How to train from Marseilles into Italy?

Apr 11th, 2012, 07:48 AM
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How to train from Marseilles into Italy?

We will be staying near Marseilles (Grimaud) the end of September, then want to continue into Italy. I was hoping we could take a train from Marseilles, maybe into Florence, then pick up a rental car for the rest of our trip in Italy. We're in no hurry - we plan on spending maybe 6 weeks through Tuscany, Umbria, Abruzzo, Lazio, flying home from Rome. We are very flexible about which city we start from in Italy, could be Milan, Turin, Genoa, etc - I'm just looking for a fairly direct train ride.

Is this do-able? Or should we just rent a car in Marseilles and save the train fare? Is driving from there into Italy any sort of problem?

As always, thanks so much! Maria
Maria_G is offline  
Apr 11th, 2012, 08:02 AM
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You can take a train from Marseilles to Torino. You would need to make at least one change - in Lyon (other routes require two changes). You can check schedules at

Picking up a rental car in France and dropping it off in Italy isn't a good idea - there'd be a hefty one-way drop-off fee between countries.
StCirq is offline  
Apr 11th, 2012, 08:13 AM
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If your interest is to lower the train fare alone, but don't mind getting hit with the cross border rental car drop off charges, then what you plan to do makes sense.

However, if your interest is to lower the overall cost, then picking a car anywhere in Italy, even near the border would probably lower the overall cost.

You can compute most of these costs on your own without having to wait for someone else to do it for you from online resources: for French train, for Italian train, and car rental web sites.

You have to decide what you want to optimize.
greg is offline  
Apr 11th, 2012, 08:22 AM
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Thanks to both for your fast replies. I'm looking to reduce the overall train/car cost. Yes, I'm checking rail & car costs now, in sticker shock. I've always used AutoEurope before for foreign car rentals, always found them very reliable - does anyone have any other car sites I should check?
Maria_G is offline  
Apr 11th, 2012, 08:34 AM
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You can try Economy Car. Italy has mandatory insurance and car rentals there are expensive.

Did you check leasing a car with Kemwell/AutoEurope? Often less expensive than rentals.
adrienne is offline  
Apr 11th, 2012, 08:48 AM
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There are no direct trains any more from Marseilles to Italy. Even getting to Ventimiglia (the traditional border town) involves changing at Nice and takes 3 hrs.

The nearest major city (Genoa, which is actually handier for your proposed drive than Turin or Milan anyway) involves changing at both Nice and Ventimiglia and takes 6 hrs+

It's still cheaper than dropping a French-hired car off in Italy, and there's next to no air connections between the Marseilles area and Central Italy (without truly absurd circuitous journeys and stopovers in Geneva or Stansted), so you've really got no alternative.

I wouldn't drive to Marseilles from Grimaud, though. The Marseilles-Nice train stops at Draguinan, which is where you turn off the A8 to get to Grimaud anyway. But it's probably easiest to dump your car at Nice airport, get a cab to the station there then get the train to Ventimiglia.

If you like sea views, it might be a nice train ride (personally, I find it just sea and a few eurotrash not-quite skyscrapers, but others seem to like that sort of thing). There are Easyjet and blu-Express flights from Nice to Rome (but to nowhere else in central Italy) for about €50, which is probably cheaper, and a great deal less hassle, than the train.
flanneruk is offline  
Apr 11th, 2012, 09:00 AM
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My instinct tells me to take a train to Ventimiglia via Nice and check train options from Ventimiglia.
kerouac is offline  
Apr 11th, 2012, 09:02 AM
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Adrienne - thanks - Economy does seem to have a better rate. Have you used them? And yes, I did look into leasing, still quite expensive.
Maria_G is offline  
Apr 11th, 2012, 09:09 AM
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Well, I'm determined to make this work. Believe it or not, if we lease a Peugeot in France, the drop off fee in Rome is only $260 American, and we save all the train costs and hassles. Still thinking...
Maria_G is offline  
Apr 11th, 2012, 01:12 PM
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I had made a booking with Economy last year but cancelled it since I didn't need the car (received a full refund). There are posts on this board from people who have used Economy if you search. I believe all input was positive.

I haven't done this but you can book through AutoEurope using a different country than the US and the rates are often cheaper than those quoted for the US. Try UK or Italy. Look for posts on this topic also. There have been some recently.
adrienne is offline  
Apr 11th, 2012, 05:55 PM
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We took a train from Genoa to Nice - it was a nice ride. I would suggest driving (I assume you'll have a car in France) to Nice and taking the train to Genoa and on from there to Florence or Milan or wherever you want to go first. Check rental rates on Kemwell, AutoEurope or I got good rates through Gemut for our trip to France this September. Since you are renting for such a long period, you may do better with the lease. You can probably drive the same route from Nice to Genoa. Check for driving routes and times. I remember a post on Fodors some time ago from someone who drove that route. Good luck and have a good trip.
blh is offline  
Apr 13th, 2012, 01:15 AM
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These days cheap airlines are the cheapest solution. If you are travelling light look at :

Marseille - Milan        Air France **
Marseille - Rome        Air France **
Marseille - Venise        Air France **
Marseille    - Cagliari   Ryanair   
Marseille    - Malta    Air Malta * 
Marseille    - Malta    Ryanair   *
Marseille    - Milan Ryanair   
Marseille    - Palermo Ryanair   
Marseille    - Rome Ryanair   

* See Malta, then take a ferry to Sicily and work South - North in Italy.

** New low cost AF flights mostly €51 one way.

2012 Languedoic flight routes :

2012 Langu
mpprh is offline  
Apr 13th, 2012, 01:17 AM
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Oops - must have pressed return too early.

2012 Languedoc air news :
mpprh is offline  
Apr 13th, 2012, 05:27 AM
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We took the train from Genoa to Ventimiglia to Nice and then to Avignon where we were staying and it was a very long day with 3 train changes so I think I would rather pay the drop off charges and drive.
cornelius01 is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 09:21 PM
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Hi there Maria_G - a late request please. I see on your comment of April 12 you had found a solution to the rent a car in France, drop-off in Rome problem, for USD$260 extra.
Can I ask who that was through - we're looking to do similar and just trawling websites at the moment to find any options.
Thanks, appreciate any help.
Bleaso is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 11:10 PM
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we took a train to Briancon (FR) bus over the border was necessary then (2002) and train to Milan. It was lovely.
windscape is offline  
May 20th, 2012, 04:30 AM
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Bleaso - Maria_G was talking about a lease, not a rental. Leased cars are for 17 days or longer and often need to be picked up and returned at airports or major cities.
kybourbon is online now  
May 20th, 2012, 02:48 PM
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Ah - that's great kybourbon thankyou. Will look into it.
Bleaso is offline  
May 22nd, 2012, 08:13 AM
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Hi all - I found the lease option both through autoeurope & through Kemwel, and yes, it's a minimum 17 days. Looks like that's still our best option. We have decided to drive from Marseille, & drop off at Fiumicino.
Maria_G is offline  
May 22nd, 2012, 09:19 AM
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Leasing a car is a fine way to go. You can also get the all-inclusive insurance, so that if you get a scratch, a dent or a major problem with the car, it's covered.

There's also another leasing company besides AutoEurope (which seems to be the same as Europcar)and Kemwel.

Years ago, we leased from Europe By Car and were very happy with their service.

Have a great trip! Sounds exciting!
easytraveler is offline  
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