Travel to Provence

About Provence - France's Mediterranean heartland

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Travel to Provence 

About Provence - France's Mediterranean heartland

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An introduction to Provence Cities, towns and areas Travel to Provence
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On this page:    Fly to Provence       Sail and drive to Provence     Train to Provence       Holiday cottages

 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 or Marseille, though direct services do not operate year-round.

 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.

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

Central France  Carrier Flights to / from

Nice city guide

Jet 2
British Airways
Air France
Belfast, Bristol,  Edinburgh, Liverpool,  London Gatwick,  Luton, Stansted, Newcastle
Leeds-Bradford, Manchester, London Stansted
Dublin, Stansted
London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow
New York
British Airways
Air Transat
London Heathrow
Edinburgh,  London Stansted, Manchester
London Gatwick, London Luton, Bristol, Manchester, Glasgow
London Heathrow
Toulon Hyères Flybe Southampton
Avignon Provence Flybe
Southampton, Birmingham

For flights to other French airports, see UK-France flights guide

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 or Marseilles. This is a seasonal service only.

On other days, take a Eurostar train from London, Ebbsfleet or Ashford to Paris or Lille.
Changing to a French TGV at Lille Europe, or at Marne-la-Vallée or at Lyon is easier than changing at Paris, as travellers do not need to change stations or cross Paris; Eurostars and French TGVs share the same platforms at Lille Europe station.
  However for most of the year there are very few handy connections, so changing at Paris and crossing from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon is often the easiest and quickest option.

Train and drive to Provence involves taking the Eurotunnel shuttle, then following the motorway as indicated above
Car hire in Provence
Find best rates on car hire in Provence
Click to compare rates
Compare rates at airports, train stations and city locations.

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

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

Provence roofs
Provençal roofs

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