Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV)

Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV)

  • Region : Europe
  • Type : High Speed Trains
  • Traveller Interest : A Need for speed
  • Introduction / History
  • Accommodation
  • Dining / Lounge
The high speed TGV’s (Train à Grande Vitesse) are the pride of the French Railway (SNCF). The network of high-speed TGV trains, which have been in existence since 1981, connects over 230 destinations in both France and the rest of Europe. Running on specially designed and built high-speed rail tracks. The idea for these highly efficient transport links originated back in the 1960s when the growth of the airline industry was becoming ever more apparent. The environmentally preferable train links were therefore developed as an alternative. Smooth & quiet even at high speeds, they are a relaxing way to travel.

The latest TGV rolling stock to streak across the French countryside consists of double-decker trains. These double the carrying capacity of the trains whilst still maintaining the same speed and service. All TGV trains offer catering facilities, family carriages and private telephone areas to help make the journey even more convenient.

TGV trains have two service brands – TGV Lyria and iDTGV.

TGV Lyria is service brand used for TGV lines connecting France & Switzerland.


iDTGV is a TGV high speed train service aimed primarily at younger passengers. Carriages are separated into two zones: iDZen for customers wishing a quiet trip, where mobile phones and loud conversations are banned, and iDZap for customers looking for entertainment. Customers can rent DVDs and DVD players as well as board games, buy food, drinks or a sleep kit. The iDNight is a service with the same trains as the iDTGV during the night, but not at high speed and without beds, different to what one would expect by its name.

The night trains service with beds by SNCF is the Corail Lunea.

TGV trains offer first and second class carriages. Reservations are compulsory on all TGV trains.

First Class
First Class offers maximum comfort, with wider, adjustable seats, power sockets for your electronic appliances and compartments which offer peace and quiet. The seats have a head rest, fold-down table, foot rest, individual adjustable light and power socket. 

Several types of seating locations are available in First Class:
  • Isolé solo: individual window seat
  • Duo Vis-à-vis: 2 seats facing each other
  • Duo côte a côte: 2 seats side by side
  • Club Quatre: 4 seats facing each other, usually separated from the aisle by a transparent partition
  • Salon: 6 or 8-seat cabin (depending on your destination)
  • Seat for disabled travellers


Second Class
TGV Second Class offers straightforward, friendly and comfortable travel for every type of traveller, including families. The carriages have been recently refurbished in bright colours – orange and purple. The seats have a head rest, a fold-down table, foot rest and an individual reading light. 

 Several types of seating are available:
  • Espace Carré: 4 seats facing each other, with a fold-down table (available for 3 or 4 people).
  • Espace Famille: 4 fold-away seats facing each other, with a fold-down table (available for 3 or 4 people). There are baby changing facilities nearby.
  • Kiosque: seats located at the far ends of coaches 8 and 1 (available on TGV Réseau and Atlantique).
  • Duo side by side: 2 seats side by side.

There are seats in the special family area where children have a table for playing games as they travel.

In both classes, these vary from train to train. On the TGV Duplex. You can choose the top floor "salle haute” or the bottom floor "salle basse”. 

All TGV’s (except routes under an hour) have a café bar on board. The TGV bar has a wide selection of meals and sweet snacks available. Eat at the bar or take them back to your seat. There is also a selection of DVDs, magazines, games and public transport tickets on sale. The café-bar is always located at the centre of the train – between first and second class.