SNCF train ticket

How to read French SNCF Tickets

France has some of the best trains! .Speaking French makes it easier to understand what the ticket says, but what if you don’t speak French? How will you understand what this ticket is trying to tell you? This was my ticket from my train trip from Paris to Nice. In this post I’ll break down this ticket and show you how to learn how to read a SNCF ticket.

1. Billet a composter avant l’accès au train

This is telling you that you must stamp your ticket before you board the train. It is at the top of your ticket and in bigger font which means it is important. If you don’t stamp your ticket (the machines are usually yellow and located before you get on the train) you will be fined.  

2. Aeroport CDG2 TGV –>Nice Ville

This is letting you know where you bought your ticket and where you are going. I was at the airport in Charles De Gaulle terminal 2, I took the TGV train and heading to Nice.

3. Composte: 18/06 A 09h00

You can only stamp your ticket an hour before you board, this is telling you what time you are able to start.

SNCF train ticket

4. Depart 18/06 etc.

In France the date is written day/month/year  and they use military time. This line is telling me the date and time my trip and from where it was leaving (Aeroport CDG2 TGV).

NOTE: French trains are notoriously on time. DO NOT be late for your train or you may be watching it go by.

Reading your SNCF ticket – numbers 4 & 5

4. Arriv. a 13H48 etc. 

The train arrives in Marseile at 13H48 (1:48pm) on the TGV 9800 (the number of the train)


This is a full price ticket that was paid for on the day of departure.  You can buy train tickets ahead of time, you may get a better rate. 

5. Depart 18/06 a 14H29

This section is the same premise as 4, except since I had to change trains this is telling me the details of my second train. 


Reading your SNCF tickets 6-8

6. Class 1 Voiture 03 

Classe- 1: I was in 1st class

voiture 03: that is the number of the car I was seated in

Place assise: 41 that is my seat number

7. Classe 1 

This tells you if you are in 1st or 2nd class. I purchased a ticket in 1st.

8. Prix par voyageur

This is the price paid for the ticket which is in Euros and NOT American dollars. You cannot use American dollars while in Paris to buy your tickets. I have written about it here, find out the truth regarding using American dollars overseas.

So there you have it, I hope this post can help you when you find yourself in France and you need to know how to read an SNCF train ticket. Train travel is a wonderful way to see the sights, I also love riding the train while I’m stateside. I’m sure you will find this post giving you insider tips on how to get the most out of your Amtrak ride helpful.

If you will be in Paris and need an insider guide to help you navigate the city, click here to buy my guidebook on Amazon. 


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