So, what’s the best way to get to France?
Plane, ferry or train? There are a few modes of transport you can choose to cross the Channel.
When we’re heading to France, we almost always book Le Shuttle!
We think the Eurotunnel is by far the best way to get to France quickly.
What is the Eurotunnel?
You may have heard it called Le Shuttle, Chunnel, Eurotunnel, Channel Tunnel. Basically it’s a big tunnel (3 actually!) about 30 miles long linking the UK to France (they actually started building it both sides and met in the middle-ish!)
Up to 400 trains pass through the tunnel each day, carrying an average of 50,000 passengers, 6,000 cars, 180 coaches and 54,000 tonnes of freight. The Guardian
Eurotunnel is the best way to get to France because:
1. It’s so fast.
It takes around 30 minutes to cross from Folkestone to Calais. Literally time to unbuckle your seatbelt, have a drink and program your satnav!
2. No seasickness!
If you suffer from seasickness then you’ll get this! I’ll say no more!
3. Good value.
We book a few months in advance and get a good price…around £50 each way. It is much cheaper to book in advance.
If you shop at Tesco you can also boost your Clubcard points to pay for your crossing in part or full. The amount has recently been reduced but currently £5 will boost to £15 so it’s still quite a saving.
4. It’s convenient
There are stories annually about chaos at the tunnel. This year was no exception with passengers facing hours of delays due to a faulty air con unit. A nightmare situation especially with young kids but these things can happen anywhere.
We’ve never had a problem! #touchwood
We’re always amazed how quiet in seems peak season as we drive straight in Folkestone on and off in Calais.
Other ways to get to France.
Depending on where you’re going there are sone other great ways to get to France fri the UK.
There are several ferries that run to different locations in France. Take a look at the routes here.
The Eurostar carries passengers only from London to Paris or Lille. It’s a good option if you don’t need a car.
If you’re travelling solo or even as a couple then flying may just be the cheapest option. I managed to get a flight to La Rochelle for £20 a few years back. The more of you travelling the more expensive this option gets. Check out flight routes here.
If you can endure the long journey on a bus then you can reach France’s capital for as little as £21! Check out prices here.
Tips for a trouble-free crossing…
1. Stay overnight close to Eurotunnel.
If you live a fair distance from Folkestone then it’s a good idea to stay overnight in England the night before. That way you can make the most of your first day in France.
Ashford Eureka is great for families as there are restaurants, a Dobbies Garden Centre with play area aswell as shops on the same site. It’s around 20 minutes from the Channel Tunnel.
If you stay at a Premier Inn kids can eat a buffet breakfast for free with a paying adult.
2.Eurotunnel with roofrack or bikes
Holidays, especially with kids usually means a full car (see our packing tips here). You can use the Eurotunnel with a roofrack or bikes on the roof but you’ll need to check the ‘high vehicle’ box at the booking stage. It won’t cost you more but if you forget you could have a long wait as there are fewer spaces. So make sure your vehicle is booked as a ‘high vehicle’ if it exceed the 6ft/1.85 meters limit.
3. Entertain kids on the Eurotunnel!
We pack our boys up a little travel pack full of things to keep them entertained o route. It really helps when you just need to buy a little more time! Even if it’s just an extra half hour so that you can find your hotel!
We include this very popular Lego Travel Tin and this travel tray so that everything is kept neatly together.
We also include this type of things:
We also have a Kids Kindle Fire packed with educational apps and videos for when they need some chill-out time
4. Water and snacks
Sounds obvious but in all the excitement it’s so easy to forget the basics. Buy yourself a bottle each and keep yourself hydrated. We love our stainless steel bottles as they keep the water tasting fresh and cold all day.
Pack some easy snacks too so that you don’t have to worry about finding somewhere to stop right away.
5. Be ready to go!
When you arrive in France and drive off the train you are basically straight onto motorway. There isn’t really anywhere to stop and gather your thoughts. Make sure your satnav is programmed or your map is open. You’ll need to know where your headed before you leave the train.
6. French Motorway Services
The dreaded hole in the ground! The French claim no credit for these and actually call them Turkish Toilets!
If you want a proper toilet then stop in an Aires that also sells food (look for the cutlery logo on the signs). There are loads of them. The food is ok and some even have little play areas.
If you have young kids then you may find a portable potty handy. That way you won’t need to worry about finding ‘proper’ toilets on the go.
7. Go off-road in France
Motorways are quick ans easy but you do miss out on seeing ‘France’. Depending on how desperate you are to arrive at your destination you may enjoy getting off the motorway for a while!
If you like the sound of avoiding motorways for a while and exploring a little then check out Backroads France. We used it on our honeymoon and discovered some beautiful places…like Amiens (read full post here). It has the most beautiful Cathedral and is well worth a visit.
However you get there we hope you have a lovely time in this beautiful country! Take a look at our ever-growing France section for ideas of places to visit and things to do…
We’d love to hear your opinion…
What do you think is the best way to get to France?