Luggage Restrictions On Trains in France — What to Know Before You Go

by  Mose Hayward
LAST UPDATED ON  2023-09-27
PUBLISHED ON  2019-06-03

Your Train Guide

Mose Hayward

Hexagonal Rail Nut

The luggage racks in TGV INOUI in 2nd class in the middle of a train car

If you’re used to travelling by plane and thus conditioned to worry about the size, weight, and contents of your baggage, you’re in for a treat. Luggage restrictions for French trains are generally much more relaxed.

The main rule is to not be taking so much that you can’t carry and stow it on your own. There are a few trains with more restrictive policies, such as the Eurostar trains to the UK and the budget trains Ouigo, and we’ll cover those as well in this article.

Checking Luggage Restrictions as You Book

We explain all of the details this article but you can also see luggage restrictions (if any) at the time of booking. It’s easiest to book French train tickets with Trainline (we discuss more on why this is so and how to book via Trainline or other platforms here—but in a nutshell it’s more functional than the French rail operator’s own site SNCF Connect and on complex trips it may also save you some money).

When you choose a train type for a French trip on Trainline, pay attention to the luggage restrictions and options that Trainline displays for your route, particularly if you’re choosing Ouigo, as in the example below.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Trainline-luggage-selection-screen-1024x563.png
The Trainline luggage selection screen shows that while Ouigo is quite cheap, I will have to pay a bit extra if I’m carrying anything larger than a carry-on-sized suitcase.

All you really need to know for French trains is to pay attention to that screen when booking. And if there are no restrictions listed, the SNCF luggage limit is simply what you are able to carry and handle on your own as you board the train.

Specific Luggage Rules by Type of French Train

Unless otherwise specified here, SNCF trains do not have specific weight and size restrictions; you simply need to be able to carry your luggage on your own and place it in the trains’ storage racks.

As with everything else with the SNCF, there is conflicting information depending on where you look and in what language. I have taken this information and translated it for you from the French version of the SNCF.com luggage explanations, which is slightly different and presumably more up-to-date than the SNCF Connect English luggage page.

General Rules and Advice for Luggage on All French Trains

Luggage Rules for TGV INOUI Trains to/from Spain

Luggage on Thalys Trains

Luggage on Eurostar

Luggage on Ouigo (Budget Train Line)

Luggage on Ter Regional Trains in France

Keeping Your Luggage Secure on French Trains

We appreciate reader feedback and questions in the comments section, and update this article when things change on the French rails.

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3 thoughts on “Luggage Restrictions On Trains in France — What to Know Before You Go”

  1. Thank you for this very helpful information. I am planning a month’s trip in June 2020. My last trip to France was in 1984. Things have drastically have changed in all of Europe since then. I am considering a month Eurail First Class Global train ticket. I plan to travel in Italy and Germany as well. According to the airlines the luggage check in size requirement total is 62 inches or 158 cm. It seems this would be too large for the majority of first-class train travel in France. Do you have any suggestions alternative luggage? With a rail pass I could possibly travel on SNCF trains instead of other lines, but that might depend on the region I am traveling in. I appreciate any suggestions you might offer. I spent a year in Tours studying French which was my major in college:

    1. You don’t seem to have read the above article very carefully! You’ll be fine! However, just for your convenience, we’d obviously encourage you to travel lighter, at least consider our larger luggage suggestions. Enjoy the trip back to France! It’s changed a lot, yes.

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