Perpignan – Montpellier – Marseille by train. The western Mediterranean coast of France.
Ah, the western French coast of the Mediterranean by train.
There is a faster TGV service you can take instead I suppose – although this still does involve a change of trains too. But if you really want to experience this route, then taking the slower TER train along the Mediterranean coast is way better.
And if you have time, I would definitely recommend stopping off at Sète on the way (popularly known as the Venice of Languedoc). The train route just south of Sète, as the train crosses the Étang de Thau, is pretty spectacular too: with water on one side of the train (the Étang de Thau) and water on the other side (the Mediterranean Sea).
This first regional TER train actually continues all the way to Avignon Centre – where there is then a less-frequent Intercité train to Marseille (Saint Charles station). This is the route I would aim for if making the journey again.
The more frequent TGV trains leave Avignon from the Avignon TGV station though, which is some way south of Avignon Centre station (there are trains which connect both stations).
However, because of train times, and my own timing constraints, I will be changing trains at Montpellier. This still allows me to experience the best of the beautiful Mediterranean coastline though, as after Montpellier the railway moves inland anyway (skirting the Camargue region of the south of France).
Web resources for this route:
Official Train Operator: www.sncf.com (English version)
Official Train Operator: www.ter.sncf.com/occitanie (French)
The Best Things to Do in Sète (www.theculturetrip.com)
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[photo credit: Lonely Planet]