Posted on 26th May 2016
First Things First
Posted on 26th May 2016
This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.
Getting to France
For most fans, this will prove the easiest tournament to reach since the World Cup in Germany in 2006. While that’s a huge boon for those who don’t enjoy travelling long distances it also means that with so many fixtures so close to home that we expect demand for cross-channel trains, planes and aquamobiles to be incredibly high.
With high demand comes high prices, so if you’ve not yet booked your travel then we’d advise you to get onto it sharpish – the best deals will all have gone, but there should be plenty of options available to you.
We cover the main aerial routes into each host city in their respective guide pages, so if you’re looking for a quick ‘at a glance’ look at which UK and Irish airports serve, say, Bordeaux, then just head to page XX. For a quick at a glance situation online of which destinations are served by your local airport across all airlines, we’d recommend www.skyscanner.net
If you’re not concerned about arriving in a particular host city, however, we have some general advice for getting to France – both in terms of things you need to do and options you may not have thought of.
First things first, let’s make sure you’re able to get into (and out of) the country. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this. If your passport describes you as a British Citizen you won’t need a visa to enter France.
If you have another type of British nationality, you should check the current entry requirements on the website of the French Foreign Ministry and if necessary confirm with the French Embassy.
For plenty of fans, particularly those close to the south coast of England, the convenient route into France is by sea.
Having your own car while in France is likely to prove the easiest (and perhaps most economical) way of getting around, as internal train services and flights will be incredibly busy and reservations hard to come by. The distances between host cities are generally manageable and drivable in a day, too, which we couldn’t say for recent tournaments in Brazil or Poland/Ukraine.
On top of this, there are cross-channel routes from Plymouth, Poole, Portsmouth, Newhaven and Dover to destinations in France – Roscoff, St Malo, Cherbourg, Caen, Le Harve, Dieppe and Dunkerque. Other operators from England include Brittany Ferries (www.britanny-ferries.co.uk) and Condor Ferries (www.condorferries.co.uk).
There’s even the option to head from some of the east coast ports such as Newcastle, Hull and Harwich to the likes of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Zeebrugge which are in easy driving distance of northern France, as well.
From Ireland, there are sailings from Rosslare to Roscoff and Cherbourg, and from Dublin to Cherbourg operated by Irish Ferries (www.irishferries.com).
In a similar vein, the Eurotunnel ‘Le Shuttle’ car train operates nearly 50 crossings a day from Folkestone to Calais, and at 35 minutes per crossing rather than a couple of hours (or more) it’s often preferable to the ferry. For more details – www.eurotunnel.com.
If you are taking your car to France this summer, be sure to check out our ‘Driving in France’ guidance on Pages XX
Love thy neighbour
With road and rail connections to neighbouring countries being generally excellent, if you’ve missed out on all the best travel deals to France all hope may not be lost – consider flights to nearby Brussels, Amsterdam or Cologne for cities in northern France, Geneva is incredibly handy for Lyon and St Etienne, while Turin, Milan and northern Italian destinations could be options for Marseille and Nice.
Destinations in northern Spain could provide inexpensive routes in to Toulouse and Bordeaux, too, but the distances here are greater.
If you are travelling into an adjacent country, be sure to check their entry requirements with the Foreign Office. Generally speaking as members of the EU the situations in Holland, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain are broadly the same as in France, but it’s always worth checking – particularly with Switzerland.
Also, if you’re opting for a fly-drive to a neighbouring country, ensure that your car hire agreement allows for travel on foreign roads – this doesn’t come as standard. It may be worth taking the train in to France before hiring a car to avoid complications on this front.
Ahead of the World Cup in Russia this summer your Free Lions team have been feverishly beavering away getting the lowdown on all the potential venues England fans could end up in. In what could be described at best as a tense political climate, it’s arguably more important than ever that fans are informed before they follow England to this summer’s tournament.