Flights & Transports travel
- With its worldwide network of 340 destinations in 91
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.
Air France information and reservations
in France: 0845 0845 111 or visit
The Lowest Air Fares to Europe
Paris airports: there are two international
airports in Paris: Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and Orly.
Transfers to Paris can be made by shuttle
bus, taxi or metro for Orly (Orlyval)…For all information
flight arrivals and departures, transportation to and from the
city's two airports and other passenger information visit the
de Paris website.
For all of the French airports:
A car is a convenient way to move around in France. Roads
are very well maintained and the French road network includes
4960 miles of motorways (many with tolls) which link Paris and
the main provincial towns and cities.
Before taking to the
road in France, make sure you know the French highway code
For the official text of the Highway Code
To find out about the road signs,
A valid US
driver's license is sufficient. The legal driving age in
France is 18 years. An international driver's license is not
required for U.S. citizens. You are also required to carry the
vehicle's registration document, and the current insurance
certificate (a green card is not mandatory but remains
internationally recognized and helpful). Also, a nationally
plate or sticker is required. Car rental agencies will provide
their customers with all these necessary documents.
information consult the website
If you are coming from Great Britain, you can use the
Eurotunnel. 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.
www.eurotunnel.com or phone 08705 35 35 35.
Consult the website
The road network is very well developed in France: nearly a
million kilometres, of which almost 8,000 kilometres are
motorways. There is usually a toll for motorways. To find out
everything about toll charges, service stations, rest areas,
restaurants, filling stations, and hotels along your route,
and for details of your journey, consult the website
Finding your way
There are numerous guides and road maps available at
bookshops, service stations…
The main reference maps are Michelin and IGN.
Some Internet sites suggest different ways of getting from
one place to another (from the quickest to tourist routes with
Times to avoid
At peak times (7.30 – 9.00am and 5.30 – 7.30pm generally
during the week), take care on the approaches to large towns
and town centers: the traffic is often very dense. Some
problems can also be found at "sensitive" places at the start
of holiday periods (approaches to large towns, toll booths…).
To find out about traffic conditions:
In your car, you can listen to the Autoroute FM radio
station on frequency 107.7
Parking in towns is controlled and there is usually a
charge. Authorized parking spaces are shown by road markings
(white dotted lines). To pay for parking, you need to take a
ticket from the ticket machines (installed on the pavement)
and place it in view on your dashboard. The price of a parking
space can vary a lot, depending on the town and the area.
All towns also have underground parking available, in the
town centre, or also on the outskirts, which are usually
served by public transport.
Most motorway service stations have 'baby corners' with
changing facilities and high chairs.
All passengers must wear seat-belts.
All riders of scooters, mopeds and motorcycles must wear
Bus lanes are reserved exclusively for buses, taxis and
Drivers license, insurance certificate and vehicle
registration documents must be presented at controls.
Parking is strictly regulated in many areas. Dotted
road markings indicate parking spaces. Remember that you can
only park on white spaces; those marked 'Payant' are
pay-for-parking spaces and unmarked spaces are free. Yellow
markings indicate spaces reserved for utility vehicles and
other markings (GIC-GIG) for people with the relevant card.
Dotted yellow lines on the edge of a pavement indicate that
brief stops are authorized (for dropping off passengers). Many
parking spaces in major cities are regulated by parking meters
that can be found along the edge of pavements. You can pay for
between 15 minutes and 2 hours (from 5F to 15F an hour). Your
ticket must be displayed clearly inside your car. In case of
non-payment or parking longer than the time allowed, you risk
a fine of 75F. A large number of modern and safe underground
parking lots exist in town centers. They cost more than
parking at ground level, but guarantee a space and flexible
hours of stay.
For information on road conditions, consult regional
information centers before you set off: Ile-de-France/Centre
33 (0) 1 48 99 33 33 North 33 (0) 3 20 47 33
33 East 33 (0) 3 87 63 33 33
West 33 (0) 2 99 32 33 33 South-West
33 (0) 5 56 96 33 33
Rhone-Alpes/Auvergne 33 (0) 4 72 81 57 33
Mediterranean 33 (0) 4 91 78 78 78
For motorway conditions throughout France: Autoroute
info 33 (0) 1 47 05 90 01
Types Of Roads
Autoroutes (Marked on signs with A) Express highways
for which you must pay tolls. Routes Nationales (Marked on
signs with N) National motorways for which there are no tolls,
often with several lanes. Routes Departementales (Marked on
signs with D) Smaller scenic country roads with less traffic.
Highway tolls in France are generally more expensive than in
the U.S, and travelers should be prepared to stop several
times during their trip to pay (toll booths are called peages).
Cash and all major credit cards are accepted.
Seat belts are required for all passengers riding in
Hitch-hiking in France
The French often stop to
take on hitchhikers. It's a good idea to indicate your
destination clearly on a sign. To be sure of a ride, contact
the organization 'Allostop', which puts hitch-hikers in touch
with drivers in exchange for a modest fee (inscription fees +
22 centimes per km).
(0)1 53 20 42 42 or 33 (0)1 53 20 42 43 from outside Paris.
- French language only
You can of course hire all sorts of vehicles, from a
bicycle to a lorry, but mainly cars, from specialist agents
(or shops and garages for two-wheeled vehicles). France is
well stocked with car hire agencies. At list can be obtained
at local tourist offices. Fly-drive arrangements are available
through airlines and tour operators.
The minimum age limit for hiring a car in France ranges
from 21 to 25, with some companies operating a surcharge
system for drivers under the age of 25. The maximum age limit
varies from company to company, the average being 70 years.
The main car hire companies have offices at all railway
stations of large towns, at airports and in the centre of some
If you prefer to arrange your car hire before you leave,
contact one of the following companies:
Avis Rent a Car
Hertz Rent a Car
Tel: 1 800 654-3001
Budget Leisure Car
Toll free for France:
(reservation) 08701 56 56 56
National Car Rental
Toll free: 1 800 227 7368
service in France is efficient, punctual, and
comfortable. It is one of the most popular ways to get
around, allowing travelers to view the countryside in a
swift, but leisurely manner. France's extensive railway
network connects large cities and towns throughout the
country. Smaller towns without train stations are
generally linked by bus service to the nearest station.
The French National Railroads' (Société Nationale des
Chemins de Fer or SNCF, www.sncf.fr) network of
inter-city rail links also provides frequent express and
high-speed train service known as the TGV or Train à
Grande Vitesse. Operating at a commercial speeds of
186mph, the high-speed network also includes European
routes, featuring the Eurostar which connects Paris to
London in just 2h35 and the Thalys going to Brussels and
Amsterdam in 1h30 and 4 hours respectively. For added
convenience, the Paris Charles-de-Gaulle and Lyon Saint-Exupery
Airports have high-speed train stations.
The price of
train travel in France depends on whether you choose first or
second class, as well as on the time and date of travel. If
you planning your rail travel before you go, there are a
variety off affordable and flexible passes (non-consecutive
days of rail travel), including packages available for the
U.S. traveler through your travel agent or www.sncf.fr. Rail
passes for France include the France Railpass, the France
Rail'n Drive, Eurail. Combo-country passes are also available,
including the France n'Italy Pass and the all new
France'n Spain pass.
Bus Tours / RVs
tourist coaches is controlled. Before parking
in a town or at a tourist site, please ensure from the
Tourist Office that there is reserved parking for
Coach traffic in Paris
Saint-Louis and Ile de la Cité
Coaches are banned from the Ile de la Cité
and the Ile Saint-Louis from 5th April 2003, with
the exception of through routes. River shuttles will be used
to carry visitors from the other side of the Seine.
The Paris Council has the aim of gradually
reducing the number of coaches driving in Paris. One of the
main methods of achieving this aim is by organising tourist
transport on the Seine for visits to Notre Dame and the Ile
de la Cité.
Shuttles will now be provided all year round
from the Port de la Bourdonnais and the Port de Suffren on
the west and the Port du Bercy on the east. Set-down points
for the Ile de la Cité will be at the Port de la Tournelle
and on the Quai des Orfèvres.
de Police website.
Streets closed to coach traffic, parking and drop-off
points, and tourist areas are shown on the
Use of a motor caravan as a
means of transport is considered no different from that of an
Overnight parking of motor
caravans is controlled in certain cities. In this case, there
are special sites made available for motor caravans.
publishes the "official guide to tourist stopping-places for
motor caravans"; it is sold in newspaper kiosks and lists
1,700 places in France adapted for motor caravans (waste,
For more information on
There are many connections to France by sea.
Here are the main shipping companies to cross the Channel:
P & O Portsmouth
Portsmouth P02 8TA
Tel: 08705 20 20 20
Portsmouth – Le Havre
5 hours 30 (day sailing)
Portsmouth – Le Havre
7 hours or 8 hours if include
French tour (night sailing)
Portsmouth – Cherboug
5 hours (day sailing)
Portsmouth – Cherbourg
7 hours or 8 hours if include
French tour (night sailing)
Portsmouth – Cherbourg
2 hours 45 (April – Sept)
Dover - Calais
Hull - Zeebrugge
Tel: 08705 711 711
Dover – Calais
From 1 hour 10 and 1 hour 30
(depending on the vessel)
London W1V 9DB
Tel: 0207 491 4968
Fax: 0207 491 3502
From Marseilles to:
Bastia, Calvi, Ile Rousse, Ajaccio, Propriano, Porto-Vecchio
From 9 hours to 12 hours
Nice – Calvi/Ile Rousse
Nice – Bastia
3 hours 40 (day sailing)
7 hours 30 (night sailing)
Nice – Ajaccio
4 hours 15 (day sailing)
7 hours 30 (night sailing)
The Brittany Centre
Portsmouth PO2 8RU
Tel: 08705 360 360
Portsmouth – Caen
Portsmouth – St Malo
8 hours 45
Poole - Cherbourg
4 hours 15
(fast ferry May 26 to Sept 30)
2 hours 15 minutes
Plymouth - Roscoff
Plus overnight sailings on all
routes (not on fast ferries)
Weymouth DT4 8DX
Tel: 0845 345 2000
Fax: 01305 760 776
* via Guernsey et Jersey
** via Jersey
Weymouth - Guernsey
Weymouth - Jersey
3 hours 15
Poole - St Malo*
5 hours 30
Poole - Guernsey
2 hours 30
Poole - Jersey
3 hours 45
Guernsey - St Malo**
1 hours 45
Jersey - St Malo
1 hour 15
Hoverspeed Fast Ferries
Dover CT17 9TG
Tel: 08705 240 241
Fax: 0870 4607 102
Dover - Calais (Seacat)
Newhaven - Dieppe (Superseacat)
Dover CT16 1JA
Tel: 0870 870 1020
Fax: 0130 421 8415
Dover - Dunkerque
209 East Camber
Tel: 08700 60 39 00
Dover – Boulogne
(Bookings from the 22 April)
You will find a list of French ports at the
The Féderation 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.
You can also find information
on the website
Navigating France: licences, river moorings,
A licence is needed to operate French
motorised pleasure boats at sea where the actual horsepower of
the engine or engines is/are higher than 4.5kW (6 HP). There
are three types of licence:
- la carte mer [sea licence]
- le permis mer côtier [coastal licence]
- le permis mer hauturier [deep-sea/ocean licence]
There are specific licences for navigating
on inland waters.
Licences to operate motorised pleasure boats at sea only give
the right to pilot by agreement. Any person operating a
pleasure boat professionally must have the recognised
The regulations are on
Port authorities display daily weather bulletins and
forecasts for the following days.
At the French sailing association's website, you can
consult tide tables for each port.
Taxis, Subways, Buses, Commuting Boats
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
33 (0) 1 47 39 47 39
0 891 70 10 10 (€0.22/min)
(for airport destinations): 33 (0) 1 47 39 01 47
33 (0) 1 49 17 01 01
33 (0) 1 45 85 85 85
To find out
about taxi charges throughout France consult the 'tariffs'
section of the website
only allowed to pick up from ranks (station de taxi) and 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
When called to pick up
passengers, taxis add the cost of that journey to the fare.
Extra fees for baggage, animals or a fourth person are
Tipping is customary but
completely at your discretion; generally 10% to 15% is
Several towns in France and also Paris have
metro or tram systems and most offer a fairly comprehensive
bus network. These means of transport serve the town centers
and inner suburbs. Fast and economical, they are the most
practical worry-free way to discover a town. In Paris the
metro is by far the quickest and most practical way of getting
about 15 lines and around 300 stations. The service usually
starts around 5.30am and ends around 12.30am. Numerous
connections with the RER (Regional express network) and the
SNCF railway stations allow easy travel to the suburbs.
(Paris outskirts): a ticket purchased from the outskirts to a
Paris railway station now also includes travel on the Paris
métro and bus.
1 metro or bus ticket: €1.30. Paris and its outskirts
are divided into zones. There are 8 different zones; you can
ask for a map of these zones at any metro and RER station,
they are available for free. 1 Book or 10 tickets carnet:
€9.60. Half price €4.80 for children from 4-10 years. Free
Simple and safe, the Paris
metro runs daily from 5.30am to 12.30pm. Keep your ticket
handy ; you may be asked to show it to a transit inspector,
and tickets are sometimes needed to exit Metro turnstiles.
Basic Paris Visite
Passes-good for unlimited travel on Metro, bus and RER
suburban train lines-are available for one (€8), two (€14),
three (€18) and five (€27) days; Paris Visite Passes that
extend to the airports, Disneyland-Paris and Versailles are
€17, €27, €38 and €46.
Passes can be purchased at airports; the Paris Convention &
Visitors Bureau; Metro, RER and railway stations; and in the
US (ask your travel agent or tour operator).
ticket is now sufficient to cover any bus journey within Paris
(as on the métro). In the outskirts the longest lines only
require a maximum of 2 tickets. Generally, buses operate from
5.30am to 8.30pm. At night the Noctambus connects the centre
of Paris (Place du Châtelet amongst others) and the suburbs.
You can ask
for a map of the network (metro, bus, RER) at metro or RER
stations (issued free).
Information on regional and
From April to
October, the city of Paris operates a boat service on the
Seine river called Batobus, with stops at the Eiffel Tower,
Musee D’Orsay, Saint- Germain-des-pres (Quai Malaquais, on the
left Bank and opposite the Louvre), Notre-Dame, Hotel de
Ville, Louvre and Champs-Elysees. The fare is €3.50 for one
stop, €2 for each additional stop, €10 for an all-day pass
(€5.50 for children under 12); €12.50 for a two-day pass
(€6.50 for children 12). For information about Batobus, visit
The five lines (A, B, C, D and E) of the RER (Regional express
network) cross Paris and the Ile-de-France during the same
times as the metro.
Please note that outside
Paris ticket charges are not the same.
Ask at your
departure station for information.
Paris Visit Ticket is
valid for either 1,2,3 or 5 consecutive days and allows
unlimited travel in all zones of the whole network (metro,
bus, RER) and on the Montmartre Funicular.
Reduced price for children
aged between 4 and 11 years old.
the largest operator of scheduled coach services, offering
regular services to over 65 destinations from London. These
include Avignon, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Marseilles, Nantes, Paris
(up to 4 services daily), Perpignan, St Malo, Strasbourg,
Toulouse et Tours. Prices start at just £33 return. Connexions
are available from around 1200 UK cities on National Express.