Travelling by train is perfect for those who want to sit back, relax and see a bit more of the countryside and the region that surrounds Bordeaux. There are also good regional SNCF trains along the Garonne and Dordogne river valleys and through the Médoc into Bordeaux, stopping off at the main towns and offering some bus links to others.
Nearest train station to Bordeaux
Bordeaux-Saint-Jean Train Station (Gare de Bordeaux-Saint-Jean) is centrally located in Bordeaux. Opened in 1898, the Bordeaux Saint Jean station offers easy access to the high-speed TGV trains from Paris and Lille and to Biarritz on the border with Spain.
Travelling by train in France
SNCF (Societé Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français) is France's national railway company, owned by the French state, operating throughout continental France and Monaco. There are over 32,000 kilometres of railway laid all across the country, a good chunk of them sustaining high-speed services, the world-renowned TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) which reaches average speeds of around 320km/h. Trains connect cities and towns all around France and even cross the border into Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium. Many routes will begin in Paris, stopping at convenient stations throughout the country before arriving in Bordeaux. The SNCF website has information for TGV and national rail service timetables. TGV train tickets must be bought in advance and there are a whole host of special offers available for families, seniors, and groups throughout the year. Tickets can be purchased online or at any train station in France.
London to Bordeaux by train
If you are coming from the UK, Eurostar is the high-speed passenger train from London to Paris & London to Brussels, which travels via the Channel Tunnel. Not to be confused with Eurotunnel, the company which owns the Channel Tunnel whose car-carrying trains shuttle road vehicles across the Channel. Eurostar carries passengers, not cars. Their direct summer train from London to Lyon, Avignon and Marseille, which operated between one and five times a week all year round has been cancelled in 2020 and 2021.
Eurotunnel provides a quick and simple method to get you and your car from England to France. From Folkestone to Calais in only 35 minutes, it is the fastest way to get across (or under) the English Channel. There are around four departures every hour - and as always you should book early to get the best rates.
Luggage & sports equipment on trains to Bordeaux
Whether you're travelling with a single carry-on bag or several large suitcases, your luggage is a part of your journey. There is no restriction on the weight or amount of luggage you bring on board, however, if you are travelling with a bicycle then it should be no larger than 90cm x 120cm. If it is larger than this then you'll need to remove the wheels and pack them in a carrying bag along with the frame. Either way, your bike will travel for free.
A door-to-door luggage service is available in continental France, Germany, Luxemburg and Switzerland. The SNCF will collect your luggage from you and deliver it to the address of your choice the next day, allowing you to travel luggage-free.
Tourist trains in Bordeaux
Many of the cities and towns in Bordeaux will have their own 'Petit Train' which is a small tourist train that takes you round the main sights and attractions, normally with commentary. Some of the most popular are in Blaye, Soulac-sur-Mer, the Railway at Cap Ferret and of course the city of Bordeaux itself. It's a good way to get your bearings around this beautiful city.
Trams in Bordeaux
The local tram network is run by TBM (Transports Bordeaux Metropole). The three tram lines, A, B and C, serve all the major sights and attractions within the city of Bordeaux and offer an efficient and frequent service.
|Bordeaux Tram Services|
|Tram A provides east-west transport across the urban area, connecting the right and left banks of the river. Stops include: Hôpital Pellegrin, the Chaban Delmas stadium, downtown Bordeaux and the Cenon TER station.|
|Tram B provides access to the greater urban area’s, south-north. Leaving from Pessac Railway station, it serves the Talence / Pessac university campus, downtown Bordeaux, the Quais des Chartrons and the Hangars.|
|Tram C also provides north-south access across the city. It serves the Bordeaux Saint-Jean station, which connects to downtown Bordeaux and to the inner-lying neighbourhoods of Bordeaux Lac.|
Trams run between 05:00 to 00:30 and until 01:15 the Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The service is frequent at 4 to 7-minute intervals during the day and 8 to 15-minute intervals the rest of the time. You can find timetables and further information on the TBM website.
Train timetables in Bordeaux
Pets & animals
To ensure that man's best friend can join you on holiday, trains in France allow your pets to travel with you. With most rail providers, pets under 6kg in weight can travel for free as long as their bag or basket does not exceed 45cm x 30cm x 25cm. Larger animals may be permitted at an additional charge. You should check with your rail provider in advance. Guide dogs can travel for free.