It is well known that travel trains youth. One might add that he also forges friendships. To celebrate the Franco-German relationship, the governments of both countries have expressed the wish to facilitate train travel on both sides of the Rhine by introducing a free ticket for young people. Announced on January 22, 2023 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty that sealed the post-war reconciliation, this "Pass France-Germany" will be officially launched this Monday, June 12 by the Minister for Transport, Clément Beaune.
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This ticket will be offered to 30,000 French and 30,000 Germans aged 18 to 27. To try to obtain it, young people will have to register on the passefranceallemagne.fr platform that will be activated simultaneously in both countries on Monday, June 12 at 10 am. Allocation will be on a first-come, first-served basis. It should be noted that in France, half of the 30,000 passes will be awarded to targeted audiences, such as CROUS scholarship recipients, young people in integration or apprenticeship. The platform will therefore only make available 15,000 passes.
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7 days of unlimited travel over a month
The operation of the Pass France-Germany will be identical to that of Interrail, usable regardless of age on trains in 33 European countries. The lucky winners will receive a code allowing them to activate their ticket on the Interrail website or the Rail Planner mobile app. They will benefit from a round trip between the two countries and will be able to move indefinitely once in the neighboring country. The activation date must be between July 1 and December 31, 2023. Once activated, the pass can be used for seven days over a period of one month.
All German trains are accessible, including ICE high-speed trains. An optional reservation (only 4 €) is nevertheless recommended to have the assurance of obtaining a seat. Note that if the journey between France and Germany is by TGV, a paid reservation via the Interrail website is required, for an additional charge of 20 to 30 €. To avoid paying this supplement, young people are invited to make their reservation in an SNCF station or to cross the border with a regional train, says the Ministry of Transport.
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Soon direct connections between Paris and Berlin
For those who do not get one of the 60,000 passes or who are not old enough to benefit from the offer, there is another solution to travel around Germany without breaking the bank. The Deutschland-Ticket, introduced in May 2023, allows unlimited use of all trains and public transport in the country for €49 per month, without commitment (with the exception of ICE high-speed trains). But it should be noted that it is not usable to cross the border, unlike the new pass for young people.
Rail links between France and Germany are set to improve thanks to the launch of two direct lines between Paris and Berlin, one by TGV and the other by night train. Both expected in December 2023. Until then, this journey involves at least one connection: either in Brussels for an overnight journey (Thalys + European Sleeper, about 14h), or in Frankfurt for a day journey (TGV + ICE, about 8h30).