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I'm currently living in Paris and want to meet up with some friends of mine in Italy. I would love to experience an overnight train. I found a train to Milan on Intercités de Nuit, and I am tempted to upgrade to first class for comfort's sake. However, I can't find descriptions (or photos) of the difference between second and first classes. Can someone speak to the differences in amenities between the two?

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Hi @Jason and welcome. As per our FAQ, we try to avoid questions that are subjective - asking people 'is it worth it' on a travel site which has both people used to comfort and people who would consider riding on top of a train if it saves them 20 cents will mean debate, subjective answers. Could you please edit and rephrase the question to how it will most help you, and then flag it and we'll reopen it - for the many keen members who will be happy to help :) –  Mark Mayo Apr 4 '12 at 7:10
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Thanks for the rephrase! –  Mark Mayo Apr 8 '12 at 20:23

3 Answers 3

In the "Intercités de Nuit", the former "Lunéa" trains, the only difference between the second and the first class is related to the number of bunks per compartment. In the second class, you have six bunks, and in the first class only four. It is mainly a matter of privacy. Note that if you want more privacy, you can book a compartment for private use, by means of an extra fee.

The Man in Seat 61 has a bit more details on these trains. You can also refer to RAILEUROPE, or to the SNCF website if you understand French.

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The Intercités de Nuit trains are not really comfortable, be it on 1st or 2nd class. For Paris - Milano, I would prefer the daytime train. There are three direct TGV (high-speed) trains linking Paris to Milano each day. The journey takes roughly 7 hours. Note that a 2nd class TGV ride is more comfortable than a 1st class night train ride. Moreover, if you are lucky, the supplement from 2nd to 1st class TGV is small and you will get even more comfort. The daytime ride is very nice, especially the leg between Lyon and Torino. Here you can have a look at what the daytime journey from Paris to Milano is like.

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For Paris-Milano you have the option of using Thello, which is a proper night train. The trains are really Paris-Venezia, but they stop in Milano.

For these, you don't really book first or second class, but you book your compartment type. You can choose between two types of compartments - Couchette or Cabin. Couchette compartments are pretty basic; cabins are basically bunk beds.

Couchette compartments can be either 6 or 4 people to the compartment; cabins always have three beds, but you can book to only have 1 or 2 people in your compartment - otherwise you will share with other passengers of the same sex.

Nominally, everything except one-person cabin is standard class, and one-person cabin is first class, but this only matters if you have a railpass and are paying a supplement to travel on the night train.

Thello leaves Gare de Lyon in Paris at 19:59 each day and arrives in Milano Centrale at 06:00 The return journey leaves Milano Centrale at 22:55 and arrives Gare de Lyon at 09:30.

Thello fares are usually more expensive than the Intercités de Nuit, but there are some relatively cheap "Smart" and "GO" fares available if you book well in advance.

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