Driving guides

Driving to Marseille from Calais

Take an epic journey through France from top to bottom, taking in history, culture and gastronomy (and even a Disney theme park).

A cosmopolitan, vibrant melting pot of cultures on the Mediterranean, Marseille is an unforgettable French city. There is history in abundance here, from the Old Port to the Fort Saint-Jean and the Notre-Dame de la Garde, which keeps watch from on high over the city. Anyone visiting the French Riviera or Provence should take the time to visit Marseille.

Passion runs high in Marseille over many things, but particularly for sport. So it was an obvious choice as a host city for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. England, France, Scotland and South Africa all have matches at the Stade Velodrome, one of the most iconic stadiums in France, and it also hosts two quarter-finals.

A road trip from Calais to Marseille might seem ambitious, but it is a great way to experience everything France has to offer, from top to bottom.

Notre-Dame de la Garde rises high above Marseille

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

The drive from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle’s Calais terminal to Marseille takes between 10 and 11 hours, depending on the route you take. It is a long journey, yes, but an epic one, from the Channel coast to the Mediterranean. 

We would definitely recommend breaking the trip up and having an overnight stop. Here are some ideas on where you could stay or spend a few hours.

The A26 and A7 via Dijon and Lyon

The quickest route is on the A26 and A7 and takes around 10 hours 15 minutes (with tolls).

Places to visit en-route

Troyes

Very old half-timbered buildings on either side of a very narrow lane lean close to each other

Troyes is around four hours into your journey from Calais. Historic half-timbered houses are a common sight in French cities, but Troyes arguably has the best preserved collection of all. The city underwent major renovation in the 1950s but retains almost all of its original charming features.

The quirky architecture includes the rather wonderful La Ruelle des Chats (The Cats Alley), so named because the rooves of the houses in this street are so close that cats could easily pass from one side to the other. Find a restaurant or café in the old town serving Troyes’ famous brioche with Chaource cheese and feel like a local! 

Lyon

Lyon has claims to be the food capital of France, if not the world. It certainly has some incredible restaurants and food markets, where beef and pork are specialities. If you are really into your food why not take a course at one of Lyon’s cookery schools?

There are plenty of other things to do in and around France’s third biggest city, from the aquarium to the city parks. Vieux Lyon in the Renaissance district is full of character, with some beautiful architecture, cobbled streets and the Musée Gadagne one of the highlights.

Avignon

An old stone bridge that only goes part way across a wide river, from a historic town with a castle and fortifications

By the time you reach Avignon you are nearly at journey’s end, but it would be a shame not to stop off in one of France’s most historic cities. Avignon is best known for being the place where the Papacy was based for most of the 14th century. The city retains its compact size and much of its medieval character. Make sure you visit the Palais de Papes, where the popes lived, and the Pont St-Bénezet, which famously only extends halfway across the river.  If you’re in Avignon in July you could catch the Festival d’Avignon, one of France’s great arts festivals.

The A6 and A7 via Paris

The journey time of the route from Calais to Marseille via the A6 and A7 is around 11 hours (with tolls). Paris is your first major milestone, but there are plenty of other places to catch your interest on the way.

Points of interest en-route

Marne-la-Vallee

You might never have heard of Marne-la-Vallee, so why is this Paris suburb so popular with holidaymakers? Because this is where you will find Disneyland® Paris!

To get to the theme parks you will need to come a short way off the main route, but it is more than worth the detour, especially if you have young children in the car. Why not buy a 1-day ticket and keep it a surprise for them – make the trip to Marseille even more magical!

Beaune

A cobbled courtyard of very colourfully tiled long building, with pillars and gables

Beaune, the capital of the Burgundy wine-making region, is right on the A6 route, about four and a half hours from Marseille. It is a temple to the grape, with vineyards of all sizes everywhere you look in the valley outside the town. The centre of Beaune is dotted with wine caves, underground cellars where wineries store, age and sell their wares. The Hospices de Beaune is the most celebrated building in the town, a 15th-century hospital for the poor which is now a museum and vineyard. The wine auction, held every November at the Hospices de Beaune,  is one of Burgundy’s best.

How much are the tolls from Calais to Marseille?

You should expect to pay around €85 in tolls each way driving from Calais to Marseille.

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 apply with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle.

Drive to Marseille with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

Driving from Calais to Marseille starts with a 35 minute crossing from Folkestone with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. Road trips don’t come much bigger within France than this one, and our other driving guides should give you more inspiration about where to go next.

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