After a crazy day of traveling, I'm now in Toulouse.
I've only got one more train ride to go so I feel somewhat qualified to make some comments on traveling by train in France.
1. If you have heavy luggage, are disabled or older, you're screwed. There are always stairs and the lifts and escalators are turned off or non-existent. I think they're labeling this under 'austerity' measures but I'm putting under 'mean'.
2. There is always one woman on every train who will talk non-stop in rapid-fire French the entire journey. She will ignore all glares directed her way and will only pause for breath as she's leaving the train.
3. The train conductors are there to make sure you have a ticket. They are not there to help you with your bag, find your seat or ensure that you know when to exit the train. Stop bothering them!
4. The toilet in your car will be broken...always.
5. Never catch a taxi at the train station as they add a luggage fee and a station fee...I think this is basically a stupid-tourist-tax.
6. Your ticket price is directly related to how popular the route is and how close the departure time is so buy your tickets early and go to boring destinations if you want to save money.
7. You have a fifty-fifty chance of sitting next to a chain smoker who, of course, won't be smoking on the train, but will have smoked an entire pack before boarding to brace themselves for their journey. Keeping an emergency scarf in your bag may save you from asphyxiation.
Let's look at the pros;
8. The view outside your window will be spectacular so always book a window if you can.
9. Buying tickets online and then printing them at the station is unbelievably easy.
10. The train stations always have somewhere to buy chocolate croissants which makes them magical places, in my opinion.