Greentraveller's Guide to taking the train from London St Pancras International Railway Station to Toulouse Matabiau, which is conveniently located in the centre of Toulouse.
Journey Time: fastest from 7 hours 48 mins; average 9 hours 30mins
Sample timetable: Depart London 12.24pm, arrive Toulouse 9.17pm
Transfer: Paris Gare du Nord to Paris Gare Montparnasse
Frequency of Departures: 16-18/day
Carbon emissions: 14.04kg (flight would be 83.86kg)*
Car hire at Toulouse Railway Station: Yes
What's the journey like?
You have to change stations in Paris from Gare du Nord to Montparnasse, which can take about half an hour on the Paris metro (though we recommend you leave at least 50 minutes for the entire transfer). See our guide to How to transfer between train stations across Paris.
Stopover hotels to break the journey in Paris
If you want to break the journey and stay overnight to see a bit more of Paris while you're travelling through, there are lots of lovely places to stay near both Gare du Nord and Gare Montparnasse. Here are some examples of hotels that are conveniently near these stations:
Miss your connection?
Don’t panic. Railteam’s ‘Hop on the Next Available Train’ service means that if you have missed your connection because of a delay on the preceding leg of your journey, you’ll automatically be put on the next available high-speed train. NB Remember to get your ticket stamped by your Train Manager. Whenever you’re connecting, always remember to validate your onward train ticket at the machine on the platform before departing (these are often coloured yellow).
Bienvenue à Toulouse! The university town of Toulouse, known as 'La Ville Rose' for its distinctive pink buildings, is the gateway to the French Pyrenees. France’s pink city has a unique character, sunny and Spanish-flavoured, it’s a world away from much of the rest of the country. A largely unsung destination, its bustling historic centre is lined with warm brick buildings, in every shade of red, pink and ochre. Its many squares buzz with life and it is littered with architectural gems, including a grand main square (Place de la Capitole), Europe’s largest Romanesque church, a lovely waterfront, and numerous hôtels particuliers, or merchants’ palaces. Now France’s fourth city, Toulouse is forward-looking, metropolitan, and dynamic, with a huge student population: and it has a busy bar, restaurant and art scene to match. Immerse yourself in its lifestyle, wander its museums, and linger over its hearty cuisine: Toulouse has a lot for you to enjoy.
Getting around Toulouse
Toulouse-Matabiau is the city’s main railway station and almost all mainline services arrive here. Located just to the north-east of the city centre, it is on metro line A (and future line F), and has good bus connections. Here's an excellent visitor guide to Toulouse public transport.
Whilst the centre of Toulouse, and particularly the historic core, is very walkable, for longer journeys the city has a metro system complemented by a tram and buses. Tisséo operates the public transport network for the Toulouse area, and their site is available in English. The metro consists of three lines, A, B, and C, however only A and B run through the centre of the city (in roughly an X-shape) and are likely to be of use for visitors; future extensions to the network are in the pipeline. Tramline T1 (the only tram line for the moment) runs through the west of the city, connecting with metro lines A and C at Arènes: here is a map of Toulouse metro and tram network. Whilst you are unlikely to need to take buses often, you can also find a map of the Toulouse area bus network on the Tisséo website.
Tickets are valid on buses, trams and the metro, for up to three changes in a total of one hour, multi-trip tickets and passes for one, two, and three days are also available: here is a full breakdown of tickets and fares for public transport in Toulouse. If you intend to make much use of the transport network, and will be visiting several attractions in the Toulouse area, you may want to consider getting hold of a Pass Tourisme, which offers unlimited travel plus free or discounted entry to various attractions for a period of 24, 48, or 72 hours.
Toulouse is a relatively flat city, so cycling is also a viable option for making short hops or a lazy ride along the Canal du Midi – it also has a self-service bike share scheme, meaning you can pick up a bike at one docking station and drop it off later when you reach your destination: called simply Velo Toulouse, the website is only in French but does have a handy map of Toulouse cycle station locations.
(Tickets provided by Trainline)