Driving guides

Driving to Lyon from Calais

A road trip to Lyon takes you through the enchanting heart of France – with opportunities to stop off in timeless Paris or beautiful Burgundy.

Lyon is one of France’s great cities – a mecca for food lovers, culture vultures and those looking for adventure.

Sports fans will also know Lyon well, especially for its football, rugby and basketball teams.It will be no surprise to learn that Lyon is a host city for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. New Zealand, Australia, Wales and the hosts France all have matches at the Olympique Lyonnais stadium. A road trip from Calais to Lyon is all part of the experience.

So here are some ideas on how to get to Lyon from Calais, and where to stop on the way south.

Empty French autoroute with overhead blue signs for Lyon, Auxerre, Paris and Orleans

How long does it take to drive from Calais to Lyon?

The travel time from Calais to Lyon is seven to eight hours, depending on the route you take. While it is a long journey it is also a great opportunity to explore more of France.

The quickest route – the A26 via Reims and Dijon

The quickest driving distance from Calais to Lyon is 7 ¼ hours, on the A26 from Calais all the way down to Troyes. Your route (with tolls) then takes you through the rolling countryside and vineyards of Burgundy.

Places to visit en-route

Reims

The gorgeous city of Reims is famous for its architecture and champagne production, and is two and a half hours drive from Calais. It would simply be rude not to call in at one of the champagne houses and take a tour. As you are driving, a tasting may have to wait, but we’re sure you could find room for a bottle or two in the boot! If you just have the time for one Reims attraction, make it the cathedral: a Gothic masterpiece featuring over 2,300 statues.

Dijon

A picture of the market square in Dijon

Dijon really does cut the mustard! As the capital of Burgundy, it spoons out rich dollops of history, gastronomy and culture. There is something for every taste here, whether it is the culinary delights of its restaurants, its 14th-century cathedral with its magnificent tombs of the Dukes of Burgundy, or its atmospheric medieval streets. Don’t leave Dijon without finding the owl on the wall of the church of Notre Dame, said to bring good luck if you rub it with your left hand.

The A16 and A6 via Paris

This route has a slightly longer journey time of 7 hours 55 minutes, but it has the advantage of a possible stop off in Paris, or at several fascinating sights on the way south.

Points of interest en-route

Amiens

Around two hours from our Calais terminal is the charming city of Amiens. The river Somme runs through the city, a poignant reminder that Amiens suffered much in both World Wars. Its historic character survived, epitomised by the Gothic cathedral, the largest of its kind in France, the Jules Verne house and museum (the novelist lived in Amiens for 34 years) and the Musée de Picardie. In December the Christmas market will be in full swing, one of the best in the country.

A large chateau with elegant gardens and a paved area on a summer’s day

Château de Fontainebleu

Just south of Paris lies one of the largest and most celebrated of royal châteaux. The 1,500 room Château de Fontainebleu was a royal palace for nearly 700 years. Called the ‘true residence of Kings’ by Napoleon Bonaparte, it has many astonishing rooms, such as the Empress Room, the King’s Staircase and the Galerie de Diane. The paintings, furniture, frescoes and decoration are a dazzling feast for the eyes, while the gardens and park offer 130 hectares of formal, intimate and landscaped green space.

For those not in a hurry – the A6 via Arras, Paris & Auxerre

This route is similar to that of the above, but first heads to Paris on the A1 via Arras, and has a travel time of just over 8 hours.

Places to visit en-route

A cobbled street in a historic part of a city in an early winter evening

Auxerre

Auxerre is a treasure that rarely finds its way into the tourist guides. One of the principal cities of the Burgundy region, it more than deserves a stop on your long road to Lyon. Attractively situated on the banks of the river Yonne, the stunning old town has echoes of Rouen. Indeed, Auxerre has its own medieval clock tower on an archway above one of the city’s most historic lanes. Cobbled streets lead up to its two architectural wonders, the Abbey of St Germain and Cathedral of St Étienne.

Chablis

Auxerre is also a good base from which to make the short trip to Chablis. The town that has given its name to one of France’s most famous wines is just delightful. The buildings are of the whitest sandstone, and include the city gate with its twin towers, the Domaine Long-Depaquit and the Abbaye de Pontigny. Wander round the charming streets and you will find wineries behind most doors, with plenty of tempting tastings!

Feeling like a tipple of something? Here’s our guide to the food and wine of Burgundy.

How much are the tolls from Calais to Lyon?

You should expect to pay around €60 in tolls each way driving from Calais to Lyon.

An Emovis tag will help speed up your passage through the tolls. We have an exclusive offer saving customers €10 on the application fee of an Emovis tag if you if you apply with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle.

Drive to Lyon with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

Driving to Lyon starts with a 35 minute crossing from Folkestone to Calais with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. If you’ve got the driving bug, why not check out our other driving guides for destinations across France?

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