Testimonial: we tested the Paris-Lyon on the Frecciarossa, the competitor of the TGV

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Frecciarossa. The Italian Red Arrow of Trenitalia. Knowing that competition with the SNCF has been open for two years does not give us, so far, a clear idea of ​​the differences. So follow us, we will enlighten you.

Announced in French, Italian and English, the Frecciarossa high-speed train enters Gare de Lyon in Paris, clearly visible with its bright red color. Did the Trenitalia company want us to subliminally make the analogy between the famous mythical Ferrari Testarossa and their Frecciarossa?

Roberto Rinaudo, president of Trenitalia France and Fabrice Toledano, marketing director are on board and, with them, I will discover the 4 comfort classes of this train which has been operating for two years on Paris-Milan (via Lyon, Chambéry, Modane, Bardonecchia and Torino). The classes are divided between Executive, Sala Meeting (a privatized space with meeting table and chairs), Business and Standard. The last two offer the possibility of choosing between two atmospheres for free: Silenzio and Allegro, the silent atmosphere being clearly favored by the French, according to Roberto Rinaudo.

With Roberto Rinaudo, President France of Trenitalia in Business class

Flagship of the Italian fleet, the Frecciarossa 1000 has a low environmental impact. Before talking about the comfort of the different classes, what is most striking is the quality of the services on board. Just listing them you will understand: welcoming and smiling staff, cleaning of all cars during the trip, electrical outlets in all seats, stable and ultra-fast wi-fi with a complete internet portal offering free books, daily newspapers, magazines, music, games, relaxation sessions, films, TV series, catering with service at the seat or at the bar. As in airplanes, panels attached to the ceiling permanently indicate the geolocation of the train, its speed and the number of kilometers remaining. Only downside, as far as I’m concerned, I imagined less neutral colors on board than the shades of camel and chocolate, but that’s far from being the most important.

Executive class and Sala Meeting class on board the Frecciarossa Paris-Lyon


In terms of comfort, the standard class is quite similar to that of our TGVs. The armchairs are comfortable, in leather but a bit narrow in my opinion and we may regret that there are few individual or duo armchairs. Most come in squares of 4. A hostess will come to you with coffee (a real Illy espresso machine) or other hot or cold drinks; she will give you a cooling towel and an eye mask if you want to avoid daylight.

Business class offers wider seats, also in leather and a little more space. Interesting detail: the squares of 4 seats have glass separations to better isolate themselves from neighbours. A snack is systematically served in this class with hot or cold drinks and a sweet or savory snack on each trip. It is included in the ticket price.

There is enough to widen the eyes when arriving in the Executive part and Sala Meeting. Luxury is the detail and Trenitalia has understood this well. Very comfortable XXL armchairs in leather, rotatable and adjustable at will, equipped with an integrated tablet and a footrest allowing you to extend your legs. Italian catering service and unlimited drinks included in the price of the ticket. With just ten widely spaced seats, the Executive looks more like a living room than a car. At the end of this specific car you can benefit from the Meeting space to be reserved before departure. It is a glazed space whose doors can be closed to isolate it, equipped with a central table and armchairs allowing a meeting on board or quite simply an office space; it has a wardrobe for coats and luggage. The icing on the cake that underlines the attention to detail: a shoe-shining machine as found in hotels.


This is of course THE question that everyone is entitled to ask themselves in comparison with those of the SNCF on the same route, notably Paris-Lyon. Trenitalia, like most, practicing the principle of yield-management, making prices fluctuate according to the date of reservation, indicative prices can only relate to base prices. For a Paris-Lyon, they are €29 in Standard class, €36 in Business and €139 in Executive or Meeting. The call rate for a Paris-Milan (which takes 6h45) is €165 in Executive. This currently places Trenitalia at almost the same level for comparable classes (standard and business = roughly 2nd and 1time class), or even a little cheaper than the SNCF. It is certain that the company is aware of having to redouble its efforts to impose itself on us against a French brand that has long been monopolistic and has a strong reputation. On the other hand, there is currently no loyalty card on the Frecciarossa and your tickets cannot be exchanged or refunded if necessary by the SNCF. Everything goes through Trenitalia, its website or its shops in the station. For children from 4 to 14 years old the rate is 50% and free for children under 4 years old traveling with an adult.

One thing is certain, the Italian company has been able to learn a good lesson from what is, of public notoriety, lacking in French trains: service!

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Trenitalia now offers 2 daily round trips between Paris and Milan, in the morning and in the afternoon. From Paris, the line serves Lyon, Chambéry, Modane, Bardonecchia (on one of the two daily round trips since December 11), Turin and Milan. Trenitalia also offers 3 round trips each day between Paris and Lyon, with a stop at both Lyon Part-Dieu and Lyon Perrache, which makes it possible to offer 5 daily round trips between Paris and Lyon.

❣️I am a
UNCONDITIONAL of the Frecciarossa red train. since its commissioning ⚘️

That sounds awesome. Service is really important. Thanks for testing. This product test is valuable and very comprehensive.

It’s really less expensive, the service is top notch and we appreciate the quiet carriage without children. On the other hand, it seems to me that the rolling noise level is higher and the train is less stable.

Lyon Paris in business class. First time on this company. Highly recommend, silence, smile of the staff, in tasty cases, spacious seat.

Catherine Mills Avatar