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The TGV network expands

By Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries |


A TGV train at Gare de Lille Flandres station (© hidden europe).

A TGV train at Gare de Lille Flandres station (© hidden europe).

SNCF quietly expanded its TGV network today with the introduction of a seventh cross-border TGV service from France to Germany. TGV trains are already seen on a limited number of routes in western Germany, with the previous tally of six daily TGV trains plying the following routes:

  • Paris – Saarbrücken – Frankfurt (Main)
  • Paris – Strasbourg – Stuttgart – München
  • Frankfurt (Main) – Strasbourg – Lyon – Marseille

The new service that starts today will offer six return journeys each week on a new route from Paris to the university city of Freiburg im Breisgau in south-west Germany. The train makes three stops en route at Dijon, Besançon and Belfort. The morning Paris-bound trains take just 3hrs 40mins from Freiburg to the French capital. The evening return services take seven minutes longer.

This seventh TGV service to Germany expands the French high-speed network into new territory. It is the only one of the seven trains that does not also offer domestic service within Germany. It is a curiosity of the other six services that they can all be used on inner-German journeys (without any need for pre-booking or seat reservations — both very much the norm on TGV services in France). Examples of routes where you can ride TGVs without reservation within Germany are:

  • Stuttgart – München
  • Baden Baden – Frankfurt (Main)
  • Saarbrücken – Kaiserslautern
  • Karlsruhe – Augsburg

For all inner-German journeys on TGV services the ICE fares prevail (Produktklasse ICE). That extends to promotional deals such as the Sparpreis family of cheap fares for those willing to book well in advance. Bahncard discounts are also recognised on inner-German TGV journeys.

The addition of Freiburg to the TGV network brings the number of German cities now served by TGV trains to eleven in all. All but one of these enjoys a direct service to Paris. The exception is Baden Baden which is served by the Frankfurt to Marseille service but not by any direct Paris service.

The Paris to Freiburg route opens up a new fast travel option from England and northern France to the popular Black Forest holiday area of south-west Germany.

Copyright © Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries. All rights reserved.
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About The Authors

Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries

Nicky and Susanne manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers and the authors of the book Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide. The 17th edition of that book was published in 2022 and reprinted in July 2023. You'll find a list of outlets that sell the book on this website.

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