From the historic seaside town to the cultural Seine-side city, St Malo to Paris by train is a quick and easy trip that won’t break the bank and makes a good argument over flying if your departure destination is Jersey or Guernsey.
Flights from the Channel Islands to Paris are few and far between with most requiring a connecting flight from the UK mainland - so you could be looking at a total travel time of up to six hours or more. Plus, the shorter the flight time, the pricier the ticket. However, there is another way.
Catch Condor Ferries from the Islands to St Malo, where you can board a train to Paris, delivering you there in as little as 2.5 hours.
It’s quite appealing when you think that rather than sitting in a busy UK city airport for a few hours waiting for the connecting flight to Paris, you could be indulging in more quality time in charming St Malo before your train departs. Depending on how you time your connections, picture yourself relaxing over a quick coffee or leisurely lunch in one of the eateries packed along the quaint cobbled streets – and it’s all just a few steps from where the ferry docks.
The train journey from St Malo begins just two kilometres from the ferry port at the station itself. It’s a 20 minute walk or you can take the shuttle. You can purchase tickets from here, but it’s advised to pre-book online for a time of your choosing. On an average weekday, there are 13 trains per day travelling from St Malo to Paris Montparnasse including a changeover at Rennes. However, there are 3 direct trains which run each day and the journey will take you straight to Paris in under two and a half hours. Fares range from €20-€163 – just make sure you book in advance for the cheapest fares!
The trip itself takes a route right across the northwest of France, boasting fantastic views of the countryside, whizzing past rural towns and undulating fields. The first major city to traverse is Rennes, the capital of Brittany. It’s medieval half-timbered houses and vibrant streets are a sight to behold, whether that’s during a changeover for the next train, or at a quick glimpse for those who have booked a direct journey.
Once Rennes is out of the way, it’s the home straight to Paris. Like before, there’s plenty to keep your mind occupied outside the carriage, as the train travels through a mix of quaint communes such as Alençon and the gorgeous vistas of Perche Natural Regional Park. Before you know it, the train rolls into Paris Montparnasse station and you have arrived.
Paris has so much to see and do, it’s no wonder over 80 million foreign tourists visit each year. As the trains from St Malo are so fast and frequent, it’s easy to take day trips or even short weekends away without having to plan too far in advance.
One day we’d recommend planning around is Fête de la Musique on 21 June. Besides being the longest day of the year, it’s a major event in Paris which heralds the start of summer. On top of headline musical acts across many of Paris’ top venues, the real entertainment comes from the countless amateur musicians that take to performing across the city. So, on summer solstice, there’s music around every corner, free concerts and street entertainment on every street.
If you’re thinking of taking the family with you, Parc Floral de Paris plays host to a festival for younger children aged two and up called les Pestacles. From circus acts to concerts, this event is run across the whole of June through to September, meaning there’s plenty of opportunity to plan a short break for exactly when it suits you.
For tickets, timetables and prices, we’d recommend checking out www.trainline.eu/ and searching for a St Malo to Paris route when it suits you.