How to Travel From Milan to Paris by Train, Bus, Car, and Plane

Gare de Lyon train station in Paris
Bruno De Hogues / Getty Images

Milan and Paris are both considered cultural capitals of Europe, famous around the world for their iconic architecture, high-end shopping, and rich histories. They're separated by nearly 600 miles, so flying from one to the other is the method of transport that makes the most sense for the majority of travelers. It's not only the fastest method, but it's usually the cheapest as well. However, if you can afford a bit of extra time, taking the train or renting a car to travel this route can offer a more picturesque and enjoyable way of getting to the French capital. 

  Time Cost Best For
Train 7 hours, 30 minutes from $32 Enjoying the scenery
Bus 12 hours from $32  
Flight 1 hour, 30 minutes from $19 Quick and cheap travel
Car 8 hours, 30 minutes 560 miles (900 kilometers) Exploring the local area

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Milan to Paris?

As two major travel hubs in Europe, there are several daily flights between these two cities and a variety of budget airline options, meaning you can almost always find affordable plane tickets from Milan to Paris. Low-cost airlines that make this route include Ryanair, Easyjet, and Vueling, although you can also choose flights from full-service airlines such as AirFrance and Alitalia. A one-way journey starts for as low as $19, and if you're flexible with your travel dates you can usually find affordable tickets even when purchasing at the last minute.

Be aware that while you may save money on the price of the ticket when booking with a low-cost airline, read the fine print before making your purchase. Some companies charge for basic services, such as choosing your seat or even bringing a carry-on bag. Add up all of the extra costs to get the final price and then compare prices.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Milan to Paris?

In this case, the cheapest option is also the fastest option. The total time in the air is only one hour and 30 minutes, and even once you factor in all of the time it takes to get to and from the airport, check-in for your flight, pass through security, and wait at your gate, flying is by far still the fastest option.

Paris and Milan each have three local airports, some of which are more local than others. To minimize your travel time, pay close attention to which airport you depart from and which one you arrive at. In Milan, Linate Airport (LIN) and Malpensa Airport (MXP) are the best-connected to the city, while Bergamo Airport (BGY) requires a lengthy bus ride. For your arrival in Paris, the main Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) or Orly Airport (ORY) are both connected by train to the city center, while Beauvais Airport (BVA) is quite far.

How Long Does It Take to Drive?

If you have access to a vehicle, it's a long drive from Milan to Paris but also a spectacular road trip. You have a couple of routes you can take, with an option to drive through eastern France or another that cuts through Switzerland. Both of them take between eight and 10 hours, so choose the route that most interests you.

Apart from the costs of renting a car and buying gas, you'll also have to pay a significant amount of tolls regardless of the route you take. French highways heavily rely on tolls, so the route that primarily drives through France is more costly to drivers. Switzerland doesn't charge tolls on highways but you'll need to purchase a special vignette for your car when you cross the border that costs 40 Swiss francs, or roughly $40. If you aren't planning on returning to Milan, be aware that rental companies often charge a hefty fee for dropping off a car in a different country from where you picked it up.

How Long Is the Train Ride?

Taking the train isn't the fastest or cheapest way to get from Milan to Paris, but there is something undeniably romantic about traveling by train across Europe. Plus, it's also the most environmentally-friendly way to travel, so you can enjoy the ride while doing your part for the planet. You have two direct train options from Milan to Paris: a faster trip during the day or a longer overnight trip.

  • Faster Option: The fastest train option takes between seven and eight hours and leaves three times a day from Milano Porta Garibaldi Station, arriving in Paris at Gare de Lyon Station later the same day. These tickets start at 29 euros, about $32, when first released but quickly go up in price. Try and book tickets at least two months in advance through the French rail system in order to get the best prices.
  • Overnight Option: The second option takes over 10 hours, but instead of spending all day on the train you'll just spend the night. The Thello train leaves from Milano Centrale Station each evening and arrives at Gare de Lyon Station in Paris the following morning. Tickets start at 29 euros, or about $32, for a bed in a six-person sleeper cabin or 66 euros, about $72, for a private cabin.

Is There a Bus That Goes From Milan to Paris?

While buses are usually the quintessential choice for budget travelers across Europe, the bus route from Milan to Paris is uncomfortably long and not nearly as cheap as other bus trips, with one-way buses starting at 29 euros, or roughly $32. In fact, it's often more expensive to take the bus than it is to fly. The company Flixbus is a popular option for coach travel and has a few direct buses that leave Milan every evening and arrive in Paris the next morning.

When Is the Best Time to Travel to Paris?

The best times to visit Paris to enjoy comfortable weather and avoid the biggest crowds are spring and fall. The weather warms up starting in April and stays pleasant through October, although July and August can get oppressively hot. Despite the heat, summer is the busiest time for travel in Europe and flights are sure to go up in price.

Winter is cold but it's also the low-season for tourism, and you can usually find better deals on transportation—apart from Christmas and New Year. The holidays are a particularly busy time in the city and the flight prices will reflect that. However, Paris is even more enchanting with its Christmas markets and possibly even a light layer of snow. Look for flights in November or January to get the holiday experience in Paris without the holiday prices.

One other time to be aware of is Holy Week, or the week before Easter. Most European students have spring break during this time and all methods of transportation will be more expensive or even booked up, so plan out far ahead if traveling in the spring.

What's the Most Scenic Route to Paris?

Even though flying is the cheapest, fastest, and most realistic option for travel between Milan and Paris, driving or taking the train is the best option for travelers who want the journey to a part of their vacation. If you don't mind a pitstop, you could take a train through the Alps to Zurich, spend a night or two there, and then board the high-speed train from Zurich to Paris (starting at 76 euros for both legs, or about $82).

If you're driving, you have even more flexibility to design your dream trip. You could stretch out the drive to last an entire week and spend time in the French countryside, make a detour to Zurich, or explore the Alps (driving north toward Lake Como and through the Gotthard Pass in Switzerland is an especially stunning route). Only a car gives you the freedom to experience the quaint and charming towns you would simply pass through on other modes of transportation, a priceless advantage to renting a vehicle.

Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Paris?

Italy and France are both members of the Schengen Agreement and American citizens can visit either country visa-free as tourists for up to 90 days. All you need is a valid passport that doesn't expire for at least six months after your travel date.

Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport?

If you arrive in Paris to Charles de Gaulle or Orly airports, you can use the local commuter RER train. Tickets cost between 11 and 15 euros, or about $12–$15, and reach the center of Paris in 35 minutes from either airport. If your flight arrives at Beauvais Airpot, you'll need to take a special bus that brings passengers into the city center and takes about one hour and 30 minutes.

What Is There to Do in Paris?

For most visitors to Europe, Paris is an obligatory stop. The City of Lights is one of the most-visited places on Earth and once you arrive, it's easy to see why. From iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe to world-class museums like the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay, there are simply some must-see attractions that all visitors must experience. But the true magic of Paris comes from getting lost in its winding streets, talking a walk along the Seine River, or drinking a café au lait in one of the city's many cafes accompanied by a freshly made croissant. No matter how many times you visit Paris, you'll always find something new to explore and continue to fall in love with this bewitching city.

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