Any ideas on the best way to train from Ancona, Italy to Lyon, France. I was thinking a night train, but it looks like the trains have 2 or three changes. Does that mean you have to change trains in the middle of the night? How does one reserve a couchette?
I'll answer one of your questions, and leave the other questions to be answered by our train experts:Your question: I was thinking a night train, but it looks like the trains have 2 or three changes. Does that mean you have to change trains in the middle of the night?Answer: Yes, if the schedule for a night train shows train changes, it means you have to get up and change trains in the middle of the night. You said 2 or 3 changes, if it's that many, you can guess how much sleep you'll actually get on the "night train."
You'll have to make multiple changes. Ancona is not on a major line. Most connections to the north require, at minimum, a change in Bologna.
A quick DB search shows a change in Bologna onto a EuroNight train to Dijon at 2231. I believe this is the Rome-Paris night train that you will be joining "already in progress."
You'll have to get up pretty early, because it calls in Dijon at 0633. You'll be on the train for about 8 hours, which is awfully short for a night train, but comparable to the popular Prague-Krakow night train, so its doable.
You'd change in Dijon to TGV that will take you direct to Lyon.
Note that if you want more sleep, you could always stay on the night train to Paris, and then hop a TGV back to Lyon. But that'll take more time and cost more money.
You can also go Ancona-Milano-Dijon-Lyon with the Milano-Dijon leg being on a night train (Venice-Paris, to be precise). However, the Milano-Dijon leg is even shorter (six hours) than the Bologna-Dijon leg. You can find this route on the DB site, www.bahn.de.
Thank you all, for the suggestions. I've decided to take a leisurely 6 hour day train from Ancona to Torino and spend the night in a hotel. Have a nice dinner, walk around town and sleep. Then the next morning, a shortish (4 hours) ride direct to Lyon. No changes on either train. We'll be in Lyon by 12:30p in time for lunch before picking up a rental car later in the afternoon. It just seemed less stressful/more relaxing, and we'll see more of the country.