France
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Medical tourism to France: Travel and accommodation

Getting into France

Paris has two international airports; Roissy-Charles-de Gaulle (CDG) and Orly (ORY). Roissy-Charles-de Gaulle has two main terminals; CDG1 and CDG2 as well as a third smaller terminal; T9 which is for charter flights. All of the terminals are linked by shuttle buses and mini-metro trains and there are train links and buses into the centre of Paris. RATP buses (Roissybus) leave every 15 minutes and deposit the visitor in the very central position of L’Opéra within about 45 minutes, costing around €7. The RER train departs from CDG2 and arrives in Châtélet-les-Halles within 30 minutes and Gare du Nord in 35. Alternatively a taxi to the centre of town will cost about €40.

Orly airport (ORY) has two terminals; Orly Sud and Orly Ouest which are walking distance between one another but are also linked by a mini-metro. Orly Ouest is mainly for domestic flights while Orly Sud receives international and charter flights. The RATP Orlybus leaves every 15 minutes or so and takes about 25 minutes to reach Denfert-Rochereau metro station, additionally the Jetbus connects Orly to Villejuif-Louis Aragon metro every 15 minutes. Shuttle buses also link the airport with RER line C at Pont de Rungis, from where you can connect with a train to Gare d’Austerlitz. A taxi from Orly to the centre of Paris will cost around €35.

If you are coming from the UK, either because you live there or because you have arrived on an international flight into London, you also have the option of train travel via the Eurostar or ferry travel, or hiring a car and coming through the Channel Tunnel. You can take a passenger ferry to France with one of the major ferry companies such as P&O who covers Dover and Calais, Portsmouth and Le Havre, (P&O North Sea Ferries sail from Hull to Zeebrugge in Belgium and then visitors can drive into France), Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to St Malo, Portsmouth to Caen and Plymouth to Roscoff, Condor Ferries from Poole to St Malo, DFDS Seaways from Newhaven to Dieppe, or a 45 minute sea cat with Hoverspeed from Dover to Calais and from Newhaven to Dieppe.

Travelling within France

The trains in France are superb and the French State Railway (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer, SNCF) runs an excellent national network, from the űber speedy ‘Trains à Grande Vitesse’ (TGV) to overnight sleepers you can count on fast, reliable and punctual services. Paris has six major train stations with departures to various destinations around the country. There is a TGV station at CDG airport, with inter city train links to major cities such as Lille, Bordeaux and Lyon. ‘Grandes Lignes’ are the long distance trains and ‘Banlieue’ the suburban trains.

Getting about Paris on public transport is easy and inexpensive with an excellent underground train system, the Metro, and an extensive bus network. RATP (the Paris Transport company incorporating trains, bus and metro) has 14 metro lines, referred to by number and terminus names and the RER is a series of commuter trains. Walking and cycling are also favoured as you can get a real feel for the city’s ambience. Taxi ranks are located throughout the city.

Car hire is available from the airports and the roads are good, though driving in Paris itself can be a bit hair-raising! The motorways in France are very modern and mostly run with a toll system (autoroutes à péage) but you can save money on these fees by opting to travel on some of the smaller but still very efficient roads within the country, such as the RN (route nationale) and D (départementale) roads. Driving is on the right and the French Highways Association has helpful information, tips and advice, see Federation of French motorway and toll facility companies.

In terms of hotel accommodation Paris is the third least expensive city after Budapest and Frankfurt with particularly good value two star accommodation from about €110 for a double room. However expect to pay around €180 for a room in a three star hotel and around €450 for a four star luxury hotel.

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