Traveling to Paris From Other Parts of Europe

Traveling to Paris From Other Parts of Europe

A trip to Paris is very easy to organize. Paris is the center of a European-wide rail network with very fast Paris train services to most French cities and to many international destinations too. The fast rail service makes a Paris Eurostar day trip possible from the UK.

The two Paris airports have European and inter-Continental flights to all major world destinations. Many domestic flights have been replaced by high-speed rail links, except to Nice.

Paris travel by train

Paris Eurostar trains run from London’s St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord through the Channel Tunnel and Lille. Rail travel time to Paris is about 2hrs 15min, making it significantly faster between city centres than with a Paris flight.

There are six main-line stations in Paris:
1. Gare du Nord serves northern France, UK, Belgium, Holland and Scandinavia.
2. Gare de l’Est is for trains to eastern France, Germany, Luxembourg and Austria.
3. Gare de Lyon serves east and south France, Italy, Switzerland and Greece.
4. Gare d’Austerlitz is for south-west France, Spain and Portugal.
5. Gare Montparnasse is for western France and services to south-west.
6. Gare St-Lazare is the terminus for regional services to north-west France.

All have Metro stations. Tickets must be validated at the orange date-stamp machines at the platform entrance. There are Paris tourist offices also near Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyon open 8am – 6pm.


Flights to Paris

Paris has two major airports – Charles de Gaulle is 23km to the north and Orly is 11km to the south. Both are served by Air France coaches; RATP buses; minibuses, taxis and trains to the city centre.

Six trains an hour travel from Charles de Gaulle to the city centre with an average journey time of 30 mins. It’s 35 mins by train from Orly.

Roissybus travels from all terminals to Opéra, bus 350 to Gare de l’Est. The Air France bus at Orly travels in to Invalides. Roads from both airports can get congested so it’s wise to allow an hour to the city centre.

Most Paris cheap flight budget airlines fly in to Orly while the majority of scheduled and long-haul flights are to Charles de Gaulle.


Paris travel by road

The Euolines coach travels from Victoria Coach Station to Paris (Gallieni) and takes about 9 hours.

If traveling by car, avoid driving and parking in Paris city centre. It’s very restricted and expensive. Getting around Paris by car isn’t easy and it can be a downright challenge – it’s an experience to remember battling through the Place d’Etoile at the top of the Champs-Elysées.

Getting around Paris by bus, Metro, taxi or walking is probably cheaper and certainly easier on the nerves. If you do find a parking space, get a ticket from the machine horodateurs and display it in your windscreen – a fine, or being towed away is the likely result if you don’t.

August is easier for driving in Paris as many locals leave the city for the whole month.


Paris travel by ferry

There are ferry services from Britain and Ireland to several Channel ports with onward travel to Paris by rail. Ferry operators include running Paris sea travel services include P&O Stenna Line; Hoverspeed; Seafrance; Britanny Ferries and Irish Ferries.