Train des Pignes. Nice to Digne-les-Bains.
The Train des Pignes runs between Nice on the Mediterranean coast (Nice CP station) and Dignes-les-Bains high in the Alps, a journey of 151 kilometres. The regular service is provided by new-ish diesel-powered trains, but occasionally a steam train runs between Puget-Théniers and Annot (and as far as Fugeret during the Chestnut Festival).
The trains can be rather busy, but most tourists go no further than Entrevaux, before returning to Nice. So the train becomes much quieter after there. You should definitely visit Entrevaux too (it’s a wonderful Medieval town), but after your visit, you should then continue to the end of the line at Digne-les-Bains.
From Digne-les-Bains there is an SNCF shuttle bus which connects with the main rail network at Aix en Provence/TGV station – this shuttle bus may also still stop at Veynes and St-Auban stations, but call to make sure [+33 (0)821 202 203].
Web resources for this route:
Official Train Operator: www.trainprovence.com (English version)
Train des Pignes steam train (www.nicetourisme.com)
Train des Pignes – Chemin de fer de Provence (www.tourism-alps-provence.com)
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[photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org]