Fastest journey7hr 56m
It is easy to travel by train from Paris to Bologna. There is an overnight option, using the Thello night train from Paris to either Milan, Verona or Padua and then continuing from one of those cities by fast daytime train to Bologna the following morning.
If you prefer, you can also travel entirely by day using the route recommended here. There is a choice of two trains each day for the outward journey from Paris to Bologna. On the return there is just one train each day, which gets back to Paris in the late evening. Changing trains at Turin Porta Susa gives the best timings in both directions.
You'll begin your journey by boarding a high-speed TGV train from Paris to Turin. That train sweeps through Burgundy and the Alps, reaching Turin less than 5 hours after leaving the French capital. In Turin you alight from the TGV at Porta Susa station, from where there are connecting high-speed trains to Bologna.
Bookings for this journey normally open four months in advance, and that's when you'll find the cheapest tickets.
Paris to Turin
Fast TGV trains leave the Gare de Lyon in Paris three times each day for Turin. These direct services speed south from the French capital, cutting through Burgundy to reach Lyon, their first stop. After that, the pace slows as the terrain becomes more mountainous. All trains on this route stop at Chambéry and Modane before entering Italy, where the train makes two stops at Bardoneccia and Oulx.
Upon arrival in Turin, the high-speed trains from Paris stop at Porta Susa station, an easy 10-minute walk west of the city centre. Porto Susa affords an excellent range of onward connections - including high-speed services to Florence and Rome, as well as direct trains to Verona and Venice. The TGV from Paris continues beyond Turin Porta Susa to Milan, dawdling rather than dashing on the final leg of its long journey from Paris.
Turin to Bologna
Trenitalia and NTV Italo compete head-to-head on the 360-kilometre rail route from Turin Porta Susa to Bologna Centrale. Trenitalia offer about ten departures each day on the route. There are just three or four Italo trains (depending on the day of the week). Note that tickets are not usually interchangeable between the two companies. Milan is the main city on the way. Both Frecciarossa and Italo high-speed trains take 2 hrs 10 mins for the run from Turin to Bologna.
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- From Turin from £15.70
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Image credits: Piazza Maggiore, Bologna by Luca Volpi