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Slow Tourism: Discover France aboard the trains of yesteryear

Going on the small railways of France aboard the trains of yesteryear, is an invitation to stroll and contemplation.

Preturn the time, savor the moment and discover the landscapes. Taste the melancholy of village stations, let yourself be surprised by the station master's whistle ... Browse forests and woods, walk along rivers or the ocean. To indulge in a eulogy of slowness for an enchanted parenthesis… This is what the railways of our regions offer. Because the steam trains and electric locomotives of the past have not completely disappeared. To the delight of slow tourism enthusiasts.

Witnesses to a time when time passed less quickly, these trains from our childhood indolently lead travelers to discover preserved territories. Today we invite you to discover some of the most beautiful train routes, classified by region.

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

The Montenvers cogwheel train in Haute-Savoie, you will take you from Chamonix to Montenvers. From its 1913 meters in altitude, the small station opens the doors to grandiose sites. The Mer de Glace, the Drus and the Grandes Jorasses are then within rail reach.

The Panoramic of the Domes takes you to the top of the highest volcano in the chain of puys, the puy de Dôme. A 360 ° C panorama of the dormant volcanoes will amaze you.

Montenvers cog train

Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

In the Doubs, the Coni'Fer can be proud of the title of the highest steam train in France. At an altitude of more than 1000 meters, it connects at a speed of 20 km / h, the Hospitals-Neufs and Fontaine Ronde stations.

Locomotive 241P-17 of the Creusot railways traveled 1 kilometers between 741 and 865. Returned to service in 1949 after 1969 years of restoration, this legendary locomotive now tows tourist steam trains.

Britain

In the Côtes d'Armor, between Paimpol and Pontrieux, the Trieux steam is a journey through Breton history, culture and landscapes. Around the line, many excursions will be available to you. Walk or boat trip, visits to the Roche Jagu estate or the surrounding villages… Another way to discover authentic Brittany, aboard the trains of yesteryear.

Bridges and trains of yesteryear

Centre-Val de Loire

Rillé steam trains meander along Lake Rillé. They cross the woods and groves of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Natural Park. Once your journey is over, do not forget to visit the majestic Loire châteaux. Saumur, Ussé or Azay-le-Rideau are indeed not far from Rillé.

Corsica

The Corsican railways allow visitors to the Isle of Beauty to explore the region. From the beaches of Calvi, Ajaccio, Bastia and Porto-Vecchio to Corte or Ponte Leccia on the Corsican massif… These breathtaking routes are used by tourists and residents alike.

Eiffel Bridge crossing the Vecchio in Corsica
Eiffel Bridge crossing the Vecchio in Corsica

Grand-Est

In Alsace, the Thur Doller Train, formerly called the Doller Valley Railway, is a tourist and historic railway located in Alsace in the Haut-Rhin. Its steam locomotives towing gondola wagons, flat or covered, connect Cernay-Saint-André station to Sentheim station.

Hauts-de-France

The Baie de Somme railway offers the opportunity to travel at a speed of 25 km / h aboard historic trains, on the former "Réseau des Bains de Mer". Cayeux-sur-Mer, Saint-Valery-sur-Somme and Le Crotoy are among the magnificent destinations of this rail.

Steam locomotive

Normandy

The Cotentin tourist train along the coast at the gates of the Regional Natural Park of the Cotentin and Bessin Marshes. Not far away are Cap de Carteret and Cap du Rozel, which extend over more than 400 hectares of dunes in Hattainville.

New Aquitaine

In the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, the Rhune train set off to storm this mythical summit of the Basque Country. After 35 minutes of travel in this authentic cogwheel train, you will reach the 360 ​​° C panorama accessible from the top of the Rhune. Atlantic, the Pyrenean chain, but also unique flora and fauna await you at the end of your journey.

Old trains: The Rhune train
The Rhune train

Occitania

The 63 kilometers traveled by the Yellow Train in the heart of the Pyrénées-Orientales once had the task of connecting the Catalan highlands to the rest of the department. More than a century ago, it was therefore necessary to dig 19 tunnels and build bridges, the most notable of which continue to amaze those who use them. The Gisclard suspension bridge, for example, rises to 65 meters above the ground.

The yellow train

Pays de la Loire

The Vendée Railway offers 85 unusual walks. The CFV association and its lovers of heritage and ancient techniques, pass on know-how and transport visitors aboard the trains of yesteryear. Steam train, Train Restaurant "Cars of the Grands Express" or Autorail Picasso await you.

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

The Train des Pignes runs four times a day between the cities of Digne-les-Bains and Nice. With this train you will cross and discover in a unique way the Alpes-de-Haute Provence, the Nice hinterland and the Côte d'Azur.