If you are planning a school trip to France for the first time, you might find some of the following information helpful in terms of transportation while you are there.
The French road network is great and generally considered by all impartial parties to be much better than the UK. True, Autoroutes have tolls, but traffic jams are rare and the free A-type road network (N route) is also great.
Getting around in a school trip to France is usually better than the UK, but there are a few things to consider:
• Try to avoid périphérique (ring road) around Paris, Marseille and one or two other major cities rushing hours am and pm.
• If you can, do not travel the road the first weekend of August. This is a traditional time that everyone goes on an annual holiday and it is once a year that jams can be commonplace.
• In some parts of France, when you exit the freeways, many gas stations can be closed on Sundays. They may have 24/7 pumps but best to make up on Saturday if you can.
Although things change, France has not yet adopted the concept of cheap internal air travel. Thus, internal air travel can still be expensive and viewed as something of a luxury. However, shopping entirely but a specialized tourist travel agency can hire you more on these aspects when clearing your travel plan information.
In and around major cities and cities, bus services are frequent and slightly priced. They are usually reliable and punctual. They are also a very good value and an attractive choice for groups in school trips. In rural areas and beyond the suburbs of larger farms, buses can be rare to be present.
Trains (main lines)
France has a great railway network where the TGV (high speed tower) is a gem in the crown. The price for most routes is reasonable although the TGV itself can be very expensive, especially if you are not booking in advance. Timeliness and reliability are generally good, and the trains are also usually clean and seats can be found – apart from some of the peak Paris time services, which can be busy.
Hawkers and other undesirables can be a nuisance to some places in larger cities, which is commonplace all over the world and in France, police usually follow what is happening around radio stations.
Contrary to some myth, Paris is not the only city to have Metro in France. Once again, punctuality and comfort are usually great and students will usually enjoy navigating the system. One thing worth knowing – PDAs are the subway in Paris and other places. They often target foreigners and students, so be mad about yourself and your assets safe (ie your pockets empty).
Traveling in France for groups in a school trip will be easy and, with the exception of TGV and airplanes, usually a very reasonable price.