I need to travel from Amsterdam to France by train.

I'm not visiting Paris, but many cities all around the country. What's the most convenient train to arrive in France ?

I've heard there is a train connecting Amsterdam-Paris for only 35 Euros. But if I can skip Paris, it would be better (I think).

Also, I'm now planning my trip in 8 different cities, and I have to decide if I should buy an inter rail card. If so, should I maybe buy a card for France and Benelux as well, so I cover the trips to/from Amsterdam ?

PS. I can only find Interrail pass for either France or Benelux. But not both. Does a combo pass exist?

  • Unless it turns out to be trivial to answer, I think the PS question at the end should be asked as its own question. Nov 6, 2012 at 3:13

2 Answers 2


The 35 euro fares are discounted advertised fares that are hard to obtain. Trains between Amsterdam and Paris are more expensive, especially if you have to travel on short notice.

A good alternative (especially if you have time) is to take the train from Amsterdam to Antwerp, then change trains to the train from Antwerp to Lille. From Lille on you can travel to almost anywhere in France.

You really need to ask for this connection, because the railways try to sell as many high speed tickets as possible, just to pay of their high speed investment.

From Lille on there are cheaper high speed train connection than the international connections. You can also choose to go for a so called TER connection. If you want to go to Paris for example, you can take the high speed link (approx. 1 hour) or you could choose to go take the "slow link" to Maubeuge and switch trains there to Paris (approx. 4 hours).

  • Thanks, what if I have to go to Strasbourg. Do you suggest to go to Lille anyway?
    – aneuryzm
    Jun 24, 2012 at 14:46
  • 2
    No, if you want to go to Strasbourg, I would go over Luxembourg. Check cfl.lu. Another option is to travel through Germany, since Strasbourg is right on the German border. There is a train from Amsterdam to Basel, that stops at neighboring cities. But I have no experience there.
    – user141
    Jun 24, 2012 at 17:50

If you are coming from Amsterdam, Lille is by far the best entry point. From there you have high speed trains to plenty of destinations: Lyon, the Mediterranean coast, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Rennes, Strasbourg, ... The trains actually bypass Paris. However, it makes no sense to try to avoid Paris at any cost. It can make sense to travel through Paris. There are more frequent and better connections, and it can be cheaper. This options should therefore always be checked.

It is also interesting to note that Lille can easily be reached from Amsterdam by classical IC trains via Brussels or Antwerp. This option takes much longer though.

Passing through Luxembourg does not really make sense, even if your destination is Strasbourg. It is much easier to travel through Lille. From there you have direct trains to Strasbourg. Or you can travel through Paris. You will arrive at the Paris North station ("Gare du Nord"). The trains to Strasbourg leave from the Paris East station ("Gare de l'Est"). These stations are next to each other. It's a little 10 minute walk from one station to another. Through Lille, it takes +- 6h30 to Strasbourg. Through Luxembourg it is much much longer and you have to change in Brussels, and perhaps Luxembourg and Metz, as direct trains from Brussels to Strasbourg are very scarce (2 per day). In any case, count at least 8 to 9 hours if you travel that way from Amsterdam to Strasbourg. These are classical trains, and the road from Brussels to Luxembourg is quite scenic. If you prefer that ... Otherwise, if your destination is Metz, passing through Luxembourg can make sense.

There are two other options. The daily German ICE train from Amsterdam to Basel calls at Offenburg, just opposite Strasbourg, on the other side of the Rhine. This is probably the quickest option. The City Night Line train from Amsterdam to Zurich also calls at Offenburg, early in the morning. From Offenburg you can proceed by a local train. That's straightforward.

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