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Domestic Travel in France

The most comfortable ways of domestic travel in France is by car, train or flights. Long distance buses are very limited.


A typical domestic flight in France lasts an hour or less. There are airports near most destinations, and usually outside major cities with efficient shuttle connections to the city center. Domestic air service is offered by Air France and some economy airlines. Airlines often have youth, couple, and family rates on domestic flights. They also offer reduced fares, usually with restrictions, for advanced booking.

French Railways (SNCF) operates a nationwide network with some 31,000 km (21,000 mi) of line, of which over 12,000 km (7.500 mi) is electrified. Most intercity connection is operated either by TGV or express trains. The TGV (high speed train) runs from Paris to Brittany and southwest France at 300kph (186mph), to Lyon and the southwest at 270kmp (168mph) and to Strasbourg at 320kmp (199mph). Reservations on these trains are obligatory. If you want more time to enjoy the scenery there are also slow trains to all destinations.

It is possible to buy various kinds of train tickets in France, including family and young person's tickets. In general, the fares charged will depend on what day of the week and at what time of the day one is traveling. You can travel on first or second class. You can book train tickets online, but they must be picked up when you get to the train station. Before getting on the train, your ticket must be punched by an automatic machine to be valid. The machines are situated at the entrance of all platforms. Failure to punch the ticket may entitle you to a fine even if you are a foreigner with a limited French vocabulary. If for some reason you step aboard a train without a ticket, you must find the conductor and tell him about your situation before he finds you, if you want to avoid a heavy fine.

Driving a car is a comfortable and efficient means of travel in France. Roads are well maintained and the road network is one of the most complete in the world. There are more than 8,000 km (5,000 mi) of toll roads in France, called autoroutes â péage, they are marked by blue signs with the letter "A". French driving habits and driving laws differ slightly from those in other countries, and it is advisable to learn a about this in advance.

To hire a car in France you must be at least 21 years of (age may vary by car category) and have held your license for a year. Drivers under the age of 25 may incur a young driver surcharge. Visitors staying less than 90 days and carrying a valid EU, international or U.S. (state) license may drive in France.



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