This section of the Drive-France website looks at your options for getting from Calais to Paris whether that is plane, train or auto-mobile. Here I share some brief pros and cons on each method and then more detailed information on the driving option. (Well this is the Drive-France website)
There is map for you to use lower down the page with route choices which answer the “how far is it from Calais to Paris” and “how long will it take” questions.
Biggest drawback is the luggage restrictions, which maybe aren't such a concern if you are just taking a laptop and a briefcase to a business meeting but if you are taking the family to Euro Disney then getting that 4 foot tall Mickey Mouse cuddly toy you bought back on the plane won’t be so easy.
Also these days you seem to spend twice as much time in the airport waiting for check-in than the actual flights take.
I would suggest that if train is your choice then opt for train all the way, do not go for the train/ ferry/ train method as that really is a long slog of ten hours or more. Eurostar takes just over two and quarter hours London to Paris.
If like thousands of others you are going to Disney then going by car is certainly a cost effective option and offers the convenience of being able to cram as much in your vehicle as you want to and then be able to head off at your leisure with no real time issues to worry about. Regarding what you take in the car with you, see our "All In One Travel Kit" on the right hand side of this page. Other useful items such as First Aid Kits can be found here.
I like going at my own pace in the car as nothing spoils a holiday faster than being late for a train or plane and having to rush around like you do every day when you’re on your way to work or taking the kids to school. A holiday in France is always better if you can make the getting there part of the enjoyment and going at your own totally relaxed pace is a great way to start your holiday.
If you are going over on the Ferry the shortest time is about 1hr 35mins and if taking the kids they may well enjoy it as part of the adventure. There are so many ferries to choose from that competition for prices is good and choice of departure times are available to suit everyone. See our Ferry Page here.
It’s also not the end of the world if you miss a ferry as like buses there will be another one along pretty soon!
The tunnel is a bit boring, I find, though you are not bored for long as it’s approximately 35 minutes to cross throughout the day and maybe 45 minutes on a night crossing.
Read our article on the Eurotunnel here.
If you are going to Disney (not that I've ever been) I believe it’s cheaper to book a deal where you get your Disney hotel plus the crossing (ferry or Eurotunnel) as a package, rather than book your hotel and crossing as two distinct entities.
Via the A1 route it’s about 184 Miles (296 km) of which the vast majority (175 miles) is on motorways and this will mean paying tolls of course. If you drive in good traffic conditions within the speed limits without breaks you are looking at about 3 hours 10 minutes.
You really should drive at a reasonable speed when when on the toll roads because the Police do get annoyed with UK tourists taking the mickey. If the police spot your UK number plate or GB sticker (which you have to display) it increases the chances you will get pulled over!
If you go via the A16 route it’s just a little bit shorter at 178 miles (286 km) with 165 miles on the motorway but it will take longer (assuming no stops and similar traffic/driving speeds) at about ten minutes more time .
Some people opt to go A16/A29 though that is further in distance (205 miles) and time and still has toll costs (in fact more toll charges)
Is it possible to drive from Calais to Paris without paying tolls? Well anything’s possible but it will take 5 hours plus even without breaks and you’d have to stop on a journey that long so it would be more like 6 hours I guess. That route would be A16/A28 or maybe you could opt for the slightly more complicated A16/D901 or A16/D1001 but both of those would be 5.5 hours.
Time wise though the chances of you reading this and me giving you an accurate time is almost impossible as it all depends on so many variables such as, when you go, how you drive, whether it’s rush hour, peak holiday season, etc etc. However don’t expect to do it in less than 3 hours unless traffic is very good and you don’t stop at all along the way.
Personally I would need at least one comfort break on a three hour trip and if you are taking children in the car then 2 short stops might be your best way to tackle it. That means you are going to be three and a half if not four hours depending how leisurely your break(s) are, and traffic conditions.
Remember if you are going during July/August the traffic can be very busy indeed, especially over the weekends.
Toll Charges are subject to change so I don't want to put an actual figure here or I'll be burdening myself with keeping it up to date every-time they go up. The link I give at the bottom of the page will help and you can also see the page on Tolls in France.
Do you really have to get to Paris as quick as possible? If they answer is no then there are lots of places you can stop and take a look at on the way from Calais. Obviously it depends which way you go but I would suggest your explore some of France other than just Disneyland!
I've always found viamichelin.co.uk to be a great help when I'm planning a long drive through France. It allows you to favour motorway driving, or avoid tolls if you want to and it accurately calculates the fuel costs and toll charges for you based on the type of vehicle you are driving and the route you are taking. It can also calculate toll charges if you are towing a caravan for example as well.