Getting Around France

France is the largest country in Western Europe, and the country’s varied landscapes, from Alpine peaks to Mediterranean coastline, are spread across an area the size of Texas. Many popular French destinations are separated by considerable distances—the journey from north-central Paris to the southern city of Marseille, for example, is about 480 miles (772 km).

France’s extensive, modern rail network links the majority of cities and towns, and travel by train is a practical and efficient way to see the country. Rail routes are divided between high-speed TGV, medium-distance Intercités, and regional TER trains; booking, ticketing, and timetables are straightforward and user-friendly. 

A rental car is a good way to tour rural areas and explore regions like Provence, Normandy, and the Loire Valley in more depth. Major highways connect most cities, and road rules are usually well-marked and self-explanatory. U.S. driver’s licenses are valid for stays under 90 days, and larger rental agencies offer cars with automatic transmissions and GPS. 

For travelers looking to cover large distances quickly, international airports connect major cities, with most journeys taking about an hour’s flight time. Air France is the primary airline, with smaller budget carriers offering competition on some routes. Make sure to compare flying times with those of train travel: once airport transfers and check-in times are taken into account, high-speed trains often end up faster and easier. 

Other transportation methods travelers might encounter include buses for more remote villages not served by trains, and ferries, which serve some towns along the Côte d’Azur, as well as offering the main method of travel between the mainland and islands like Corsica and Brittany’s Belle-Île.
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Provence
How to Get to Provence

The French region of Provence is famous for its sunny climate, beautiful natural landscapes, and picturesque towns. The most well-known cities in the area include Marseille and... read more

Map of How to Get from Nice to Cannes
How to Get from Nice to Cannes

The distance between two destinations on Nice and Cannes on the French Riviera is 16 miles (26 km), traveling southwest along the coast. The easiest way to make the trip is by... read more

Marseille
Map of How to Get from Paris to Marseille
How to Get from Paris to Marseille

Marseille, France's second-largest city, is 410 miles (660 km) away from Paris. Highspeed TGV trains connect the two cities, and there are also several direct daily flights from... read more

Map of How to Get from Marseille to Nice
How to Get from Marseille to Nice

Marseille and Nice lie roughly 100 miles (16) km) apart, on opposite ends of the Cote d’Azur. Traveling from France’s second-largest city to the capital of the French Riviera... read more

Map of How to Get from Paris to Lyon
How to Get from Paris to Lyon

The distance between France’s capital city Paris and the country’s gastronomical epicenter Lyon is 243 miles (392 km) traveling southeast. The easiest way to make the trip is by... read more

Water Mill and Aure River in Bayeux, France
Map of How to Get from Paris to Bayeux
How to Get from Paris to Bayeux

The best options for getting from Paris to Bayeux are taking the train or traveling by car. The two cities are just 163 miles (262 kilometers) apart, the roads are... read more

Brittany
How to Get to Brittany

Getting to Brittany (or Bretagne, in French), in northwestern France, is an easy train trip from Paris. Depending on where you go in the region—Rennes, Saint-Malo, or Brest—the... read more

Map of How to Get from Paris to Nice
How to Get from Paris to Nice

Nice lies roughly 425 miles (685 km) miles southeast of Paris, on the far eastern edge of the French Riviera. Despite the distance, travel between the cities is relatively easy,... read more

How to Get from Caen to Bayeux

Historic Bayeux lies just 18 miles (30 km) northwest of Caen, capital of the Calvados region of Normandy in northwest France.  The fastest way to make the journey is by rail,... read more

Carcassonne
How to Get to Carcassonne

Located in France's Occitanie region, the fortified city of Carcassonne is famous for its medieval ramparts and centuries-old buildings. Most tourists either drive to... read more

How to Get from Rouen to Bayeux

The charming Medieval city of Bayeux sits 82 miles (132 km) due west of the Norman capital of Rouen, between the rugged north Atlantic coast and verdant countryside of the... read more

Rouen
Map of How to Get from Paris to Rouen
How to Get from Paris to Rouen

The city of Rouen, located in northern France, is approximately 84 miles (135 km) from Paris. Built on the River Seine and the capital of Normandy, this historic city can be... read more

Map of How to Get from Nice to Eze
How to Get from Nice to Eze

The medieval hilltop village of Èze is just 7 miles (11 km) up the coast from Nice, making it a popular destination for day trips from the Riviera's capital. The simplest and... read more

Chamonix
How to Get to Chamonix

Chamonix is a French mountain town in the Alps, near the borders with Switzerland and Italy. Getting there from Paris requires an easy 5.5-hour train ride or a combination of a... read more

Arles
Map of How to Get from Avignon to Arles
How to Get from Avignon to Arles

Located in the beautiful Provence region of France, Avignon and Arles are 20 miles (33 km) apart. By train, it's a quick 20-minute ride, while driving will take you about an... read more

Map of How to Get from Lyon to Marseille
How to Get from Lyon to Marseille

Marseille, France’s second-largest city and capital of the Côte d’Azur, sits 175 miles (282 km) south of Lyon on the Mediterranean coast. Travel between the cities is... read more

Map of How to Get from Nice to Monaco
How to Get from Nice to Monaco

The tiny principality of Monaco lies to the north of Nice, with barely 12 miles (20 km) of Mediterranean coastline separating it from the Riviera capital. Between high-speed... read more

Verdon Gorge
Map of How to Get to the Verdon Gorge
How to Get to the Verdon Gorge

The Verdon Gorge is the largest canyon in Europe and is a prime destination for outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and rafting. Driving (with a rental car or with a... read more

How to Get to Bourdeaux

The fastest and easiest way to get to Bordeaux from any major city in France (and the world, for that matter) is to fly. The Bordeaux-Merignac International Airport (BOD)... read more