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Train Travel : Paris to Genoa

I have purchased a Eurrail pass but am not sure how it works (4 days over 2 months); we are not used to train travel.

We would like to take an overnight TGV from Paris to Genoa, if possible, but the website I checked (raileurope), didn't seem to offer a TGV option; it only showed Trenitalia trains with no apparent need for a Eurrail pass.

Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Mary
Vancouver Island, Canada

Posted by
21037 posts

Railpasses are not just for TGVs. They do not ever cover sleeping cars or even couchettes on night trains, just the basic train ticket. You'll also need to pay for seat reservations on some trains. There are, to my knowledge, no sleeping accommodations on TGVs.

Before committing to the night train, check carefully on the times of any transfers you must make as well as stops along the way. Both may affect your ability to get a decent amount of sleep.

Posted by
3681 posts

Seat61 will explain the difficulties of Eurail (and other) passes. The simplest is that TGV trains, among others, require a seat reservation for a time and day. It has to be purchased separately from the pass, at extra cost, and there are rumours that only a quota of seats qualify.
RailEurope is an agency which, although apparently connected to the SNCF French train operator, is not the best source of information. You can go directly to the SNCF site to see (and buy) TGVs and other services:
https://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/
Tickets bought here include seat reservation. Some US customers have reported rejection of their credit cards but my Canadian cards have always gone through.
The site shows a night train leaving at about 9:30 p.m. It requires two transfers to get to Genoa and only the first is a true sleeper service. Time elapsed: more than 15 hours. I love trains, but not that much, especially when all you can see out the window is darkness. By air, 90 minutes. Add in three hours for all the complications of getting to and from airports and security, and you are still far ahead and better rested. Plus richer: Bought far ahead, Air France among others will charge you about $100, a good deal less than the train fare.
(PS: I'm sorry, but the North American assumption that train passes are worth it is outdated. It is always wise to do the point-to-point pricing first when planning, and go to the sources rather than an agency. Just ask Seat61.)

Posted by
16883 posts

Sam is correct that the Thello night train does not accept passes and gets poor reviews, any way.

There are only a couple of direct, daytime TGVs per day from Paris to Italy. You connect to an Italian train at Turin or at Milan (with a change of stations, too). Don't delay in booking a TGV, since they can limit the number of pass holders on any departure and can also fill up entirely. See https://ricksteves.raileurope.com/us/rail/point_to_point/triprequest.htm. You would add the Italian leg to the shopping cart separately, before checking out, or can make Italian seat reservations on shorter notice in stations.

You can also take a TGV from Paris to Nice and then connect there via Ventimiglia to Genova. Don't choose the EuroCity trains departing Nice at 8:08 and 14:08 (direction Milan), since they are also operated by Thello and don't accept passes.

See also https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-help/rail-faq#paris-italy and https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains/using-your-rail-pass.