Before you throw your hands up in horror, thinking that getting to the south of France by train might be just too hard… please check out this most useful website about traveling by train to Paris on the Eurostar The man in seat 61. The site is full of very practical tips and advice! There is even a section about traveling through to Narbonne!
Joining a Birding Languedoc trip by train is the perfect, relaxing, low carbon option!
A comfortable and surprisingly fast way of getting to the Languedoc, more and more people are choosing to come by train.
Two options are available for getting here by train:
- London => Lille* by Eurostar, then Lille =>south by high speed TGV directly to Beziers, Narbonne or Perpignan
- London => Paris** Gare du Nord by Eurostar, then Paris Gare de Lyon => south by high speed TGV directly to Beziers, Narbonne or Perpignan
*Via Lille, some trains only require changing platform but others may require a change of station (walkable!).
**Via Paris, all trains require a change of stations (between the Gare du Nord and the Gare de Lyon) and although it is not that far, you need to allow a good hour on the metro (it only takes 30 minutes, but if you are doing it for the first time we recommend 1.5 hours to allow plenty of time) to get from one to the other.
When to book the Eurostar?
You can book Eurostar tickets up to 6 months in advance and the sooner you book, the better the price.
When to book the TGV?
The TGV tickets for the French sector of the journey (i.e. from Lille or Paris to Narbonne) can be booked up to 3 months in advance.
The total journey time from London to Narbonne is surprisingly short (considering the distance), and varies between 8h15 and 10h, with return tickets booked well in advance starting from around £120.
If you wish to travel by train to join one of our small group fixed date tours, you may want to consider arriving the day before the tour starts.
Here is a link to the UK website for the French train service SNCF.
The Occitanie region has a number of airports with flights from the UK.
Ryanair or Easy Jet are the main low cost airlines operating into the Languedoc, but you can also get here with British Airways, Air France and Vueling.
Carcassonne, Béziers, Montpellier, Perpignan and Toulouse are the obvious choices, but it is also worth checking out Nîmes and Girona, which are both only 2hrs drive from the main bird watching spots.
All these airports offer car rental services.
We recommend using Google Flights , which is a great tool to find your best options for flying to the south of France, with the option of choosing 5 departure airports and 5 arrival airports, price tracking and some other great features!
If you are interested in booking one of our Tours, most of these include collection from Carcassonne airport where we meet the Manchester, East Midlands and Stansted flights (although we can also consider pick-ups from Béziers airport if you are traveling from Bristol or Luton).
Each tour page has a link to the incoming flights that we meet. This link will take you to Google flights where you can see the cost and switch on tracking and receive updates when the price changes.
You can choose from one of the many cross channel ferries or use the Eurotunnel service from Folkestone.
Most motorways in France are toll roads and this can add considerably to the cost of the journey.
It is just over one thousand kilometres from Calais to Narbonne, with an estimated driving time of 10.5 hours (not including stops), which most people break up by visiting other parts of France on their way south.
If you come down the A75 motorway via Clermont Ferrand, much of this motorway is toll-free and you will cross the amazing Millau bridge!
The TGV brings you to Agde, Beziers, Narbonne or Perpignan.
From Holland to the South of France it’s about 1250 Kilometers. It’s a 12 hour drive to get you to the Languedoc.
Most people take the ‘Route du Soleil’ which is a great route. You need to consider that a return journey costs over € 100 of toll.
We recommend you to drive down on a Sunday in order to avoid lorries and other commercial traffic.
This is the cheapest option to get to the Languedoc if you are planning to go with more than 2 persons.
The cheapest way to get to the Languedoc (>2 persons) for DIY birding is by plane. At every airport in the Languedoc you will find car rental.
From the Netherlands the airports offering flights to the Languedoc are:
Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Weeze (Germany)
Google Flights is a perfect tool to find your flight to the south of France.
You can also track your price by selecting your flight and clicking on the “Track” button.