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Last updated : Nov 2009
France Getting There - International Travel
France International Travel - TravelPuppy.com
Air

The national airline is Air France (AF). Many airlines operate to France, including an increasing number of low-cost airlines from the UK.

Departure tax: None.

France’s principal international airports are detailed below:

Note: Facilities at the airports listed below are all of a high international standard and include bank/bureaux de change, duty-free shops, restaurants and bars. There are also small airports with some international flights at Biarritz, Caen, Deauville (St Gatien), Le Havre, Montpellier, Morlaix, Rennes and Quimper.

Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG)

Also known as Roissy-Charles de Gaulle, (website: www.adp.fr) is 23km (14 miles) northeast of the city, travel time is approxd 40 minutes.

Taxis are readily available and journeys to the centre cost around €38. An airport limousine service can also be hired for approximately €90.

Roissybus services operate from the airport to Place de l’Opéra between 0545 hrs - 2300 hrs every 15 minutes. The Fare is approximately €8 and takes approximately 1 hour.

Air France coaches run from Étoile via Porte Maillot, from Montparnasse via Gare de Lyon and from Orly Airport to Roissy-Charles de Gaulle. Services run every 12-20 minutes and take 40-50 minutes. Fares are approximately €11.

The airport is also easily accessible by train on the RER B line or SNCF with connecting ADP shuttle bus.

Paris-Orly (ORY)

Paris-Orly is 14km (9 miles) south of Paris.

Coaches and buses run to the city every 12 minutes, travel time is approx 25 minutes, from outside Orly Ouest.

Taxis are available. RER B and C trains run every 15 minutes via Saint-Michel and the travel time is approx 30 minutes.

Bordeaux (BOD) (Merignac)

Bordeaux Airport is 12km (8 miles) west of the city.

Coaches, buses and taxis to the city are available.

Lille (LIL) (Lesquin)

Lille Airport is 12km (8 miles) southeast of the city.

Coaches and taxis are available to the city.

Lyon (LYS) (Lyon-Saint-Exupéry)

Lyon (LYS) (Lyon-Saint-Exupéry) is 25km (15 miles) east of the city.

Coaches or taxis are available to the city.

Marseille (MRS) (Marseille-Marignane)

Marseille (MRS) (Marseille-Marignane) is 30km (19 miles) northwest of the city.

A coach service departs to the city and taxis are available.

Nice (NCE) (Nice-Côte d’Azur)

Nice (NCE) (Nice-Côte d’Azur) is 6km (4 miles) west of the city.

Buses depart every 20 minutes. Taxis to the city are available.

Nantes (NTE)

Nantes (NTE) is 15km (9 miles) south of the city.

Trains and buses depart frequently to the city.

Strasbourg (SXB)

Strasbourg (SXB) is 16km (10 miles) southwest of the city travel time is approx 15-30 minutes.

Trams and taxis are available to the city.

Toulouse (TLS) (Blagnac)

Toulouse (TLS) (Blagnac) is 10km (6 miles) northwest of the city.

Buses to the city depart every 20 minutes. Taxis are available to the city.

Facilities at the airports listed above are all of a high international standard and include bank/bureaux de change, duty-free shops, restaurants and bars. There are also small airports with some international flights at Biarritz, Caen, Deauville (St Gatien), Le Havre, Montpellier, Morlaix, Rennes and Quimper.

Sea

The following companies run regular cross-channel services:

P&O Stena Line (tel: (08705) 202 020) from Dover to Calais (travel time approx 1 hour 15 minutes)

P&O Portsmouth (telephone number: (08705) 202 020) from Portsmouth to Le Havre (travel time approx 5 hours 30 minutes during the day and eight hours at night) and from Portsmouth to Cherbourg (travel time approx five hours during the day and eight hours at night).

Seafrance (telephone number: (08705) 711 711 from Dover to Calais (travel time – 1 hour 30 minutes).

Hoverspeed Fast Ferries (telephone number: (0870) 240 8070, e-mail: reservations@hoverspeed.co.uk, from Dover to Calais (travel time approx 50 minutes by seacat) and from Newhaven to Dieppe (travel time – 2 hours 15 minutes by seacat).

Brittany Ferries (telephone number: (08703) 665 333) from Plymouth to Roscoff (travel time approx 6 hours), from Portsmouth to St Malo (travel time approx 8 hours 45 minutes to the UK, 11 hours to France), from Portsmouth to Caen (travel time approx six hours) and from Poole to Cherbourg (travel time approx 4 hours 15 minutes by ferry or, in the high season, 2 hours 15 minutes by seacat).

Condor Ferries (telephone number: (01202) 207 207) from Poole and Weymouth to St Malo (via Guernsey and Jersey) (travel time approx 4 hours 30 minutes and 5 hours 30 minutes respectively), from Guernsey to St Malo (travel time approx 2 hours 40 minutes) and from Jersey to St Malo (travel time approx 1 hour 10 minutes).

These companies offer a variety of promotional fares and inclusive holidays for short breaks and shopping trips. Passenger and roll-on/roll-off ferry links to and from North Africa, Corsica and Sardinia are provided by Southern Ferries/Société Nationale Maritime Corse-Mediterranée (SNCM) (website: www.sncm.fr) (see Getting Around section).

Rail

International trains run from the channel ports and Paris to destinations throughout Europe.

For up-to-date routes and timetables, contact French Railways (SNCF) (telephone number: (1) 5342 0000) or in the UK, Rail Europe (telephone number: (08705) 848 848).

The Channel Tunnel

Eurostar is a service provided by the railways of France, Belgium, and the UK, operating direct high-speed trains from London (Waterloo International) to Paris (Gare du Nord) and to Brussels (Midi/Zuid). It takes 3 hours from London to Paris (via Lille). When the high-speed rail link from London through Kent to the tunnel is fully operational (January 2007), the travel time between the two capitals will be reduced to 2 hours 15 minutes.

The Eurostar trains are equipped with standard-class and first-class seating, buffet, bar and telephones, and are staffed by multi-lingual, highly-trained personnel. The pricing is competitive with the airlines, and seats range from Premium First and Business to Standard. Children aged between 4 and 11 years benefit from a special fare in first class as well as in standard class. Children under 4 years old travel free but cannot be guaranteed a seat. Wheelchair users and blind passengers together with one companion get a special fare.

For further information and reservations, contact Eurostar (telephone number: (0870) 600 0792 (travel agents) or (08705) 186 186 (public; within the UK) or +44 (1233) 617 575 (public outside the UK), Rail Europe (telephone number: (08705) 848 848). Travel agents can obtain refunds for unused tickets from Eurostar Trade Refunds, 2nd Floor, Kent House, 81 Station Road, Ashford, Kent TN23 1PD. Complaints and comments may be sent to Eurostar Customer Relations, Eurostar House, Waterloo Station, London SE1 8SE (telephone number: (020) 7928 5163, e-mail: new.comments@eurostar.co.uk). General enquiries and information requests must be made by telephone.

Road

There are numerous and excellent road links with all neighbouring countries. Eurolines (52 Grosvenor Gardens, London, SW1W 0AU, telephone number: (08705) 143 219) and National Express (Ensign Court, 4 Vicarage Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3ES, telephone number: 08705 808 080) run regular coach services to France from the UK.

The Channel Tunnel

All road vehicles are carried through the tunnel in shuttle trains running between the two terminals, one near Folkestone in Kent, with direct road access from the M20, and one just outside Calais with links to the A16/A26 motorway (Exit 13). Each shuttle is made up of 12 single and 12 double deck carriages, and vehicles are directed to carriages depending on their height. There are facilities for cars and motorcycles, minibuses, coaches, caravans, campervans and other vehicles over 1.85m (6.07ft). Bicycles are also provided for and passengers generally travel with their vehicles.

Heavy goods vehicles are carried on special shuttles with a separate passenger coach for the drivers. Terminals and shuttles are well-equipped for disabled passengers. The passenger terminal buildings contain a variety of shops, restaurants, bureaux de change and other amenities. Journey time is about 35 minutes from platform to platform and around approx one hour from motorway to motorway.

Eurotunnel runs up to four passenger shuttles per hour at peak times, 24 hours per day. Services run every day of throughout the year. For further information about departure times of shuttles at the French terminal, contact Eurotunnel Customer Information in Coquelle (telephone number: France (3) 2100 6543).

Motorists pass through customs and immigration before they board, with no further checks on arrival.

Fares are charged according to length of stay and time of year and whether or not you have a reservation. The price applies to the car, regardless of the number of passengers or size of the car. Promotional deals are frequently available, especially outside the peak holiday seasons. Tickets may be purchased in advance from travel agents, or from Eurotunnel Customer Services in France or the UK with a credit card. For further information, brochures and reservations, contact Eurotunnel Customer Services UK, Customer Relations Department, Saint Martin's Plain, Cheriton, Folkestone, Kent CT19 4QD (telephone number: (08705) 353 535).
Useful travel links
AA route planner directions and maps within France.