To get to my next stop of this great rail adventure, Cannes, I found myself once again in the Montpellier Saint-Roch station in the morning. While the circulation area above the tracks is nice and modern, the platform area feels very cavernous and subterranean and is not the nicest area too wait for our train luckily out train arrived in time and we were able to, once again, board a rake of Corail coaches pulled by a Nez cassé locomotive.
The first part of the route would takes to Marseille via Nîmes and Arles, hereby crossing the Rhône estuary. The scenery in this part is not as stunning as it’s a mostly flat landscape, however when nearing Marseille it started getting hillier and we got some nice bay views during the last few kilometres.
In Marseille Saint-Charles station we had a little under an hour to kill before changing to our connecting train. The station is a big terminus station, consisting of an old historic train shed in the middle, with some shorter stub tracks outside on side and a concrete covered “newer” part on the other side.
Our connecting train to Cannes was operated by an interestingly shaped “Regio 2N” emu. The trainset was made up of alternating single and bi-level coaches, making it an unusual sight to look at but from a customer point of view you had some easy accessible areas for wheelchairs and strollers in the single level coaches and ample seating in the bi-level ones. The air-conditioning temperature was of course in Antarctic mode, as is to be expect in new trains, and the seats quite hard and thus not nice to sit in for a 3 hour long trip.
Right after leaving Marseille we had some stunning views over the sea before the line took a more inland route. Here we saw a typical southern French landscape with lots of farmlands. In this part of the route we also passed the town of La Ciotat where the first movie in world history was recorded, a very fitting train arriving at the station. During the last part of the route we once again closely followed the coast line and enjoyed the dramatic landscape of the hills and mountains running into the sea, providing us with new stunning views after leaving every tunnel.
As this train did not call at Cannes la Bocca, where our hotel was located, we alighted at Cannes main station and changed for a train heading back one station to La Bocca. This train was operated by a slightly older TER 2NG trainset, which in my opinion offered more comfortable seating. After arrival at la Bocca we walked to our hotel, the Holiday Inn Cannes.