French night train (Intercités de nuit)

In 2016, the French government, which owns the national rail operator SNCF, announced the withdrawal of the majority of its Intercités de Nuit (night train) services. High running costs and low occupancy are blamed for the cancellations. 

Since 1 October 2016, all but a few of France's sleeper trains ceased to run. The following services have been withdrawn:

  • Paris to the Savoie region (Saint-Gervais and Bourg-Saint-Maurice)
  • Luxembourg to Nice/Port Bou
  • Strasbourg to Nice/Port Bou
  • Paris to Hendaye/Irun
  • Paris to Nice
Two SNCF services will continue to operate, normally with departures each evening from Paris. 
  • Paris to Briançon in the French Alps
  • Paris to Toulouse, normally with through carriages to Latour de Carol (for a good onward connection to Barcelona) and, on selected dates in peak holiday seasons, also with through carriages to Cerbère and Portbou (also with, on some days, an onward connection to Barcelona). 

These surviving SNCF night trains do not offer sleeping car accommodation. Passengers are offered a choice of seats or couchettes. 

This decision aims to reduce financial losses overnight trains, that carry only 3% of travellers but account for a quarter of losses (at least EUR €400 million losses expected this year). The Secretary of State for Transport revealed at a press conference that the government remains opens to any takeover bid or "third-party financing".