Travel to Provence

About Provence - France's Mediterranean heartland

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Travel to Provence 

About Provence - France's Mediterranean heartland


Site index: 
An introduction to Provence Cities, towns and areas Travel to Provence
Provençal food Main tourist sites Other regions
Provence heritage Provence climate Resources


 Provence is a part of France that is easy to reach. Travellers from Britain who don't want to drive can fly to a choice of destinations in or near Provence; but if you want to travel to Provence by car, remember to allow eight to twelve hours' driving from Calais, depending on where your destination is. The alternative solution is to take the Eurostar Provence service, which will take you at high-speed all the way from London St. Pancras to Avignon (only in summer).

 Flights to Provence 

Provence is relatively well served by airports; the main airports serving Provence are located in Marseilles and Nice, with smaller airports at Toulon-Hyères and Avignon.
Nimes airport is just outside Provence.
For visitors arriving in Paris, there are plenty of connecting flights from Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports - or the option of hiring a car.


Traditional carriers:
A number of traditional airlines serve the airports at Marseilles and Nice from a range of cities throughout Europe and beyond. Here is a selection of carriers with direct services. to and from the British Isles and the USA.

Provence Airport Carrier Flights to / from
Marseilles British Airways London Gatwick
Nice British Airways

Aer Lingus

Air France
BMI UK
Air France / Delta
London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London city (from £67)
Dublin
London city,
London Heathrow
New York JFK

Low cost carriers
The four Provence airports are served by direct flights from a number of UK and Irish airports.

Provence Airport Carrier Flights to / from
Nice

Nice city guide
Easyjet

Bmibaby
Jet 2
Ryanair
Belfast, Bristol,  Edinburgh, Liverpool,  London Gatwick,  Luton, Stansted, Newcastle
Birmingham, East Midlands
Leeds-Bradford, Manchester
Dublin, Manchester
Marseilles Ryanair

Easyjet

British Airways
Birmingham, Bournemouth, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow Prestwick, London Stansted
London Gatwick, Bristol, Manchester
London Gatwick
Toulon Hyères Flybe
Ryanair
Bournemouth
London Stansted
Avignon Provence Flybe
Exeter,  Southampton


Sail and Drive to Provence

If driving to Provence, the easiest way is to take a short Channel crossing to Calais (using P&O Ferries, Eurotunnel or others), then follow the French motorway network via Arras, Reims, Chaumont, Dijon, Bourg-en-Bresse, and Lyon, avoiding Paris by passing well to the east. (see right)
     Much of the driving will be on fairly clear motorways with a fraction of the traffic found on major UK motorways. However, the Lyon area and the Rhone valley to the south are unavoidable bottlenecks. On Saturdays in July and August, traffic jams and slowdowns can occur anywhere, and are virtually guaranteed in the bottleneck areas.

If entering France at Boulogne, the eastern route is still recommended.
If travelling from Cherbourg or Le Havre, a good route is to drive via Orleans, Clermont Ferrand and St. Etienne, or else  from Clermont Ferrand  go south via Le Puy en Velay and Aubenas, to join the Rhone valley at Montelimar. This avoids all major bottlenecks, but includes about 180 km on single carriageway roads, through beautiful countryside and hills.

Click for no-tolls route to Provence (with map)
The best route for driving from the UK to Provence:
  •  From Calais follow A 26 motorway to Reims (Rheims).
  • At Reims: join A 4, direction Metz Strasbourg.
  • At Chalon en Champagne, rejoin A 26, direction Troyes, Lyon.
  • At Troyes, join A 5, direction Chaumont, Dijon.
  • At Chaumont, join A 31, direction Dijon
  • At Dijon, take A 39, direction Dole, Bourg en Bresse
  • At Bourg-en-Bresse, follow A 40, then A 42, direction Lyon.
  • Before Lyon, turn off onto A 432 direction Airport Lyon St Exupery, Grenoble.
  • Just after the airport, join A 43 direction Lyon, Marseille.
  • After just 8 km, turn right (south) onto A 46 Lyon orbital, direction Marseille.
  • Thereafter, just follow signs for Marseille

Click here for route map showing convenient hotels

Click here to check ferry prices and book online.


Train / Train and drive to Provence  

The most convenient means of travelling by train from London to Provence is to take the  Eurostar  direct service to Avignon. This is a summer Saturday service only, departing St Pancras at 7.19, but getting you to Avignon at 14.08, with plenty of time to reach your holiday destination in time for a dip in the pool.

On other days, take a Eurostar train from London, Ebbsfleet or Ashford to Lille, and connect at Lille to a French TGV running directly to  Avignon, Aix en Provence, Marseilles or Nice. By changing at Lille, travellers do not need to change stations or cross Paris; Eurostars and French TGVs share the same platforms at Lille Europe station.
Trains with direct connections to Provence from Lille leave St Pancras at 7.00, 9.57 and 12.57.
Click here to check timetables and book tickets.

Train and drive to Provence involves taking the Eurotunnel shuttle, then following the motorway as indicated above


Holiday cottages & gites in Provence
   Provence gites tend to be quickly booked up for the peak season, notably between mid July and mid August, so booking early is a wise move.

Click here to view Provence gites and holiday cottages in the Gitelink directory

   Provence Regional guide
Other regions of France Independent hotels in Provence


Click for
cheap car hire in Provence

Compare rates from selected low cost car hire companies







Map of Provence region
Provence region , covering the French Riviera, the Provence Alps, historic Provence and the area historically linked to Provence
Useful links
Gites and villas in Provence
Regional tourist office
Bed and breakfast in Provence
Rural camping in the south of France

Stormy coast - Photo by Guillaumee - licence CC




Provence roofs
Provençal roofs





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