Travelling by train from Torino in Italy to Modane in France will take you through some stunning scenery including tunnels through the Alps! The trip takes about two hours by train and you will cross one international border before you arrive. In fact, before the European Union came into being, this was the main train line between Paris and Torino! The French side of the border was in Modane and it was here where they checked your passport in the past.
Now that there is no passport control, the train only stops to pick up or drop off more passengers.
Torino to Modane Travel Video
I shot this video below during my Interrail trip from Budapest to London via Torino in Italy and Modane in France. Watch it to get some inspiration for your trip then read on for some more advice.
I started my trip in Torino Porta Susa train station where I boarded my train to Modano in France. Porta Susa is probably the most spectacular station I have ever seen. It has several levels and it is super modern with a big glass dome and huge platforms all along the entire length of the station. The ride from Torino to Modano takes just under two hours on the TGV service in the direction of Paris.
The Scenery from Torino to Modane
The scenery is spectacular with rolling hills of the Alps lining both sides of the track. Torino hosted the winter Olympics in 2006 so at the time they invested a lot of money in the city and its infrastructure. The train is high speed and connects the north of Italy, including Milan and Venice to the capital of France and the ski resorts on the way.
I’ve travelled to many locations around the EU by train but this has to be one of the most scenic rides. Unfortunately much of the time the train is inside various tunnels under the Alps, but when it is outside the view is simply breathtaking.
I spent most of my time in the bar looking out of the panoramic windows as the hills rolled past.
Arriving in Modane in France by TGV
Modane is a small town on the French-Italian border, about five hours by train from Paris. Modane was and still is an important city of transit between the two countries. Nowadays the mover of the economy is tourism. In the summer you have walkers while in the winter skiers come here to enjoy the slopes.
It was also here where a key battle took place for the control of the rail tunnel and road into Italy during World War Two. The city is also famous for the World War Two Saint Gobain Fortification. Apart from visiting the fort and walking around the hills there is not much else to do here during the summer.
The WWII Bunker in Modane
To get up to the fort you need to cross the river using the bridge you see on this video. As you walk up the hill past the hospital you will see an old house at the intersection of four roads. There will be a yellow sign towards various paths, except for the Fortification.
Here is a little tip for you: look for the road called Impasse du Replaton. This will take you up to the fortification much faster than the other path. The views will get better and better as you reach higher towards the top.
Why Is There a Bunker Here?
The French built the fortification before World War Two to defend the country’s southern border from Italy. The entire defensive system consists of various tunnels, blast doors and look outs over the valleys and mountains. A strategically important railway tunnel is just on the other side of the valley and the French wanted to make sure they could defend it. I created a separate post and video about the bunker, so please watch that for more.
Turns out Modane is a pretty amazing place and it has some secrets to discover so I am glad I got off the train here. Next stop is Chambery, where I am going to change to my train to Paris.