Driving guides

Driving to Paris from the UK

Planning a trip to Paris? This guide includes everything you’ll need to know about the drive from the UK and the places you can visit on the way.

Driving to Paris is a great way to see the city, not to mention some sights along the way. Travelling by car means you can pack all the essentials and take in the scenery at your own pace. No train or flight departures to worry about here.

The quickest way to drive from the UK to Paris

Taking Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais is the quickest way to travel if you are planning to drive your car to Paris. It only takes 35 minutes with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle.

Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais

From Folkestone, drive your vehicle onto one of our shuttles and you will arrive in Calais just 35 minutes later. Learn more about our shuttles and the variety of vehicles that can travel with us before booking your tickets.

Plan the perfect trip to Paris

How long does it take by car from Calais to Paris?

The drive to Paris from the Eurotunnel terminal at Calais is around 3 hours and 30 minutes. The distance is around 293km. The most direct route is via the A26 and A1, but if you plan to make some stops, or take in some scenery and sights, you should look at the A16 and D934. These roads will take you through towns such as Abbeville or Chantilly and you can plan stops or overnight stays to break up your drive or lengthen your holiday.

Are there any tolls from Calais to Paris?

French motorways are privately managed, so you can expect to pay tolls on certain routes. Depending on your type of vehicle, you can expect to pay around €20 each way.

If you take the A16, which follows the coast to Abbeville, then head inland to Amiens, the toll is around €18.60, whereas you will pay around €21 on the A26/A1 route. The A26 is a southeasterly road to Arras which connects you to the A1 into Paris.

For a toll-free route, head west towards Boulogne-sur-Mer, then south on the D901. This journey will take you through scenic countryside and quaint French towns.

Is a day trip to Paris worth it?

Surely you have read or heard the famous quote “Paris est toujours une bonne idée” or “Paris is always a good idea”? A day in Paris would allow you to take in some of the popular tourist spots, like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame Cathedral. But to really explore the city, and factor in driving through French scenery on the way without rushing, we would recommend staying at least one night in the city. Parisians serve some of the most delicious breakfasts and we would hate for you to miss that!

If you do decide a day trip is all you need, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is a fast and convenient way to get to Paris, with a trip from Folkestone to Calais taking just 35 minutes.

Woman tourist in striped top and hat takes picture of Eiffel Tower in Paris under sunlight

Some ideas for places to visit on your drive to Paris

Plan some stops along the way. From castles to WWI history, there’s something for everyone en route.

Via the A1 – Arras and Compiegne

Arras has Flemish architecture, two WWI sites and picturesque market squares filled with eateries and shops. If you plan to stay here overnight, you are in a good spot for visiting the Battle of the Somme memorials too. Arras also boasts the UNESCO listed Citadelle Vauban, which is surrounded by woodland should you fancy a stroll.

Compiegne is famous for its Imperial Palace, which was once the home of Napoleon. The gates of this impressive palace are in the heart of town and surrounded by trees and what used to be the hunting grounds for Louis XV. Compiegne’s palace is now a museum holding numerous collections including carriages and historical vehicles.

aerial view of pretty French town with green trees and old church

The A16, taking in Boulogne-sur-Mer and Abbeville

Boulogne-sur-Mer is the largest fishing port in France, with a town centre that is filled with shops and restaurants serving the freshest of seafood. Cobbled streets will lead you to the Church of St Nicolas, or you can stroll through Old Town and see the 13th century ramparts. The town is home to Europe’s largest aquarium, Nausicaa, perfect for a visit in colder or wetter weather. The highlights include the Californian sea lions and impressive 18-metre-long tunnel that makes you feel like you are truly under the sea amongst stunning ocean creatures.

Abbeville is a pretty town, with one of the oldest belfries in France. The UNESCO site allows you to climb 30 metres for views of the surrounding French countryside. If you have brought your bike along with you, Abbeville is on a trail that goes along the River Somme, so you’re sure to see many of the important monuments from WWI as you venture along the route.

A16/D934 via Amiens and Chantilly

Amiens is a university town that was rebuilt after a lot of destruction during WWII. The River Somme flows through the town, with pockets of lovely greenery to relax in or stroll through. However, many visit Amiens to see its Gothic architecture, especially the Cathedrale Notre Dame and Beffroi d’Amiens. In fact, the Notre Dame in Amiens is the tallest cathedral in France, bigger than the Notre Dame in Paris!

Chantilly is as elegant as it sounds. As well as the birthplace of the thick cream that many of us enjoy on our desserts, Chantilly has gardens, parkland and an impressive château that resembles a fairytale castle. The Château de Chantilly contains a superb collection of paintings within the Musée Condé as well as a lake and stables.

fairytale French castle in sunlight by lake

Start your drive to Paris with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

Begin your exciting trip to Pairs with Eurotunnel — we can take you from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes. It couldn’t be easier to travel with us.

Once you arrive in Paris, you’ll want to explore right away. Here’s our guide to the top sights. Or, for something a little off the beaten track, try our Secret Paris blog.

Find out more about driving in France with our guide here

Book your crossing to Calais with Eurotunnel

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