Languedoc is a fast-growing destination for ‘northerners’, as you can see from the places planes come from. Most airports are close to city centers and have some sort of public transport. The information below is an indication only. Destinations change often as routes are added or pulled. Some are seasonal as well.
Click on the city name for its airport website.
Toulouse (Many destinations in France and the rest of Europe)
Carcassonne (London, East Midlands, Liverpool, Dublin, Glasgow, Cork, Brussels)
Perpignan (London, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Southampton, Brussels)
Beziers (London, Bristol, Southampton, Dusseldorf, Stockholm, Oslo)
Montpellier (London, Leeds, Brussels, Frankfurt, Madrid, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Casablanca)
Nimes (London, Liverpool, Brussels, Malaga, Palma, Rome)
Marseilles (Many destinations in France and the rest of Europe)
If you want to bring your bike with you on the plane this article on the CTC site has some helpful tips.
Languedoc is served well by trains. It is less than 3 hours from Paris to Nîmes, so around 6 hours from London using a Eurostar/TGV combo. From northern Europe travelling through Paris is almost certainly the way to go. The east-west train line along the Mediterranean will get you here from Spain or Italy, and a TGV from Geneva will have you here in 4 hours.
If you are buying tickets from outside Europe, this can be tricky if you have a bike with you. There is more bike/train information here. For easy train reservations we find the Trainline website excellent. If you are coming to Languedoc from within France see Transportation.
Travel Times to Montpellier by Train: London (6.75 hrs) Brussels (6 hrs) Amsterdam (7.5 hrs) Frankfurt (8.75 hrs) Berlin (13.5 hrs) Luxembourg (6.5 hrs) Zurich (7.25 hrs) Geneva (4.5 hrs) Milan (10 hrs) Barcelona (5 hrs)
Tip: there are some interesting overnight trains to look at that will save you time and possibly money (save on accommodation). If you are coming from Northern/Central Europe DB Bahn has a good network in and around Germany, that can be linked (with a little creativity) to the French overnight system, Lunéa. Elipsos, a Spanish overnight train, can get you to Perpignan (in Languedoc) from Paris, Zurich and Milan and points in between.
You won’t get directly to Languedoc by ferry, unless you are coming from North Africa. However, France has plenty of ferries (mainly in the north) and you could certainly come into Brittany, Normandy, or northern France and get here. If you are coming from the south (yes, including North Africa) then Sète (serving Morocco and Algeria)is the only port actually in Languedoc. Just over the border in Provence though you have plenty of ferries coming into Marseilles, Toulon, and farther east, Nice. These routes tend to serve Italy (Sardinia) and Africa (Tunisia).
Languedoc is well connected to the rest of Europe via fast (but not always free!) autoroutes.
Here’s an idea of the time it will take from: Geneva (4 hours) Barcelona (3 hours) Milan (6 hours) Paris (7 hours)
Try the Via Michelin site for very detailed driving directions from all over Europe.
European Bike Express has four different set routes from the UK. You pay one price for out and back (or just out), then choose your destination(s). Of course you can get dropped off in one place and come back from another. Destinations in Languedoc include Perpignan,Narbonne and Montpellier.
Why not? If you’ve got the time it’s the best way to get here! Some ideas are below, but really the options are endless.
From Spain – enter Languedoc over a ‘secret’ Pyrenean mountain pass!
From Provence – Nîmes is less than 100 km from Luberon, the heart of Provence. Head west past mighty Mt. Ventoux, cross the Rhône River and you’re here!
From Southwest France – cruise along the Canal du Midi from Toulouse.
If you don’t hop on the bike right away, fret not. All airports and major train stations have rental car agencies attached to them. The usual suspects are present in Languedoc: Europcar, Avis, Hertz, Sixt,
Bringing your bike on the train is not totally straightforward in France. Here’s a breakdown of the types of trains you’ll encounter in Languedoc and their current policies with regards to bicycles.
Bikes as they are, wheeled on.
TER– short distance trains. These are the ones you’ll probably use the most, if you are just getting around Languedoc. All TER trains allow bikes for free. No reservation necessary. Look right for what the modern TER looks like.
Corail-Intercité – these trains go farther with fewer stops, so have their advantages. Most of them take bikes for free, if there is a dedicated space for them. Check the schedule or ask at the counter to find out.
TGV (high-speed), Corail Lunéa(overnight), and Corail Téoz(long distance) have space for bikes, but it is necessary to pay when you book your ticket (10 euros). If you use the SNCF to buy your ticket, this reservation cannot be made online, so you have to do it at the station, at a SNCF boutique, or call them. However, there is a service called Trainline that allows bike spaces to be bought on French trains (and other countries in Europe). Check out this page for more information.
Bikes Dismantled and Bagged
Any train in France will accept a bicycle like this, if there is enough space. But in reality there is always enough space. Even on the most crowded TGVs you can find room to cram your bagged bike in. Not ideal, but it’ll get you where you want to go. No reservation necessary.
Buying Train Tickets
Anyone can buy tickets from the SNCF website. Tickets can be picked up at any train station in France, either at the ticket counter, or from the ticket machines (if you have a credit/debit card with a security chip). You can also get an e-ticket, which might be the easiest of all for travellers. However sometimes you need a French or EU address.
One easy option is to simply buy your tickets online at Trainline.
Of course you can wait till you get here, but if it is summer or during French holidays, trains on popular routes can be booked out, and you may have a hard time reserving a space for your bike.
For more information on train travel in France (and anywhere else in the world), check out this excellent site