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Escape the ordinary with these 15 French destinations

Now departing from Rennes, Clermont-Ferrand, Bordeaux, Toulouse and Marseille! Enjoy a well-earned getaway in one of these little-known destinations, all accessible with TER or INTERCITÉS.

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5-minute read

Fancy a change of scenery? Board a train for one of these 15 destinations—all within 2 hours of a major city—and fall in love with France all over again.

Around Rennes

Surrender to the spell of La Roche-aux-Fées

Built nearly 4,000 years ago, La Roche-aux-Fées is France's largest dolmen—a megalithic tomb made of 40 stone blocks. Its origins are still unknown, though legend says it was built by a fairy named Viviane—better known as the Lady of the Lake. Breathe in the mystery of the ancient stones and surrounding trees as you stroll around this extraordinary place.

Learn more about La Roche-aux-Fées

How to get there

Take a TER regional train from Rennes to Retiers (40 minutes). From there, you can walk or drive up the D341 road towards Essé until you reach La Roche-aux-Fées.

Check timetables and buy your ticket

Follow the Blavet towpath in Morbihan

Tired of crowded beaches? Head for the Blavet Canal in southern Brittany. From Hennebont—gateway to the region’s canal system—you can explore 58 kilometres of greenway on foot, by bike, or on horseback. For even more active holiday, choose one of the many mountain bike trails and hiking routes in the surrounding Blavet Valley. And don’t miss the Hennebont Stud Farm, where traditional horse-breeding continues to this day.

Learn more about the Blavet towpath

How to get there

Take a TER regional train from Rennes to Hennebont (1h35).

Check timetables and buy your ticket

Sentier des Douaniers on the Brittany coast

Just an hour from Rennes, you’ll find the perfect seaside hike: the breath-taking Saint-Brieuc Bay section of the GR 34 hiking trail, known as the Sentier des Douaniers—is the perfect choice for a seaside hike. Named for the douaniers (customs officers) of the past, the legendary path hugs the coast, with stunning views of rolling hills, steep cliffs and wild beaches. Hiking options range from a few hours to a half-day to a full day.

Learn more about the GR 34 hiking trail and Saint-Brieuc Bay

How to get there

Take a TER regional train from Rennes to Saint-Brieuc (49 minutes).

Check timetables and buy your ticket

Around Clermont-Ferrand

Explore another side of Auvergne in Puy-de-Dôme

There’s more to Auvergne than volcanoes. Set off from the spa town of Royat-Chamalières for a fascinating day of hiking in the Auvergne countryside. You’ll discover a wide variety of stunning natural landscapes—from the Tiretaine river valley to the Royat national forest, through the moors and pastureland at the foot of the volcanic Chaîne des Puys mountain range.

Learn more about Royat-Chamalières

How to get there

Take a TER regional train from Clermont-Ferrand to Royat-Chamalières (around 10 minutes).

Check timetables and buy your ticket

Explore medieval Montluçon in Allier

Step back in time with a visit to Montluçon. The old town is home to 15 medieval buildings listed as historical monuments, including the Château of the Dukes of Bourbon, built in 1370 on a spur overlooking the Cher River. And be sure to visit the Quartier Saint-Pierre, where the charming timber-framed houses, the Maison des Douze Apôtres, and a beautiful Romanesque church will transport you to another century.

Learn more about Montluçon

How to get there

Take a TER regional train from Clermont-Ferrand to Montluçon (as little as 1h30).

Check timetables and buy your ticket

Unwind in Chaudes-Aigues in Cantal

Nestled between the Mounts of Cantal and the Aubrac plateau, Chaudes-Aigues is a family-friendly spa resort a stone’s throw from Saint-Flour. The town is home to 32 hot springs, including the Source du Par—the hottest in Europe at 82°C. After you’ve relaxed in the spa, wander along the cobbled streets, where you’ll find a charming market square and a public wash house.

Learn more about Chaudes-Aigues

How to get there

Take a TER regional train from Clermont-Ferrand to Arvant (47 minutes), then board a coach to Saint-Flour Chaudes-Aigues station (43 minutes). From there, a shuttle bus will take you to the resort.

Check timetables and buy your ticket

Around Bordeaux

History and nature in the Dordogne

Ready to explore the Dordogne? Périgueux, the region’s capital city, is the perfect place to start, with its Gallo-Roman architecture, medieval streets and traditional market. Cycle the Grand Périgueux greenway along the Isle River to explore the idyllic countryside and many historic sites nearby. And don’t miss the 1,000-year-old Abbaye de Chancelade. Located just outside the city, it’s one of France's most beautiful abbeys.

Learn more about Périgueux

How to get there

Take a TER regional train from Bordeaux Saint-Jean to Périgueux station (1h25).

Check timetables and buy your ticket

Get away from it all in the Landes

Ready to unplug? Paddle a canoe along the Eyre in the heart of the Teich Bird Reserve, with nothing but birdsong and woodland sounds in your ears. After you’ve explored the river and its delta, continue on foot with a hike on the western side of the Landes de Gascogne Regional Natural Park, where sweeps of pine trees meet the coastal salt marshes.

Learn more about the Landes de Gascogne Regional Natural Park

How to get there

Take a TER regional train from Bordeaux Saint-Jean to Teich station (36 minutes). From there, it's a 1.5km walk to the bird reserve (around 20 minutes).

Check timetables and buy your ticket

Journey to the mouth of the Gironde estuary

Hop on the PGVS (Point de Grave–Le Verdon–Soulac) touring train for a one-of-a-kind tour between Les Arros in Soulac-sur-Mer and Pointe de Grave in Le Verdon-sur-Mer. As the train makes its leisurely way through forests and dunes, you’ll see the mouth of the Gironde estuary in a whole new light. And keep an eye out for the Cordouan Lighthouse, listed as a historical monument since 1862.

Learn more about the PGVS touring train

How to get there

Take a TER regional train from Bordeaux Saint-Jean to Soulac-sur-Mer (1h43).

Check timetables and buy your ticket

Around Toulouse

Climb to the top of the Château de Najac in Aveyron

Built on a rocky ridge, the beautiful village of Najac overlooks the Aveyron Valley. Start your visit with a tour of the Château de Najac, built in 1253. The keep has arrow slits almost 7 metres tall, and the tower offers a spectacular view of the village and the rest of the valley. Afterwards, you can cool down with a refreshing dip in the Viaur River below.

Learn more about Najac

How to get there

Take a TER regional train from Toulouse to Najac (1h24).

Check timetables and buy your ticket

Enjoy Leucate’s beautiful Mediterranean beaches

Quiet, untamed Leucate is a perfect seaside destination for all the family. Take time to explore the little fishing village with its colourful houses and vineyards before you head for the water. Stretching from the cliffs down to popular La Plagette cove, Leucate's beaches are sheltered from the region’s Tramontane wind.

Learn more about Leucate

How to get there

Take an INTERCITÉS train from Toulouse to Narbonne (1h13). Then take a TER regional train to Leucate La Franqui (about 20 minutes).

Check timetables and buy your ticket

Travel back to prehistoric times in Tarascon-sur-Ariège

Nestled in the heart of the Pyrenees and bordered by the Ariège River, the charming town of Tarascon-sur-Ariège is home to a number of medieval ruins. And at the town's famous Prehistoric Park, you can immerse yourself in an even older world, taking part in interactive workshops and exploring the park, with its life-sized prehistoric animals. Afterwards, make a side trip to see the 14,000-year-old cave paintings in the world-famous Grotte de Niaux.

Learn more about Tarascon-sur-Ariège

How to get there

Take a TER regional train from Toulouse to Tarascon-sur-Ariège (1h30).

Check timetables and buy your ticket

Around Marseille

Taste the sweetness of Provence in Cavaillon

Cavaillon is the gateway to the most beautiful villages in the Alpilles and Luberon mountains, with a rich history of its own. Climb to the top of Saint-Jacques hill for spectacular views, and stroll around the town centre to see traces of the city’s Greek, Roman and medieval past. And don’t forget to sample the city’s famous melons—they’re the pride of Cavaillon.

Learn more about Cavaillon

How to get there

Take a TER regional train from Marseille Saint-Charles to Cavaillon (1h16).

Check timetables and buy your ticket

Manosque in the French Alps

With its traditional houses, charming fountains and pretty market squares, Manosque is a picture-perfect Provençal town. It’s also the birthplace of author Jean Giono, whose work was inspired by the beauties of his home region. And because it's situated right between the Luberon and Verdon Regional Nature Parks, Manosque is an ideal base for hikers in search of stunning natural landscapes.

Learn more about Manosque

How to get there

Take an SNCF coach from Marseille Saint-Charles to Manosque—Gréoux-les-Bains station (1h20).

Check timetables and buy your ticket

Board the Côte Bleue Train in Bouches-du-Rhône

For an unforgettable tour of Marseille's rugged coast, famous for its natural beauty, hop on the Côte Bleue train. Built between 1907 and 1915, this legendary railway line features 18 viaducts, 2 bridges and 23 tunnels, and runs through L’Estaque, La Couronne and other coastal villages. The spectacular views of the region’s protected Calanques—wild, rocky coves with dazzling turquoise waters—will take your breath away.

Learn more about the Côte Bleue train

How to get there

From Marseille Saint-Charles, take SNCF line No. 7 to Miramas (1h25, with a stop in each port). The Côte Bleue train runs every day, all year round.

Check timetables and buy your ticket

Travelling by rail with a health pass

IMPORTANT: we’re adopting the new procedures required for France’s health pass. 

From 9 August, if you wish to travel with TGV INOUI, OUIGO, INTERCITÉS or any long-distance international train departing from France, you must present a health pass, either on paper or in digital format via the TousAntiCovid app. Your health pass consists of at least one of these 3 documents: 

  • proof of full vaccination
  • negative Covid-19 test results
  • a certificate, dated within the last 6 months, showing that you have recovered from Covid-19

You may be asked to present your health pass at any time during your journey: as you board, while aboard your train, and as you disembark. Dedicated on-board teams will check for passes during your journey.

Aboard our trains, if you cannot present a health pass, you will be allowed to continue your journey, but you will be fined €135. In stations, if you do not have a health pass or test positive for Covid-19, you may not board, though you can request a refund for your tickets.

These new requirements do not apply to RER, Transilien commuter trains, or TER regional trains operating in France. 

Learn more