Welcome to the guide to travelling by the majority of IC (Intercités) train services in France.
Accessing the train
Attributes of the train
Which country these trains operate in.
French national rail operator SNCF operates two different kinds of Intercités train services, which can be confusing, as both services are branded Intercités online and at stations; SNCF uses the Intercités branding for ALL of its express train services that don't travel on the high-speed lines.
On some other longer distance routes taken by Intercités trains, seats have to be reserved (which impacts on rail pass users) and catering is available.
Hence SMTJ has split then off into a separate category, as seats DON'T HAVE to be reserved and catering isn't available. ~
And on these three routes brand new double-deck trains are rapidly entering services; they're so new that SMTJ hasn't yet had the opportunity to capture any images!
This type of Intercités service, on which seat reservations aren't mandatory also applies on these cross-country routes (amongst others):
(1) Bordeaux - Nantes
(2) Bordeaux - Lyon
(3) Nantes - Lyon
(4) Toulouse - Hendaye
(5) Clermont Ferrand - Beziers
Note that this type of IC service is no longer available on routes to and from Paris.
On some departures older coaches, which are arguably inferior to the latest regional TER trains, will be used; these older IC trains are pictured above.
The tick in their box for taking the IC train, is that they operate to faster schedules than TER trains.
Seat reservations are available, but optional on these trains (they're mandatory on the longer-distance Intercités services.
So Eurail and InterRail pass users can hop on-board.
If you will be making a comparatively long journey by these IC services, such as Paris - Caen, then making a reservation, whether you have a ticket or rail pass, is recommended and they cost less than €2.
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.
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This is one of more than 100 train travel 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.