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Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Air

We have put together a table of airports to fly into and out of as well as the distance and approximate driving time from the airport to us.
Click on the mileage for an airport to get directions from that airport to our gîtes in Cantobre.
The table is listed by our personal preference for use (i.e. how easy it is to get through the airport), time it takes to get from the airport to us, the cost and how much we enjoy the drive! Note that most low cost airlines only operate April-November to some airports, some even just June-August so out of season we tend to use Ryanair to Béziers, Carcassonne or Perpignan. I have colour coded the destinations to indicate what time of the year each route starts and ends, for example: January-December, April-October, June-August.
For trans-continental customers we would advise Toulouse or Marseille airports as the others tend to be serviced by low cost European airways.

Cars can be hired from all of these airports, check with your airline to see if they offer a deal that includes car hire.

Driving in France and speed limits

Non-dual carriageway roads that had a speed limit of 90 km/h now have a limit of 80 km/h (add 10% to your driving time).
The five main things we have learnt while living in France are... Stop signs mean stop. A lot of French drivers go all the way around a roundabout in the outside lane, so watch out if you cross a lane to exit. There are also very often zebra crossings at the exits to roundabouts. Don’t rely on indicators on the car in front telling you where it is going. On dual carriageways drivers may leave the overtaking lane quickly and pull-in more closely in front of you than you are used to.
Speed cameras are calibrated every year and they (and not you) are allowed to have an operating tolerance of 5 km/h, so if you are actually travelling at 90 km/h they are allowed to record that as anywhere between 85 km/h and 95 km/h. Because of the operating tolerance they then knock 5 km/h off the recorded speed so they can never claim that you were speeding when you weren’t. So, if the speed limit is 90 km/h and you are actually travelling at 91 km/h, the camera can record this as 96 km/h, it will then knock off its 5 km/h operating tolerance and you can get a speeding ticket.

Air pollution (Crit’Air) stickers

Some cities in France (as well other European countries) have introduced controls on what vehicles are allowed inside the city. The control is based on your engine type and to be allowed access to a controlled zone (Zones à Circulation Restreinte or ZCR) you must display a sticker in your windscreen AND have an allowable engine type. The stickers cost about 4 € and can be ordered from the French government website, make sure you only order the sticker from the government website otherwise you may pay a lot more!
In addition to the ZCR zones are the weather dependent ZPA and ZPAd zones (Zone de Protection de l’Air) that can be active or not on a daily basis, the ZPAd zones cover whole departments (counties) such as the one in L’Hérault just to the south of us.
To find out more information about ZCR and ZPA zones or to see if a particular ZPA is active visit the Crit-Air website. You can also get the Green-zone app for your mobile that has current data for all the controlled zones in Europe. Do NOT buy your sticker via the Green-zone app or the Crit-Air website, use the government site.

Crossing the English Channel

You have two options. The quickest, most convenient and therefore the most expensive is Eurotunnel, which is our preference. It’s better for our dog and we generally get put on the next crossing if we turn up early, and with a much lower CO2 output it’s also much greener than a ferry. If you are not that constrained by time, the other option is to take a ferry which is cheaper, they go to places other than Calais, you can get a meal and a snooze but they do take a lot longer. The ferry companies are P&O Ferries, DFDS, Brittany Ferries and from Ireland Stena Line. There are also some comparison websites which can do the leg-work for you, two that we’ve used are AFerry.com and Direct Ferries.

Driving after crossing the English Channel

You can drive to us in one day or two, if you are going to do it in two then going via Rouen and stopping off at Chartres is a good option. We have produced some route guides to help you get here, each one has options for avoiding toll motorways and has links to google maps to show you the route. Click on the route to view the itinerary in an internet browser or download the PDF by clicking on the red download symbol. The times are for driving non-stop with a maximum dual carriageway speed of 112 km/h and you can reduce times for motorway routes by about an hour by driving at the maximum speed limit. Click on a time to see the map.
Calais via Paris (9:15 hr, 69 € tolls) Download PDF
Calais via Rouen (10:30 hr, 50 € tolls; 12 hr toll free) Download PDF
Dieppe (9 hr, 42 € tolls; 10 hr toll free) Download PDF
Le Havre (9 hr, 48 € tolls; 10:30 hr toll free) Download PDF
Caen (8:30 hr, 63 € tolls; 10 hr toll free) Download PDF

Other routes by road

Motorway: See here for an Autoroute planner showing toll costs

Driving from the north, crossing Millau Viaduct saves you about 10 minutes but costs between 7 € and 10 € in tolls. We recommend driving through Millau and then up the Dourbie valley (D991). Millau Viaduct
Clermont-Ferrand (257km) by toll free A75 and Millau town (2:50 hr)

Montpellier (93km) by toll free A750 and A75. Exit 48 : La Cavalerie or Exit 49 : Le Caylar (1:10 hr)

Béziers (100km) by toll free A75, Exit 48 : La Cavalerie or Exit 49 : Le Caylar (1:10 hr)

Non-Motorway:
Rodez (103 km) by N88, D29, D911, D991 (1:35 hr)
Albi (125 km) by D999, D991 (2:10 hr)
Toulouse (210 km) by A68, N68, D999, D991 (2:45 hr) (tolls 2 €)

Bus:
All regional routes to Millau see Millau Bus station Millau (35 km, 55 mins) via La Cavalerie (Line : 217 Millau Station - Nant)


Air

We have put together a table of airports to fly into and out of, as well as the distance and approximate driving time from the airport to us.
Click on the mileage for an airport to get directions from that airport to us.
The table is listed by our personal preference for use (i.e. how easy it is to get through the airport), time it takes to get from the airport to us, the cost and how much we enjoy the drive! Note that most low cost airlines only operate April-November to some airports, some even just June-August so out of season we tend to use Ryanair to Béziers, Carcassonne or Perpignan. I have colour coded the destinations to indicate what time of the year each route starts and ends, for example: January-December, April-October, June-August.
For trans-continental customers we would advise Toulouse or Marseilles airports as the others tend to be serviced by low cost European airways.

Cars can be hired from all of these airports, check with your airline to see if they offer a deal that includes car hire.

Airports...

Airport Flying IntoAirlineAirport Flying Out Of
Béziers
110 km, 68 miles
1:20 hr
Ryanair London (Luton)
London (Stansted)
Bristol
Manchester
Edinburgh
Düsseldorf (Weeze)
Stockholm (Skavsta)
Paris (Beauvais)
Carcassonne
200 km, 125 miles
2:05 hr
Ryanair London (Stansted)
Manchester
East Midlands
Glasgow (Intl.)
Edinburgh
Cork
Dublin
Brussels (Charleroi)
Porto
Montpellier
110 km, 68 miles
1:30 hr
Ryanair Brussels (Charleroi)
Frankfurt (Hahn)
easyJet London (Gatwick)
Basel (BSL)
Berlin (Tegel)
Aer Lingus Dublin
Eurowings Düsseldorf (DUS)
KLM Amsterdam
Nîmes
155 km, 96 miles
1:50 hr
Ryanair London (Stansted)
London (Luton)
Brussels (Charleroi)
Fez
Perpignan
195 km, 121 miles
2:00 hr
Ryanair London (Stansted)
Birmingham
Frankfurt (Main)
Brussels (Charleroi)
Flybe Southampton
Edinburgh
Aer Lingus Dublin
Rodez
105 km, 65 miles
1:40 hr
Ryanair Dublin
Brussels (Charleroi)
Flybe Southampton
Toulouse
210 km, 131 miles
2:45 hr
Ryanair London (Stansted)
Edinburgh
Brussels (Charleroi)
Berlin (Schoenefeld)
Frankfurt (Main)
Fez
Madrid
Seville
Malta
easyJet London (Luton)
London (Gatwick)
Bristol
Liverpool
Porto
Berlin (Schoenefeld)
Basel (BSL)
Amsterdam
Malaga
Valencia
Flybe Manchester
British Airways London (Heathrow)
Aer Lingus Dublin
KLM Amsterdam
Marseille
250 km, 156 miles
2:50 hr
Ryanair Edinburgh
London (Stansted)
Brussels (Charleroi)
Eindhoven
Fez
Porto
Malta
Madrid
Malaga
Seville
Valencia
Ibiza
Mallorca
Zadar
easyJet Bristol
London (Gatwick)
Manchester
London (Luton)
Glasgow (Intl.)
Amsterdam
Berlin (Schoenefeld)
Aer Lingus Dublin
British Airways London (Heathrow)
KLM Amsterdam
Eurowings Düsseldorf (DUS)
Clermont-Ferrand
260 km, 162 miles
2:40 hr
Ryanair London (Stansted)


Train

For all schedules see SNCF/TGV website
TGV (high speed train) to Montpellier and Béziers.
Local Lines to Millau from Toulouse, Rodez, Béziers and Montpellier.
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