There’s no better way to explore France than at your own pace in your own car.
After a fast and comfortable Eurotunnel journey beneath the Channel you have the freedom to go wherever you please at the pace which suits you.
But what happens if you want to visit Paris? Navigating crowded medieval city streets in a car can be tricky, particularly in another country. Fortunately Eurotunnel has the solution, with our guide to the best park and ride spots around Paris.
Paris's Metro system is world famous and its wide-spreading branches, along with the suburban RER network, comprehensively cover the city from the outskirts to the centre. As a result there are plenty of stations which offer parking facilities for those wanting to leave the car and get into the heart of town.
La Courneuve 8 Mai 1945
La Courneuve 8 Mai 1945 is at the Northeastern end of Line 7 (the pink one), from where you can ride all the way to the Louvre without changing.
There is free park and ride parking for about 100 vehicles at the station and you can also catch the 152 bus to the nearby Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace at Le Bourget Airport for an interesting insight into air and space travel.
This suburban station has two park and ride car parks, one multi-storey and one uncovered long term. Trains from here go straight into Paris St-Lazare and Paris Nord and you can also catch the local RER on the C line.
The area around the station is formed of the medieval town of Cergy-Pontoise, which has been absorbed into Paris's expanding suburbs. The streets are well worth exploring, particularly when you consider that the area was favoured by impressionists including Van Gogh, Pissarro, Cézanne and Gaugin.
Gare de Sarcelles-Saint-Brice
This station to the north of the city is on the suburban Paris-Nord (line H) which takes you straight into, well, Paris Nord. There are three car parks with 163 parking spaces, including disabled spots.
Considerably further out of town than the other stations on this list, Chantilly is a fairly economic bet, with 630 spaces priced as low as €1.30/hour.
The area around the station houses the famous Château de Chantilly and the Chantilly Racecourse, which includes the Living Horse Museum. RER trains go direct into the centre of Paris, calling at the Gare de Châtelet-Les Halles.
Mairie de Clichy
The car park under the Hôtel de Ville is nearer the city, but still very reasonably priced, with spaces starting at €1.30/hour. It is a short walk from there to the Mairie de Clichy Metro station on Line 13.
A short underground journey will see you at fashionable shopping centre Haussman Saint-Lazare.
Mairie des Lilas
Another end-of-the line station, Mairie des Lilas is on the Metro Line 11, which connects it directly to the very centre of Paris.
The nearby car park on Rue des Frères Flavien has 250 spaces and tariffs begin at €2.30/hour.
This RER station to the East of Paris has a park and ride car park open 24 hours, seven days a week. The suburb surrounding the station dates back as far as 600 BC, but is not traditionally visited by tourists.
The car park has only 90 places, so it is advisable to try to arrive early in the day.
Another Northeastern RER station, Garges – Sarcelles is on the RER D Line and subsequently links to Gare du Nord. The accompanying park and ride car park has 284 spaces and is uncovered.
Saint-Denis – Port de Paris
Situated on Line 13 of the Paris Metro, this station's 542-space park and ride car park is open 24 hours, seven days a week.
The nearby Stade de France – Saint-Denis station is on the Paris – Lille railway which connects straight to the Gare du Nord, giving an alternative route into town.
This impressive looking station on the northern branch of the RER C is one of the few places you can find some exclusive free parking around Paris. There are a limited 21 spaces next to the station itself, but the nearby park and ride car park in Pont de la Resistance has a far greater capacity.
This southern station's car park is ideal for those looking to leave their vehicle for a slightly longer stay – offering parking for anywhere up to two weeks. The underground lot also has comprehensive CCTV coverage and even recharging points for electric cars.
The station itself is at the southern end of Metro Line 4 and a short walk away from the 19th Century church of Saint-Pierre-de-Montrouge and the scenic Parc Montsouris.
Porte de Vincennes
Porte de Vincennes is one of the nearest opportunities to drop off your car to the city centre. Situated on Metro Line 1 you can catch a train directly to Pont Neuf or the Louvre.
The nearby car park in Place Charles Digeon is reasonably priced and has parent-and-child spaces and recharge points for electric cars. A short walk away is the impressive Place de la Nation, which was the site of an infamous guillotine during the French Revolution.