The TGV Takes You All Over Europe

Can you believe that the TGV is over 30 years old?  The first TGV line was serving Paris-Lyon – Lyon-Paris in just 2 hours covering the 450 kilometers or 280 miles separating the two cities. This trip used to take at least 5 hours by regular train or by car.

If you are planning a trip to Europe, you might want to know how the TGV can affect your stay because of the traveling speed that the TGV offers to go from city to city and country to country in a matter of hours.

The TGV Train Changed the Way People Looked at Traveling in Europe

When the first TGV was introduced in 1981, I was just a kid, and little did I know that I was going to get on that ride Paris-Lyon /Lyon-Paris about 100 times while I was living in Paris.  I rode that train once to twice a month to see my family back home.

Needless to say, that without this incredible public transportation device called TGV (for Train a Grande Vitesse – literally Train at Grand Speed) my life in Paris would have been very different.  When you think that a long five-hour trip became a quick two-hour cool ride with no stop, there was no longer any reason for anyone living in either Paris or Lyon not to be tempted to travel often.  You could now have breakfast in Paris and be in Lyon for lunch and back to Paris for dinner.  That was better than any flight could offer, since the airports are way outside of both cities at about a 30 minute drive from and to both downtowns.

I used to love the TGV.  On top of it all it was and still is the SAFEST way to travel hands down, and at a very reasonable price – much more economical than flying. The TGV is so safe that even if something happens to the driver, the train’s computer detects that there is no one at the commands and stops after just a few seconds automatically.  We certainly couldn’t say that about cars or even plans.

It’s because of all such great advantages that this fast train offers to the consumer that the TGV expanded a hundredfold since its birth in 1981.  Now TGV is serving all main cities in France and other European countries.

You can Go Just about Anywhere with the TGV in Europe Today

A couple of years ago I wrote about all the different TGV trains that exist today throughout Europe and you can go read this if you want to learn more about TGV history as well.

Today you can travel to France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherland, and the United Kingdom with the TGV in a few hours.  You have to admire the tremendous progress from the first line 30 years ago.  Not only France became smaller with the TGV, but now the whole Western Europe linking all major cities in a matter of hours has become smaller too.

France still has the most TGV lines, called LGV (Lignes Grande Vitesse -lines grand speed) in whole Europe and you can now travel from and to any major cities such as Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Lille, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Valence, Aix-en-Provence, Dunkerque, Calais, Le Havre, Dijon, Lourdes, Mâcon, Montpelier, Nîmes, La Rochelle, Toulouse and Nice to name just a few.

Beyond the major cities of France you can travel from and to Brussels, Belgium linking 30 different cities in France to Belgium. You also have 7 trains a day traveling from Paris to Geneva, and 5 trains traveling from Paris to Lausanne in Switzerland.  There are two trains a day traveling from Paris to Bern, 4 trains a day traveling from Paris to Zürich and 3 trains to Munich in Germany.

There are 3 trains a day that will take you from Paris to Turin, Milan and other smaller cities in Italy and two trains a day that will take you from Paris to the Costa Brava, Barcelona and other cities in Spain.

You can also travel five times a day from Luxembourg to Paris and back.  Three trains are traveling from Paris to Amsterdam, Netherland every day as well.  And last but not least, there is a Paris-London every hour which take you from Paris to London is just 2 hours and 17 minute.

If you are planning a trip to Western Europe, this summer, make sure you enjoy this formidable ride.  check the video below. Very impressive test speed of the TGV.

TGV Speed Test 574 Km/hr (356 mph)


Let the journey begin with Rail Europe
So, what do you think?

10 thoughts on “The TGV Takes You All Over Europe”

  1. Hi Sylviane,

    when you drive by car on the highway A 4 from Metz to Paris, you will be overtaken by a TGV that runs more twice as fast as you on a section in the Champagne near Reims where the highway and the railroad tracks run parallel to each other. Amazing, isn’t it ?

    Thanks for sharing your information.

    Take care


    1. Hi Oliver,

      Yes that’s right, I totally know what you mean here. There are some sections where the TGV will make you feel that you are standing still even tough you are on a moving car 🙂

  2. Wow, that’s pretty cool Sylviane.

    I feel so behind the times, I’ve only ridden on a couple of trains in my life and they were mainly for tourists. My Mom and I have always wanted to take the train through the mountains but this one seems so cool. You definitely wouldn’t get a chance to see much of the scenery since it’s so fast.

    That was an awesome video. Dang, it just whizzed on by. I can’t believe it’s 30 years old and you use to ride it a lot.

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    1. Hi Adrienne,

      No, indeed, you can’t see a thing when you ride the TGV. The decors just rush out before your eyes. But, of course no one ride it for the decor, but to get they want FAST 🙂

      If you go to France that one thing to try 🙂

      Thanks for passing by, Adrienne 🙂

  3. I take for granted how fast this train is. The high speed train i took was when i lived in japan. They call it the Shinkansen or “bullet train” but even that one only reaches test speeds of 443 km. The TGV is extremely fast especially when you are standing on the platform at one of the stations where it doesn’t stop like we did last week. We were standing at the La Garde station and suddenly the train whizzed by. My heart started pounding because it was like hearing and seeing a 747 jet fly by us. It’s amazing it doesn’t produce a vortex of air as it passes by…

    recently we were doing some research on a trip and found it was cheaper to fly than to take the train. Can you believe it… ? we couldn’t.
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    1. Hi Annie,

      Yes, that train is a fast sun of a gun. Hum cheaper to fly than take the train, Wow! But I am not that surprise, because as I mentioned on the post, airports are way outside the cities compare to the train stations which are right in the middle of them.

  4. It’s like a plane on tracks! I have never had the pleasure of riding on the TGV but I do remember when the first one was introduced. I remember thinking it was so cool and I really wanted to get on it! My brother has spent time in Europe and lived in Prague for a while and he has ridden it and of course made me jealous with how fast it is 🙂

    It makes you wonder why they couldn’t build one in the US. We could go from California to NY in an instant! Then again, Europe has always been ahead of us in the “way cool” department.

    Of course you have stoked my desire to go travelling again. One of these days I AM going to get a ride!
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    1. I have always wondered why the US never built a TGV, but my thinking is that it’s a money reason and airline companies, since there are big here.

      If you go back to Europe, you need to take it at least once. It’s not that expensive and it’s worth it 🙂

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