French Connections - Travel to Centre-West France

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

Travel connections to the Loire and Poitou-Charentes

The centre-west regions include the Loire and Poitou-Charentes regions, where many British property buyers have settled. To get to this area, you have a few options.

Ferries to centre-west 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.

Ferry companies

The ferry companies serving the north-west of France are:

P&O Ferries: Dover - Calais
Brittany Ferries: Plymouth - 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 the Loire and Poitou-Charentes (centre-west France)

Flying is a speedy and often economical way to reach this part of France.

Airlines and airports

The airlines which service centre-west France are:

British Airways
Ryanair
Air France
Aer Arann
Flybe
easyJet

The airports used are:

La Rochelle
Poitiers
Angoulême
Tours
Nantes
Angers
Limoges
Bordeaux
Bergerac

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-west France

To get to centre-west France, you can travel by Eurostar to Paris and then take a TGV or other train to your destination.

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.)

Travel by car to centre-west France

From Paris you can head for Orleans, Tours, Poitiers or Saintes on the A10. For La Rochelle and the coast you then need to take the N137. To reach Nantes from Paris the best route is the A11.

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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