Train Culture in France

8

North Amer­ica has a car cul­ture, Europe has a train cul­ture. You can get pretty much any­where by train although it may not always be easy or cheap. But trains are com­fort­able, fairly reli­able and pretty fast.

I took the Nantes-Paris TGV many times when I was a stu­dent since my uni­ver­sity was in Paris. The trip was exactly two-hour long and I had become a train expert. I knew which cart was the best (hint: not the infa­mous #15 where smok­ing was still allowed), when to book my ticket for the best pos­si­ble fare and how late I could hop on the train and still make it.

I had a love-and-hate rela­tion­ship with the two train sta­tions, in Nantes and in Paris. In a way, I liked the atmosphere—all these strangers gath­ered in one place, wait­ing for some­thing or some­one, eye­ing the train sched­ule ner­vously and impa­tiently, pac­ing in the main hall and ignor­ing each other. But I didn’t like the fact that every­thing was sold at a premium—drinks, food… you even had to pay to use the bathroom.

We took the train to Tours and back this year and Mark behaved like a true Euro­pean. He sat straight in his seat, stared out of the win­dow, attempted to chat with strangers (ahem, baby bab­ble), read the news­pa­per (well, tore it to  pieces and ate it) and fell asleep. That’s my boy.

Mean­while, I bus­ied myself catch­ing up on my read­ing list (I still love my Kin­dle!) and cap­tur­ing this spe­cial “train sta­tion” atmosphere.

You can see the com­plete set of pic­tures of France here.

Mark on the Train

Mark on the Train

Mark on the Train

Mark on the Train

Nantes' Station

Nantes’ Sta­tion

Nantes' Station

Nantes’ Sta­tion

Vending Machines at the Station

Vend­ing Machines at the Station

On the Train

On the Train

On the Train

On the Train

On the Train

On the Train

Tours Station

Tours Sta­tion

Tours Station

Tours Sta­tion

Passengers in Tours

Pas­sen­gers in Tours

Passengers in Tours

Pas­sen­gers in Tours

Passengers in Tours

Pas­sen­gers in Tours

Passengers in Tours

Pas­sen­gers in Tours

Passengers in Tours

Pas­sen­gers in Tours

Angers Station

Angers Sta­tion

Angers Station

Angers Sta­tion

Angers Station

Angers Sta­tion

Angers Station

Angers Sta­tion

Angers Station

Angers Sta­tion

Angers Station

Angers Sta­tion

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

8 Comments

  1. T’as pas l’air com­mode sur la 2me photo ;) :D

    Ton post tombe bizarrement, avec le déraille­ment de la semaine dernière :/ Mais bon t’as rai­son, on peut se ren­dre partout en train, c’est pratique :)

  2. I love the trains. Loved the ones in Switzer­land the most and I too knew most train times in all of Switzer­land.. Great pics, love the pics of Mark the most and his smile!

    • I just wish it was cheaper. When you are over 25 and under 65, there are no more dis­counts and the price dif­fer­ence is huge!

  3. I wish I could afford the train more often, for peo­ple with nor­mal office sched­ule it’s almost impos­si­ble to find afford­able fares!

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