High-speed railway lines connect Paris in France with cities in Germany including Frankfurt am Main, Stuttgart, Augsburg, and Munich (München) in Bavaria. Intercity buses are cheap but slow.
Fast trains are a convenient way to travel between Paris in France and several cities in Germany including Frankfurt am Main, Saarbrücken, Mannheim, Stuttgart, Ulm, Augsburg, and Munich (München). Both French SNCF TGV and German Deutsche Bahn ICE trains operate on these railway routes. Traveling times from Paris are around four hours to Frankfurt or Stuttgart while it takes six hours by train from Paris to Munich. Buses, especially Flixbus coaches, also run on these routes but are dismally slow, if cheap.
High-Speed TGV and ICE Trains from Paris to Frankfurt am Main
High-speed trains offer the most convenient and often the fastest transportation between Paris and Frankfurt am Main. High-speed French Trains à Grande Vitesse (TGV) and German Inter-City-Express (ICE) trains travel the distance from Paris-Gare de l’Est and Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof in just less than four hours.
Usually six direct trains per day travel on the Paris to Frankfurt route either as German ICE trains or French TGV trains. Trains depart from Paris-Gare de l’Est station and many stop en route at Forbach near the French-German border. All trains stop in Germany at Saarbrücken, Kaiserslautern, and Mannheim before reaching the final terminus at Frankfurt main train station. Both Frankfurt and Mannheim are major railway junctions with excellent onward connections to other parts of Germany.
Train traveling times from Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof are around 0h40 to Mannheim, 1h20 to Kaiserslautern, 2h00 to Saarbrücken, 2h08 to Forbach, and 3h39 to 0h03 to Paris-Gare de l’Est.
Many further train connections are possible between Paris and Frankfurt but these require a train change – usually in Karlsruhe or Cologne (Köln). These connections are hardly slower than the direct train, and may even have time benefits if departing from Paris Gare du Nord, but are of course less convenient and rarely offer any price benefits.
High-Speed TGV Trains from Paris to Stuttgart and Munich via Strasbourg
High-speed trains offer fast and convenient connections between Paris and cities in southern Germany including Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Augsburg, Ulm, and Munich (München). The southern route is mostly operated by French TGV trains but occasionally German Railways ICE trains also travel on this route.
Most days, six TGV trains run from Paris-Gare de l’Est to Stuttgart in around four hours. Most but not all of these trains stop en route in Strasbourg and Karlsruhe. One or two TGV trains per day go all the way from Paris to Munich but very good ICE connections are available from Stuttgart to Munich for TGV passengers having to transfer in Stuttgart.
Train traveling times from Paris-Gare de l’Est on the direct TGV trains are 2h20 to Strasbourg, 3h00 to Karlsruhe, 3h30 to Stuttgart, 4h30 to Ulm, 5h40 to Augsburg, and 5h52 to München Hauptbahnhof.
The overnight CNL sleeper trains no longer run on the Paris to Munich route.
See the timetables at Deutsche Bahn – Stuttgart to Paris / Paris to Stuttgart and Munich to Paris / Paris to München – or use Trainline to blend in further bus options and see competing prices between DB and SNCF.
Intercity Buses from Paris to German Cities
Intercity coaches are of course available from Paris to most German cities but traveling time is much longer than on trains. However, bus ticket prices are often much cheaper, especially when traveling at short notice and having to pay full fare. Bus traveling times from Paris are around 9 to 10 hours to Frankfurt or Stuttgart and 11 to 13 hours to Munich.
Flixbus, Ouibus, Eurolines and Alsa have buses running from Paris to German cities but the number of services is not very high and transfers are often required on route. Traveling times, especially on overnight buses, are much longer than on the trains but the bus fare rarely reaches €50. Trainline compares all train and bus services – look for the link to add bus connections at the bottom of the timetable if coaches are not included in the first search.
Booking Tickets for TGV and ICE Trains from Paris to Germany
Tickets for the high-speed trains traveling between Paris and German cities can be reserved through all the normal channels including Deutsche Bahn and from the official English websites of French Railways such as Oui.SNCF (Europe) or RailEurope (USA & Rest of the World). Full-fare prices should be the same but different special deals may be available from the various sites. Trainline is a very easy to use site that shows the competing offers of German Rail and French Railways – sometimes a 25% difference for the exact same train – and add bus travel as well, although coaches from Paris to German cities are dismally slow.
The full-fare, standard second-class ticket from Frankfurt / Stuttgart to Paris is around €140 one-way (€150 from Paris to Munich). However, discounted and savings fares for advance reservations are available with €59 more common and €39 possible if the Europa-Special fare is available. Bus prices range from around €25 to €50 – the best deals on bus tickets are often available a few days prior to travel (if reservations on the buses are low).
Seat reservations are obligatory for travel on all TGV trains as well as German Railways ICE trains when traveling in France. Most ICE trains do not require reservations when traveling inside Germany. Bicycles may be transported unpacked on some TGV trains but not on ICE trains.
Transfers from Gare du Nord to Gare de l’Est in Paris is fairly easy and fastest done by walking. This allows passengers on Eurostar trains from London or TGV-Thalys trains from Brussels to easily connect to TGV and ICE trains heading for Germany.