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There’s unlimited rail travel across France this summer for less than £50 – if you meet the requirements

Simon Calder’s Travel

France have announced the launch of a nationwide rail pass this summer for unlimited rail travel at just €49 (£42) a month.

The unlimited travel will apply to all journeys taken on the country’s TER and Intercity trains, however, French transport minister Patrice Vergriete confirmed that only those age 27 or younger will be eligible for the discounted pass.

High-speed TGV trains and travel in France’s most populous region, Ile-de-France – home of the capital, Paris – are both excluded from the rail offer and require an additional ticket.

The new pass is expected to go on sale in June.

French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that “those under 27 can travel by train unlimitedly in France” on X/Twitter. He added that the rail pass “becomes reality this summer” and asked: “Where would you go?”

The passes will be available to buy through SNCF Connect from June for young people to travel around France.

Vergriete said the Ministry of Transport estimates 700,000 young people will benefit from the low-cost travel using the rail pass this summer.

In 2020 and 2021, a summer rail pass temporarily existed for young people under 27 to travel in France for €29 (£24.87) a month.

The rail pass for 2024 is based on a similar scheme in Germany by the national operator Deutsche Bahn that runs without an age limit. The Deutschland Ticket allows travel by all means of local public transport for €49 per month.

Funding 80 per cent of measures to introduce the pass is expected to cost the government around €15 million, with individual regions responsible for footing the remaining 20 per cent of the bill.

The decision to introduce an age cap to the national rail pass and exclude the Ile-de-France area was met with disappointment from several of the French regions.

Criticism from the Hauts-de-France region said that though the rail pass was “favourable”, the Minister for Transport “lacked ambition” by introducing a discounted pass only for young people.

The president of the Normandy region, Hervé Morin, said: “If there must be a rail pass, it must be national and apply to the entire French network and must not exclude the Ile-de-France network through which most young people inexorably pass when going to another region by train.”

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