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Anyone hoping for a peaceful journey, undisturbed by mobile phones or noisy children, should opt for an "iD zen" carriage where silence is the norm. "Sleep kits", comprising an inflatable neck cushion, eye mask and ear plugs, are on sale for €2 (£1.40).

Passengers travelling in a group, or with children under 12, are advised to opt for an "iD zap" carriage, which are livelier and noisier - though travellers are still "expected to show mutual respect". Games consoles and DVDs can be rented from €5 (£3.50). All passengers are welcome to visit the salon, where events are held: until next Tuesday, Sony is demonstrating new products. In addition, advisers are on hand to help you achieve inner harmony; on-board massages may help.

"SNCF offers you a new way to travel," boasts the train operator, but the innovative train uses the same 186mph rolling stock as the long-established TGV. In effect, SNCF has set up in competition with its conventional services, with the aim of expanding the market - and aiming at luring younger, "cooler" customers from their cars or low-cost airlines.

On most days there is only one departure from Paris's Gare de Lyon to Toulon, though extra services are added on Thursdays and Fridays to Marseilles. The regular TGV service has many more departures. But the reaction from French train travellers to iD TGV has been positive, and a service has been introduced to Montpellier. One-way second-class fares from Paris start at €19 (£13), €39 (£27) for first class.

More information (in French): www. idtgv.com

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