As you might know, DB (German Railways) have withdrawn their CNL night train from Berlin to Paris in December 2014 - so there is no more overnight train available between the two cites, right? But what if I told you that you can still travel overnight on this route - on a direct train, in comfortable beds? It's true, the Transeuropean Express operated by RZD (Russian Railways) connects Moscow with Paris, running via Minsk, Warsaw and Berlin and offers a comfortable and fast overnight connection from the Spree to the Seine. If you want to know more about the full trip between Paris and Moscow check out my blog post. Here, I will focus on the overnight trip from Berlin to Paris on the same train.
Berlin to Paris overnight
In 2017, the Transeuropean Express runs once a week from Moscow to Paris, leaving Berlin for Paris on Wednesdays. The return journey from Paris to Berlin and Moscow starts on Thursdays. In Berlin, the train makes stops at Lichtenberg and Hauptbahnhof (Central Station), makes intermediate stops in Erfurt, Frankfurt/Main, Karlsruhe, Strasbourg, Epernay and arrives at the Gare de l'Est (East Station) in Paris the following morning. The train consists of modern and very comfortable sleeping cars - I have been using all kinds of night trains throughout Europe and this train is certainly one of the most comfortable ones currently operating in Europe. Three kinds of accommodation are available:
- Lux sleeper: Two bed compartment (one lower, one upper berth) with en-suite shower and WC, entertainment system and a private bar at the end of the carriage.
- 1st class sleeper: Two bed compartment (two lower berths) with washbasin. Shower and WC at the end of the carriage.
- 2nd class sleeper: Four bed compartment (two lower, two upper berths) with washbasin. Shower and WC at the end of the carriage.
In addition to the sleeping cars you will also find a restaurant car, operated by the staff of WARS (Polish dining cars operator), offering a wide range of dinner and breakfast, dessert, hot and cold drinks. If you just want a small snack, you can also purchase something from the sleeping car attendants (Euro are of course accepted but it is recommend to pay with coins or small bills).
I was travelling on the train back in April 2016, when I was making a trip to Moscow with Peter (see link posted in introduction). We had a 1st class compartment and I have to say that it was amongst the best trips I had on board a night train. The cabins are spacious, beds are comfortable, the sleeping car attendants are friendly and you can have dinner and breakfast in the dining car - there is not much more you could ask for. The only thing that currently is missing would be WiFi, but for an overnight trip it is no problem for me to not have internet access. Instead, I recommend to enjoy the excellent dishes in the dining car and enjoy the journey into the night.
Tickets and Timetable
|EN 23J/452 runs on Wednesdays||EN 453/24J runs on Thursdays|
|Berlin Lichtenberg||20:21||20:45||Paris Est||18:58|
|Berlin Hauptbahnhof||21:03||21:08||Strasbourg Ville||23:11||23:26|
|Frankfurt/Main Süd||02:16||02:18||Karlsruhe Hauptbahnhof||00:28||00:44|
|Karlsruhe Hauptbahnhof||03:39||03:55||Frankfurt/Main Süd||01:54||01:56|
|Strasbourg Ville||04:50||05:15||Berlin Hauptbahnhof||07:20||07:27|
|Paris Est||09:33||Berlin Lichtenberg||07:41||07:57|
Tickets are available online from RZD and SNCF as well as from ticket desks in Germany, France and other countries. When buying online you are only offered the standard fares, however at ticket desks a number of special fares (for small groups, youths, seniors etc) are available. If you have an Interrail ticket, you are offered a 15% discount on the regular fare; it is not necessary to use a travel day to use this train.
Group travel Russia: if you want to travel with a whole group by train to or in Russia, we recommend you our friend Marine. Please contact her to get a quote: info -at- vitamin-b.biz
She is the specialist for group travel with Russian railways.
Update: April 2018