Travel guidelines for HL Holidays Guests
How do we travel to South West France?
This area of France, the départements of Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Tarn-et-Garonne and Dordogne, is very rural.. very quiet… but is quite easily accessed by all forms of transport, and the effort of travelling there is rewarded with quiet roads and the peaceful clean atmosphere of the French countryside.
Two motorways run north/south on either side of the area.
To the west, the A62 ‘Autoroute de deux mers’ runs between Bordeaux on the Atlantic coast to Toulouse, and onwards to the Mediterranean coast
Through the eastern part of the area, the A20 /E9 ‘L’Occitanie’ runs from Limoges directly southwards Montauban (where it meets the A62)
If you are travelling by ferry from the UK, then a night crossing and an prompt start in the morning will get you somewhere near your destination by the 4pm arrival time…. and a return night crossing will mean you can leave your property at the 10am departure time, and make the Channel Ferry ports in time for departure. However, many prefer to take a couple of days to make their way down through France and explore as they go.
From the northern Ferry ports (Calais, Boulougne) we recommend avoiding Paris by following the route via Rouen and Le Mans, although a neat route around the east of Paris is on the main HL Holidays website here
All drivers should be aware of a very useful website Drive France which maintains current information on all aspects of driving in France.
Please see the main HL Holidays website for details of car hire companies HERE
With an healthy UK expatriate population in and around this area, air links from the UK are very good: The two most popular airports (with links to the airport sites) are Bergerac and Toulouse: Both have a good choice of departure points from the UK in summer, and regular services in the winter.
Worried about driving on French roads? Those who are familiar with driving in French metropolitan areas will be ok arriving at either airport, but for those less familiar Bergerac is a better choice as the airport exits onto an open quiet rural main road to allow time to become familiar with the different driving conditions. Arrivals at Toulouse who do not know their way northwards may find themselves on the Toulouse Péripherique which can be a fearsome introduction to driving on the other side of the road!
Bergerac also has regular services to Belgium (Charleroi) and The Netherlands (Rotterdam):
Toulouse is a bigger airport with a wide range of international destinations available. It’s aeronautical links with Bristol mean that there is a daily service between the two cities.
Arrivals at Toulouse can avoid the Péripherique which can be a lively introduction to driving on French roads by taking the Ouibus to Montauban and continuing from there – Especially useful if you have members of the party joining you during your stay: Currently €5 and just 40 mins from Toulouse airport to Montauban. See the Ouibus site for more details.
Bordeaux, Limoges, Brive, Rodez and Carcassonne are all also within a reasonable distance as airport options for arrival or departure.
For guests arriving via PARIS there are flights to Toulouse or Bordeaux.
Flights from Paris to the very local Agen La Garenne airport are currently suspended (Spring 2022)
Please check websites for the latest information
From the UK, and mainland Europe, Eurostar rail services now have high speed routes as far south as Bordeaux.
The French TGV service run by SNCF serves the main line along the Garonne valley, with stations at Montauban, Agen and there is also a TGV service which terminates at Brive Le Galliard. From Paris, you will need Gare d’Austerlitz for TGV service, or Montparnasse for Intercité services. More information on TGV services is available HERE
Regional lines are not numerous, although there is currently a useful service across beautiful countryside between Agen and Périgueux. THIS LINK is to the SNCF regional services site – search a town with a station, and lower on the information you will find timetables for all the lines serving that station,
Have you found another way to travel to this beautiful part of France? Please pass on any travel hints or tips that you have for the benefit of other HL Holidays and France for Families guests