Welcome to the guide to travelling by these iconic high speed trains in France.
Food services available
Accessing the train
Attributes of the train
A complimentary WiFi portal is available throughout this train.
The power sockets on this train are compatible with standard E.U. two point plugs.
The services that are branded 'InOui' also offer Business Premiére Class in addition to regular Premiére/1st class.
A complimentary WiFi portal is available throughout this train.
The refurbished 'InOui' trains now have power sockets in Seconde / Standard Class
TGV Duplex trains are the iconic double-decked French high speed trains which travel up to 320 khm/h.
Though now that the TGV Océane trains have been introduced, they're no longer the only type of double-deck high speed train used in France.
Our insights to travelling by TV Duplex trains will guide through the travelling experience, from boarding the train to making the most of the journey.
The majority of French cities are served by these TGV Duplex trains as they are used across on France on all the high speed lines - the LGV network
The French national operator embarked on a refurbishment program of these trains and the modernised trains were re-branded as 'InOui' services.
TGV Duplex trains are used on virtually all TGV services between Paris and cities in south east France including Lyon, Marseille, Nice and Montpellier - and beyond.
Take one of one of the direct trains between Lille and destinations to the south of Paris and it's likely that you will be travelling on a TGV Duplex.
You won’t know for certain if you will be travelling on a TGV Duplex until you book a ticket and are offered a choice of travelling in the upper or lower decks - you can also confirm which type of TGV will be used on a specific departure using this guide.
On these routes, you will almost certainly be travelling on a TGV Duplex train:
(1) All TGV InOui services from Paris Gare De Lyon to destinations in France, south of Dijon including Avignon, Annecy, Chambery, Grenoble, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nice and Perpignan.
(2) Lille <> Bordeaux and Lyon and Marseille and Montpellier and Nice and Rennes and Nantes
(3) Montpellier/Marseille/Lyon <> Nantes/Rennes and Strasbourg/Luxembourg
This type of of train is also used on some departures on these routes:
(1) Paris Est - Nancy and Metz and Strasbourg
(2) Paris Nord - Lille (usually on the services which don't travel beyond Lille)
(3) Toulouse - Lyon via Montpellier
(4) Paris Montparnasse - Bordeaux (some of the slower services via Poitiers and Angouleme)
Many services operated by TGVs extend beyond the LGVs (high speed lines), so between certain cities, including;
Marseille – Nice,
Nimes – Perpignan,
Bordeaux – Toulouse,
Mulhouse – Strasbourg, the TGVs only use conventional tracks.
Seats will automatically be assigned when booking tickets for journeys by TGV train.
Rail pass users will need to have made reservations prior to boarding and info on how to book these rail pass reservations is available HERE.
These trains have 8 coaches/carriages, but two trains are often joined together, so some train departures are formed of exceptionally long trains.
Therefore aim to be at the station at least 8 minutes before departure, particularly if you will be joining the train at an intermediate station.
Before arriving on the voie/platform/track, check your ticket and find the number of the coach in which your reserved seat is located.
Then use the info screens on the voie/platform, to check in which zone on the voie you should wait in, for easy boarding into your coach.
Two trains are often joined together for most of the journey, but the train then splits so different final destinations can be served.
In these instances each part of the train has separate train numbers.
When two trains are joined together, it isn’t possible to walk entirely through the train from one end to the other.
Another good reason for not boarding by the first door you see because you are rushing.
The coach/carriage numbers can be hard to spot as they are on the electronic info panel set into the body work of the train by the door.
The coach numbers aren't included on the interior, so try and take your time and check that you are boarding into the coach in which your reserved seat is located.
On the grey/white liveried trains, a large 1 by the door indicates a 1st class carriage, while a 2 indicates a 2nd class carriage.
On the blue/grey TGV Duplex trains a green coloured slash across the door indicates that a coach/carriage is 2nd class - ‘2nde’ is also written to the left of the door.
A pink slash indicates a door to a 1st class coach/carriage and ‘1ére’ will be written by the door.
As you step on to the train, look out for the easy to miss signs, located above your head, that indicate which seat numbers are on the lower and upper decks.
Keep your ticket where you can access it easily, so that you can check your seat number as you enter the seating saloon.
The sequence of numbers can seem illogical, so take your time.
The window seat numbers are above the windows, by the lights.
What you won’t see is any indication of the stations between which the seat is reserved for, all you have to do is look for the seat numbers and match it to the seat number on your ticket.
If you don’t have luggage with you, hang back and be amongst the last passengers to board.
All seats are reserved, so you won’t risk having no seat to travel in, and you can avoid being caught up in the scramble for luggage space.
The luggage allowance = 2 suitcases/large bags + 1 item of hand luggage per person.
If you have large items of luggage, don’t be tempted to locate your seat first, and then work out where to stow your luggage.
On both the lower and upper decks you have to walk by the main luggage racks to access the seating saloons.
If there's space on these racks then the advice is to make use of it - if you're prepared to accept that you won't be able to see your bags from your seat.
Luggage space is limited in the 2nd class seating saloon, but if you've entered by the door to the coach in which you seat is located, then alternative luggage racks are located at the far end of the seating saloon.
The above seat luggage racks are particularly small, and won’t accommodate items much larger than a large handbag.
Medium size bags will fit in the space between some of the seats.
The lower decks have more areas in which bags can be stowed away, but if you are travelling 1st class avoid utilising the space set aside for wheelchair users.
There is generally more space in which to stow luggage in 1st class - in the 1st class upper deck there are also racks in the middle of the seating area that can accommodate large items
Seating Plan (in French)
On board announcements are in French language only, but the conductors usually speak English, so you can verify any questions when they pass through the train to check tickets.
Modernised TGV Duplex trains are classified as providing a 'TGV InOui' service with the key passenger benefit being enhanced wi-fi connectivity, also more power sockets have been added in Seconde/Class.
If you won't be travelling on an InOui service, the wi-fi connectivity can be patchy, theoretically it's available on the high speed lines.
In addition to being available by1st class seats, power sockets are also available in the platforms/vestibules between coaches - passengers are encouraged to use these spaces between coaches to make mobile calls.
On services classified as InOui power sockets can also be available at Seconde/2nd class seats.
Staircases link the lower and upper levels and there are toilets on both levels in each coach
However, if you want to access the bar counter, then it’s easier to move through the train at the upper level, as the serving counter is on the upper deck.
The upper deck inevitably offers better views, as they enable passengers to see over the sound barriers that line much of the track.
However, the scenery that can be seen from a French high speed line is rarely scintillating.
Don't presume that because the double decking allows for more seats per train, that the seating will be particularly roomy, the area per seat is no more spacious than on a single deck TGV.
Target the lower deck if you have luggage and/or if you are tall - the lower deck can feel more spacious.
If you are tall and sat by the window on the upper deck, take care not to bang your head on the ceiling when you leave the seat.
If you happen to be travelling in a ‘Calme’ coach – (you may not have knowingly requested this), then the conductor will ask you to move from your seat to take a call.
It won’t be particularly obvious that you are sitting in a part of the train with a ‘Calme’ atmosphere - there are no signs displayed in the coaches etc.
There is no trolley service on TGV trains so you will need to go the bar coach if you want to purchase food and drink – though don’t over rely on it having all items available to purchase.
The at-seat catering service on TGV trains is only available if you order meals to be delivered to your seat prior to boarding.
The first stage of this catering booking service is to enter the train number (not the departure time) which will be on your ticket, into this order form.
Take care with food and drink, particularly un-opened bottles and drinks in cups and glasses.
When the trains corner at high speed, drinks and food can fly off the table.
Non-folding bikes cannot be taken on TGV Duplex trains, but folding bikes are permitted if they fit into a bike bag of 120cm x 90cm max.
If you can remove the front wheel of a non-folding bike, so that the wheel and the rest of the bike can be placed into a bag no bigger 120cm x 90cm, you can also take other bikes on board.
This is one of more than 150 train guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.