France Italy Train Travel

Paris to Milan by Overnight Train

Written by Amy

On a recent Europe adventure, we needed to get from Paris to Milan. We’re suckers for trains but the journey was a bit long and would eat up an entire day of our limited vacation. The solution? The Thello Night train! It saved us the cost of a hotel room and ended up being more fun than a hotel, too!

gare de lyon paris

Gare De Lyon Station, in Paris

The Thello company is part of Italy’s Trenitalia railway group. This particular train picks passengers up in Paris and Dijon, and then stops in Milan, Verona, and Venice. For Rome, Florence, etc, you can switch trains in Milan- which is what we did to get to Naples.

train station departures board

Pretty simple- read the departures boards all over the train station and find your well-marked platform

If you’ve never used the train system in Europe, as we hadn’t, it is surprisngly easy. You arrive at the station, read the sign to find your train, and go to the platform. When the train shows up, you get on- your ticket will tell you what car and what seat you are assigned to. It was incredibly easy, coming from people who were used to flying for long transits. Plus, you don’t need to be there 3 hours early, you can simply show up a few minutes before and walk onto the train.


We booked a 2-person sleeper, but there are also other arrangements on the train. We love using The Man in Seat 61’s website to get ideas of seating plans and highly suggest you check it out if you’re trying to decide what to book. The 2-person sleeper was private and cozy! We had a little sink, toiletries, and bottled water. The bathrooms were right down the hall.

thello sleeper car

Our compartment, before the beds were lowered from the wall on the right. To the left is a cupboard which opens to a sink.

Once the train started moving, we got settled in and the attendant came by to check our tickets and passports. He pointed us to the dining car while he got our beds ready. The dining car served plenty of quick options, from hot sandwiches to little snacks.

thello sleeper car

The hallways are nothing fancy, but we liked the efficiency

When we got back to our sleeper, our beds were made and we hunkered in for the night. The rocking train and the quiet compartment was a great place to sleep.


Our attendant made sure we were up in time for our arrival in Milan, and we got into the station at 6:00am. It was early, but having the Duomo to ourselves was worth it.

milan duomo morning

The Duomo in Milan, 6:30 in the morning

Our overall impression of the overnight train was very positive. We loved the whole experience and started booking more train travel for subsequent vacations. If this is a viable option for you, we recommend it!


To book- Thello’s website or ItaliaRail. We booked our night train as well as the onward journey with ItaliaRail and it was seamless.

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