Train travel is a good option to venture out and around Côte d’Azur – the French Riviera. Sit back and enjoy the views, just let the train take you to your destination. Nothing to worry about with the daunting traffic and possible language barrier if you don’t speak French.
Our plan for this leg of the journey is to travel to Nice by train and take the punt of driving back to Marseille. We wanted to feel the Mediterranean way of life through a scenic drive passing through quaint little villages and towns. (This will be on a later blog).
Back to our train experience from Marseille to Nice! We booked our tickets through Rail Europe, a ticketing agent based in Australia before flying out. It cost 76.00€ for the two tickets. It was an early morning departure so we arrived 45 minutes prior at St Charles (Gare de Marseille Saint Charles), the main terminus. Concourse area was packed out with passengers waiting for train announcements so it was difficult to find a seat in this part of the station. Opposite the concourse there are coffee shops if you want a caffeine fix, as we opted to do, you can also pick up some supplies for the journey incase you fancy a nibble en-route.
The TGV train was a double-decker and we were in coach 7, upper deck, with dual side by side seats 85 and 86.
It was a clean carriage, spacious, the seats were comfy, reclinable with plenty of leg room. We checked around the train once settled and surprisingly it was immaculate, no signs of vandalism or rubbish.
Steps to go up and down between the decks have secured hand railings for an easy grip. As you can see from the photo, the carriages are fully maintained and kept quite clean.
Cabin and seat numbers are displayed digitally. ample storage areas for large luggage and goods can be found at each end of the cars along with toilets which we found to be clean and sanitary.
Every seat has it’s own individual reading light and hook for jackets. We didn’t test the reliability of the onboard free wifi. If you want to use this feature, you need to log in to their wifi portal to avail this service.
When booking your ticket, check out the seating configuration so you can choose the best seat for you. There are facing seats with an adjustable table in the middle which can be used as a working desk or to update your socials. The other seats individual fold-down tables, foot rest and a net for storing personal effects, the rack above the seat are good for small bags/packs, just don’t forget them when you alight!
Travel time is around two and a half hours, it’s a high speed train and really gets a move on! There is no individual catering on board but there is a bar/cafe car where you can buy snacks and hot/cold drinks, or just mingle with your fellow travellers.
We arrived on time at the historical Gare de Nice-Ville locally known as the Gare Thiers station, our train terminated here. The forged steel rooftop with glass canopy over the platform adds a very distinctive character to the station alongside the richly decorated and modernised passenger hall. Outside, the big clock on top of the station is something to behold. This marriage of the old and new is always a pleasure to see and this station was no exception.
Our hotel was just a stone’s throw from the station, just a 5 minute walk across the road.