French Connections - Travel to Centre-South France

A guide outlining the travel options available to centre-south France

Travel connections to the Languedoc-Roussillon in centre-south France

The centre-south of France encompasses the region known as Languedoc-Roussillon. This region is constantly gaining in popularity with British property seekers, as it has all the benefits of the vastly more expensive Côte d'Azur, at a fraction of the cost! Until a few years ago, the region was largely ignored by foreign house hunters, as it was unknown and difficult to access, but the recent property boom has been fuelled by the arrival of budget airlines such as Ryanair.

Ferries to centre-south France

The ferry is no longer a quick method of transport, as the area is too far for easy travel from the ports. But it does, of course, afford the possibility of taking a car which can be very useful. The nearest ferry ports are Bilbao and Santander, just over the border into Spain, though some still like making the long journey from the north of France.

Ferry companies

The ferry companies serving the north of France and Spain are:

P&O Ferries: Portsmouth - Bilbao / Dover - Calais
Brittany Ferries: Plymouth - Santander, Roscoff / Poole - Cherbourg / Portsmouth - Cherbourg, Caen, St Malo
Speed Ferries (Sea Cat): Dover - Boulogne
Norfolk Line: Dover - Dunkerque
LD Lines: Portsmouth, Newhaven - Le Havre
Transmarche: Newhaven - Dieppe

Flights to centre-south France

There are now plenty of airports in this region offering low cost flights to and from the UK. Ryanair, in particular, have raised the profile of the region so much through the introduction of their services that the resulting rapid growth of the property market has been dubbed the Ryanair Effect!

Airlines and airports

The airlines that service centre-south France are:

Ryanair
British Airways
Air France
flybe
easyJet

The airports used are:

Montpellier
Béziers
Perpignan
Carcassonne
Nîmes
Rodez

French rail travel - Eurostar and TGV trains

Many people enjoy rail travel, and these days reaching their favoured French destinations by rail has been made possible by the Eurostar service and extended TGV lines throughout France. The Eurostar train will take you to Paris, Lille, Disneyland Paris or Calais from London or Kent. The excellent rail network in France can then transport you to your destination.

Trains to centre-south France

The TGV stops at Nîmes and Montpellier. There are many other train services available for more specific destinations, and most large towns in the region have railway stations.

French road travel - Eurotunnel car train

A great many people choose to drive to their French destination, making use of the cross channel car ferries or the channel tunnel car train service. The Eurotunnel car train leaves from Folkestone and arrives at Calais after a remarkably quick journey spent in the comfort of your own car. This can be an important consideration for those carrying live animals as you can remain with them at all times. (Be warned, though, if you have an LPG car you cannot take it on the Eurotunnel train.)

Road travel to centre-south France

The A10 /A20 south from Paris will take you to Toulouse, from where you can follow the A9 to Nîmes and Perpignan.

The French motorway system

The French motorway system consists of both toll roads (auto routes) and corresponding non toll roads (Routes Nationales). Both are excellent and almost always much less crowded than British roads. You will find, however, that the auto routes are significantly faster than the Routes Nationales.

You may also find the following article interesting: French Connections.

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