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Some of the best Railway Journeys in France

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The Independent (2 Aug 08) has another of its “50 Best…” series, this time on Railway Journeys – and includes 2 French ones.

Clermont Ferrand-Beziers

The less well-used of the two lines from Clermont Ferrand through the Massif Central (the other goes to Nimes), this switchback route traverses some of the wildest country in France. Near St Flour the line crosses Eiffel’s Garabit Viaduct and follows the Lot and Tarn rivers to reach Millau and Norman Foster’s viaduct, the world’s highest road bridge.

The journey takes 5 hours and costs about €50. It has to be said that the road journey is pretty spectacular too, whether you opt for the new autoroute A75 or quieter side roads as the route crosses the Auvergne and the Causses before descending to the Languedoc (see www.frenchduck.co.uk/travel)

Eurostar London – Paris

Okay, most of the scenery between London and Paris or Brussels isn’t going to inspire a modern-day Edward Thomas, but the pleasure of using the magnificently restored station at St Pancras and the blissful ease of Eurostar makes it a great experience. Treat yourself to first class and enjoy champagne and a pretty respectable meal at 186mph.

Personally I would also recommend the route from Brive-la-Gaillarde to Montauban via Gourdon and Cahors – it cuts through the dramatic limestone landscapes and valleys of South West France offering unmatchable views of the countryside, the Lot River and the town of Cahors. Time: about 2 hrs, cost about €25.
With RailEurope you can book your rail journey to any destination within France, including Eurostar services, TGV and local trains

See the FrenchDuck article on Tourist Trains in France

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