What is the French fast train TGV in 2nd class like? How is travelling by the fast train of France? For my day trip to Aix-en-Provence, from Nice, I have definitely chosen to travel by TGV! To travel between both cities, you have the possibility to take one train from Nice to Marseille, and another slow one from Marseille to Aix city centre, which will be at least a 4-hour journey. Or you can take the TGV, travel more comfortably, and only need 3 hours to Aix Gare TGV which is around 20 km outside the city centre. From there you can take a bus to the centre for just a few euros per ride and person. Overall, I have definitely enjoyed my train ride on board a TGV in 2nd class. Read on to learn more about the journey that expects you on a French TGV in detail. Further on, click for my train travel experience in other countries.
Where to buy tickets for TGV?
You can buy your TGV tickets either in any station at a counter or straight at a self-serving machine. Alternatively, you can buy the tickets online via their website, or, what I have used, their “oui” smartphone app. With this App, you are not only limited to purchasing TGV tickets only, but you can also buy and pay any French train with this one app.
For example, when I arrived at Nice train station quite a bit late to catch my train, I was so worried I will miss it, after seeing the huge lines at the counters. So what, it took less than 1 minute to select and pay my train ride with the app, giving me instant access to board the train. Only thanks to the app I made it onto my preferred train, definitely the most practical way to purchase a valid train ticket. (online smartphone tickets are instantly valid, you don’t need to validate them at the station!)
Is a seat reservation mandatory?
Yes! Even though it is possible to travel by TGV with an InterRail ticket, you will still need to purchase a seat reservation! The good thing is, you will always have a seat and won’t be forced to stand somewhere in the way, possibly even with your luggage. If you purchase a regular one-way or return ticket, a seat reservation will always be included automatically.
Entertainment & Amenities on board
On board the TGV in the second class you will find not that many “entertainment” options. I haven’t found any magazines or newspapers, nor have I discovered a media centre to connect with a device via WiFi. You will definitely need to bring your own books/magazines/… Besides this, of course, there are toilets available throughout the train, as well as a restaurant cart for dining. Clue: you can even pre-order a snack or drink and pick it up at a designated time. That’s so service oriented, I really liked it!
The seat on board the TGV in 2nd class
Seats are either available as duo or quadruple in TGV’s 2nd class. There are always some seats facing forwards facing direction, and some not… Depending on where you purchase your ticket, it is possible to select a seat. However, as some trains change their way of direction (my train from Nice to Aix-en-Provence did so in Marseille), it’s still not always guaranteed to sit in the way of travel, or not. Each the window seats are equipped with a power outlet. I don’t know if my plug wasn’t working correctly, but my phone was constantly switching between charging, not charging, charging and so on and so on, for several minutes. I unplugged my phone immediately as something like this is just not healthy for batteries. Maybe it was just my seat, or an unstable power connection is usual on a TGV, but you shouldn’t rely on just the free power outlet.
My experience & review of TGV 2nd class from Nice to Aix-en-Provence
Overall I have enjoyed my first experience with TGV fast train in France. It was probably due to the very scenic route I took, from Nice along the coast to Marseille, and straight heading north into the country, but it felt like the train wasn’t driving that fast. Like, not super mega fast. I can definitely recommend taking a TGV when travelling to or in France. During my 3 hours long journey, an inspector came by once to check my ticket.