70 French Train Words & 15 Sentences w/Audio & Video🚂

Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

What are the names of the Paris train stations? How do you pronounce “la gare”? Free list of French train vocabulary and train sentences & audio recordings.

The main train company in France is called “la SNCF“. Billions of people rely on the train service in France each year. Although outside France, you hear a lot about strikes in France, most of the time, taking the train in France is quite reliable.

You can buy your train ticket online and if you do so in advance, you can have a really good deal.

So let’s study the French train vocabulary.

This free French lesson – like many on French Today’s blog – features audio recordings. Click on the link next to the headphones to hear the French pronunciation.

How Do You Say Train in French?

The French word for a train is “un train“. It’s the same spelling, but the pronunciation of the French nasal vowel is quite different.

How Do You Say Train Station in French?

The train station in French is “la gare“. Watch out for the pronunciation – [gAr], not [gayr] which is “la guerre“: war.

So if you asked “where is the war” instead of “the station” it’s going to sound really weird in French!

What are the Names of the Paris Train Stations?

There are seven major train stations in Paris that serve destinations beyond the Metro-Paris region.

  1. La Gare Montparnasse.
  2. La Gare Saint-Lazare.
  3. La Gare du Nord.
  4. La Gare de l’Est.
  5. La Gare d’Austerlitz.
  6. La Gare de Bercy.
  7. La Gare de Lyon.

What Are The Names Of French Trains?

The French trains have several names. When traveling in France by train, knowing theses names may be useful.

  1. Le RER – Paris and suburbs commuter rail system
  2. Le Transilien – metropolitan Paris rail system
  3. L’Intercités (m) – Express trains connecting cities across various regions of France
  4. Le Ouigo – The budget brand of the SNCF
  5. Le TER – France’s Regional train system
  6. Le TGV (also called inOui) – High speed train (own by the SNCF)
  7. L’IDTGV (m) – high speed French train (independent company yet own by the SNCF)
  8. L’Eurostar (m) – between London and Paris
  9. Le Thalys – connecting France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands
  10. Le TGV Lyria – connecting France and Switzerland

And of course, there is also “le métro“, the Paris subway system – I’ve written an in-depth article about the “le métro” with audio recordings of all the Paris subway stations.

But let’s go back to the French train vocabulary.

French Train Vocabulary

  1. Un voyageur, une voyageuse – a traveler
  2. La gare – the station
  3. Un billet de train – a train ticket
  4. Un guichet – a booth, ticket counter
  5. Une salle d’attente – waiting area
  6. Un panneau d’information – information display
  7. Un agent de la SNCF – a SNCF employee
  8. Le départ (m) – departure
  9. L’arrivée – arrival

Would you like to learn the French train vocabulary in the context of a bilingual story? Sample the first chapter of my free downloadable audiobook here.

We’ll study the French train vocabulary extensively and describe taking the train in France in my advanced French audiobook method.

À Moi Paris Audiobook Method

A new approach to learning both traditional and modern French logically structured for English speakers.

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More Details & Audio Samples

Now let’s study the vocabulary you’ll need to buy a train ticket in French.

Buying A French Train Ticket – Vocabulary

Buying a train ticket in France is pretty much the same as in any country. You can do so online – I find the SNCF site to be quite difficult to navigate and use www.thetrainline.com myself.

In the train station itself, you’ll find ticket machines and in larger stations, tellers.

  1. La seconde classe – 2nd class
  2. La première classe – 1st class
  3. À côté de la fenêtre – by the window
  4. Dans l’allée – in the aisle
  5. Un aller simple – one way
  6. Un aller-retour – round trip
  7. Une place (assise) – a seat
  8. Une place duo / une place côte à côte – 2 seats next to each other
  9. Un carré – 4 seats, separated in 2 rows facing each other (often for families traveling together)
  10. Une réservation – booking
  11. Une carte de réduction – a discount card
  12. Un numéro de dossier – a file number
  13. Voyager dans le sens du train – to be facing towards where the train is going
  14. Les conditions de remboursement et d’échange – refund and exchange policies
  15. Un billet remboursable – refundable ticket
  16. Un billet non remboursable – nonrefundable ticket
  17. Un billet échangeable – exchangeable ticket
  18. Un train direct – direct train
  19. Un changement – transfer
  20. Une correspondance – transfer

The Train Station – French Vocabulary

Unless you have an e-ticket, chances are you’re going to need to punch your ticket before boarding the train. Punching machines are usually located at the beginning of the tracks. They can be a bit fussy… You’ll need to turn your ticket until you hear a mechanical sound. The machine will print the date on your ticket.

  1. Le rail, la voie – the track (rail is pronounced like “rye” in English)
  2. La voiture, le wagon (‘v’ sound) – the car
  3. Le bar – the snack car
  4. Le quai – the platform
  5. Le passage souterrain – the underground pass
  6. Un contrôleur – a controller, inspector
  7. Poinçonner son billet – to punch your ticket
  8. Une poinçonneuse – a punching machine
  9. Les départs grandes-lignes – main line departures
  10. Les départs île de France – Paris & suburbs departures

Aboard a French Train – List of French Terms

French trains are usually safe, but beware of pickpockets at very large train stations. Don’t worry about your suitcases, thieves don’t want your clothes. But keep an eye at all times on your purse or computer bag, especially when the train is still in the station and you are settling in. Thieves like to take advantage of the confusion and are known to grab a computer bag placed on the overhead luggage compartment as the traveler is busy settling in…

  1. La voiture – the train car
  2. Le numéro du siège – the seat number
  3. Le siège – the seat
  4. L’accoudoir – armrest
  5. Le dossier – the back of the seat
  6. Le compartiment à bagages – luggage compartment
  7. La fenêtre – the window
  8. Le rideau – the screen
  9. La tablette – the tray table
  10. La prise – the electric plug
  11. La liseuse – the seat light

The Train – French Practice Video

Here is a live video I shot for you in Paimpol station. Can you understand me?

You may turn the subtitles on by using the CC and gear options on the bottom right of the video. I’ve checked the subtitles in French and the English one were generated by YouTube.

And now I’ll record for you useful sentences for taking the train in France.

If you enjoy learning French language and culture in context, check out French Today’s downloadable French audiobooks: French Today’s bilingual novels are recorded at different speeds and enunciation, and focus on today’s modern glided French pronunciation.

Useful Train Sentences in French and English

Going to the Train Station

1 – Do you know where the train station is ?
Vous savez où est la gare ?

2 – (At the hotel)
I’m taking a train at North Station tomorrow at 11 AM. How long should I plan to get there by taxi? 
(At the hotel) Audio
Je dois prendre un train à la Gare du Nord demain à 11heures. Je dois prévoir combien de temps pour y aller en taxi ?

At the Train Station

1 – Do you know where the main lines departures platforms are ?
Audio. Vous savez où sont les départs grandes lignes ?

2 – Would you like a one or two-way ticket ? First or second class?
Audio. Vous voulez un aller simple ou un aller retour ? Première ou seconde classe ?

3 – I would like to print the ticket I ordered online but the ticket machine doesn’t work.
Audio. Je voudrais imprimer le billet que j’ai commandé sur le web mais le distributeur de billet ne marche pas. 

4 – You must punch your ticket: you’ll find a punching machine at the beginning of each track.
Audio. Il faut poinçonner votre billet. Vous trouverez une poinçonneuse au début de chaque quai. 

5 – This is the train for Rouen, right ?
Audio. C’est bien le train pour Rouen ? 

6 – Excuse-me : I think you’re in my seat. Are you sure you’re in the right car?
Audio. Excusez-moi : je pense que vous êtes à ma place. Vous êtes sûr que vous êtes dans la bonne voiture ?

Typical French Train Announcements

1 – The TER coming from Paris Montparnasse and going to Lyon is going to enter the station track 6.
Audio – Le TER en provenance de Paris Montparnasse et à destination de Lyon va rentrer en gare, voie 6. 

2 – It stops at the stations of Chartres, Châteaudun, Vendôme and Tours, its final stop. Bookings are needed for this train.
Audio – Il dessert les gares de Chartres, Châteaudun, Vendôme et Tours, son terminus. Les réservations sont obligatoires dans ce train. 

3 – We would like to remind you that from now on, writing your name on your luggage is compulsory. 
Audio – Nous vous rappelons que désormais, l’étiquetage des bagages est obligatoire. 

4 – The snack bar is now open in car number 4.
Audio – Le bar est maintenant ouvert, voiture 4. 

5 – For your security, please stay away from the edge of the platform.
Audio – Pour votre sécurité, éloignez-vous de la bordure du quai.

6 – Ladies and gentlemen, in a few minutes our TGV will enter Paimpol station. One minute stop. Make sure you don’t forget anything aboard.
Audio – Mesdames, messieurs, dans quelques instants notre TGV desservira la gare de Paimpol. Une minute d’arrêt. Assurez-vous de ne rien avoir oublié à bord.

7 – The SNCF team thanks you for your trust and hopes to see you again very soon on our network.
Audio – Toute l’équipe de la SNCF vous remercie pour votre confiance et espère vous revoir très bientôt sur le réseau.

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Bon voyage !
Have a nice trip!

Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Born and raised in Paris, I have been teaching today's French to adults for 25+ years in the US and France. Based on my students' goals and needs, I've created unique downloadable French audiobooks focussing on French like it's spoken today, for all levels. Come to Paimpol and enjoy an exclusive French immersion homestay with me in Brittany.

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