- Transport in France
This article concerns the history and current organisation of transport systems in
France has a system of large, navigable rivers, such as the
Loire, Seineand Rhône that cross the country and have long been essential for trade and travel.
The earliest archaeological signs of permanent habitation in the Paris area date from around 4200 BC. The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, known as boatsmen and traders, inhabited the area near the river Seine from around 250 BC.
The first important human improvements were the
Roman roads linking major settlements and providing quick passage for marching armies. These routes these roads followed are copied today by many 'N' class roads.
Middle Agesimprovements were sparse and mediocre and transport became slow and cumbersome. The early modern period saw great improvements. There was a proliferation of canals connecting rivers (like the Canal du Midi). It also saw great changes in oceanic shipping. Rather than expensive galleys, wind powered ships that were far faster and had far more cargo space became popular on the coastal trade. Transatlantic shipping with the New Worldturned cities such as Nantes, Bordeaux, Cherbourg and Le Havreinto major ports of international importance.
There is a total of 31,939 kilometres (31,840 km are operated by French national company) of
railwayin France. [Map of the network: http://www.rff.fr/biblio_pdf/rf_inv_r_carte.pdf]
*31,840 km RailGauge|sg
*99 km 1m narrow gauge (1998)
Trains, unlike road traffic, drive on the left (except in
Alsace-Moselle). Metro and tramway services are not considered trains and thus generally follow road traffic in driving on the right (except the Lyon Metro).
France has railway links with all adjacent countries, with the exception of
Andorra. The connection with Spaininvolves a break-of-gauge.
There are a number of metro services operating in France.
Paris Métro, operated by the RATP("Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens") and the RER
Laon, Poma 2000
Lille Metro, VAL("Véhicule Automatique Léger", "Light Automatic Vehicle"), operated by Transpole.
Marseille Metro, operated by the RTM ("Régie des Transports de Marseille")
Rennes Metro, VAL
Toulouse Metro, VAL
Tramways and light railways
Despite the closure of most of France's
tramsystems in previous decades, a rapidly growing number of France's major cities have modern tram or light railnetworks, including Paris, Lyon, Montpellier, St Etienne, Strasbourgand Nantes(Nantes has the largest French network). Recently the tram has seen a huge revival with many experiments such as ground level power supplyin Bordeaux (to avoid the need for overhead wires) or trolleybusesmasquerading as trams in Nancy (to provide a quick fix for traffic congestion).
mode of transportstarted disappearing in France at the end of the 1930s. Only Lille, Marseilleand Saint-Etiennehave never abandoned their tram systems. Since the 1980s, several cities have re-introduced it.
The following French towns and cities run light rail or tram systems:
Bordeaux, since 2003
Caen, since 2002, 'trams on tyres' guided bussystem featuring a single guidance rail while running on tyres (partially separate tracks)
Clermont-Ferrand, since 2006, 'trams on tyres'
Grenoble, since 1987
* Île-de-France (
**T1 between Saint Denis and
Noisy-le-Sec, since 1992
La Defenseand Issy Plaine, since 1997
**T3, on the south edge of the city of Paris, between
Boulevard Victorand Porte d'Ivry, since 2006
**T4, a tram-train between Bondy and Aulnay-sous-Bois RER stations, run by the SNCF, since
Lille— Roubaix— Tourcoing(non-stop since 1909)
Lyon, since 2001
Le Mans, since 2007
Marseille, since 2007 (historical network opened 1893 closed in 2004 for renewal)
Montpellier, since 2000
Mulhouse, since 2006
Nancy, since 2000, 'trams on tyres' guided bussystem featuring a single guidance rail while running on tyres (partially separate tracks)
Nice, since 2007
Nantes, since 1985
Orléans, since 2000
Rouen, since 1994
Saint-Etienne(non-stop since 1881)
Strasbourg, since 1994
Valenciennes, since 2006
Light rail and tram systems are under construction in the following locations in France:
Systems are planned in these locations:
There is a total of 1,000,960 km of
roads in the countrycite web|url=http://www.iraptranstats.net/fr |title=Transport in France |accessdate=2008-10-06 |date=2008-04-13 |work=International Transport Statistics Database |publisher= iRAP] , including 12 000 km of motorways and 30 500 km of Routes Nationales (1998 est.).Most motorways in France are toll and operated by private companies such as the Société des Autoroutes de Paris Normandie(SAPN).
Autoroutes of France
ring road, the Périphérique
Waterways / canals
There are 14,932 km of
waterwaysin France, of which 6,969 km are heavily travelled.
List of rivers of France
List of canals in France
France possesses an extensive merchant marine, including 55 ships of size GRT|1,000|first=yes and above. The country also maintains a captive register for French-owned ships in
Iles Kerguelen( French Southern and Antarctic Lands).
France also possesses a number of
seaportsand harbours, including the following: Bayonne, Bordeaux, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Brest, Calais, Cherbourg, Dunkerque, Fos-sur-Mer, La Rochelle-La Pallice, Le Havre, Lorient, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Paris, Port-la-Nouvelle, Port-Vendres, Roscoff, Rouen, Saint-Nazaire, Saint-Malo, Sète, Strasbourg, Toulon.
There are approximately 478 airports in France (1999 est.) (see
List of French Airports) and by a 2005 estimate, there are three heliports. Of the airports, 288 have paved runways, with the remaining 199 being unpaved.
Among the airspace governance authorities active in France, one is
Aéroports de Paris, which has authority over the Paris region, managing 14 airports including Charles de Gaulle International Airportand Orly Airport. [cite news | title=Laurine Feinberg appointed to guide the Parisian airports towards the ISO 14001 certification (Press Release) | date=February 16, 2005 | publisher=Aéroports de Paris | url=http://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr/ADP/en-GB/Groupe/Press/Communiques/January-March+2005/LaurineFeinbergappointed.htm?] The former, located in Roissy en France near Paris, is one of Europe's principal aviation centres and is also France's main international airport.
national carrierof France is Air France.
Notes and references
* [http://www.sncf.com/ SNCF web site]
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