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France: Travel Through France? Take the Motorcycle Train

13
December
2013
  Posted at 02:00:00 PM
  File under  France Travel
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Normandy, France
click to see where France is on the map

When the French railway system (SNCF) is not on strike (which is a frequent occurrence), they do offer some excellent programs. Their high-speed train, the TGV, is a fantastic way of transportation, going from one city to another at 300 kph in style and comfort.

But another service they have, a service that has been expanding over time, is the auto/motorcycle train Open Autotrain.Voyages-Sncf link in a new window. The SNCF have increased the destinations, frequency and even now offer the service during the winter months.

Click for bigger version of SNCF Auto Moto Train Map
Open image in a new window

The main station is in Paris (Gare de Bercy) and from there you can reach several cities in the center and South of France.

Click for bigger version of SNCF Auto Moto Train Map
Open image in a new window

But there is also a service linking East and West France (Southern part). The advantage of this train service is if you need to pass through France, you're looking at least at a full day riding, often on boring motorways.

This service allows you to bring your motorcycle at the Paris station, do the paperwork and then the SNCF employees load your bike onto the train. You are NOT allowed to go on this train, it is reserved just for vehicles. You MUST take another normal train, be it the high-speed TGV or a sleeper train. Or you can fly.

When you arrive at your destination, you go to the railway station and your motorcycle will be waiting for you. If you arrive in the morning, the railroads even will feed you breakfast.

Prices

Prices are quite reasonable. To go from Paris to let's say Nice, the bike transport will cost you between €99 and €201. The price varies depending on the type of ticket (changeable, flexi, etc) and season. On top of that comes your transport. But in the end, you'll not pay more (or much more) to ship your bike via train, but for sure you'll arrive much more rested to enjoy your holiday.

Auto train

I reviewed the motorcycle train system back in 2006. Click here to read the SNCF auto/moto train review Open link in a new window.

They accept any type of motorcycle as long as it's over 50cc. They'll also accept quads and trikes, and obviously also cars.

With the changes, you can now use the train to many of their destination during the winter. So for example if you live in The Netherlands and want to escape the cold climate and head on over to Spain, ride to Paris, put the bike on the train to Narbonne or Biarritz, and from there ride on to Spain.

Click here for more information about the auto/moto train Open Autotrain.Voyages-Sncf link in a new window (in French)
Click here for limited information about the auto/moto train Open Voyages-Sncf.Co link in a new window (in English)
Click here for an English site about the auto/moto train Open Raileurope.Co link in a new window.





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