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Getting There By Rail

France - Getting There By Rail

Entering France by rail is perhaps the easiest way to get there for those who have plenty of luggage to carry. It is also easy for those who live across the Channel in the UK thanks to the Eurotunnel. Although some would prefer the convenience of flight to get to their destination, travelling by train does not limit the amount of luggage you can take, within reason, and by using the Eurostar you can board with your car or even a van if you have a lot to take with you. If you are taking a motor vehicle such as car or van with you then you will depart from Folkestone and arrive in Calais. The vehicle carrying trains operate every 15 minutes during peak times. Through the night there is a minimum of one train per hour. This makes traveling to France from the UK by rail convenient for everyone.

If you are travelling as a foot passenger on the train from the UK into France then you will depart from St Pancras station in London which goes to Paris via Lille and takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes approximately. It is also possible to change trains at Calais to head into Paris via Boulogne. Once in Paris travelling around France on a train is extremely easy to do as the rail network is extensive. You can reach all areas of the country often without the need to change to another train.

If you want to travel into France from other areas of Europe then the rail systems makes this easy to do. Services such as French Railways (SNCF) operate routes not only to neighbouring countries such as Belgium but also as far away as Moscow. The journey from Belgium to Paris can take only an hour and 50 minutes, while rail journeys to Moscow can take 50 hours. The long haul train services to destinations such as Moscow are often more luxurious than the shorter journeys and come with cabins with beds for overnight journeys.

Coming to France from various other European cities need not take too long, and many are connected by high sped rail routes. Average travel times vary but you can expect a journey from Frankfurt into Paris to take around 3 hours and 55 minutes. The trip from Madrid to Paris can take around 14 hours on the train, traveling through Bordeaux. The length of the journey is not necessarily dependant on distance between the two towns, Paris to Lyon take around 1 hour and 55minutes, while the relatively short journey between Nice and Marseilles takes on average just over 2 and a half hours. The many rail links around Europe means that whether you are travelling from Poland or from Italy, getting to France is easy. There may be several changeovers involved, but several of the routes are direct for more convenience. Paris is perhaps one of the most easily accessible of all the European cities seeing visitors from as far away as Norway and Greece arriving every year by rail.

Rail journeys into France are perhaps cheaper than you would think. Many people find it more cost effective and convenient than taking a flight and rail passes can make it that much more affordable. InterRail offers Global Passes that allow the user to travel through any of 30 European countries. The two types of Global Passes available are the ‘continuous passes’ that offer unlimited travel every single day, while the ‘flexi passes’ are valid for as set number of days although the days that pass is valid you can enjoy unlimited travel.

The Eurailpass works under a similar principle but it is only valid for those who are not residents of the European Union. The tickets are valid for a variety of durations, 15 days, 21 days, one month, two months or three months. You also have the option of choosing how many countries you want the pass to be valid for, the more countries you choose, the more expensive the pass will be. They are available to buy from the official website using a major credit card or by the internet payment service Paypal. Although France is well known for having an excellent public transport service, the handy rail system around the country and the easy and convenient ticket buying service makes it an extremely popular way to travel.

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.