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Night Train from Paris to Venice

Can anyone give me a review of the Night Train from Paris to Venice? My husband and I are thinking of adding days to our Paris trip before our Venice group tour begins and need to get to Venice. We like trains and this seems like an adventure as opposed to flying. Any thoughts?

Posted by
2931 posts

I considered taking this train and after reading reviews on TripAdvisor decided against it so I do not have any direct experience with the Thello. However, in case you have not seen it, I am including a link to a piece by a The Man in Seat 61 (Train expert and proponent of train travel) on the night train service in Italy: http://www.seat61.com/thello-train-from-paris-to-italy.htm#opinion on Thello

Posted by
31530 posts

You might find that the night train isn't as much an "adventure" as an unpleasant experience, especially if you don't get much sleep during the trip.

Aside from using a budget flight between Paris and Venice, another method you could consider would be to add a few days and make an intermediate stop (using day trains). Switzerland would be one possibility and you might enjoy a few days in Lucerne (or elsewhere) on the way to Venice. Just a thought....

Posted by
2930 posts

I didn't reply to this post earlier, as you asked for reviews, but others answering do not appear to have taken this train either so I guess I'll ignore the intent of your question as well...lol. In an earlier form of our 2016 travel plans, I/we were to travel from Paris to Venice as are you. We were going to take this train. I am disappointed that I will not be on this train in 2016. I love night trains. This sounds like a nice trip to me. That being said, I/we always get a private compartment. Some people hate trains, but I'm not sure if they try to sit up all night and sleep. I think it is a wonderful adventure. I always feel slightly spoiled! The hours for this train are perfect to enjoy the travel and get a good night's sleep. Do it! I'd take this over flying any day. I have not yet found a night train I didn't love. Wray

Posted by
3336 posts

I have taken the train from Paris to Rome - similar trip. There are very few things I am negative about regarding travel within Europe but I'm afraid this is one of them. Just to preface...from previous threads I know there are some who will disagree but I will share my experience. They can chime in with theirs and then you can decide!
I found it to be quite miserable experience. We did not get a private compartment but a shared, 6 berth sleeper. There were two of us and we ended up sharing with three other people, one of whom snored and had such bad breath that it filled the room. The AC was turned off somewhere in the night so it became stiflingly hot. You can't open the window because of the speed of the train and the screaming wind that comes in. The train stops multiple times in the night to attach and detach other cars which is noisy and causes the train to jolt around. Railroad officials walk the halls at night checking paperwork. Other passengers get on and off the train. I ended up spending much of the night out in the hallway outside our room because I couldn't stand to be inside of it. My husband slept like a log and thought I was crazy.
I tried a similar trip one more time thinking that I had just had bad luck but it was the same...I won't do it again.
That said, I think if you plan ahead and get a private compartment you may have a better experience, as many posters on this page have recounted.
Also think about price and time...the train most likely won't be cheaper than flying and it will eat up more time. If you don't sleep well then the day of your arrival in Venice won't be enjoyable either.
Check out the website The Man in Seat 61 for very detailed information about train travel. He gives very specific information on the best and most comfortable way to travel on all trains in Europe. I wish I would have known about this website before I went!
Good luck!

Posted by
44 posts

After everyone's advise and thinking about my husband's sleep problems. We decided it would be best to extend our trip in Paris and Venice and fly.

Thank you everyone!

Posted by
777 posts

While not this exact route, we've taken them 3 times. We got the private compartment, once with the included shower/toilet and I thought that was a good idea since we could walk around all day and then clean up. But here are our experiences on 3 trips.

One was just fine, no issues. On a 2nd the A/C did not work and the compartment was well into the 90's because the train had been baking in the sun all day. It stayed that way for hours, and opening the window made the compartment very noisy and the wind blast was annoying. Not a good night. On a 3rd trip the assigned car was not actually present on the train. We jumped aboard as the train was leaving and spoke with the conductor, who was brusque and not very helpful. "wait here" and 45 minutes later we had to track him down, he finally put us into a room without the shower/bath we had paid for. Back home I found an email from DB saying our car had moved. Since we showed the conductor our reservation I don't know why he didn't look at his roster and find out where we were supposed to by. DB refused to refund the difference between what we paid for and what we got; our credit card company was no help.

So based on these experiences, there is a 1-in-3 chance of having a good trip. Hopefully these odds are wrong; you pays your money and takes your chances.

Posted by
16883 posts

We have heard reports of travelers not getting the type of sleeper requested on thello, one of whom was our staffer. Since the sleeper car she was reserved in was said to have electrical problems, she was placed in a regular couchette car, but with no bedding.

Posted by
1 posts

My husband and I took the overnight train in 2014 summer. I expected the train ride to be more luxury because of high price but the room was very small and it made noise all night. I could not sleep at all. I don't recommend it if you are a light sleeper.

Posted by
2776 posts

If you just stop and think for a minute, it's hard enough to sleep on a plane. But on a train? That takes a certain person. It tried it once on AMTRAK and it just didn't happen.

Posted by
16883 posts

On a plane, the main thing that keeps me awake is not being able to lie flat or change position much. On a train, a couchette or sleeper does give you a flat bunk and I usually sleep some, but noise, lights, or motion can be the disruptive issues.