- With its worldwide network of 199 destinations in 85 countries, served by its own aircraft or those of its SkyTeam Alliance partners, Air France naturally plays a predominant role in promoting France. Thanks to its connecting hub at Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Air France can fly you from one end of the earth to the other through a single airport:
- 82 cities in France and Europe are linked to 83 destinations worldwide.
- Shorter connecting times of between 45 minutes and two hours.
Air France, the national company, links most of the large towns to Paris in one hour on average, as well as connections between the regional towns.
There are two international airports in Paris: Roissy-Charles de Gaulle (IATA code (CDG) and Orly (IATA code ORY). Other airports have international destinations: Paris - Orly, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Toulouse have flights to cities in western Europe and North-Africa; those 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.
For all of the French airports: www.aeroport.fr.
Transfers to Paris can be made by shuttle bus, taxi, RER or metro for Orly (Orlyval).
Practical, fast and comfortable, the train is one of the best ways of getting about in France. The rail network is very developed (especially from Paris) and connects every town by either TGV or TER (regional express trains).
International Rail, Tel: 08700 841 410 www.internationalrail.com
Eurostar's ultra modern, high-speed service to travels from London St Pancras International or Ebbsfleet InternationalinKent direct to Paris, Brussels or Lille. Eurostar also offers direct services to Disneyland Paris and to the French Alps. Certain services also serve Ashford InternationalinKent and Calais-Fréthun.
Take Eurostar to Paris or Lille and simply connect onto TGV, France's high-speed rail network. In most cases, you only need to make one simple change of train.
High-speed train (TGV)
With a speed of 300km per hour, the TGV is one of France's technological pride and joy. Safe, punctual and comfortable, it allows travel to city centres in record times: Paris-Lille in 1 hour, Paris-Marseilles or Paris-Bordeaux in 3 hours, Paris-Rennes in 2 hours. Please note that booking is obligatory, even if it is just before departure time.
To find out everything about the high-speed train network: www.tgv.com or www.raileurope.co.uk
The InterRail Pass has always been the perfect companion to anyone exploring Europe as it provides a fun and economical way to see all that Europe has to offer.
The key benefits of the pass are:
- Ability to choose dates of travel with 1 month for Country Passes
- Choice of a Flexi Pass or a Consecutive Pass for the Global Pass
- Unlimited 1st or 2nd-class travel
- Special discounted fares on Eurostar from London or Ashford to Paris, Lille or Brussels
- Bonus discounts on local museums and other attractions
Enjoy the experience of taking your own car on holiday - without the bother of driving it there. The easiest way to take your car to multiple destinations across France at any time of year is by AutoTrain. Drive to Paris, put your car on the overnight car carrying train and then you follow on. Travel by day or overnight on a separate passenger train where you can relax in a choice of couchette or sleeper accommodation. Then simply collect your car when you get there – no tiring drive, expensive tolls, or wear and tear on the car. Services operate to Avignon, Bordeaux, Brive, Fréjus/St Raphaël, Lyon, Marseille, Narbonne, Nice, Toulon and Toulouse
Booking and information:
www.raileurope.co.uk, Tel: 0844 848 4050 (calls charged at 5p per minute)
You must always validate your ticket before getting onto your train (yellow or orange ticket punching machines situated at the end of the platforms). If it has not been done, advise the ticket inspector straight away, so that you may be able to avoid fine!
Access to trains:
Eurostar check-in is at least 30 minutes prior to departure. Beyond that time, passengers are not allowed to board the train.
CROSSING THE CHANNEL
There are many connections to France by sea. Here is the list of all the Channel crossings from Great Britain to France:
Brittany Ferries, www.brittanyferries.com
Condor Ferries, www.condorferries.co.uk
HD Ferries, www.hdferries.co.uk
LD Lines & Transmanche Ferries, www.transmancheferries.com
P&O Ferries, www.poferries.com
There are also connections from Ireland to France:
Brittany Ferries - operate ferry services from Cork to Roscoff
Celtic Link Ferries - operate ferry services from Rosslare to Cherbourg
Irish Ferries - operate ferry services from Rosslare to Cherbourg and from Rosslare to Roscoff
A list of French port authorities can be found on: www.mer.equipement.gouv.fr
Eurotunnel's car carrying service runs via the Channel Tunnel from Folkestone to Calais/Coquelles. Taking as little as 35 minutes platform to platform, it is a fast and exciting way to France and beyond. The service operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with up to 4 departures an hour at peak periods.
Consult the website www.eurotunnel.com or telephone 0870 330 0379.
Eurolines is the largest operator of scheduled coach services, offering competitive prices to a wide range of destinations across France starting from £39 return. Up to 16 services a day are provided between London and Paris during the summer months together with regular services to destinations including Lens, Lille, Lyon and Rouen (direct) and Avignon, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Marseilles, Nantes, Perpignan, Strasbourg, Toulouse and Tours via convenient connections in Paris, Lille or Lyon.
Services are provided by modern air-conditioned coaches with reclining seats and toilets as standard with additional leg room on 'Plus' services on the Paris route. Each customer gets a free luggage allowance of two medium sized suitcases which are stored securely in the hold whilst Eurolines represents the greenest form of travel, producing almost six times less carbon emissions than flying.
Services depart from Victoria Coach Station in London and run to city centre locations in France with good onward connections, saving on the need for expensive transfer costs. Customers travelling from outside London can connect via National Express services for just £15 one-way or return from locations throughout the UK.
Eurolines UK Tel (bookings): 08717 81 81 77, www.eurolines.co.uk
Or visit any National Express sales outlet www.nationalexpress.com
A car is probably the best way to explore France in total freedom. From motorways to departmental roads and country lanes, the French road network is very dense. The most detailed maps are produced by IGN, and show even the smallest paths - others, such as Michelin maps, also give an excellent overview of the road network. As a general rule, tolls are levied on motorways. To hire a car, contact one of the various car rental companies - the big names have offices in some airports and railway stations. Don't forget to bring your driving licence and your international insurance papers! France drives on the right.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN FRANCE:
Trains are a great way to get around in France. You can get pretty much from anywhere to anywhere else by train. For long distances, use the TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse - High-Speed Train). Reservations are obligatory.
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 www.voyages-sncf.com.
For regional trains, schedules can be found at www.ter-sncf.com.
You can take them from taxi ranks (indicated by a square sign with Taxi in white on a blue background) or hail one in the street (on condition that it is available: the "Taxi" sign on the roof is then fully lit, and the small lights under the sign are switched off).
You can also book a taxi by calling some companies:
Taxi G7: 0033 147 39 47 39
Aéro Taxi (for airport destinations): 0033 147 39 01 47
01 Taxi: 0033 149 17 01 01
Alpha Taxi: 0033 145 85 85 85
To find out about taxi charges throughout France consult the 'tariffs' section of the website www.artisan-taxi.com
You should always check they have a meter. The fare depends on the price and on the pick-up and the price per km.
If your ride takes you out of town and for transfers from airports, check with the driver before starting.
It gives you the opportunity to discover a region, a city, a site, different landscapes and countryside. This is a new service in France, a hop on hop off bus service to discover what's best to see in Western France, Châteaux of Loire Valley, Paris, Mont St Michel, Dolmens of Carnac, Wine Testing in Medoc, etc. Please visit the website: www.ze-bus.com
You can get information on local buses by contacting the local Tourist Offices.
The Fédération des Industries Nautiques [association of companies in the boating trade] groups together sea and river boat hire companies, and a list of them can be sent to you by request. France has a particularly rich network of canals and rivers, 8,500km long, allowing you to discover the country in depth, as you slowly go along from lock to lock. www.france-nautic.com.
You can also find information on the following website: www.vnf.fr.