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Getting There By Sea

France - Getting There By Sea

The French coastline is dotted with ferry ports. There are around 150 ports altogether with many of them located on the North West coast. This makes travelling from the UK into France by ferry extremely easy. The main and perhaps best known UK ferry port is located at Dover and the Dover to Calais ferry route remains one of the most popular in the English Channel. P&O Ferries run 20 crossings every day between Dover and Calais and the trip takes approximately one and half hours. The same route with SeaFrance runs 11 times every day and does not take as long, around one hour and 15 minutes.

There are several other UK ports you can use to travel to France via the ferry, so if Dover isn’t the most convenient for you, one of the others might be. You can get to France by leaving from Portsmouth, and depending upon your final destination and which ferry company you choose, the trip to France will take between 3 hours (to Cherbourg) and 8 hours 50 minutes (St Malo). Condor Ferries can get you from Poole to St Malo 7 times a week in just under 5 and a half hours and the Transmanche Ferries Newhaven to Dieppe route takes just 4 hours and operates 13 times per week.

You can get to France by ferry just as easily if you are not entering from the UK. The Channel Islands also operate routes into France which are quicker due to the proximity of the islands to the French coast. Alderney to France via the Manche Iles Express ferry takes around 40 minutes into Dielette. Although the service is very quick, there is only one sailing per week so is less convenient for those wishing to travel from the island to mainland Europe. From Guernsey there are more options perhaps due to the island being bigger. With Condor Ferries there are three sailings daily into St Malo and the journey takes approximately 2 hours. You can also sail into Dielette twice a week with Manche Iles Express and the journey takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes. Those living in Jersey will find that getting back and to into France is much easier. Condor Ferries runs between Jersey and St Malo 3 times a day and takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete the journey. Manche Iles Express operate from St Helier in Jersey to Granville 9 times weekly and takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes, alternatively they offer 4 sailings per week into Carteret which takes around 1 hour.

There are many sailings between ports in Corsica into France including Ajaccio to Nice which takes 6 hours and 15 minutes with Corsica Sardinia Ferries. The Corsica Sardinia Line also runs one sailing per week between Calvi and Toulon which takes approximately 10 hours and 15 minutes. The Bastia to Marseille route taken with La Meridionale runs 11 times every week.

If you are coming from further afield such as Spain or even Morocco there are ferry routes available to get you to France. GLD Atlantique operates a route between Gijon in Spain to Saint Nazaire 4 times per week which takes around 14 hours to complete. The trip from Morocco with Comanov Ferries runs between Nador and Sete once a week and takes 28 hours to cross. Comanov also offer a route between Tangier and Sete 3 times each week that takes around 36 hours. You can also make the same crossing with Comarit 3 times a week that also takes 36 hours.

You can travel to France from the Netherlands or Belgium with little problem, and from Ireland and the Scandinavian countries although you may need to change ferries at one of the larger ports before commencement on to France. The same can be said for those wishing to travel to France via the ferry from the Mediterranean countries such as Italy or Greece. Both countries have excellent ferry systems but direct routes to France may not be available. You may find that when you try to book this service you will have to change at least once at a large ferry port such as Piraeus (Athens) or Civitavecchia (Rome) before continuing your journey.

Wherever you are considering starting your journey it is possible to reach France by sea. Factors such as distance to be travelled, routes taken and ferry companies used can make a difference to the length of the journey and the convenience.

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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.


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