Paris and Rome are two of the most popular cities to visit in Europe. Paris, the city of love and light, is the most visited city in Europe due to its famous Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, and the Louvre. Rome is also a major player thanks to the Colosseum and its delicious Italian food. Although they're 880 miles apart, the two cities are easily paired together for a European vacation—especially in the peak tourist season of summer when there are more flights and trains. Or, you can make a road trip out of it and stop at some of the sights along the way, such as Lyon, Milan, and Florence.
How to Get from Paris to Rome
- Train: 10 hours, from $67 (with transfer)
- Flight: 2 hours, from $20
- Bus: 22 hours, from $50
- Car: 14 hours, 880 miles (1,420 kilometers)
The train isn't the fastest or cheapest way to get from Paris to Rome, but it's an all-time favorite route of travelers for being the most relaxing method and for the breathtaking scenery. Don't think of it as a wasted travel day spent in transit, but rather a day zipping through the unbeatable scenery of the French countryside, Tuscan vineyards, and the snow-covered Alps. It's sure to be the most memorable train ride of your life.
Travelers have a few options for train travel between these two capital cities, depending on how much time you have and what type of journey you're looking for. If you leave Paris in the morning using the two fastest methods, you could be in Rome that same night. But if you have the time to take the train, make the most of the trip by spending at least one night in your transfer city as well.
- Fastest and Cheapest: The quickest route involves one transfer in Turin, Italy, and can be done in a single day if you like. You'll first book a train from Paris Gare de Lyon station to Turin's Porta Susa station through the French national railway, SNCF. From there, use the Italian railway services Trenitalia or Italo to book the second leg from Turin (Torino) to Rome. Be aware that trains depart from Turin from Torino Porta Susa station or Torina Porta Nuova. To avoid changing stations in Turin, book your departure point from Porta Susa as well.
- Nearly as Fast and Cheap: Instead of changing trains in Turin, take the train from Paris to Milan, and change trains there instead. The total trip takes slightly longer, but it can still be completed in a single day if you wish and fares are comparable between the two options. Book tickets using SNCF for the first leg and Trenitalia or Italo for the second leg, or use RailEurope to book both trips together on one website for a small fee.
- Overnight Option: Although the overnight train takes longer, it's arguably more time-effective since you don't lose out on a day of sightseeing (although many would consider the views from the train just as good as city sightseeing). Use Thello to book an overnight train from Paris to Milan, connecting to a morning high-speed train from Milan to Rome. You won't get the same impressive views in the dark, but you will save money on a night of accommodations.
Of course, the quickest way from Paris to Rome is by plane, which takes only two hours if you fly direct. However, don't worry about blowing the budget on airfare; you might be surprised how cheap flights are in Europe. For the route between Paris and Rome, the most affordable carriers include Ryanair, Easyjet, and Vueling, with Alitalia and Air France coming in as good medium-choice options. Just make sure to read the fine print because some of these budget airlines fly out of smaller airports that are outside the city center or have strict rules about permitted carry-on luggage.
There are four airports around Paris, some closer to the French capital than others, while there are two main airports in Rome. So for example, Ryanair may have direct flights as low as $20 one-way, but you'll be traveling from the Beauvais–Tillé Airport (75 minutes north of Paris) to Ciampino–G. B. Pastine International Airport (a half-hour southeast of Rome), and you'll have to factor in the cost of public transportation to/from the airports. EasyJet and Vueling, meanwhile, fly nonstop from Paris Orly Airport to Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport, Rome's main international airport. Keep in mind that these are base fares, meaning you may be charged extra to reserve seats or check luggage (and carry-on bags, in the case of Ryanair).
The driving distance between Paris and Rome is 880 miles (1,420 kilometers) and takes about 14 hours. The fastest way to go is on the French Autoroute to the Italian Autostrada, which has a higher speed limit, but you'll have to pay tolls. From Paris, travel south through Lyon and cross the French-Italian border heading to Turin; here, the roads open up to stunning views of the Alps in northern Italy. Then, go east to Bologna and turn south toward Florence, where you'll cruise through Tuscan vineyards and countryside before ending in Rome three hours later. The perk of driving is you have the flexibility to make detours or stops to see some of the best sights, cities, and scenery across France and Italy. If you can, extend your stay to make the most of your road trip.
If you're planning to rent a car and not return to Paris, keep in mind that rental companies often charge hefty fees for returning a car in a different country from where you picked it up.
The bus is the least convenient option as it takes roughly 22 hours, includes transfers, and usually doesn't save you any money. Eurolines is the main bus company that serves routes between Paris and Rome, but it is slow and relatively expensive, so compare other bus routes on sites like GoEuro and FlixBus.
What to See in Rome
Rome is one of the most iconic cities in the world and one of the most-visited places in all of Europe. History buffs, art lovers, and foodies all have something to enjoy, and simply walking through the city is like taking a stroll through a museum. Ancient ruins pop up around every corner, with the Colosseum and Roman Forum being two of the best-preserved. More recent sites that are obligatory stops include the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, best enjoyed at night when the lights are on and the crowds have thinned out. Possibly the best part of visiting Rome is the food, and the most delicious place to start is the outdoor market Campo de'Fiori. Try typical Roman dishes such as carbonara pasta and pasta amatriciana, ending the meal with an espresso and a heaping scoop of gelato.