Warning to Visitors

Some of the information below may be out of date as a result of changing timetables and services. Please double check the accuracy of all information before travelling.

The booking forms should be up to date however, so if tickets for a particular service are available, then the service should be operational.

Paris - Madrid (Elipsos TrainHotel Sleeper Train)

Rail

The Journey

The overnight train journey between Paris and Madrid is made onboard the 'Francisco de Goya" sleeper train. This Elipsos Train Hotel is effectively a hotel on rails, with a full restaurant and bar. There are a range of seating and sleeping options, which you can tailor to your budget. The Elipsos website offers a virtual tour of the train so that you can get a better idea of what to expect.

In the middle of the night, the train pauses at Hendaye to switch gauge. This process doesn't involve passengers getting off the train (unlike some daytime alternative routes), but the wheels are changed with passengers on-board.

As with any night train, it can be difficult to get to sleep if you are a light sleeper. If you are worried that you might get woken up, take a pair of earplugs, which should help. We recommend paying for a couchette or sleeping berth, rather than trying to sleep in a reclining chair. Berths are significantly more civilised, offering greater security, comfort and overall level of service. Surprisingly, they can also be cheaper than reclining chairs, as the operator offers special reduced rates on berths, but not for reclining seats (view the pricing section for more information).


Elipsos (Renfe) Trenhotel Sleeper Trains

Trenhotels (operated by Spanish company Renfe and their subsidiary Elipsos) are high class sleeper trains, combining the comforts of hotels with the practicalities of travelling by train. Overnight services such as these allow passengers the opportunity to arrive at their destination at the start of the day, relaxed and ready.

Trenhotels are operated both nationally and internationally:

  • Madrid - A Coruna - Pontevedra - Ferrol (Rias Gallegas);
  • Barcelona - Granada (Alhambra);
  • Barcelona - Gijon (Pio Baroja);
  • Barcelona - A Coruna - Vigo (Galicia);
  • Madrid - Lisbon (Lusitania);
  • Barcelona - Paris (Joan Miro);
  • Barcelona - Zurich (Pau Casals);
  • Barcelona - Milan (Salvado Dali); and
  • Madrid - Paris (Francisco de Goya).

Trenhotels offer passengers a choice of accommodation classes, in addition to standard seated accommodation. All compartments are suitable for both daytime and evening use, with beds being stowed away by on-board staff at a time to suit you.

Gran Clase

Gran Clase is the most luxurious option for travellers on this service. Offered as either single or twin compartments, they are very comfortable, and passengers receive excellent service from on-board staff. 

On boarding the train, Gran Clase passengers are greeted by staff, and given keys to their compartment. Cabin service is provided throughout the duration of the journey. Passengers receive a number of other benefits, such as independent climate control, a wake-up call service, toilet bag and bottle of water.

Passengers in this class have larger, more comfortable beds. Compartments have private bathrooms, with toilet, basin and shower. All towels and bed linens are provided. Some newer trains offer full entertainment facilities (audio/video), electrical sockets, intercom telephones and fold down tables. 

First / Club / Preferente Class

Preferente class cabins, arranged as either single or twin compartments are the First Class option. They feature their own sinks (shared toilet/shower facilities in the carriage) and toileteries, as well as intercom telephones.

Passengers in this class may also take advantage of a wake-up call, as well as indepentent climate control. Complimentary newspapers and magazines are available, as well as a bottle of water. 

Two Preferente Class cabins may also be joined together to form a mini suite via the interconnecting door. This allows families or friends to travel together in a larger space. 

Tourist / Turista Class

Tourist Class accommodation feature four beds in each cabin in a bunk-style arrangement. Cabins also have an in-built sink, with access to shared toilet/shower facilities in the carriage.

Passengers not travelling as part of a group will be put into a compartment with people of the same sex. Couples and smaller groups wanting privacy would have to pay for sole use of the cabin. Fortunately, a special 'Duo Offer' is available, which allows their sole use of a Tourist Class cabin.

Tourist Class customers also receive a complimentary bottle of water and toiletries.

Reclining Seats

For the budget-conscious traveller, seated accommodation is also available. The seats are very spacious, and recline to a near-horizontal angle for comfort. Each seated carriage has between 26 and 36 seats, and toilets at either end. The carriage is air conditioned, and each seat has a reading light, free magazines and bottle of water, as well as blanket, shoe bag, earplugs and sleeping mask.

Seated accommodation is available as Tourist or Preferente Class, with different seating arrangements in each. Each seat has a folding down table.

Passengers are permitted to travel with a maximum of three items of luggage, with a combined weight of 20kg, including handbags, laptop bags etc. Passengers may store their luggage in their comparments. Seated passengers have access to luggage racks at one end of the carriage, as well as above-seat racks.

Food and Drink

Trenhotels have both a cafeteria and restaurant car. The cafe offers a range of drinks as well as sandwiches and hot and cold snacks. The restaurant is a more formal dining area, serving dinner and breakfast. Reservations can be made when boarding the train. The restaurant offers Mediterranean cuisine at dinner, and remains open until 2am. 

Gran Clase passengers receive complimentary dinner and continental breakfast on-board in the restaurant car. The evening meal is a la carte, with a choice of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to accompany. Gran Clase passengers receive preferential access to the restaurant at dinner time. 

Preferente Class passengers receive a complimentary continental breakfast in the train's restaurant.

Disabled Passengers

There is a specially adapted Gran Clase compatment, suitable for disabled passengers. This cabin features larger toilet facilities, and widened access to the restaurant and cafe. 

Passengers with reduced mobility may also sleep in Tourist Class accommodation, using the bottom bunks for easier access. Seated accommodation is also available, with an adapted Gran Comfort seat. Accessible toilet facilities may also be found on-board.

Travelling with Pets

Pets may travel on trenhotel services, provided they are small animals with a maximum weight of 6kg. Only one pet is permitted per passenger, and must be contained within a suitable pet carrier. Pets may only travel with passengers booked into a compartment (where they or their group are the sole occupants). There is a small supplement payable for the journey.

Guide dogs are permitted free of charge, but it is advisable to book sole occupancy of a cabin.

Bicycles

Bicycles may travel on trenhotel services, but must be accommodated within the passenger's cabin (sole occupancy). Bikes should be disassembled and placed within appropriate carrying bags.

Parking

Gran Clase and Club Class passengers are entitled to 24 or 48 hours of free parking (depending on whether you have a single or return ticket) at Madrid-Chamartin and Barcelona-Franca stations.

Lounges

Gran Clase and Club Class passengers have access to Club Lounges at Madrid-Chamartin, and Madrid Valladolid stations for the two hours prior to their train's departure.

Connecting Services

Passengers may travel free of charge on local services between Madrid-Chamartin and Atocha stations (if in posession of a connecting ticket with departure from Atocha), and between Barcelona Franca and Barcelona Sants stations.

Timetable

The Francisco de Goya sleeper train between Madrid and Paris operates daily between April and October. For the rest of the year, services run for 5 days a week. Also, passengers should check with the operator, Elipsos, for engineering works on their day of travel.

If this train doesn't suit your needs, there is an alternative sleeper train, the Corail Lunea that travels between Hendaye, on the French/Spanish border and Paris. That service works well if you are travelling into Portugal, rather than Spain.

Station409/8Station407/6
Paris Gare d'Austerlitz18.53Madrid Chamartin18.12
Les Aubrais-Orleans20.02Valladolid CG20.33
Blois20.28Burgos Rosa de Lima21.37
Poitiers21.37Vitoria / Gasteiz22.55
Vitoria / Gasteiz03.44Poitiers05.58*
Burgos Rosa de Lima04.56Blois07.25
Valladolid CG06.05Les Aubrais-Orleans08.01
Madrid Chamartin09.00Paris Gare d'Austerlitz09.03

* Arrives Poitiers 05.33 Tue-Sat between 24.07.12 and 14.08.12, and 17.08.12 and 18.08.12.

Train 407/406
On Fridays, arrives Poitiers at 07.50, Blois 09.02, Les Aubrais-Orleans 09.36 and Paris Austerlitz at 10.37.
On Saturdays between 07.04.12 and 13.10.12, arrives Poitiers at 07.50, Blois 09.02, Les Aubrais-Orleans 09.36 and Paris Austerlitz at 10.37.

Price

If you are looking for the cheapest way to travel between Madrid and Paris by train, you will need to look for special offers on couchettes or berths, rather than reclining seats. Special offers are available for families, couples, groups and a range of others. So it is worth checking to see if you can get one of those fares before considering alternatives. Prices can be as low as €74 pp.

As with most other overnight rail services, it actually works out cheaper to buy a point-to-point ticket for this route rather than use a railpass. The railpass supplement can actually be the same as some special fares for space in a 4-berth compartment. If you have a railpass, you will also be unable to pay for the 'reservation' (seat/bed booking, paid for on top of the ticket price) online. Instead you would need to book through a rail agent (who may charge you a booking fee) or on the day at the station (which may be too late as the train could be fully booked).

So our advice for this route would be to book using the links below or the SNCF website, trying to find the cheapest point-to-point fare available.

The prices below are in Euros (€), and are the standard one-way rates, per person.

Low Season (17.09.12 - 31.12.12):

One-WaySeatTouristClubGrand
   SingleDoubleSingleDouble
Adult€158€173€436€286€516€353
Adult Return€222€244€612€402€724€496
Child€111€122€306€201€362€248
Child (sharing)-€60€60€60€60€60
w/ Rail Pass€52€77€179€119€222€173
Pets€60€60€60€60€60€60
Duo€103€154-€186-€230
Mini Couple-€74-€119-€173
Family-€113----

High Season (15.06.12 - 16.09.12):

One-WaySeatTouristClubGrand
   SingleDoubleSingleDouble
Adult€175€204€499€332€397€282
Adult Return€246€286€698€464€794€564
Child€123€143€349€232€397€282
Child (sharing)-€60€60€60€60€60
w/ Rail Pass€52€77€179€119€222€173
Pets€60€60€60€60€60€60
Duo€114€180-€216-€262
Mini Couple-€93-€139-€189
Family-€133----

Special Offers

Mini Couple Offer
Up to 60% discount for tickets purchased at least 14 days in advance of travel from RENFE, SNCF, Trenitalia or SBB. There are a limited number of tickets available at this price, and require the booking of both places in a cabin. Tickets may only be changed once, and will incur a charge of €1.50 each way. Cancellations will result in only a 50% refund.

Family Offer
The family offer is currently only valid in Tourist Class, although Elipsos will hopefully be able to offer a similar discount of Club Class travel in the near future. Tickets may only be changed once, and will incur a charge of €1.50 each way. Cancellations will result in only an 80% refund.

Duo Offer
Limited tickets at a discount of 35% are available for passengers travelling together. These tickets are available in all classes, and are only available through RENFE, SNCF, SBB and Trenitalia. Children are not permitted to share a bed. Tickets may only be changed once, and will incur a charge of €1.50 each way. Cancellations will result in only an 80% refund.

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