How to Take a Train From Paris to Germany

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Train travel is one of the major benefits of visiting or living in European cities such as Paris, France. Compared to air travel, travel by train includes more space, easier boarding, no security lines and far less preparation. If you want to travel from Paris to Germany, trains leave on a regular basis every day to many destinations, including most major German cities.

Things You'll Need

  • Passport
  • Paris metro ticket

Choose your destination city in Germany. The city in Germany will determine what train carrier you use and which train station you depart from in Paris. Thalys, TGV, Corail and Ice are the largest and most popular train companies running schedules from Paris to Germany, but you may find tickets will smaller companies as well. Depending on your final destination in Germany, you might have to make a transfer between two companies.

Buy your tickets online beforehand. All automatic ticket machines in France require that you have a European credit or debit card with a micro-chip and a pin number; Americans and non-Europeans must wait in line at a window to purchase tickets in cash. This line frequently has a long wait, the window is only open during business hours and tickets are often not available on the same day for popular destinations in Germany. You can find Internet cafes all over Paris - often referred to as “cyber cafes” - and purchase your tickets online at SNCF.com the day before to save yourself time and trouble. SNCF is France’s rail authority and sells tickets for all train carriers leaving France.

Take the metro to Gare du Nord or Gare de L’Est. Paris has five major train stations: Gare du Nord, Gare de L’Est, Gare Montparnasse, Gare de Lyon and Gare Saint Lazare. Most trains departing for Germany leave from Gare de L’Est, but if you are going to a Northwestern city in Germany, your train may leave from Gare du Nord. You can take Paris metro lines 4, 5 and 7 to Gare de L’Est and metro lines 4 and 5 to Gare du Nord.

Go to the train station at least 30 minutes prior to your departure. Trains depart immediately, on time, and do not wait for passengers. French high speed trains also tend to be very long with many cars, which means you may have a long walk down the platform to reach the car with your seat. Most trains in Paris begin boarding around 15 minutes before the departure time, but there will also be a crowd of people boarding the train with you. Giving yourself some extra time helps you avoid be rushed, stressed or late.

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