Scotland might be on an island separated from France, but that doesn't mean you can't drive from one to the other—in about the same amount of time it would take to drive between New York City and Chicago. Edinburgh and Paris are both popular destinations in Europe and there are a number of ways to travel between them.
Edinburgh is roughly 680 miles (driving distance) from Paris, which makes flying the most pragmatic choice for most. However, if you prefer not to fly or would like to make a stopover in London, an eight-hour train ride is the second-best choice.
How to Get from Edinburgh to Paris
- Flight: 2 hours, from $80
- Train: 8 hours, from $160
- Bus: 18 hours, from $45 (cheapest)
- Car: 12 hours, 20 minutes, 680 miles (1,094 kilometers)
Skyscanner recognizes more than 30 flights departing from Edinburgh, Scotland, for Paris, France, per week. The flight takes about two hours and typically costs between $80 and $150. March is by far the cheapest month to travel, whereas July is the most expensive.
There are six airlines that fly direct to Paris, whether to Paris Charles de Gaulle, Paris Orly, or Paris Beauvais. Flights to Beauvais, located on the far outskirts of Paris, tend to be a cheaper option, but you'll need to plan on at least an extra 1 hour, 15 minutes to get into the city center. The airlines include international carriers like British Airways and Air France (the most popular) as well as low-cost companies such as Ryanair and easyJet.
Flying is the popular travel option between Edinburgh and Paris because it's the fastest and is often the easiest and cheapest. Those who want to make stops along the way or crave a little more scenery might rather take the longer route.
Taking the train isn't as fast as flying and it's rarely cheaper, but it's better for the environment and allows travelers to stop in London for a day trip or an overnight stay, which many are keen to do.
There is no direct train connecting Edinburgh and Paris, so travelers are required to transfer at St Pancras International station in London. The Edinburgh-to-London trip takes about four and a half hours, and then the high-speed Eurostar train, which traverses the English channel via the "Chunnel," arrives at Paris Gare du Nord station in about two and a half hours. Altogether, the trip takes between seven and a half and eight and a half hours and costs between $160 and $450.
The bus is most definitely the cheapest option, starting at just $45, but is doubtless the least comfortable. The ride takes about 18 hours, but that includes two separate trips. Like the train, there is no direct bus route from Edinburgh to Paris. The National Express and BlaBlaBus make the nine-and-a-half-hour journey from Edinburgh to London Victoria Coach Station three times daily. Then, travelers transfer to FlixBus or Eurolines FR, which will take them another eight or so hours to Paris city center.
Another option is the night bus, provided by Megabus UK. It is slightly longer, but it runs overnight so that you can sleep for much of the journey. These start from $60 and travelers still must transfer in London.
Driving the 680 miles between Edinburgh and Paris is definitely the most difficult way to travel—not just because it takes so long (albeit not as long as it takes the bus), but also because you need to adapt to two different countries' traffic laws—including switching from the left to the right side of the road—and there's a ferry involved.
The benefit is that being behind the wheel gives travelers more control over their itineraries. If you want to stop in Newcastle, Leeds, London, or Dover (all along the route), this is the way. You and a few friends can make an adventure out of it.
The first leg of the journey, from Edinburgh to Dover, takes about eight hours. The ferry across the channel takes about an hour and a half, and, finally, you're in for another almost three hours of driving before you arrive in Paris.
What to See in Paris
They don't call it the City of Love for nothing. Once you arrive in the French capital, you'll find it impossible not to fall in love with the charming bistros and boulangeries dotted around the city. Aside from the famous attractions—the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Cathedral Notre-Dame, the Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, and so many more—Paris has all sorts of off-the-beaten-path attractions to keep tourists busy.
In the summertime, you could spend all day touring the statue-studded Tuilerìes Garden, the Luxembourg Gardens, and the Champ de Mars. And when it's dreary, you can always escape to one of the many art museums for a gander at van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso. You could even descend into the Catacombs if you dare.
Of course, you'll need to eat in the midst of these adventures and there's plenty to choose from here. You'll find no shortage of cheese, savory crepes, oysters, foie gras, and couscous as you wander about the streets. After your meal, eclairs, macarons, chocolate, gelato, and pralines await for a delicious dessert.
From Paris, you can take day trips to Versailles, Disneyland, Monet's Garden, Strasbourg, or the historic beaches of Normandy to see where American and other Allied troops landed during World War II. Top it all off with a day trip to Champagne (yes, that Champagne) for a toast of bubbly to celebrate your travels.