Related Content
Travel On Train Intercités (France)
Exterior of a refurbished SNCF Intercités train

Intercités (France)

This guide refers to the type of Intercités train service in France on the longer-distance routes, which have mandatory seat reservations.

Share

At a Glance

Travel Pass Supplement

Rail Pass Reservation Fees
Reservations

Compulsory
Time of Day

Day
Catering

Food services available

Bar (sandwiches, snacks, salads)
Accessibility

Accessing the train

Wheelchair Spaces
Bikes Allowed
Train Specification

Attributes of the train

Has a Conductor
Country

Which country these trains operate in.

France
Travel Passes
Eurail
InterRail

On Board

Première/Premium

Perks
Power Socket

The power sockets on this train are compatible with standard E.U. two point plugs.

Trolley Service:

A catering trolley with hot and cold drinks and snacks should be taken through the train at some point during its journey.

Non-refurbished 1st class seating saloon on an Intercités train Non-refurbished 1st class seating saloon on an Intercités train
A refurbished 1st class seating saloon on an Intercites train A refurbished 1st class seating saloon on an Intercites train

Seconde/Standard

Perks
Power Socket

The power sockets on this train are compatible with standard E.U. two point plugs.

Trolley Service:

A catering trolley with hot and cold drinks and snacks should be taken through the train at some point during its journey.

Intercités (long-distance) travel guide:

Intercités trains are French express trains which don’t 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 (seats will be automatically assigned when booking tickets).

Routes:

These premium Intercités services, which used to be branded 'Teoz', operate on these three key routes on which seat reservations are mandatory (will be automatically included when booking tickets, but rail pass users will need to pay a €10-20 reservation fee):

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

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

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

Plus other cross-country routes, on which seat reservations aren't available, which can be seen on this map.

Tickets & 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.

Reservations:

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.

Using rail passes:

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 these Intercités services) - 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.

On board:

Some coaches used on these Intercités services have been refurbished/modernised - but not all!
Whether you will be travelling in a refurbished coach/carriage won’t be clear until the train arrives.

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

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.

Catering:

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.

Bicycles:

Folding bikes can be taken on board as hand luggage.
Limited numbers of spaces for NON-folding bikes are available on most departures, these spaces must be reserved on any journey and the reservation fee is €10, the reservation can be added to a booking when purchasing tickets online on OuiSNCF.

You will have to interact with the train conductor who will guide you as to where you can store your bicycle(s), so when you’re at the station it’s worth checking what you’ll need to do.
Particularly if you won’t be joining a train at its starting point, so will have limited time on the voie (platform/track) to work out what the procedure is, when the train arrives.

ShowMeTheJourney

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.