France Transport

Get in


As the main international airport, Roissy - Charles de Gaulle (IATA: CDG) is likely to be your port of entry if you fly into France from outside Europe and the home of Air France(AF). Served most intercontinental flights, AF is the national company. With companies forming the SkyTeam Alliance, AF use Terminal 2 while most other foreign airlines use T1. Orly, the second Paris airport, usually used for some internal European flights and domestic flights. Other airports outside Paris have flights to/from international destinations: Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Toulouse have flights to cities in western Europe and North Africa; these airports are hubs to smaller airports in France and may be useful to avoid the transfer between the two Paris airports. Two airports, Bâle-Mulhouse and Geneva, are shared by France and Switzerland and can allow entry into either country.


Eurostar operators high-speed trains to France from the United Kingdom and Belgium. Tickets can be bought online or by phone from Eurostar. The French rail company, SNCF, provides direct service from most European countries using regular trains. Thalys uses high-speed TGV trains to connect Paris to Brussels and onward to cities in the Netherlands and Germany. Intercity trains leave for all parts of Europe, including overnight trains to San Sebastian in Spain, Porto and Lisbon in Portugal.


Eurolines runs regular services from London Victoria to forty French cities (fewer in winter), with up to eleven a day to Paris, crossing the Channel by ferry or Eurotunnel. Prices are lower than for the same journey by train, with adult return “Advance” fares (must be booked at least ten days in advance) starting at around £46 to Paris or Lille. If you’re travelling frequently, a Eurolines Discount Card (three months £23/six months £43) will give you 25 percent off fares subject to certain restrictions. There’s also a Eurolines Pass which offers Europe-wide travel between 50 European cities for fifteen or thirty days. Prices range from £159 for a fifteen-day youth pass in low season to £389 for a peak-season thirty-day adult pass.


Ferries offer the cheapest way of travelling to France from the UK. Connections are between Dover and Calais, Portsmouth and Le Havre, Cork and Roscoff, Rosslare and Cherbourg , Rosslare and Cherbourg . Prices vary considerably depending on which route you choose. Generally the cheapest route is the short sea route across the English Channel which is Dover to Calais.
Get around


Trains are a great way to get around in France. For long-distance trip, you can take TGV. Or you can just take slow train to enjoy the scenery. The French national railway network is managed by Réseaux Ferrés de France, and most of the trains are run by the SNCF (Société nationale des chemins de fer français). For interregional trains you can get schedules and book tickets online at voyages-sncf. com. For regional trains, schedules can be found at ter-sncf. com. Timetables covering particular destinations are also available free at stations.


SNCF operates bus services between train stations in areas no longer accessible by rail. Eurolines , Megabus and iDBUS all offer domestic French tickets as part of their international networks. Elsewhere, intercity coaches can only be found in departmental/regional service. So check for the peculiarities of bus service in the region you are in.


You can cruise down one of the French canals on a river boat to see the sites of the local countryside and moor by a local town/village to try the local produce and visit the cafes and bars. One of the most popular rivers being the Canal Du Midi located in the south of France in the departments of Hérault, Aude, and Haute-Garonne. Many boat charter companies offer this service.


France has a well-developed system of highways. Most of the motorway (autoroute) links are toll roads. Some have toll stations giving you access to a section, others have entrance and exit toll stations. Roads range from the narrow single-lane roads in the countryside to major highways. Most towns and cities were built before the general availability of the automobile and thus city centres tend to be unwieldy for cars. A French driver flashing headlights is asserting right of way and warning you of intentions and presence. Do not use it to mean thanks.