The French and German governments will launch this Monday, June 12 a ticket allowing 60,000 young people aged 18 to 27 to travel free and at will on the other side of the Rhine. First comers will be first served.

It is well known that travel shapes youth. One could add that it also forges friendships. To celebrate the Franco-German relationship, the governments of the two countries have expressed the wish to facilitate train travel on either side of the Rhine by setting up a free ticket for young people. Announced on January 22, 2023 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty which sealed post-war reconciliation, this “France-Germany Pass” will be officially launched on Monday June 12 by the Minister for Transport, Clément Beaune .

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 platform which will be activated simultaneously in both countries on Monday June 12 at 10 a.m. Allocation will be on a first come, first served basis. Note that in France, half of the 30,000 passes will be awarded to targeted audiences, such as recipients of a Crous scholarship, young people in integration or apprenticeship. The platform will therefore only provide 15,000 passes.

7 days of unlimited travel in a month

The operation of the France-Germany Pass 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 application. They will benefit from a round trip between the two countries and then be able to travel unlimited once in the neighboring country. Activation date must be between July 1 and December 31, 2023. Once activated, the pass can be used on any seven days within a one-month period.

All German trains are accessible, including ICE high-speed trains. An optional reservation (only €4) is nevertheless recommended to be sure of getting a seat. Note that if the trip between France and Germany is by TGV, a paid reservation via the Interrail site is required, for an additional €20 to €30. In order not to pay this supplement, young people are invited to make their reservation at an SNCF station or to cross the border with a regional train, the Ministry of Transport tells us.

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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 of the required age to benefit from the offer, there is another solution to travel through 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 obligation (with the exception of ICE high-speed trains). But note that it cannot be used to cross the border, unlike the new pass intended 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, the other by night train. Both expected for December 2023. Until then, this trip involves at least one connection: either in Brussels for a night trip (Thalys + European Sleeper, around 2 p.m.), or in Frankfurt for a day trip (TGV + ICE, around 8:30 a.m.).