Why is taking the new night trains a good idea?

In the past, night trains served many French cities, even pushing beyond borders. We would go to bed in Paris and wake up in Hendaye, Bourg-Saint-Maurice, Juan-les-Pins or Venice, without wasting a day’s vacation in transport.

Little by little, with the development of the TGV, the berths, and their famous SNCF sackcloths and blankets, as well as the romantic sleeping cars have disappeared. In 2020, there were only two lines left: the Paris-Briançon, and the Paris / Latour-de-Carol / Cerbère / Albi, to Tarn, Cerdagne or Côte Vermeille.

But thanks to a lower carbon impact than the plane or the car, the night train is making a comeback. In France, the Paris-Nice has resumed service, to see the Mediterranean appear upon awakening… or the grayness of the Ile-de-France region, it depends. In December, the Paris-Tarbes-Lourdes and the Paris-Vienne (in partnership with the Austrian railways) will welcome their first passengers in their renovated version. We will doze off to the rhythm of the mythical “tatac, tatoum”, in better air-conditioned and soundproofed cars. Bottles of water, tissues, wipes and earplugs are offered.

To Austria, via Munich and Salzburg, you can even enjoy a private cabin with shower. Elsewhere in Europe, we also opt for the reclining position: the Caledonian Sleeper connects London to Scotland, the Chopin goes from Prague to Warsaw, the Snälltåget crosses the Baltic Sea to reach Berlin from Stockholm via Copenhagen …

The Taste of M

Here is even a luxury proposition: the company Midnight Trains will soon be offering its “hotels on rails” from Paris to Madrid, Porto, Rome, Hamburg, with an elegant bar, top-of-the-range bedding, movies on demand. All you have to do is put in your playlist Night Train, the ballad of Malik Djoudi, and put on his headphones.

In France, berths from € 29. Towards Vienna, berths from € 59.90. yes.sncf.com

Caledonian sleeper, from 120 €. sleeper.scot

Chopin, from € 40. cd.cz SnällTåget from € 75. snalltaget.se. or midnight-trains.com

Night trains, 30 unforgettable journeys in Europe, by Thibault Constant, Gallimard, 320 p., 25 €.

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