Cross-Channel Ferries to France: routes, timetables and booking ferries

If you are driving to your holiday in France from the UK you are going to need to book a cross channel ferry or channel tunnel crossing!

Further down this page we have summarised the principal driving times from some of the ferry ports to some of the most popular destinations in France

Search for best prices on your cross-channel ferry crossing


An alternative to the cross-channel ferry is to cross the channel by EuroTunnel - both quick and easy to use, and with very frequent trains running - up to five trains per hour, and no risk of delays due to bad weather. The crossing from Folkestone to Calais takes just 35 minutes, costs from only £49 one-way, and has direct access to the motorway network so you are soon on your way.

See trains in France to find cheap Eurotunnel tickets

Cross channel ferry routes

The more common ferry routes to France sometimes have more than one operator running ferries on the same route. The most popular routes are:

  • Dover - Boulogne or Calais
  • Plymouth - Roscoff (also Bilbao and Santander in Spain)
  • Poole - Cherbourg or Saint-Malo
  • Portsmouth - Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre or Saint-Malo

Note that some of these crossings (those departing from Dover) only take about an hour, while others take several hours or sail overnight.

The longer crossings cost more, and cabin accommodation may also be needed. You will need to carefully balance the extra time spent on the crossing with the cost, the saving in driving time and expense, and the convenience of arriving after a night sleeping on a ferry.

The crossings from Plymouth to Santander and Bilbao are as much a mini-cruise as a ferry crossing, take more than 24 hours for the voyage, and are sometimes used by those visiting far south-west france eg Biarritz.

Driving times and distances in France from ferry ports to selected destinations

Distances in miles - see table below this one for distances in kilometres

From Caen Calais Cherbourg Dieppe Saint-Malo
To distance time distance time distance time distance time distance time
Annecy (Alps) 494 7h 0m 523 7h 14m 570 8h 11m 469 6h 47m 581 8h 8m
Biarritz (Atlantic coast) 498 7h 14m 662 9h 28m 553 8h 7m 571 8h 7m 457 6h 42m
La Rochelle 269 4h 10m 433 6h 23m 303 4h 50m 337 5h 5m 201 3h 27m
Nice (Riviera) 728 10h 6m 765 10h 29m 802 11h 19m 701 9h 54m 794 11h 5m
Paris 149 2h 26m 179 2h 46m 223 3h 35m 120 2h 9m 252 3h 54m
Quimper (Brittany) 246 3h 40m 463 6h 39m 279 4h 14m 361 5h 19m 143 2h 41m
Saint-Tropez (Riviera) 702 9h 56m 739 10h 13m 776 11h 5m 677 9h 47m 771 10h 59m
Sarlat (Dordogne) 388 6h 25m 509 7h 27m 464 7h 33m 441 6h 44m 451 6h 39m

Distances in kilometres...

From Caen Calais Cherbourg Dieppe Saint-Malo
To distance time distance time distance time distance time distance time
Annecy (Alps) 790 7h 0m 836 7h 14m 912 8h 11m 750 6h 47m 930 8h 8m
Biarritz (Atlantic Coast) 797 7h 14m 1059 9h 28m 885 8h 7m 913 8h 7m 731 6h 42m
La Rochelle 430 4h 10m 693 6h 23m 484 4h 50m 539 5h 5m 321 3h 27m
Nice (Riviera) 1164 10h 6m 1224 10h 29m 1283 11h 19m 1122 9h 54m 1271 11h 5m
Paris 238 2h 26m 287 2h 46m 356 3h 35m 192 2h 9m 403 3h 54m
Quimper (Brittany) 393 3h 40m 741 6h 39m 446 4h 14m 578 5h 19m 229 2h 41m
Saint-Tropez (Riviera) 1123 9h 56m 1183 10h 13m 1241 11h 5m 1083 9h 47m 1233 10h 59m
Sarlat (Dordogne) 621 6h 25m 814 7h 27m 742 7h 33m 706 6h 44m 721 6h 39m

You can find all driving distance in France and suggested route map at driving times and distances