hr 15mins
  • by Ouigo: 4 trains per day; from 2hr 15mins

Paris to Lille

  • by TGV InOui: 1 or 2 trains per hour; in 1 hour

Paris to Lyon

  • by TGV InOui: 1 or 2 trains per hour; in 2hrs
  • by Ouigo: 2 or 3 trains per day; in 2hrs
  • by Italian Frecce trains: 3 trains per day; in 2hrs
  • by TER: up to 5 trains per day; from 5hr 5min
  • by Ouigo Classique: 2 trains per day; from 4hr 50min

Paris to Marseille

  • by TGV InOui: up to 15 trains per day: from 3hr 5min
  • by Ouigo: 3 trains per day: from 3hr 25min

To Nantes

  • by TGV InOui: 10 to 13 trains per day; from 2hrs
  • by Ouigo: 2 trains per day; from 2hr 25min
  • by Ouigo Classique: 1 or 2 trains per day; from 4hr 10min

Paris to Nice

  • by TGV InOui: up to 6 trains per day; from 5hr 55min
  • by Ouigo: 2 trains per day; from 5hr 55min
  • by Intercités De Nuit; 1 train per night; from 11hr 45min

Paris to St Etienne

  • by TGV InOui: 3 or 4 trains per day; in 3hrs

Paris to Toulouse

  • by TGV InOui: 4 to 6 trains per day; in 4hr 25min
  • by Ouigo: 2 trains per day; from 4hr 25min
  • by Intercités: 2 or 3 trains per day; from 6hr 2min

FROM BORDEAUX

Bordeaux to Lille

  • by TGV InOui; 2 trains per day; in 5hrs
  • by Ouigo: 1 train per day; in 5hr 15min

Bordeaux to Marseille

  • by Intercités: 6 trains per day; from 6hr 10min

Bordeaux to Nantes

  • by Intercités: 4 trains per day; in 4hr 10min

Bordeaux to Paris

  • by TGV InOui; more than 15 trains per day; from 2hr 15mins
  • by Ouigo: 4 trains per day; from 2hr 15mins

Bordeaux to Toulouse

  • by TGV InOui; 5 trains per day; in 2hr 10min
  • by Intercités: 7 or 8 trains per day; in 2hr 10min
  • by Ouigo: 2 trains per day in 2hr 10min

FROM LILLE
Additional journeys are available from Lille by making transfer between stations across Paris.

Lille to Bordeaux

  • by TGV InOui; 2 trains per day; in 5hrs
  • by Ouigo: 1 train per day; in 5hr 15min

Lille to Lyon

  • by TGV InOui: 6 to 9 trains per day; in 3hrs
  • by Ouigo: 1 train per day; in 3hrs

Lille to Marseille

  • by TGV InOui: 3 or 4 trains per day; in 5hr 15min
  • by Ouigo: 3 trains per day; from 4hr 35min

Lille to Nantes

  • by TGV InOui: 3 trains per day; from 4hr 10min

Lille to Nice: service may resume in 2023

Lille to Paris

  • by TGV InOui: 1 or 2 trains per hour; in 1 hour

FROM LYON

Lyon to Lille

  • by TGV InOui: 6 to 9 trains per day; in 3hrs
  • by Ouigo: 1 train per day; in 3hrs

Lyon to Marseille

  • by TGV InOui: 13 or 14 trains per day; in 1hr 45min
  • by TER: 3 trains per day; in 3hr 35min

Lyon to Nantes

  • by TGV InOui: 2 or 3 trains per day: from 4hr 10min
  • by Intercités: 2 trains per day; from 7hr 55min

Lyon to Nice

  • by TGV InOui: 3 x trains per day: from 4hr 30min

Lyon to Paris

  • by TGV InOui: 1 or 2 trains per hour; in 2hrs
  • by Ouigo: 2 or 3 trains per day; in 2hrs
  • by Italian Frecce trains: 3 trains per day; in 2hrs
  • by TER : up to 5 trains per day; from 5hr 5min
  • by Ouigo Classique: 2 trains per day; from 4hr 50min

Lyon to St Etienne

  • by TGV InOui: 3 or 4 trains per day: in 55min
  • by TER: 2 trains per hour: in 55min

Lyon to Toulouse

  • by TGV InOui: 3 or 4 trains per day: in 4hr 10min

FROM MARSEILLE

Marseille to Bordeaux

  • by Intercités: 6 trains per day; from 6hr 10min

Marseille to Lille

  • by TGV InOui: 3 or 4 trains per day; in 5hr 15min
  • by Ouigo: 3 trains per day; from 4hr 35min

Marseille to Lyon

  • by TGV InOui: 13 or 14 trains per day; in 1hr 45min
  • by TER: 3 trains per day; in 3hr 35min

Marseille to Nantes

  • by TGV InOui: 1 train per day: in 6hr 20min

Marseille to Nice

  • by TGV InOui: 7 or 8 trains per day; in 2hr 40min
  • by TER: 7 or 8 trains per day; in 2hr 40min

Marseille to Paris

  • by TGV InOui: up to 15 trains per day: from 3hr 5min
  • by Ouigo: 3 trains per day: from 3hr 25min

Marseille to Toulouse

  • by Intercités: 6 or 7 trains per day; in 3hr 50min

FROM NANTES

Nantes to Bordeaux

  • by Intercités: 4 trains per day; in 4hr 10min

Nantes to Lille

  • by TGV InOui: 3 trains per day; from 4hr 10min

Nantes to Lyon

  • by TGV InOui: 2 or 3 trains per day: from 4hr 10min
  • by Intercités: 2 trains per day; from 7hr 55min

Nantes to Marseille

  • by TGV InOui: 1 train per day: in 6hr 20min

Nantes to Paris

  • by TGV InOui: 10 to 13 trains per day; from 2hrs
  • by Ouigo: 2 trains per day; from 2hr 25min
  • by Ouigo Classique: 1 or 2 trains per day: from 4hr 10min

FROM NICE

Nice to Lille: service may resume in 2023

Nice to Lyon

  • by TGV InOui: 3 x trains per day: from 4hr 30min

Nice to Marseille

  • by TGV InOui: 7 or 8 trains per day; in 2hr 40min
  • by TER: 7 or 8 trains per day; in 2hr 40min

Nice to Paris

  • by TGV InOui: up to 6 trains per day; from 5hr 55min
  • by Ouigo: 2 trains per day; from 5hr 55min
  • by Intercités De Nuit; 1 train per night; from 11hr 45min

FROM ST ETIENNE

St Etienne to Lyon

  • by TGV InOui: 3 or 4 trains per day in 55min
  • by TER: 2 trains per hour in 55min

St Etienne to Paris

  • by TGV InOui: 3 or 4 trains per day; in 3hrs

FROM TOULOUSE

From Toulouse to Bordeaux

  • by TGV InOui; 5 trains per day; in 2hr 10min
  • by Intercités: 7 or 8 trains per day; in 2hr 10min
  • by Ouigo: 2 trains per day in 2hr 10min

From Toulouse to Lyon

  • by TGV InOui: 3 or 4 trains per day: in 4hr 10min

From Toulouse to Marseille

  • by Intercités: 6 or 7 trains per day; in 3hr 50min

From Toulouse to Paris

  • by TGV InOui: 4 to 6 trains per day; in 4hr 25min
  • by Ouigo: 2 trains per day; from 4hr 25min
  • by Intercités: 2 or 3 trains per day; from 6hr 2min

Though something worth being aware of is that the Ouigo services have a different boarding procedure and you may have to be at the station up to 45 mins before the departure of the train.
So keep this in mind, particularly when booking tickets for journeys after the games have concluded.

The ticketing:

The usual booking ahead periods for French rail tickets are:

  • TGV InOui = 4 months ahead
  • Ouigo = 6 months ahead
  • Intercités = 3 months ahead
  • TER = 3 months ahead

The most heavily discounted tickets at the cheapest prices will inevitably sell out fastest, so should be booked as soon as possible if you want to save money.
SNCF, which is the French national rail operator, tends to apply fairly aggressive airline style pricing to its long-distance rail routes, so prices rise quickly if demand proves to be high; which may of course be fueled by people wanting to head to the matches.

The cheaper type of ticket for travel by the TGV InOui and Intercités services are given the name of 'Prems' tickets by SNCF, but other ticket sites can use different terminology.
If you want to travel in First Class on the TGV InOui and Intercités you will be offered Premiere tickets.

You have to select a specific departure to travel by when booking Prems and Premiere tickets, but if you decide not go ahead with the trip to France at all, or if (ahem) your team unexpectedly leaves the tournament early, then up until two days prior to departure, these types of tickets can be refunded for no additional charge.
Though a €15 fee will be payable for making a refund in the two days prior to departure.

If you want to exchange tickets to an alternative departure for the same journey, you will have to pay any difference in price between the rate you paid and the rate at the time of the exchange, though the the price on the travel date will be the most expensive.
If you arrive at a station too late to make a train you were booked on to, you won't get your money back on your original purchase and will have to book an entirely new ticket, which will inevitably be a lot more expensive.
So if you have booked tickets for a departure, but your transfer to the station is delayed post-game, you can log on to the ticket service you have used and re-book for a later train.
It will expensive, but cheaper than waiting until you are back at the station, because you will then be likely be told to re-book completely in this scenario.

When booking tickets for journeys by TGV InOui, Intercités and Ouigo services seats will automatically be assigned, so booking reservations separately isn't something to be concerned about.

Seat reservations are not available on the TER services and it's also best to book journeys by TER trains at the station, they typically will cost only a couple of euros more than booking in advance, and you won't have to be concerned about refunds or exchanges.

By Ouigo trains

The idea is that Ouigo trains have a more basic on board experience, so are cheaper than taking TGV InOui trains, but they also have more stringent terms and conditions that are specific to travelling by Ouigo.
Particularly worth being aware of is that tickets for journeys by Ouigo trains are not refundable, if need be they can be exchanged for a fee of €10 per passenger fee until one hour before the beginning the boarding process; the price difference between the old and new ticket will be added to this fee.
Ouigo trains are standard class only, so the more expensive types of ticket to travel by them offer additional benefits, such as seat selection, priority boarding and an increased luggage allowance.

Booking agents

SNCF is the national rail operator in France and SNCF Connect is its ticket booking service.
Though it won't accept bank and credit cards attached to accounts held outside of Europe and for those that can use it, the booking path can initially be bewildering, particularly if you're used to other train ticket booking services, it is packed with unique features.

SNCF Connect can be worth using for these reasons:

  • it will have the cheapest price
  • it doesn't charge booking fees
  • it will offer all the departures on each route, including the Ouigo services

Other third party agents including Trainline and Rail Europe also sell French rail tickets, they will charge booking fees, but can be used by non-Europeans; Trainline also includes the Ouigo services, but RailEurope does not.

Using Avantage Cards

If you want to follow a team and therefore book multiple journeys, what's good to know is SNCF sells a range of railcards, known as Carte Avantage which can be used by visitors to France when booking tickets; you also don't have to book on SNCF Connect to use them.

A tad oddly SNCF offers three types of Carte Avantage cards which are split according to age, Jeune for those aged 12 to 26 and Adulte for those aged 27-59 and Senior for those aged 60 and over; but they all cost €49, are valid for a year and all have the same core benefits:

  • a 30% reduction on tickets for travel by standard TGV (TGV InOui) and Intercités; but not the Ouigo services.
  • There are also maximum price caps, so on certain journeys by the TGVs the discount can be more than 30%; so the max price of journeys of up to 1hr 30mins = €39; journeys of up to three hours = €59 and over three hours = €79.
  • you will also receive 25-50% discount when travelling by TER train services, the French regional trains.

Those discounts also apply to one other person travelling with you, so you can purchase pairs of tickets at the discounted rates.
Each card holder also can take up to three children at 60% of the child ticket costs; though the child ticket rates for France apply to children aged 4 to 11.

Using Rail Passes

InterRail Passes and Eurail passes are also available for train journeys in France which can be used for 3, 4, 5, 6 or 8 days of travel by train.
Though rail pass reservations, which cost from €10, are required for journeys by TGV InOui trains; and on the Intercités trains on the Paris to Toulouse route and the Bordeaux - Toulouse - Marseille route.
Eurail and InterRail passes cannot be used on the Ouigo services.

With trains between the host cities likely to be busy, it will be prudent to book these reservations prior to arrival in France on the Eurail and InterRail app, though a booking fee of €2 per train, per person will be charged.

Rail passes are more likely to be money savers when the cheapest tickets have sold out, but to be certain of whether they will be a cheaper than using tickets, you'll need to look up the journeys on SNCF Connect and then compare them to the total costs of using a pass, once you have added in the reservation fees.
Also look up the journeys as though you have a Carte Avantage Card and then add in the cost of the card; and then compare that to the total rail pass cost.
Or ask the concierge service to work out your cheapest option.

From Station to Stadium

None of the stadiums which are staging the Ruby World Cup matches in Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Paris, St Etienne and Toulouse are within an easy walking distance from the main stations in their respective cities.
Though all of them are linked to the stations by either trams, local trains, metros or a combination of these public transport options.

Bordeaux

The Nouveaux Stade De Bordeaux, currently named the Mamut Atlantique, is located on the opposite side of the city to Bordeaux-St Jean station.

Though line C of the city's tram line network provides a direct link from Bordeaux's main station to the stadium thanks to a stop named Parc des Expositions - Stade Matmut Atlantique which is a five minute walk to the Mamut Atlantique.
The stop by the stadium is a terminus, but take care to board the trams heading to it, because other trams on line C take an entirely different route to a stop named, Gare De Blanquefort.
The journey by tram from Bordeaux-St Jean will take 30-35 mins, it's an 18 stop journey.
The trams typically depart every 8 mins, though presumably this frequency will be stepped up on match days.

Lille

Lillle has two main stations, most of the TGV trains from cities other than Paris and the Eurostars arrive at and depart from Lille Europe, while most of the TGV trains from Paris and the TER trains use Lille Flandres station.

The Decathlon Arena-Stade Pierre-Mauroy is located some distance from the city centre.
The closest metro station to the station to the stadium is named 4 Cantons-Grand Stade, though it is 15-25 min walk to the stadium on comparatively quiet roads.

4 Cantons-Grand Stade is the terminus station of Metro Line 1 though Line 1 only calls at Lille Flandres station and not at Lille Europe.

Though there is an alternative access option, which is to take a train on Metro Line 2, which will be heading to C.H Dron, to the stop named Les Prés.
On match days free shuttle buses link Les Prés to the stadium, so this is a good alternative for those who will need or want to avoid the walking distance from 4 Cantons-Grand Stade.
Line 2 calls at Lille Europe as well as Lille Flandres, so this route seemingly provides the easiest access from Lille Europe station to the matches.

Lyon

The Parc Olympique Lyonais which is also named the Groupama Stadium is located in the eastern suburbs of the city.
A route of the city's tram network has been built to serve the stadium and this route/line T7 terminates at Décines OL Vallée and this tram stop is just in front of the entrance.

However, this line T7 normally only operates as a shuttle service from and to a tram stop named Vaulx-en-Velin La Soie, where it connects with tram line/route T3 which terminates in the city right by Part-Dieu, the main station which serves Lyon.
When exiting the station use the exits marked 'Porte Alpes' you'll then see the tram stop over to the right.

The tram stop is used by the line T3 trams, which will be heading to Meyzieu, as well as the Rhone Express trams which will be heading to the airport.
At the stop Vaulx-en-Velin La Soie an interchange is available between tram line T3 and Line A of the Lyon metro; and this line calls at the city's other main railway station, Lyon-Perrache.

The transfer between Lyon Part-Dieu station and the stadium will take around 20 minutes.

Marseille

The Stade Vélodrome is located on the opposite side of the city to Marseille-St Charles station.
Though line M2 of the Marseille Metro calls at Saint-Charles and at the two stops nearest to the stadium, Rond Point Du Prado and Sainte-Marguerite Dromel, which is at the end of the line.

It's a six station journey from Saint-Charles to Sainte-Marguerite Dromel, so you should be in the vicinity of the Stade Vélodrome within 20 mins of stepping off a train in St-Charles.

It will be worth checking the plan of the stadium to see where your seats are situated; those in the Vir Nord and Jean Bouin sections of the stadium are most easily accessed from Rond Point Du Prado station, while those in the Vir Sud and Ganay sections are most easily accessed from Sainte-Marguerite Dromel.
Though at the finish of the match it will be best to head to Sainte-Marguerite Dromel station, the trains will be full by the time they arrive at Rond Point Du Prado.

Nantes

The Stade de la Beaujoire is located towards the northern edge of the city, but is directly connected to the main station in Nantes by line T1 of the city's tramway.
The tram stop is in front of the Nord exit at the station, though line T1 has two branches at the eastern end of its route, the terminus stop named Beajoire has the easiest access to the stadium, on the other side of the tram stop a wide pathway leads to the entrance turnstiles.
The other trams will be heading for the stop named Ranzay, which is only a 10 minute walk to and from the stadium.

Nice

The Allianz Riviera Stadium is located to the west of Nice.
On match days it is linked to the city centre by trams and by local trains.

By tram

The city's tram route/line T3 has a stop right by the stadium appropriately named Stade.
On match days it operates direct from and to the city centre, but it isn't direct to the city's main railway station, Nice-Ville.
Though a transfer is available from and to line T1, which does stop by the station, at the Jéan Medicin interchange, though this is less than a 15 min walk from the station.
From Nice-Ville, turn left at the exit and head down to the main street you will then see ahead of you, the tram stop is named Gare Thiers, take trams heading to Saint-Jean d'Angély.

Though tram route/line T3 also stops adjacent to Saint Augustin station, which is the stop before Nice-Ville when heading into the city by local TER trains from Cannes and Antibes.
The TER trains from Marseille also call at this station; the adjacent tram stop is named Grand Arenas.

By local train

Though there is an alternative public transport option when heading to the Allianz Riviera Stadium from Nice-Ville station, for the matches with an afternoon kick-off.
Nice has a local train company named the Chemins De Fer De Provence and it has a rail station named St-Isidore which is a 10 min walk to the stadium and on match days it typically operates trains every 20 mins; though the final departure from Nice is usually around 19:30.
In central Nice, it's station is a 10 -15 min walk from Nice-Ville.

Paris

The Stade de France is located comparatively close to the city centre, but walking to the stadium from the Gare Du Nord will take at least an hour.

Three railway stations are much closer to the stadium, though which of them will be the most convenient will depend on the starting point of your journey and where you will be sitting.
As can be seen on this map the station named Stade De France – Saint Denis, which is actually the farthest of the three stations from the stadium despite its name, is convenient if your seats are in blocks T, U, X and Y.
An alternative option to the 15 min walk from Stade De France – Saint Denis, is to take bus line/route 353, it is a five stop ride to the stadium; though it offers particularly easy access to seats in blocks A, B, C, D, E, G and Z.

If your seats are in blocks A, B, C, D, E, G and Z then the station named La Plaine Stade de France is the most convenient.

In addition to the metro, Paris is crossed by network of local trains known as the RER and in the heart of the city, tickets and local passes are interchangeable with the Metro.
La Plaine Stade de France is served by RER Line B and Stade De France – Saint Denis is on RER Line D.
Both lines call at Gare Du Nord where a simple cross-platform interchange is available between both lines; when heading to the RER from main line arrivals, when you are in the RER entrance hall follow the signs to Line B (Nord) and Line D (Nord).
Line D also calls at the Gare De Lyon.

The Metro stop named Saint Denis-Porte De Paris is the closest of the three stations to the stadium and it offers particularly good access to blocks H, J, K, L, N and R.

Saint Denis-Porte De Paris is on one of the two northern branches of Metro Line 13, so take care to board trains heading to Saint Denis-Université.
Line 13 calls at Montparnasse and Saint Lazare stations.
Though Line 13 is the busiest of all those on the Paris Metro so an alternative route to Saint Denis-Porte De Paris is:

  • take a RER Line D train to the station named Saint Denis, it is one stop beyond Stade De France – Saint Denis.
  • Tram line T8 goes from this station to Saint Denis-Porte De Paris, the tram stop is straight ahead from the station exit, on the other side of a bridge which spans a canal.

Or if the start and end points of your journey are conveniently located for RER Line E then bus line 239 goes to the stadium from Rosa Parks station.

Saint Etienne

The Stade Geoffroy-Guichard is located to the north of the city centre, walking from the main city centre station St Etienne-Châteaucreux will take around 45-60 mins; and the route to take isn't particularly obvious.

A branch of the city's tram route/line T3 is being constructed so that it will have a new stop right by the stadium, so presumably it will be served by trams which will leave from the stops in the front of the railway station.

Or when you arrive at St Etienne-Châteaucreux station another option is to check to see if a train will be about to depart for St Etenne-La Terrasse station, as it is around a 15 min walk from the stadium and it served in most hours by local TER trains from St Etienne-Châteaucreux.

Toulouse

The Municipal Stadium in Toulouse is located on an island in the River Garonne, which compromises its access by public transport.
The nearest metro station to the stadium is Saint Michel Marcel Langer and it is on line B.
Bus lines/routes T4 and T5 link Saint Michel Marcel Langer station to the stadium, which will save a 15 min walk.

Though Metro Line B doesn't call at the city's main railway station, Toulouse Matabiau because it is served by Metro Line A
Though on match days free shuttle buses link Arenes station, which is on Metro Line A, with the stadium; or another option is to connect to Line B at the Jean Jaurés interchange.
Arenes station is also linked to the stadium by trams on lines T1 andT2 which call at a stop named Croix de Pierre, which is located just across the river from the stadium.

Look for a journey guide

Bespoke guides are available for the most popular journeys by train from Paris. Lille, Lyon and Marseille
Leaving From
Going To

Following A Team

It's safe to assume how it easy would be for the followers of each team to travel between the group matches by train was not towards the top of the organiser's priority list.
As stated above attending a game with an evening kick off time will leave no option other to spend the night in a host city.

For the time being these summaries below are based on likely scenarios, as the French rail timetable for next year has yet to be confirmed, but they'll give a good idea of the optimum train travel scenarios for each set of supporters, as they are based on long-established overall travel patterns.

Australia

If you'd would you rather base yourself in as few locations as possible when following Australia through the group stages, the logical solution is dividing your time between Paris and Lyon.

Paris ↔ Lyon

When heading to Lyon from Paris there will be a range of options, though book early to get the cheapest prices on the TGV trains.

Seeing the match in Paris as a day trip from Lyon probably won't be possible, as the final train of the day back to Lyon on a Saturday usually departs Paris at around 20:00.

Lyon ↔ St Etienne
The final train of the day back to Lyon from Saint Etienne on Sundays typically departs from St Etienne-Châteaucreux station at around 22:00 (10pm) so the matches being held there can be as experienced as day trips from Lyon.
The journeys will be by TER trains so there's no need to book in advance to get a good deal.

That final train of the day will likely be heading back to Lyon Part-Dieu station; and there will be trains at least hourly from that station to St Etienne, though other trains to St Etienne also depart from Lyon-Perrache.

England

Hopefully the direct Eurostar from London to Marseille will have resumed prior to the tournament, if it has it will be available to book 180 days ahead of the travel date.
The two other options for travelling from London to Marseille by train:

  • making a connection between trains in Lille Europe station,
  • transferring between trains across Paris from the Gare Du Nord to the Gare De Lyon
    The option via Lille is easier, so the cheapest tickets tend to sell out faster for this routing.

Marseille to Nice

When travelling to the match in Nice from Marseille there will be choice of TGV and TER trains, but it isn't a high-speed route so the two services have similar travel times and the TER trains tend to be cheaper.
If you'll want to travel direct to the stadium from Marseille what's good to know is that the TER trains will call at Nice St Augustin station, but the TGV's won't.
Nice St-Augustin is closer to the stadium, than the city's main station, Nice-Ville, and there will be direct trams from St-Augustin to the stadium.

Nice to Lille

Pre-pandemic there was a daily direct TGV train from Nice to Lille, but whether it does or doesn't resume prior to the tournament, there will be journey options will involve making connections in Lyon, Marseille and Paris; and of these making the connection in Marseille St Charles station is the simplest; there will definitely be direct trains from Marseille to Lille.
Though the cheapest option will be either:

  • Taking a Ouigo service from Nice to Paris, and then travelling on from Paris to Lille.
  • Taking a train from Nice to Marseille to connect into a Ouigo service from Marseille to Lille.
    If you choose either of these cheaper options, keep in mind that you will be travelling a long distance on a no-frills trains service, so it can be worth paying extra to book the tickets which enable you to select specific seats on a seating plan.

London to Lille

Seeing the Oct 7th match in Lille as a day trip from London should be feasible, on a Thursday the final Eurostar of the day typically doesn't depart from Lille-Europe until around 21:30.
Though unless Eurostar amends its timetable, heading back to London after seeing the Saturday game on Sept 23rd won't be possible,

Ireland

There are typically four Intercités trains per day from Bordeaux to Nantes, but it's not a high-speed route so the journey time is around 4hr 10mins.
Though what probably won't be an option is flying into Nantes and then seeing the match in Bordeaux as a day trip from there.
On the usual timetable there would be only 45mins between the final whistle and the departure of the final train of the day back to Nantes from Bordeaux.

There will be a wide choice of options for taking the train from Nantes to Paris, if you book ahead the faster TGV services will likely not be that much more expensive.
Though it will probably be a good idea to look at a range of travel dates, as ticket prices will rise according to demand and it's likely that the cheapest prices will sell out quickest on the trains departing on the 17th.

New Zealand

There will be a range of options for taking the train from Paris to Toulouse;

  • Cheapest, but slowest, will be taking the Intercités trains on the non high-speed route
  • the TGV trains will rush down the high speed line between Paris and Bordeaux and then travel on the conventional route to Toulouse
  • Ouigo services will take the same route as the TGVs.
    The Ouigo services will be cheaper than the TGVs as they are no-frills services, but for a journey of this length, choosing the more expensive tickets which enable you to select specific seats from a seating plan, can be worth every cent.

There are typically four direct trains per day from Toulouse to Lyon, they are TGVs despite the fact that only the final hour of the journey will be on a high speed line.
Book as soon as possible to get the cheapest prices, there will be limited numbers of discounted tickets available.

Scotland

Travelling from Scotland to Marseille in a single day by train is totally feasible, the final connections of the day to Marseille typically depart from St Pancras International after 15:30, so it's possible to depart Edinburgh as late as around 09:30.
Though setting off from the Scottish capital on an early morning train will give you more options and take the pressure off of making the connections.
If your journey will be commencing in Glasgow connecting into a train to King's Cross in Edinburgh Waverley is simpler than taking a train from Glasgow to Euston and then heading over to St Pancras International from there.

Marseille to Nice

When travelling to the match in Nice there will be choice of TGV and TER trains, but it isn't a high-speed route so the two services have similar travel times and the TER trains tend to be cheaper.
If you'll want to travel direct to the stadium from Marseille what's good to know is that the TER trains will call at Nice St Augustin station, but the TGV's won't.
Nice St-Augustin is closer to the stadium, than the city's main station, Nice-Ville, and there will be direct trams from St-Augustin to the stadium.
Though seeing the game as a day trip from Marseille probably won't be an option, the final departure of the day from Nice to Marseille on a Sunday; usually departs before 19:30 (7:30 pm).

Nice to Lille

Pre-pandemic there was a daily direct TGV train from Nice to Lille, but whether it does or doesn't resume prior to the tournament, there will be journey options will involve making connections in Lyon, Marseille and Paris; and of these making the connection in Marseille St Charles station is the simplest; there will definitely be direct trains from Marseille to Lille.
Though the cheapest option will be either:

  • taking a Ouigo service from Nice to Paris, and then travelling on from Paris to Lille
  • taking a train from Nice to Marseille to connect into a Ouigo service from Marseille to Lille.
    Keep in mind that you will be travelling a long distance on a no-fills trains service, so it can be worth paying extra to book the tickets which enable you to select specific seats on a seating plan.

Paris to Lille

Paris is only an hour from Lille by TGV trains and the frequency of the departures tend to keep prices at reasonable levels.
Though as with any journey by TGV train, prices will rise according to demand, so it will probably good idea to look at range of dates; prices will likely be higher on Oct 8th.
Seeing the game in Paris as a day trip by train from Lille won't be an option.

South Africa

The distances involved when following South Africa through the group stages will likely tip the balance in favour of using Eurail passes or Carte Avantage cards; see the ticketing info above.

Paris ↔ Marseille

It seems extreme, but attending the game in Marseille on Sept 10th on a day trip from Paris should be feasible, as the final train of the day to the French capital on a Sunday, doesn't typically depart from Marseille until around 21:00.
Virtually the entire route is on a high-speed line so the journey typically only takes around 3hr 20mins.
Though booking ahead is recommended, the cheapest ticket prices on the regular TGV trains always sell out comparatively quickly on this route; so keep that in mind when heading back to Marseille for the match on October 1st.

The cheapest option for the journeys between Paris and Marseille will be the Ouigo services
However, if you choose this option you will be travelling a long distance on a no-fills trains service, so it can be worth paying extra to book the tickets, which enable you to select specific seats on a seating plan.

to Bordeaux

Seeing the game in Bordeaux as a day trip from Paris will be an even easier option, the fastest trains between the two cities are non-stop in less than 2hr 15mins.
However, there will be a wide choice of departures on this route, the slower TGVs will likely be money savers, as the cheaper tickets inevitably sell out more quickly on the faster trains; but the Ouigo services will be cheapest of all.

Though if you'd rather spend time in Marseille and then head to Bordeaux from there, the trip is easily done thanks to six direct trains per day.

Wales

Supporters of Wales have drawn the short straw in terms of which of the home nations will have to travel the farthest between matches by train.
The distances involved when following Wales through the group stages will likely tip the balance in favour of using InterRail passes or Carte Avantage cards; see the ticketing info above.

Heading to Bordeaux from Wales in a single day by train is feasible, the final connections of the day will likely involve departing from St Pancras International after 15:30, though look out for the option which will likely involve having to transfer between stations in Lille and avoids the cross-Paris transfer between stations.

Bordeaux to Nice

There haven't been direct trains from Bordeaux to Nice for several years and a tad incredibly when looking up the journey, some of the options will involve taking a TGV from Bordeaux to Paris, then making the awkward transfer in the capital between Montparnasse and Gare De Lyon stations in order to take another TGV from Paris.
Much simpler is taking an Intercités train from Bordeaux to Marseille and then making a relatively easy transfer in St-Charles station for a train on to Nice.

Nice to Lyon

The TGV trains from Nice to Paris by-pass Lyon, so there are typically only three direct trains per day from Nice to Lyon, which tends to make this a particularly expensive route,
Taking TER trains and connecting in Marseille will likely be cheaper; it will be when the limited numbers of discounted tickets on the TGV trains have sold out.

Lyon to Nantes

There also relatively few direct trains from Lyon to Nantes, though taking slower Intercités services will be cheaper than the TGVs.
Look out for journey options which involve connecting in Paris, the trains from Lyon will arrive at the Gare de Lyon, but there is no direct Metro line from there to the Gare Montparnasse, which is where the train to Nantes will depart from.

Author

Simon Harper

I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.

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