The route used to be operated by Artesia trains, but in place of this service are traditional TGV services. An alternative overnight service between Paris and Milan is available, continuing to Venice (and detailed elsewhere on this website).
Milan (or Milano) is the second-largest city in Italy, with a population of around 1.3m. The city is the industrial, financial and commercial capital of Italy, host to a number of organisations' headquarters. The city is world-renowned as a centre for fashion and design, and offers visitors an array of museums and cultural attractions.
Milan is a vital transport hub for Europe, with five railway stations as well as three airports. The city benefits from two high-speed train links, which connect the city to Rome, Naples and turin.
An epic train journey has recently been re-created by Russian Railways in an attempt to link the Russian capital, Moscow, wih the South of France at Nice. The route is designed (perhaps unsurprisingly) for Russians wanting to catch a bit of sun, and hopes to revive some of the glamour of long distance train journeys.
The two day journey doesn't come cheap, with prices starting at over €300, and going as high as €1200. It isn't your average journey however, with comfortable rooms and furnishings. Each compartment has two berths, which can be shared or sole occupancy. Breakfast is included in ticket prices, and is served in the dining car. There are a number of different (tasty) options to choose from.
The rooms, while comfortable, can be a bit on the warm side, and unfortunately the windows don't open, preventing passengers from making the most of air conditioning au naturale! They also lack power sockets, so you will need to bring plenty of old fashioned reading material, or be prepared to make the most of the wide range of views on offer.
Passports and visas are checked at the Poland/Belarus border. At the border, the wheel gauge is changed, but passengers stay onboard for this process. Passengers who aren't Russian will require a transit visa to travel through Belarus. This can be obtained from the Belarussian Embassy. You will be removed from the train if you do not have an appropriate visa.
Want more information? Shaun Walker has written a good in-depth account of his journey on the Nice to Moscow train for the Independent.
Replacing the nightly Artesia sleeper service between Paris and Venice is new company Thello's offering. The service calls at destinations including Milan and Verona en route.
The journey takes a total of 12 hours, and is comfortable and relaxing, allowing you to arrive in the heart of Paris or Venice rested afor the day ahead. If you don't like the idea of a sleeper train, an alternative would be to catch a TGV between Paris and Milan, and a Eurostar City service between Milan and Venice.
The high-speed Pendolino service between Geneva and Milan is a beautiful journey, passing mountains and lakes along the way. Refreshments are available on-board during the 4(ish) hour journey.
The service has had a mixed history, as much of the service is run using first-generation Pendolino trains which have had some reliability issues.
The TrenItalia Frecciabianca trains (formerly known as Eurostar City) on this route travel at speeds of up to 200km/h. This route is ideal if you are planning to catch a connecting ferry to/from one of Italy's Adriatic ports such as Bari, Rimini or Ancona for services towards Croatia and Albania.
This page details the daytime direct routes between Milan and Bari and Lecce only. There are several other sleeper train routes that travel the route, including services to Turin. There are also a lot more services between Bologna and Ancona, so if the timings below aren't suitable, consider travelling via those stations and changing trains.
Travel Tip: If you are planning to catch a ferry to/from Bari, it is important to note that the ferry terminal is approximately 20-30 minutes walk away from the railway station.