1. France on the world tourist`s map

Transportation in France


By car

By train

Bus Tours / RVs

Recreational Vehicles

By Boat

Taxis, Subways, Buses, Commuting Boats


Hotels in France


2. Tourist industry in France




France is one of the "classics among tourist countries". It offers mountain ranges, coastlines like in Brittany or along the Mediterranean Sea, cities with a rich cultural heritage, châteaux and castles like Versailles, countryside, vineyards in Burgundy and the metropolis of Paris with the Louvre, boulevards, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and cathedral of Notre-Dame.

In the eastern parts of France there are famous skiing resorts in the Alps. Other famous cities are Avignon with the old popes' palace, Arles, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Nice, Orléans on the Loire River, Strasbourg on the border to Germany or Lyon.

France is easy to discover by train. It offers a high-speed train service called TGV (train à grande vitesse) as well as regional services, both operated by the SNCF.

1. France on the world tourist`s map

Transportation in France


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

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 Aeroports de Paris website.

By car

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 well.

For the official text of the Highway Code click here.

To find out about the road signs, click here.

Driver's License

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.

For more information consult the website asp


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.

Consult the website or phone 08705 35 35 35.


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 www.autoroutes. fr

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 stopovers…): or http://www.mappy. fr

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.

By train

Train 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, 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 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

The parking of 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 coaches.

Bus Coach traffic in Paris

Ile 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.

Streets closed to coach traffic, parking and drop-off points, and tourist areas are shown on the Préfecture de Police website.

Recreational Vehicles

Use of a motor caravan as a means of transport is considered no different from that of an ordinary car.

Overnight parking of motor caravans is controlled in certain cities. In this case, there are special sites made available for motor caravans.

"Camping-car Magazine" 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, water…).

For more information on motor caravans:

By Boat


Here are the main shipping companies to cross the Channel:

CompanyRoutesApproximate Times
P & O Portsmouth Peninsular House Wharf Road Portsmouth P02 8TA Tel: 08705 20 20 20 www.poferries.comPortsmouth - Le Havre5 hours 30 (day sailing)
Portsmouth - Le Havre7 hours or 8 hours if include French tour (night sailing)
Portsmouth - Cherboug5 hours (day sailing)
Portsmouth - Cherbourg7 hours or 8 hours if include French tour (night sailing)
Portsmouth - Cherbourg (Portsmouth Express)2 hours 45 (April - Sept)
Dover - Calais
Hull - Zeebrugge
SeaFrance Eastern Docks Dove, Kent CT16 1JA Tel: 08705 711 711 www.seafrance.comDover - CalaisFrom 1 hour 10 and 1 hour 30 (depending on the vessel)
Southern Ferries/SNCM 179 Piccadilly London W1V 9DB Tel: 0207 491 4968 Fax: 0207 491 3502 www.sncm. fr

From Marseilles to:

Bastia, Calvi, Ile Rousse, Ajaccio, Propriano, Porto-Vecchio

From 9 hours to 12 hours
Nice - Calvi/Ile Rousse3 hours
Nice - Bastia3 hours 40 (day sailing) 7 hours 30 (night sailing)
Nice - Ajaccio4 hours 15 (day sailing) 7 hours 30 (night sailing)
Brittany Ferries The Brittany Centre Wharf Road Portsmouth PO2 8RU Tel: 08705 360 360 www.brittanyferries.comPortsmouth - Caen6 hours
Portsmouth - St Malo8 hours 45
Poole - Cherbourg4 hours 15
 (fast ferry May 26 to Sept 30)2 hours 15 minutes
Plymouth - Roscoff6 hours
Plus overnight sailings on all routes (not on fast ferries)

Condor Ferries The Quay Weymouth DT4 8DX Tel: 0845 345 2000 Fax: 01305 760 776 www.condorferries. co. uk

* via Guernsey et Jersey ** via Jersey

Weymouth - Guernsey2 hours
Weymouth - Jersey3 hours 15
Poole - St Malo*5 hours 30
Poole - Guernsey2 hours 30
Poole - Jersey3 hours 45
Guernsey - St Malo**1 hours 45
Jersey - St Malo1 hour 15
Hoverspeed Fast Ferries International Hoverport Dover CT17 9TG Tel: 08705 240 241 Fax: 0870 4607 102 www.hoverspeed. co. ukDover - Calais (Seacat)45 minutes
Newhaven - Dieppe (Superseacat)2 hours
Norfolkline Eastern Dock Dover CT16 1JA Tel: 0870 870 1020 Fax: 0130 421 8415 www.norfolkline.comDover - Dunkerque2 hours

SpeedFerries Ltd.

209 East Camber Office Building Eastern Docks Dover, Kent CT16 1JA Tel: 08700 60 39 00

Dover - Boulogne (Bookings from the 22 April)50 minutes