• On 13 July, the AVE (high-speed) route between Barcelona-Lyon will be launched, with the Marseille-Madrid route following on 28 July
  • Tickets will go on sale on 21 June, with a launch price making it possible to travel for 9 euros in France
  • It will be the first time that a Spanish operator provides a commercial service in French territory

Renfe chairman, Raül Blanco, today announced that on 13 July, the AVE (high-speed) connection between Barcelona and Lyon will be launched and two weeks later, the service between Madrid and Marseille will follow. On 21 June, the company will make tickets available for the two new AVE (high-speed) routes that sees Renfe start its solo operations in France, linking 17 destinations on both sides of the border, connecting Lyon to Barcelona and Marseille to Barcelona and Madrid.

The Barcelona-Lyon AVE (high-speed) route will be launched on 13 July to coincide with one of the most important bank holidays in France, celebrated the day after its National Day. The Madrid-Barcelona-Marseille route will be launched two weeks later, on 28 July.

The company will launch ticket sales on 21 June with campaign to make the company competitive on the French market, with AVE (high-speed) tickets for travel within France available for just 9 euros. This means that passengers can experience Spanish high-speed between destinations including Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Avignon, Béziers, Aix-en-Provence and Narbonne.

To celebrate the restoration of the direct train connection between Lyon and Marseille to Spain, now with AVE (high-speed) services, there will be two launch prices for international travel: 19 euros t for travel from Montpellier or Narbonne to Barcelona, Zaragoza or Madrid and 29 for the complete route, connecting Marseille and Lyon with Spain.

Tickets can be purchased on Renfe's website (www.renfe.com), sales app, travel agencies and over the phone.

Details of the service

The AVE (high-speed) service between Barcelona and Lyon will connect Barcelona Sants, Girona, Figueres Vilafant, Perpignan, Narbonne, Béziers, Montpellier-St-Roch, Nîmes, Valence TGV and Lyon Part Dieu, departing Barcelona at 8.22 a.m. and returning from Lyon at 2.30 p.m. The travel time from the start of the route to the end will be five hours.

The AVE (high-speed) service on the Madrid-Marseille route will be launched on 28 July and connect Guadalajara Yebes, Zaragoza Delicias, Camp de Tarragona, Barcelona Sants, Girona, Figueres Vilafant, Perpignan, Narbonne, Béziers, Montpellier-St-Roch, Nîmes, Avignon-TGV, Aix-en-Provence TGV and Marseille-St Charles.











First times

13 July will be the first time that a Spanish operator provides commercial services on an AVE (high-speed) train beyond Perpignan. This is just a first step when it comes to touching down in France and, at the same time, a milestone that has seen the culmination of an intensive calendar of operational and administrative training in record time

Since Renfe obtained the Safety Certificate on 22 December, awarded by the European Railway Safety Agency to operate on the certified lines between Perpignan and Lyon and Perpignan and Marseille, the company has worked non-stop to complete all the necessary formalities to launch its solo operations in France.

To roll out the service, it has had to complete the necessary technical tests and the theoretical and practical training courses for drivers and maintenance staff to guarantee the solvency and robustness of operations.

Progressive roll-out

Renfe will progressively roll out its AVE (high-speed) services in France starting on 13 July. The service will start with journeys from Friday to Monday on the Lyon-Barcelona corridor (except for the first day of service, which will be a Thursday).

The Madrid-Barcelona-Marseille AVE (high-speed) service, which launches on 28 July, will also initially run from Friday to Monday. During August, the Spain-France AVE (high-speed) route will see 16 weekly services.

From September, Renfe will start operating its AVE (high-speed) trains from Monday to Sunday on the Lyon route and from October on the Marseille route, offering 28 weekly services.

Between Barcelona and Nimes, a route shared by the two lines, Renfe will offer four daily trains with a combination of schedules and travel times, making AVE (high-speed) trains particularly appealing to passengers on both sides of the border.

The international connection will reduce travel times via AVE (high-speed), meaning it is possible to travel from Barcelona to Nimes in 3 hours, Figueres to Montpellier in 2 hours, Barcelona to Avignon in 4 hours, Girona to Marseille in 4 hours, Madrid to Perpignan in 4 hours 30 minutes and Zaragoza to Nimes in 5 hours and 25 minutes.

Next steps

The launch of operations in France is a milestone for the Spanish company, achieved in record time. Renfe will launch ticket sales just a few days after having completed all the necessary administrative procedures for it to undertake commercial activities in France, including the opening and registration of a branch in our neighbour.

Renfe has chosen the city of Lyon as the destination for this branch,, a strategic point for this first international operation from Lyon and Marseille and for the future expansion of its AVE (high-speed) services to other corridors of interest in France such, as the Lyon-Paris corridor.

Renfe continues to work towards obtaining the Safety Certificate to operate throughout France and expand its activity by harnessing its experience as a top-level high-speed operator in the international environment.