TER bus operated by the SNCF in the framework of regional public
visitors are sometimes surprised to learn that France - unlike the UK,
the USA, Spain or many other countries - does not have a coordinated
intercity express bus or long-distance coach network. There is no
French equivalent of Greyhound buses or National Express. Most
medium-distance bus services are operated by the railway company SNCF,
as part of public regional transport networks (TER): but there is very
little in the way of inter-regional coach services.
For instance, to
travel from Paris to Montpellier or Bordeaux, the natural
reflex in France - for those not wanting to drive, students, young
people, the elderly etc. - is to take
the train, not the bus. There are plenty of cheap offers on
the trains, and it is so much faster ! Check out the Rail Europe
site which offers discounted train tickets
and Interrail passes for rail travel across Europe .
This is not to say that there are no bus or coach services in
France; international services with destinations in France are run by a
number of companies, the most important of these being Eurolines
which links several towns and cities in France (such as Paris, Lyons,
Tours, etc.) with major cities in other European countries. But
Eurolines do not operate services within France (i.e. you can't book
Eurolines from Paris to Marseilles, but you can book them from London
to Paris) .
Within France, coach services tend to exist only on a regional
most French cities have an "autogare" or a "gare routière" -
station - with regular services within the region, and sometimes
further afield. Bus services most frequently cover routes for which
there is no train service, and are sometimes run by or for the SNCF,
French railway operator. These services appear in the railway
timetable, and cost the same as trains.
One region with good and extensive intercity coach services is
(PACA) region, with routes linking Marseilles, Avignon,
Nice, Briancon and other cities. Further information on services in
this region is available on Info-LER website.
Links to services in other regions can be found on the France-week-end.com
website, though this is in French and the information is not always
very easy to find.
The reason for the lack of intercity coach services in France is not
hard to explain; it is simply that the train services are generally
good, fast, and not expensive | specially services to and from Paris;
and with all sorts of discounts available for frequent travellers,
over-60's, couples, families and students, people use the trains.
a visit to France ? If so, don't forget to bookmark About-France.com:
To contact About France
com, send an email to info "at"