My best train journey in France
We asked readers to tell us of their favourite French train journeys and Mike Phillips and Guy Mortimer came up trumps
READER Mike Phillips sent in this photo of a steam train after we asked for the “best train journeys in France”. It was taken on the Train à Vapeur des Cévennes route in Languedoc-Roussillon.
It is one of the routes mentioned in October’s Connexion, where we look at some of the most beautiful rail journeys in France.
Mike loves the Train à Vapeur, which travels between Anduze and Saint-Jean-du-Gard, and he suggests getting off halfway at the Bambouseraie – a plantation of hundreds of different bamboos – but adds that there are restaurants at both ends and brilliant scenery en route. The web site is at www.trainavapeur.com/
Another reader, Guy Mortimer, suggests that October is the best time to take a two-day circular journey from Beziers that covers some of France’s most spectacular countryside – just as the leaves are changing to autumn colours.
“Take the 9:00 train from Beziers to Paris with a ticket to Clermont-Ferrand. After about five hours traveling through some fantastic scenery in the Cévennes and Massif Central, including Gustave Eifel's viaduct where the train has to slow to about 20kph, you arrive in Clermont.
“In the recent past farmers used to load their sheep and goats, and not always into the guards' van.
“Cheap hotels abound as do v. good restaurants. Next day at 13.00 the train from Paris arrives; it is split in two - one half for Beziers and the other for Marseille.
“Take the latter which climbs the Allier valley and then descends into Ales and Nîmes; the contrast between northern forest and then the Mediterranean woodland is spectacular. Change train at Nîmes for Beziers, passing en route the oyster beds of the Etaing de Thau.”
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Photo: Mike Phillips