Transportation In France
Unquestionably the French Railroad Network is
excellent. Trains leave from everywhere going to everywhere at all hours of the
day and night. Further, when a train pulls into a station which serves a small
town, then there is a bus waiting at the train station to take you to that small
town. I have always been amazed at this level of coordination. They really have
it organized beyond belief.
The city of Strasbourg has their own web page about getting around in their
region. You may want to visit it HERE.
It is really neat.
Major efforts have been made
since World War II to improve and modernize the extensive French transportation
system and to lessen its historical focus on the Paris metropolitan area. Train
service, provided by the state, is fast and efficient, especially on the more
than 12,000 km (7,456 mi) of electrified track. The French National Railways' Trains
à Grande Vitesse (TGV, "high speed trains") are world famous. In
1988 a consortium of French and British construction companies began work on the
English Channel Tunnel or "Chunnel," completed in 1993, which
established the first direct rail link between France and Britain. Airlines are
also state run; Air France is one of the world's largest airline companies.
France's road system provides
access to all parts of the nation. The network of expressways (7,000 km or 4,350
mi) is in the process of being expanded. In 1990 there were 23 million passenger
cars and more than 5 million trucks and buses. Waterways carry much of the
nation's bulk freight; the three principal waterways deep enough to accommodate
the 1,500-ton barges common in Europe are the Rhine River, the Seine between Le
Havre and Paris, and the canalized section of the Moselle below Metz. MORE
Fret SNCF s’appuie sur une longue expérience du transport de marchandises
et sur une connaissance toujours plus fine des besoins de ses clients. Elle bénéficie
également des synergies issues de son appartenance au groupe SNCF.
Ces atouts lui ont permis de développer et de valoriser des savoir-faire spécifiques
en matière de :
Fret SNCF mobilise de très importantes ressources pour
l’innovation. L’objectif est à la fois d’améliorer les
équipements et de mettre en place des technologies permettant
de faciliter le traitement et le suivi des commandes.
Qualité de service pour le client, qualité des équipements,
de la formation du personnel, des processus : Fret SNCF
s’engage dans des démarches d’amélioration continue.
Le transport ferroviaire dispose d’atouts indéniables en matière
de respect de l’environnement par rapport aux autres modes de
La sécurité est une exigence permanente : il s’agit de
garantir la sécurité des marchandises que nous confient nos
clients, mais aussi la sécurité de tous.
Major airlines serve Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), which is 14 mi/23 km
north of Paris, and Orly Airport (ORY), which is 9 mi/14 km south of the French
capital. Air France, Air Litoral and small, low-cost carriers such as Ryanair
and EasyJet have frequent domestic flights. Cruise lines often stop in Nice. Car
and passenger ferries cross the English Channel regularly.
Excellent rail service, both internal and international, serves the country.
Many of the main lines in France are now high-speed trains -- TGV -- going 185
mph/300 kph. The high-speed routes extend from Paris to Dijon, Lyon, Avignon,
Marseille, Lille and the Brittany region. Internationally, high-speed trains
connect France to London, Brussels, Amsterdam and Geneva. There are several
trains a day (fewer on Sunday) to choose from. It is also possible to use the
Train/Auto service, where the car travels with the passenger. Married couples
can get a free Couple Card from any rail station (photo required), which gives
one spouse a half-price fare when the other pays full fare on most off-peak
The highway system is excellent but can be expensive (most freeways require
tolls). Escorted, hosted and fly/drive programs, barge cruises, hiking and
bicycling are the primary means of seeing the country.
Paris has taxis, buses and a fabulous metro (subway) system that goes to
most areas of interest in the city and surrounding areas. (The boast is that no
point in central Paris is more than 660 yd/600 m from the nearest metro
station.) Route maps are available at metro stations. Weekly or monthly metro
passes (also good for bus travel) can be purchased in Paris if you're going to
be spending a lot of time there. MORE
Public Transportation in France is fantastic. Bus transportation goes
into even the smallest places. Trains go everywhere as well. Me, I prefer the
trains and busses. More
Not too many people fly into Nice more than once. It seems on landing that
you will put down on the Mediterranien Sea. The airport is right at the edge of
the water. HERE
is a link to their web page. It is a beautiful airport.
HERE is a link to
the VirtualTourist.com where you will find personal accounts of trips to France.
total: 31,939 km (31,940 km are operated by French National
14,176 km of SNCF routes are electrified and 12,132 km are double- or
gauge: 31,840 km 1.435-m gauge
gauge: 99 km 1.000-m gauge (1998)
Trains, unlike road traffic, drive on the left.
Metro, operated by the RATP
(R駩e Autonome des Transports Parisiens) and the RER
(V騩cule Automatique L駥r, "Light Automatic
Vehicule"), operated by Transpole.
operated by the RTM (R駩e des Transports de Marseille)
This mode of transportation started disappearing in France at the end of the
Since the 1980s,
several cities have re-introduced it.
List of cities operating a tramway or light rail system:
total: 893,300 km
paved: 893,300 km (including 10,300 km of expressways)
unpaved: 0 km (1998 est.)
Waterways: 14,932 km; 6,969 km heavily traveled
Pipelines: crude oil
3,059 km; petroleum products 4,487 km; natural gas
total: 55 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,155,286 GRT/1,693,030
ships by type: bulk 3, cargo 5, chemical tanker 6, combination bulk 1,
container 5, liquified gas 4, multi-functional large load carrier 1, passenger
3, petroleum tanker 16, roll-on/roll-off 6, short-sea passenger 4, specialized
tanker 1 (1999 est.)
also maintains a captive register for French-owned ships in Iles
Southern and Antarctic Lands) (1998 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
over 3,047 m: 14
2,438 to 3,047 m: 30
1,524 to 2,437 m: 92
914 to 1,523 m: 74
under 914 m: 57 (1999 est.)
De Gaulle International Airport in Roissy, near Paris
is one of Europe's
principal aviation centers. It is also France's main international airport.
Paris' other important airport is Orly
Airports - with unpaved runways:
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 76
under 914 m: 127 (1999 est.)
Heliports: 3 (1999 est.)
France naturally has a system of large, navigable rivers, such as the Loire,
that criss cross the country and have long been essential for trade and travel.
The first important human improvements were the Roman
roads linking major settlements and providing quick passage for marching armies.
These routes these roads followed are copied today by many modern highways and
Throughout the middle
ages improvements were sparse and mediocre and transportation became slow
and cumbersome. The early modern period saw great improvements. There was a
proliferation of canals connecting rivers (like the Canal
du Midi). It also saw great changes in oceanic shipping. Rather than
expensive galleys, wind powered ships that were far faster and had far more
cargo space became popular on the coastal trade. Transatlantic shipping with the
World turned cities such as Nantes
into major ports of international importance.
Even in France, where, because of water transport, railways were of lesser
import than in other nations, railways were still an extremely important area of
economic development. Despite already having a well developed water transport
system, by 1875
railroads were carrying four times as much cargo as canals and rivers combined.
French railways started later, and developed more slowly than those in other
nations. While the first railway built in France was in operation in 1832,
not long after the first line had opened in Britain,
French progress failed to keep pace over the next decade.
After the war of 1870
the French rail system was overhauled and made far more efficient. By 1914
the French rail system was a match for Germany's and played a crucial part in
France's victory in the First
In the 1930s
Blum's socialist government nationalized the French rail system, along with
many other industries, and the transportation system was successful in World
After the war the French train system began a slow movement to electric
trains. Eventually high speed trains, such as the TGV
were introduced providing extremely quick links been France's urban centers.
My personal favorite is the run from Paris to Basel. In winter when there is
a light dusting of snow on the tracks, the train makes sort of a cloud which
turns golden color at the right time of the morning as the train flashed along.
Spectacular. Once I took that route three days in a row just for that
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