Return of sleeper trains between Berlin and Paris to rival air travel

By dpa via Reuters Connect

Bir-Hakeim bridge on the Seine River in Paris
Bir-Hakeim bridge on the Seine River in Paris
As France considers emulating Germany's €49 monthly nationwide rail pass, travel between the two countries is to get a boost with the revival of a Berlin-Paris overnight link.

After nine years without service, the night-time rail route is to resume from December 11, Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) and Deutsche Bahn have announced.

Tickets are to go on sale in October and will likely be priced at around €50 (NZ$89.50 / AU$82.80) for a bed in a shared room, going by ÖBB’s other Nightjet sleeper trains, which include Brussels-Berlin, Vienna-Paris and Vienna-Brussels.

The plan is to increase the Berlin-Paris route from thrice-weekly to daily in the coming year.

Europe's network of night trains is being reawoken after a long period of dormancy and a new Berlin-Paris route is set to rival air travel for comfort and prices. Christian Charisius/dpa
Europe’s network of night trains is being reawoken after a long period of dormancy and a new Berlin-Paris route is set to rival air travel for comfort and prices. Christian Charisius/dpa

The timetable means the train pulls out of the German capital at 8.24 pm and will drop the well-rested traveller in Paris at just after 10.20 am the following day. Anyone going the other way will be leaving the French capital’s Gare de l’Est at 7.12 pm and getting into Berlin at 8.26 am the next morning.

The Paris station is around a 10-minute walk from Gare du Nord, where the London Eurostar train arrives and departs from.

The Berlin-Paris journey time could be made shorter by next year. In its announcement, ÖBB said it would in late 2023 start using new trains with a top speed of 230 km/h on its Nightjet services.

The revival of the Berlin-Paris sleeper came after France sought to ban short-haul flights that could be done in a train journey shorter than two-and-a-hours – and amid a wider European push to reduce air travel, for which fuel costs and tickets prices have increased since the pandemic, on environmental grounds.

Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

So how to make the most of a visit to either city? Here are some ideas on what to do once you’re there:


Brandenburg Gate: Iconic and historic, the Brandenburg Gate is a symbol of unity and peace. It’s especially beautiful to visit in the evening when illuminated.

Berlin Wall and East Side Gallery: Explore remnants of the Berlin Wall and the East Side Gallery, an open-air art gallery displaying murals on a section of the wall, each with a unique story.

Museum Island (Museumsinsel): A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Museum Island hosts several world-renowned museums like the Pergamon Museum and the Neues Museum, showcasing art and artifacts from different eras.

Checkpoint Charlie: A significant historical landmark, Checkpoint Charlie was a crossing point during the Cold War. Visit the museum to learn about the division of Berlin and the events during that period.

Tiergarten Park and Reichstag Building: Enjoy a leisurely stroll through Tiergarten, Berlin’s largest park, and visit the Reichstag Building to climb to the glass dome for panoramic views of the city.


Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel): An iconic symbol of Paris, the Eiffel Tower offers stunning views of the city from its various levels. Consider going at sunset for a magical experience.

Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre): Explore the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument, housing an impressive collection of art, including the famous Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.

Notre-Dame Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris): Admire the breathtaking Gothic architecture of this cathedral, with its intricate details and stunning rose windows. Don’t miss climbing to the top for a panoramic view of the city.

Montmartre and Sacré-Cœur Basilica: Wander through the charming Montmartre neighborhood, famous for its bohemian ambiance and art studios. Visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica for its spectacular views of Paris.

Seine River Cruise: Take a scenic boat cruise along the Seine River, passing by major landmarks like the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and Notre-Dame, providing a unique perspective of the city.


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