France Travel – How to get to France and ways to travel within France – by road, sea, air,train

Cross-Channel Ferries:

  • P&O Ferries (Dover-Calais, Hull – Rotterdam/Zeebrugge)
  • DFDS (Dover – Calais/Dunkerque, Newhaven-Dieppe)
  • Brittany Ferries (Portsmouth/Poole/Plymouth – Caen/Cherbourg/Le Havre/St Malo/Roscoff)
  • Stena Line (Rosslare- Cherbourg)
The one-stop shop for train travel

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SNCF and TGV (including Eurostar and local trains (TER)

France has an extensive network of railways reaching most parts of France – see map


By road/autoroute

France has an extensive network of motorways (autoroutes), however many (but not all) do involve toll charges. Elsewhere the non-autoroute roads can offer quiet yet fast travel except in towns.

From the romanticism, chic and allure of Paris, the dazzling Cote d’Azur, the wondrous relaxation of Provence, the internationally celebrated vineyards throughout to the staggering dominance of the Alps and Pyrenees mountainous regions; France is without question one of the world’s most diverse and culturally rich countries that attracts millions to its land each year.

France by train
France is renowned for being in possession of one of the quickest and most efficient train networks in the world. Operated by the SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français), the country boasts almost 32,000km of rail and also the world’s fastest passenger train; the TGV, which broke the world speed record in April 2007. The TGV offers high speed intercity services to all major French satellite towns and offers remarkable punctuality and ideal passenger comfort.

If travelling from the UK; France is linked to these shores by the Eurostar service, with direct trains departing regularly from London St. Pancras station to Paris’ Gare du Nord, Disneyland Paris, Lille, Avignon and Bourg St. Maurice, providing a gateway to the whole of mainland Europe.

The Metro
A number of large French cities offer underground services. Most famous of course is the Paris Metro operated by the RATP (Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens) and RER, which serves inner city and suburban Paris. Unlike the cramped London Underground, the Paris Metro – although still busy – operates ‘double-decker’ underground trains to make for a more comfortable travelling experience. Other cities that operate underground systems are: Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Rennes and Toulouse.

France by Road
France is covered by almost 900,000km of road throughout the country, which is inclusive of over 12,000km of motorways and 30,500km of ‘Routes Nationales’. Unlike the UK, many major French roads and motorways are subject to toll payments. Like most built-up English settlements, French cities utilise ring roads (Périphériques), with the most notable being the Boulevard Périphérique of Paris – one of Europe’s busiest and most congested roads which opens up to as many as eight lanes and is used by over 1 million vehicles per day. A great way to see the best of France by road is to hire a car.

France by sea
Other than the most familiar port to British travellers at Calais, France boasts numerous seaports and harbours, of which the following rank as the most notable:

Bayonne, Bordeaux, Boulogne, Brest, Calais, Cherbourg, Dunkerque, Fos-sur0Mer, La Rochelle, Le Havre, Lorient, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Paris, Port-Vendres, Rouen, Saint-Nazaire, Saint-Malo, Sete, and Toulon.

France by Air
The country is served by almost 500 airports, with Paris being in possession of three of these, including France’s main international airport; Charles de Gaulle(CDG). International flights also fly into Orly airport to the south of the city and Beauvais Airport, which lies to the north – used by low-cost carriers such as Ryanair. There are also a number of domestic services which operate to locations all over France via the following carriers: Air France, Twin Jet, Easyjet, Hop! amongst others

see our Top 30 vineyard B&Bs in France

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The one-stop shop for train travel

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