The Train des Pignes runs on the Chemins de Fer de Provence railway line and connects the Riviera town of Nice with the historic city of Digne Les-Bains, taking you from seaside to snowy mountains in just 3 hours and 30 minutes.
The Train des Pignes passes through two French regions: the Alpes-Maritime Alps and the Alpes de Haute-Provence. Along the way you’ll see deep gorges, peaceful olive groves, fields of Provençal herbs and medieval fortresses. During the peak summer period of June to September, certain trains offer a free onboard commentary to tell you about the places you are passing.
Chemins de Fer de Provence literally translates as “the iron paths of Provence”, referring to the train tracks themselves that pass through many of the small towns and villages of the region, many of which are worth a visit for their medieval buildings and ancient streets, as well as being starting points for some wonderful hikes and bike rides. Pignes means “pine cones”, which is fairly self-explanatory! Some of the best places to stop along the route include:
- Plan du Var
There are endless day trips that can be planned around a ride on the Chemins de Fer de Provence train. The first service leaves Nice each morning just before 7am, with about 5 daily trains running in each direction passing through many stations, making it easy to pick up the train from wherever you are - you can check the train timetable. There are also frequent outings planned to various destinations that include a return train ticket and lunch.
Note that the Chemins de Fer de Provence is a separate railway service from SNCF and does not use the same stations, the Train des Pignes leaves from the Gare de Nice on 4 bis rue Alfred Binet opposite the Liberation tram stop.