New Rhine-Rh�ne high-speed rail service launches

The New Year marks a new chapter in French rail travel with the launch of the Rhine-Rh�ne high-speed link. Zo� McIntyre reports

The New Year marks a new chapter in French rail travel with the launch of the Rhine-Rh�ne high-speed link. Zo� McIntyre reports

Travellers can now look forward to reaching la France profonde more quickly with the launch of the Rhine-Rh�ne high-speed link. The new 140km line officially opened on 11 December 2011, connecting Villers-les-Pots, northeast of Dijon in Burgundy to Petit-Croix, to the northeast of Belfort in Franche-Comt�.

Two new stations have been built on the line, at Besan�on and Belfort; now the Besan�on Franche-Comt� TGV and Belfort-Montb�liard TGV station will be exclusively used for the high-speed service. The new line will result in time savings of up to 30 minutes on journeys from Paris to Besan�on, Basel and Zurich and a huge saving of up to one hour 30 minutes on travel from Paris to Belfort.

Belfort is a colourful city guarded by master planner Vauban’s imposing citadel fortification. Just a short distance northwest of Belfort stands Le Corbusier’s impressive modernist Chapel de Notre-Dame-du-Haut. A remarkable example of contemporary religious architecture, it is set in the commune of

Ronchamp and was completed in 1954.

There will also be an increase in the number of services from Paris to Besan�on, which is listed a Unesco World Heritage site for its beautiful historic centre. Encircled by the horseshoe-shaped River Doubs, the town is a favourite destination for hikers who come to explore the surrounding forested countryside and low-lying mountains.

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To book tickets for this route, contact Rail Europe on 0844 848 4070 or visit www.raileurope.co.uk