The air traffic in France has its considerable share in the whole passenger traffic and constitutes a significant part of the French economy. It features over a hundred airline ports, being situated over the whole country and its dependent territories. 34 of them can be counted as international airports, the biggest of which are of course located in Paris.
On the other hand there are airports in Bordeaux, Marseille or Toulouse, which may not have such impressive numbers, but play a vital role in the traffic for a particular region. Which airport to choose, when you want to visit Paris? Which would be the best if you heading towards Cote D’Azur? Where should you land, when going skiing in Alps or Pyrenees? The guidebook below shall give you the answers for the most important questions! (The order of the cities represents the number of passengers served in recent years)
Table of contents:
1. Paris airports
1.1. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
1.2. Paris Orly Airport
1.3. Paris Beauvais Airport
2. Nice airport
3. Lyon airport
4. Marseille airport
5. Toulouse airport
6. Mulhouse-Basel-Fribourg airport
7. Bordeaux airport
8. Nantes airport
9. Lille airport
10. Montpellier airport
11. Strasbourg airport
12. Bastia airport
13. Ajaccio airport
14. Biarritz airport
15. Brest airport
16. Other airports
The French capital concentrates most of the passenger traffic in France, having two biggest airports, which actually translated onto 105 clients served last year. However, there are 5 airports in Paris to be precise, 3 of which serve the role of an international passenger airport. The biggest one is the Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport, which was chosen by over 72 million travelers in 2018.
The second position is held by Paris Orly Airport (ORY), which stands for 33 million passengers in 2018. Both Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports are well connected to central Paris by public transport. Charter carriers and budget airlines use the Beauvais airport, which is a bit further, but also well communicated.
The country’s largest international airport and the main hub for Air France and Joon airlines. Its full name is Roissy-Charles De Gaulle Airport. The complex is situated 25km northeast from the city center. It offers a multitude of transfer options to Paris, as well as to other cities (like London, Amsterdam, Brussels or Lille). You can travel using TGV, CDGVAL (a special airport train), Flixbus, Ouibus or regional bus and train lines. Charles de Gaulle Airport is chosen by many international and national passengers, who travel in business or for holidays.
Serving 33 million passengers in 2018, it is the second largest airport in France and Paris itself. Referred often as the Villeneuve-Orly Airport, the complex lies only 13 kilometers south of Paris.
It is the hub for AigleAzur, Air France, French Bee, HOP!, Transavia France or Corsair International and the focus airport for: Air Caraibes, Chalair Aviation, easyJet, Royal Air Maroc and Vueling. Check bus tickets from Orly Airport
The transfer from Orly Airport is fairly easy and accessible for everyone, offering direct links with the capital center, as well as other nearby cities and most importantly, the famous Euro Disneyland! For more information, please check out article devoted solely to Orly Airport and transfers.
Lying 85km northwest from Paris, the Beauvais Airport is the farthest capital one. However, the distance is usually compensated by low prices, as the airport is used mainly by budget airlines and charter carriers. There is also a pretty good connection with Paris, as there is an airport bus shuttling between Beauvais and Porte Maillot (a car park in Paris).
The journey takes about 1h15min and can be booked online. Unfortunately there aren’t any direct links (bus or rail) with other cities. For more information about the transfers from Beauvais and the airport itself, check out our article.
Nice Airport is located 5.9km southwest from Nice, in Alpes-Maritimes department. Its full name is Nice Cote d’Azur Airport, playing an important role for the region. It serves travellers from Nice and Cote d’Azur, including Monaco or St.Tropez which is why it is often chosen by people travelling to or from these luxurious destinations. Last year the airport handled over 13 million passengers, which makes Nice the third busiest airport in France.
It serves as a focus city for Air France and an operating base for easyJet. The port is connected with the city by buses and trains shuttling regularly. You can find more information about the airport and its connections in the article devoted to it.
Called also Lyon Satolas Airport, the complex lies 20 km southeast from Lyon’s center, the third-biggest city in France. It constitutes the fourth busiest airport in France, being an important transport facility for the entire Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. In 2018 the port served over 11 million travellers. It serves as the focus city for AigleAzur, Air France, easyJet, HOP!, Transavia France and Twin Jet.
Offers flights to various destinations, both European and intercontinental ones. The transfer between the Lyon’s airport and the city is provided by an airport shuttle bus (also going to Grenoble, Saint-Étienne or Chambéry) and the Rhônexpress tramway. If you want to learn more about the Saint-Exupery Airport, please read our article devoted to it.
Situated 27 kilometers northwest of Marseille, the Marseille Provence Airport (known also as Marseille Marignane one) constitutes the 5th busiest port in France, serving around 9 million passengers per year. It is often chosen by people, who travel the picturesque southern France, both by tourists and business travellers.
It is also one of the Air France hubs. The airport’s hinterland goes from Gap to Arles and from Toulon to Avignon. The airport provides flights to various destinations in Europe and Africa. There is also quite a good transfer between the airport and the city, served by Vitrolles Marseille Provence Airport rail station on the TER network. You can also find a free shuttle bus running between the airport and the station.
You can find more information about the airport and its transfers in the following article.
Another international French airports, similar to Marseille one in terms of passengers served per year. It is located 6.7km northwest of Toulouse. The Toulouse Airport offers flights to over 70 locations, including European and African destinations with few seasonal long-haul connections.
The port serves as a hub for Volotea and a focus city for Air France, easyJet and Ryanair. It is the best choice for those who want to visit Lourdes or Andorra. It has a T2 line tram, connecting it with the city. It is also communicated through shuttle buses and coaches.
Read our article about Toulouse Airport and find out more information about the possible transfers.
A unique airport, located in the borderline between France, Switzerland and Germany. Technically, it is still in the French territory, however the nearest big city is Basel in Switzerland. The airport is also known as the EuroAirport, Basel Airport or Basel Mulhouse Airport.
It is the only tri-national airport in the world!. The complex lies .5 km (2.2 mi) northwest of the city of Basel, Switzerland, 20km southeast of Mulhouse in France, and 46km south-southwest of Freiburg imBreisgau in Germany. In 2018 it served 8.5 million passengers, being chosen by many who travel skiing in Alps or want to visit the picturesque borderland.
The port serves as a base for easyJet Switzerland, featuring mainly flights to European metropolitan and leisure destinations. The bus constitutes the safest and most reliable way of getting to each of the cities. For more information about the transfers and the airport itself, please check out our article devoted to it.
Also known as the Bordeaux Mérignac Airport, the complex is located 12 kilometers west of Bordeaux, serving around 6,8 million clients last year. It mainly features flights to metropolitan and leisure destinations in Europe and Northern Africa and serves as a base for Volotea. There is a transatlantic service, operated seasonally by Air Transat nonstop to Montreal in Canada. The port is a focus city forAir France, easyJet and the abovementioned Volotea. The airport is connected with the city by an airport shuttle bus and a local city coach. You can read more about the transfers and the airport itself in the article about Bordeaux’s airport
Another of the western France ports, the Nantes Atlantique (or Château Bougon) Airport is located 8km southwest of the city, in Bougenais. In 2018, more than 6.1 million passengers used the airport, flying between European and North African destinations.
Currently, the Nantes airport is the largest one in western France. It is used as a hub forVolotea, Transavia France and easyJet (beginning in April 2019). Society HOP! made the Château Bougon Airport its focus city. The complex is connected with Nantes’s center with a express shuttle bus and a local coach (through Neustrie). For more information check out the following link to article.
Remarkably smaller when compared to Toulouse, Nantes or Nice airports (not mentioning the ones in Paris) Lille-Lesquin Airport is the main airport for the Nord-Pas de Calais region near Belgium. The complex is located in Lesquin, 7 kilometers southeast of Lille’s center. It can be approached within 15 from the city with the airport bus shuttle.
In 2018 it served over 2 million passengers, noting a constant growth for the last several years. The airport is also the fourth busiest ones in France when it comes to cargo aviation. It offers regular flights to Europe(mostly touristic destinations), as well as to Algeria.
It also provides seasonal and charter flights. You can find more information about the Lille’s airport and the transfers available in the following article.
Montpellier Airport is also known under the name Fréjorgues Airport. The complex is lying 7 kilometers east of Montpellier is a small commercial airport, as well as the center for French civil aviation university. Serving 1,8 million passengers in 2018, it is right now the 11th busiest airport in France. The port is connected with the city by a shuttle bus, running between Place de l’Europetramway station and the Airport.
What’s interesting, the airport publishes its own periodical, called “Airlife”. It is released quarterly. The following link leads to the article devoted solely to Montpellier airport and ways of transfer.
One of the few, yet the biggest airport on the picturesque Corsica island. Last year it handled around 1,4 million travellers. It is used mostly for charter and seasonal flights, e.g. by easyJet, British Airways or Eurowings. On the other hand, it offers also several regular connections, operated by AirFrance or AirCorsica. The best of transfer is to take the shuttle bus, which reaches Bastia city center in 35 minutes approx.
Serving similar number of passengers as the Bastia Poretta Airport, the Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte port is the second biggest on the island. It is also known as Campo dell’Oro Airport.
In 2018 over 1,35 million travellers used the port in Ajaccio, choosing one of the seasonal or regular destinations. Similarly to Bastia, only AirFrance and AirCorsica offer regular flights. The airport serves also as the base for AirCorsica, The complex is connected with the city by two bus lines.
Lying in the Alsace region, the Strasbourg Airport is just a stone throw from the German border. It functions under two names: French (Aéroport de Strasbourg)and German (Straßburg Flughafen).
The transfertothecity (mainrailwaystation) takes 7 to 12 minutes, going via the Entzheim-Aéroport train. In 2018 almost 1.3 million travellers used the Strasbourg Airport, travelling to European and North African destinations (Tunisia, Algeria or Morocco).
Located in the beautiful Basque country, Biarritz airport lies at the foot of the Pyrenees. Its full name is Biarritz Pays Basque Airport, but it is also referred to as Biarritz Parme Airport. The Biarritz Airport served around 1,2 million clients last year. It is often chosen by skiing amateurs or those, who want to explore the Basque country. You can take one of three buses available at the airport to get to the city center, as well as to Bayonne, Anglet, Bidart or Henday. While in Biarritz, there are several coaches going to Irun, San Sebastian, Pamplona and Bilbao.
Important!Please have in mind that the airport will be closed from 03 February to 04 March 2019 due to the renovation works.
Located in the northwest promontory, Brest constitutes the main airport for the Bretagne region. Formerly known as Brest Guipavas Airport (devoting its name from the exact location), now it functions as Brest Bretagne Airport. It offers several international flights, both regular and seasonal ones, transferring passengers to European and Moroccan destinations.
Last year it was chosen by over 1 million passengers. There is an airport shuttle bus, which operates in correspondence with line A of the tramway at Porte de Guipavas, transferring passengers between the Brest Airport and the city.
The list can be really long here, therefore we would limit it to the most important ones in terms of international traffic.
Known also as Roumanière Airport lies 3km from Bergerac, in Aquitaine. It is approachable only by taxi.
Third out of four airports on Corsica island. Calvi Airport constitutes the smallest one in terms of passenger traffic. It is approachable only via taxi or cars rented.
The last international Corsican airport. It is located 3km northwest of Figari, near Porto-Vecchio and Bonifacio. You can get to Figari’s center by boarding a public bus or taking a taxi.
Lying on the island of Reunion, the Roland Garros Airport is the principal for the French dependent territory. It is located in Sainte-Marie, 7 kilometers from Saint-Denis and it is available only by taxi. The complex was named after the French famous aviator, Roland Garros.
Located near Hyeres (3km from it) and Toulon (19km easy of the city center), the Toulon–Hyères Airport lies in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in France. The complex is connected with the city center by a public bus, reaching the town within 30 minutes.
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