Are you going to travel through France soon? This article will explain the various modes of transportation available to you and their advantages/disadvantages.
France is a big country for its cultural influence globally, but a small country by size. French territory thus promotes the development of means of transport on the ground, such as trains, carpooling, or buses, and in the air with many low-cost companies.
With so many ways to travel through France, one should wonder, what is the best way to get around France?
It is essential to consider several criteria to answer this question, such as your budget, the time you have to travel, and your destination.
If you have to travel through France soon, here is an article that will help you decide on the preferred means of transport. Let’s start with the bus.
What Is The Best Way To Get Around France? [Explained]
Traveling in France by Bus
Until some time ago, traveling in France by bus was limited to international companies or private and inter-regional companies.
Since 2015 and the adoption by Parliament of the Macron law on buses, inter-regional bus connections have taken place very quickly.
It is ideal to book a place online on a bus from one of the companies like Ouibus or Flixbus if you are traveling alone or in pairs. If you have more time than money, the bus is a great option to travel to France.
We looked for a route between Paris and Lyon. By TGV, the fastest travel time is 1h 57 min and costs 97€ (at our search).
Conversely, the same bus ride takes 5h 30 min and costs €14.90. 3h 33 min of your time will save you 82,10€.
Is your time worth around €24.60 per hour? Only you can answer this question.
When traveling in a group, it is best to rent a bus directly. For example, it is also possible – to rent a bus with a driver on Alliance Autocar. This service allows you to find a bus and a driver for the duration and destination of your choice.
Traveling in France by Train
The rail network in France is ultra-developed. There is no need to go through a luggage check to get on the train. You can arrive a few minutes before the train leaves the station.
The driver does not ask to turn off the electronic devices, and there is no seat belt. Thanks to the TGV, the train is the fastest and most convenient means of traveling in France.
Imagine the time it takes to get from downtown Paris to Charles de Gaulle or Orly, check-in your luggage, go through security, and board the plane.
You must leave your apartment or hotel at least three hours before take-off.
If we add all this to the real flight time, with the waiting for your luggage and the shuttle/taxi ride in the city center, the total travel time is 5 hours or more from the moment you leave your hotel room in Paris to your destination.
Let’s take the example of a trip between Paris and Montpellier. The flight takes 1h 15 min from Orly to Montpellier airport by plane.
But from door to door, the total duration of the trip is about 4h 30 min, according to the factors given above. On the train, the journey takes 3h 25 min, and then the journey to the third station is an additional 30 minutes.
Therefore, train or plane journeys are similar in time spent in transport, with the train being much more comfortable and generating less stress.
In terms of costs, the train is also cheaper. If the plane ticket is cheaper, you must add the cost of the shuttle, RER, or taxi to and from. In the end, the price of plane and train tickets is often similar.
Traveling to France by Plane
As we have explained, traveling by train in France is quite convenient. But in some cases, it is better to fly. Indeed, some routes are much better optimized by air.
For example, a Paris-Nice trip takes only 1h 25 min (flight) while for an equivalent price, the train will take almost 6h.
Other “unusual” routes are also more convenient by plane: Montpellier-Nantes, Toulouse-Strasbourg, Lille-Marseille… On a case-by-case basis, you’ll have to decide.
Traveling in France by carpooling
How not compare carpooling to other modes of transport? Blablacar in the lead, carpooling sites make it extremely easy and cheaper to travel throughout France.
Many drivers are available, so you can find a ride in the morning or even the day before without spending a fortune.
Journeys of 3-4 hours maximum are preferred; beyond that, comfort is put aside.
But carpooling, in addition to its simplicity and very low cost, has an advantage that other modes of transport do not have: meetings. It is much easier to talk to your neighbors than on a plane or train.
So, what’s the best way to travel around France? As you can see, there is no clear answer to this question. Circumstances, itineraries, and budgets must be taken into account.