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Travel to Paris

Flying to Paris

Airlines operating direct flights to Paris from the UK include Air France, British Airways, CityJet, easyJet, Flybe and Ryanair. Given the competition, cheap flights to Paris can easily be found, although prices do peak during school holidays. Airlines offering direct flights from the USA to Paris include Air France, American Airlines, Delta and OpenSkies. 

Flight times

From London - 1 hour 20 minutes; New York - 7 hours 25 minutes; Los Angeles - 11 hours; Toronto - 7 hours 20 minutes; Sydney - 23 hours 30 minutes (including stopover).

Travel by road

Traffic in Paris drives on the right and the minimum driving age is 18 years. Speed limits are 130kph (80mph) on motorways, 110kph (68mph) on dual carriageways, 90kph (56mph) outside built-up areas and 50kph (30mph) in built-up areas.

You must carry a national driving licence, the car's registration document and a red warning triangle at all times, or you are liable for a fine. EU nationals taking their own cars to France are strongly advised to obtain a Green Card, without which insurance cover is limited to the legal minimum.

All headlamp beams must be adjusted for right-side driving by use of beam deflectors or by tilting the headlamp bulb-holder.

Automobile Club Association (tel: +33 9 7040 1111; www.automobile-club.org) provides information and might offer reciprocal benefits to members of automobile clubs in other countries.

Emergency breakdown services

Auto Charonne Dépannage (tel: +33 1 4024 0329). On motorways, dial 112.

Routes

The Eurotunnel shuttle services (tel: +44 8443 353 535, in the UK; www.eurotunnel.com) allow cars and coaches to cross the Channel Tunnel (journey time - 35 minutes) from Kent in Southern England to Nord-Pas-de-Calais in Northern France. Alternatively, there are numerous daily sea crossings to France.

From Boulogne (near Calais), the A16 leads directly into Paris. The E19 motorway leads from Brussels into Paris (via the A2 and A1). Lille is linked to Paris via the A1. The N10 leads from Bordeaux to Paris, while from Marseille, drivers should take the A7 to Lyon, after which the A6 leads north to Paris.

Coaches

The majority of international coaches arrive and depart from the main coach station, Gare Routière Internationale Paris-Gallieni, at Bagnolet, 20th.

Eurolines (tel: 0892 899 091, in France only or +33 1 4186 2421; www.eurolines.fr) runs coaches to numerous other cities within France and in other European countries.

Time to city

From Lille - 2 hours 30 minutes; Brussels - 3 hours 40 minutes; London - 6 hours; Bordeaux - 5 hours 45 minutes; Marseille - 7 hours 20 minutes.

Travel by Rail

Services

Paris is well-connected to the rest of Europe by train and has several mainline stations.

Operators

Eurostar (tel: + 44 03432 186 186, in the UK; www.eurostar.com) runs high-speed services from London St Pancras station to Paris Gare du Nord.

SNCF (tel: 3635, in France only or +33 892 353 535; www.sncf.com) runs the national railway service, which is fast, efficient and generally reliable. A state-of-the-art high speed railway network (the TGV) spreads out from Paris to most major French cities, including Lyon and Marseille.

Journey times

From London - 2 hours 25 minutes; Brussels - 1 hour 50 minutes; Nice - 5 hours 40 minutes; Lille - 1 hour; Marseille - 3 hours 35 minutes.

Travel by boat

The most convenient ports to Paris from the UK lie on France’s northern seaboard and include St-Malo, Cherbourg, Caen, Le Havre and Dieppe.

Ferry operators

Brittany Ferries (tel: +44 330 159 7000, in the UK; www.brittany-ferries.co.uk) operates services from Plymouth to Roscoff; from Portsmouth to St-Malo, Caen and Le Havre; and from Poole to Caen.

Condor Ferries (tel: +44 1202 207215, in the UK; www.condorferries.co.uk) operates from Poole, Jersey and Guernsey to St-Malo.

P&O Ferries (tel: +44 800 130 0030, in the UK; www.poferries.com) sail from Dover to Calais.

Transfer

The best way for travellers to reach Paris from the ferry ports is by car or by rail. Journey time is at least three hours by car.

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Featured Hotels

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Hôtel Des Academies Et Des Arts

Just around the corner from Montparnasse cemetery, this neat boutique hotel offers stunning rooms and a sumptuous breakfast without the wallet melting price tag. Best of all, it feels far more like neighbourhood Paris than similarly sized spots in touristy Montmartre. The lounge area, replete with library, is a great place to kick back before heading out to one of the array of nearby brasseries for dinner.

Le Bristol

There’s luxury accommodation and then there’s Hotel Le Bristol Paris. From marble-panelled powder rooms to its regal 1,210-sq-m (13,000-sq-ft) garden, Le Bristol has been Paris’s most prestigious hotel since its inception in 1925. All services are naturally state of the art and foodies will be happy to hear its three-Michelin starred restaurant continues to stockpile accolades under the guidance of chef Eric Frechon.

Saint James Paris

The Saint James is steeped in weird and wonderful history. A one time hot-air balloon field (some still take off today) and school for France's most talented students, nowadays it is one of Paris's hottest addresses. Situated in a 19th century chateau on the edge of the city centre, rooms are a blend of belle époque decadence and modern luxury. Beyond the bedrooms, the library bar, with a terrace affording views across town, is what makes this hotel really special.

Hotel Dupond Smith

This lush Marais bolthole isn’t obscenely overpriced but will leave you feeling pampered and prepped to take on the area’s myriad coffee stops and macaroon shops. Its furniture is by Phillipe Starck and its wallpaper by Hermes. Sleek and stylish, make sure you dress the part for this classy Parisian hotel.

Ritz Paris

Situated on one of the smartest squares in the city, the Ritz Paris is the capital’s most celebrated hotel and is the very essence of luxury and discretion. The lobby gleams with marble, chandeliers and impressive floral arrangements from designer Djordje Varda, while the oriental carpets, soft to the touch, soak up the sound. It has a magnificent swimming pool and fitness room, as well as a health spa.

Hôtel Arvor Saint Georges

Owner Nadine Flammarion has taken a fresh and fun approach to interior design with bright white walls and splashes of colour bringing out the atmosphere at Hôtel Arvor Saint Georges. Novels, deckchairs and striking art prints contrast with the otherwise Spartan approach. Arvor has 24 rooms and six suites and the location makes it perfect for strolling through Montmartre and soaking up some creative inspiration.