Florence, IT to Aix-En-Provence: Trains

Hello, all:

I'm currently in Florence, leaving at the end of the month to get to Aix-en-Provence. The train itineraries have proven to be quite difficult to plan out ahead of time and "connect the dots". Thus far, I know I need to go Florence to Ventimiglia (7 hour trip).

It sounds like it would be easiest to plan a night in Ventimiglia, then train within France the next day. My question is: do you just "wing it" on those France tix (i.e. no reservations)? There is a TGV from Nice to Aix. Doesn't the TGV at least take reservations? I've been looking for a French train schedule with time listings, at least, but it's fairly convoluted.

Thanks so much!

Posted by Lo
1499 posts

You need to decide if speed is more important or going along the Mediterranean is more important. The faster routes go away from the Med and back to it. We chose to stick to the water as much as possible. It took a bit longer both in the planning and the doing, but the views were well worth the time. Leaving from Sorrento, we weren't exactly on your schedule. We spent the night in Genoa and our final destination the next day was Antibes. You will need to decide where to stop for the night if you want to do that rather than spend 10 or more hours on the train.

For a first look, try the DB Bahn website: http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en. You cannot buy tickets there for Italy or France, but you can play with schedules, stopovers, etc. You can see the time it will take for the segments of your journey and how many train changes there are. You can see what kinds of trains there are. But best of all, after you choose a result to explore, you can click on a map that shows the route.

BTW, I did see that there is a TGV from Nice to Marseilles with connections to a regional train on into Aix. You might check to see if a TGV goes on to the Aix TGV station rather than the one downtown, but it is a good distance out of town and changing trains to go to the center might be a better option for you than taking a bus or taxi back into town.

I'm not sure where you've been looking, but Voyages-SCNF (http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/?rfrr=reserver%20un%20billet%20resultatsheaderhome) is what I've used after checking things out on DB Bahn. Be sure to "uncheck" direct trains if you want to go to Aix center and put your ticket pickup country as France. Also be sure to put an early time in the morning to start the train listings. You can "arrow" over and back (following trains, previous trains) to see more trains and prices for that day. There seem to be some reasonable prices for the Nice to Aix part as an example, but they depend on the time of day you want to go.

Although the DB Bahn site will tell you if reservations are needed, the Italian and French ones will have the most information.

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
8835 posts

From Firenze SMN station to Aix-en-Provence can be done by departing at 9:00 a.m., making 4 train connections, and arriving at 20:30. Conveniently, none of the links in this chain are TGV trains. Only the first two legs (within Italy) require reservations. You should be able to buy tickets for the whole route at the Florence train station. If you have not found the same results using the DB schedules, then see these tips for using them.

Posted by Linn
Malibu, Ca, 90265
7 posts

Thank you both so much for the helpful information. I really appreciate the time it took to respond--many thanks!

I'll make sure to check out the links you provided. If I discover something helpful for future travelers, I'll be sure to post.

Happy Traveling!