Home » On The Road » French Summer 2013 » Train Culture in France

Train Culture in France

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

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. Trains are the #1 thing I miss here in Montréal…

  3. 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!

  4. 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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