Being the UK’s nearest neighbour and boasting one of the best transport infrastructures in the world, France is wonderfully easily accessible to us Brits, whichever way you choose to travel. Airlines are expanding French routes every year, with maximum flight times of two hours; ferries are a great option for families or road trippers; and France’s reliable rail network spans all four corners of the country, making train travel a delightfully scenic option for those with more time.
The extensive, centralised French rail network is without doubt the most practical form of transport for travelling around the country, with every major city boasting a comprehensive network of services to its suburban areas. Towns are linked by TER (Trains Express Régionaux) trains, while major cities are served by high-speed TGV (Trains à Grande Vitesse) services.
From London, take the Eurostar direct from St-Pancras to Paris, Lille, Lyon, Avignon or Marseille, before connecting to the TGV or TER for any onward journeys. In many cases you’ll only need to make one change of train, meaning less hassle and more time to sit back and enjoy the French scenery.
Voyages-sncf.com is your European rail expert. Trains from London to Paris, onward connections throughout France and rail passes can all be booked via their website or call centre.
Those wishing to travel by train with their car can choose the Eurotunnel option, with Channel crossings taking just 35 minutes between Folkestone and Calais. A car is probably the best way to explore France in total freedom – make sure you read our dedicated guide to driving in France before you set off.
For further details on travelling to France by train, click here.
Did you know France is separated from the UK by just 18 nautical miles at the narrowest part of the Channel, between Dover and Calais?
Multiple daily ferries make this straightforward, speedy journey, but no need to depart from Dover if you’re travelling by sea – from Plymouth all the way along to Brighton, other British ports are connected to France by Brittany Ferries , P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways , with a range of crossing times (including overnight) either as a foot passenger or with your car.
For further details on UK-France ferry routes and services, click here.
There are several coach companies such as Eurolines and BlaBlaBus (formerly OuiBus) offering straightforward, low-cost transfers to France from London and other UK cities. Travel from a UK city centre to a French city centre on an air-conditioned coach with reclining seats, plenty of legroom and onboard toilets. You'll get free Wi-Fi and power sockets to keep in touch while you travel.
Eco-conscious travellers can choose FlixBus , whose efficient coaches are proven to have an excellent carbon footprint per driven passenger-mile.
For detailed info on UK-France coach services, click here.
France’s air connections with the UK are growing every year, and today it’s possible to fly from and to more cities than ever before, both in and out of season.
For those landing in Paris, the capital has two airports: Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle (25 km north of the city) and Orly (14 km south), both linked to the centre by shuttle buses and the suburban rail service (RER). Several other cities also have an international airport: Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Strasbourg and Toulouse, and these cities also have good air links with Paris. Many smaller cities and towns are served by airports that connect through the capital.
Low-cost carriers easyJet , Flybe , Jet2 and Ryanair offer an extensive range of flights from the UK to France, alongside services from British Airways and Air France . The main carriers serving France from Ireland are Aer Lingus and Ryanair.
For detailed info on flights to France from the UK, click here.