Exploring Southern France by train: Unforgettable rail itinenaries
The south of France is an enigmatic part of the world’s most visited tourist destination, offering fantastic opportunities to explore various activities and indulge in priceless experiences. The region has for a long time lured adventurers, leisure travellers, solo backpackers and families alike. It might be convenient to hop onto a flight in order to take in different places due to its short travel time and ease of access, but experiencing great French train journeys, especially in the south, is an extremely memorable and fascinating thing to do. It’s possible to discover the best of French life with a railway itinerary, whether it be via the high-speed TGV rail network for quick journeys between major towns and cities or via the regional RET trains, which paint some of the most remote and picturesque countryside vistas.
Here are some of southern France’s best railway journeys that are likely to charm travellers and tempt them in for a second and perhaps a third time.
The Montenvers Railway
The Montenvers railway takes one through the stunning Chamonix valley and right up to the mouth of the Mer de la Glace (Sea of Ice) – the largest glacier, 7km long and 200m wide, in the French Alps. It is situated at an altitude of 1,913m (6,276 ft) and was built in 1908 to attract tourism in the region. One can hop onto the train from the Chamonix town center at Gare du Montenvers. The scenery is absolutely stunning as the train ascends the mountainous path amid towering snowy peaks. Once at the destination, tourists can take a cable car that connects to the glacier, where there is an opportunity to walk inside a cave which has been carved into the ice field.
The Red Train
The Red Train or Le Train Rouge (Train du pays Cathare et du Fenouilledes), is a 100-year-old train near the Spanish border that connects the small town of Axat in the Occitanie region if southern France to Rivesaltes in the Pyrenees. It operates frequently as a guided tour running through the picturesque Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet commune, surrounded by majestic hills. The journey passes through towering viaducts, large vineyards and the impressive Pyrenees mountain range.
The Train of Wonders
The Train of Wonders, or Le Train de Merveilles, is one of France’s best train journeys to undertake. It connects the lovely city of Nice in southeast France to the small commune of Tende in the Alpes-Maritime department. The railway track opened to the public in 1927 and one can witness the Italian architecture that Benito Mussolini put in place when the region was under Italy’s control. Trains also head to Turin or Ventimiglia in Italy from here.
The Little Train of Artouste
The narrow gauge railway of Artouste (Petit Train d’Artouste) is situated in the French Pyrenees is very close to the Spanish border. It is situated at a height of approximately 2,000m (6,562 ft) and is the second highest railway in the country after the Tramway du Mont-Blanc. The train departs from a train station in the Ossau Valley which is only accessible by an uphill gondola ride. The ten-kilometre railway route is an enjoyable ride full of cliffside views, tunnel thrills and mountain vistas.
The south of France in particular is an exquisite tourist destination – thanks to the Pyrenees and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions, which impress with lively Mediterranean coast, mountain scenery and energetic destinations such as Monaco, whish is considered by some to be the classy version of Vegas and Macau. For those who are interested in this kind of gaming and unable to travel due to restrictions, free online slots can be accessed by the click of a button – where there is an online library that may cater to adrenaline junkies. Players, whether old or new, can access a range of bonuses and rewards including loyalty points and discounts.
There are numerous other rides such as the Mont Blanc Tramway, which is the highest mountain railway track in France and the fourth highest in Europe. This particular ride portrays stunning and extensive views of Mont Blanc and the massifs around. For those traveling from the United Kingdom, there are numerous routes that begin from London, thus making it much more convenient for exploring France by rail during summer. France and the south of the country in particular provide some great and thrilling rides that can rival some of the best train journeys in the world.
The editorial unit