Bicycle on train from Marseilles to Calais

Is it permitted to take a bicycle on the train(s) from Marseilles to Calais and, if yes, what is the cost and can it be booked on line?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) August 21, 2013 15:39
    Hi Andy,

    I'll give you two different scenarios:

    One for a connection of trains that will allow you to walk right on board with your bicycle fully assembled; and one for the fastest possible connection from Marseille to Calais, which would involve taking a TGV train, on which the situation regarding traveling with fully assembled bicycles is a lot less definite, and you would have to try your luck locally to be sure.

    TGVs are the high-speed trains in France and the most convenient way to travel between two points when possible. Technically, fully assembled bicycles are not allowed on the vast majority of TGV trains in France. While that is the case, there are a very select few TGV trains that have designated areas for fully assembled bicycles to be stored, there is just no way to tell which trains those are (on such trains, you would purchase a ticket for your bicycle locally at the station). Also, even with regard to the TGV trains that state they don't allow fully assembled bicycles, the conductor may be indifferent or not even notice, as long as you've found sufficient space in the luggage area at the end of the car.

    Of course, if you have a special bicycle bag or you plan on purchasing one before your trip, then you can take your bicycle on board any train as luggage, including TGV trains. A bicycle can fit in such a bag with the wheels and pedals detached, and the handlebars parallel to the frame.

    In France, fully assembled bicycles are technically only allowed on board regional trains (with some rare exceptions during rush hour periods). Generally, you would not even have to purchase a ticket for it. On regional 'TER' trains, you can take your bicycle on board without purchasing a ticket for it. On regional 'Intercités' trains, you would have to purchase a ticket to take your fully assembled bike on board.

    A connection of regional trains from Marseille to Calais would take at least 23 to 23.5 hours in duration and involves an overnight at some point along the way. With such a connection, you would change trains 3 times along the way; once in Lyon, once in Paris, and then once in either Amiens or Boulogne.

    You can purchase tickets and check schedules by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on the homepage of our website, www.raileurope.com.

    For one of the routes comprised of regional trains, you would piece together the connection by doing a separate search for each segment (i.e. one search for trains from Marseille to Lyon, another search for connecting trains from Lyon to Paris, another search for connecting trains from Paris to Amiens or Boulogne, and another search for connecting trains from Amiens or Boulogne to Calais). You would just want to be sure to choose one of the regional trains for each segment. The train from Paris to Boulogne would be an Intercités train and some of the trains from Paris to Amiens are Intercités trains, so you would expect to purchase a ticket for your bike locally on these. The TER and Intercités should be labeled accordingly when you pull up the results of each search. Otherwise, you can distinguish the regional trains by their train numbers. In France, the regional TER trains have 5 digit train numbers. The regional Intercités trains on this route have 4 digit train numbers that begin with a '2' or 5 digit train numbers. The regional TER trains from Lyon to Paris will arrive into the Bercy station in Paris, as oppposed to the Gare de Lyon station.

    You can purchase tickets for the fastest connections from Marseille to Calais by doing a search for the full route without separating it out. These connections would involve taking a TGV from Marseille to Paris or Lille and then a regional train from Paris or Lille to Calais (though there are also some TGV trains from Paris to Calais as well).

    Trains in France can only be booked within 90 days of an intended date of departure.
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  • Thank you Jeff for this very comprehensive answer.
    I will weigh up the options.

    Merci.
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