France Travel : Ouigo, New Budget High Speed Rail

france train ouigo

Traveling by train is one of my favorite ways to get around  in Europe. So I’m very excited to announce that April 2nd, France launched a new budget high-speed train service, which will be run by the national rail company, SNCF. It’s called Ouigo.

Get it – ‘we go’. Pretty clever, huh?

Since Ouigo is aimed at budget travelers, services are considered bare bones, with no bar cart, no food available on board and a one-bag restriction. In similar fashion to the budget airlines, you can bring an additional bag if booked in advance for €5, or if you wait until boarding time, that fee becomes €40.  Additional fees apply for things like booking by phone, ticket changes and getting a seat near an outlet.

But one good thing – speed won’t be sacrificed.  Ouigo trains will offer the same travel times as the traditional TGV high-speed trains.

This may not be the most convenient option for those heading to Paris, as the Ouigo station is located in the suburbs, near Disneyland Paris.  However, for those on a budget, a trip from Paris to the Mediterranean coast can cost at little at €10, which is worth be the slight inconvenience of getting to Paris’s city center via another RER train.

Traveling to cities like Lyon, Marseille and Montpellier should be a bit easier as those stations are a bit more central, but still located on the outskirts, which keeps costs down.  Other stations include Nimes, Valance, Avignon and Aix-en-Provence – making it a great way to access many great locations in the South of France to explore both the Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon regions.

You can book tickets by visiting the Ouigo website here (in French). At least one reservation page seems to be in English, so perhaps an English version is in the works.  They certainly aren’t winning any awards here for user-friendly website design, but what do we expect for such bargain prices?

So what do you think? Will you Ouigo?

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