Thursday, July 23, 2009

très bien french trains

Originally written July 18th 2009 on the train from Nice to Lyon.

No wonder the French are proud of their train. We are now sitting in the best train ever! Japan has their bullet train, and it's definitely something to boast about. Fast, efficient and convenient, it brings people from one prefecture to another in no time at all. Coming from a developing country and having travelled to most of South East Asia and East Asia, the shinkansen was the coolest thing to me. Up until now.

I have no idea what other European trains are like, but French trains exceeded our expectations.

Going from Nice to Lyon, we booked ourselves train tickets on the TGV. We had already planned to book 2nd class tickets all the way for Italy and France. But we found out online that the price difference between the 1st and 2nd for this stretch of the journey was just Euro1!

I was told by Nabil to get tickets on the idTGV site, but I had no idea how cool this train would be until we reserved our tickets. For instance, the smart people at iDTGV realised that there is not only 1 type of customer. They allowed us to choose between iDzap and iDzen, which are different carriage types catering to various needs of the customer.

iDzen carriages offer a more peaceful surrounding with a black and deep red colour scheme, dimmed lights, catering for those who do not want to be disturbed while on their way to their destination. On the other hand, iDzap is for those who want to have fun while travelling. They offer DVD players and PSP consoles, in a more upbeat environment, with soft brown cushioned seats. Here is where babies can make all the noise they want.

Each section of the train is carpeted, there are mirrors separating the iDzap on the upper carriage and iDzen on the lower carriage, toilet matches the overall colour scheme and the seats are wide enough for me to curl up and have a comfortable nap.

The 1st class seats that we got were so cool that we couldn't help but be amazed at the thought that they were such things in Europe. We thought the Japanese had created the best trains in the world, but now we know the French are classier when it comes to style!

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