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

Morning in Montmartre, Paris, France
Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

Wedged between Germany and Italy, Switzerland is a popular side trip from France. Zurich is the gateway to this famously scenic country. The waterfront city sits about 55 miles (89 kilometers) by road from the nearest French city, Saint-Louis, and 375 miles (603 kilometers) from Paris, the landmark-laden portal to Europe. To get from Zurich to Paris, you can hop aboard an easy hour-and-15-minute flight, a high-speed train, or a budget-friendly bus. If you go by car, you have the opportunity to stop by such iconic destinations as Burgundy (for the wine, of course) and historical Vezelay along the way.

  Time Cost Best For
Bus 8 to 10 hours from $28 Minding a budget
Train 4 hours from $33 Fast and reliable ground transportation
Plane 1 hour, 15 minutes from $90 Traveling on a time crunch
Car 6 hours, 30 minutes 375 miles (603 kilometers) Exploring the local area

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

The cheapest way to get from Zurich to Paris is by bus. Unfortunately, this is also the most time-consuming option, requiring a minimum of eight hours. Nonetheless, tickets start around $28—the earlier you book, the better. FlixBus and Eurolines both run the route regularly (departing at least once per day), but Eurolines, although slightly pricier, tends to take less time than FlixBus.

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

The fastest way to get from Zurich to Paris is by flying. According to Skyscanner, there are seven airlines that offer direct flights from Zurich Airport to Paris' three: Charles de Gaulle, Orly, and Beauvais. SWISS and Air France are popular options. The flight takes about an hour and 15 minutes and tickets start at $90. There are more than 50 direct flights per week to choose from.

How Long Does It Take to Drive? 

In smooth traffic conditions, it takes about six and a half hours or more to get from Zurich to Paris by car, but driving is a nice way to explore the scenic stretches of Switzerland and Eastern France on your own time. The shortest distance is 375 miles (603 kilometers) via the A5, but you can also go by way of Beaune to the south (the centerpiece of France's Burgundy wine region) or Reims to the north (the unofficial capital of the Champagne wine region). Expect to pay toll fees (ViaMichelin estimates a total of $24 for the A5 route) at several points throughout the trip.

How Long Is the Train Ride?

The train is an easy, convenient, and fairly cheap way to get between Zurich and Paris. France's TGV train travels at speeds of 357 miles (574 kilometers) per hour, covering the distance between Zürich Hauptbahnhof and Paris Gare De Lyon in just over four hours. According to Rail Europe, there is an average of 11 trains traveling this route per day (between the times of 5 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.) and tickets can be found for as little as $33.

When Is the Best Time to Travel to Paris? 

Summer is peak tourist season for Paris, which means that buses, trains, and flights are destined to be full during this time. You're better off going between April and June (you may even see the cherry blossoms in bloom) or October, when the crowds are lighter and the weather is still warm enough to sightsee comfortably. To save extra money, book your bus, train, or plane tickets early.

What’s the Most Scenic Route to Paris? 

If you have some time on your hands, you can choose a more scenic route over the direct A5. To the north, you'll go through the Champagne winemaking region (including Reims and Épernay) whereas a more southern route will take you through the valleys and slopes of the Burgundy region and the village of Vezelay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, before spitting you out in Paris. These routes add between 30 and 50 miles (50 and 80 kilometers) onto the trip, but they're worth it.

Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Paris? 

Switzerland and France are both included in the Schengen Area, a collection of 26 European states that have mutual borders. U.S. passport holders can visit this region for up to 90 days without a visa.

Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport? 

The $11 RER B line is the best way to travel into the center from Charles de Gaulle Airport. It departs every 10 to 20 minutes from Terminals 1 and 2 and takes 35 minutes to get to the city. It takes a little longer—roughly an hour—to get into Paris from Orly. Because there is no direct train line, passengers should take the Orlyval metro to Anthony Train Station, then transfer to the RER (lines B or C). It costs about $13 one way.

Getting from Beauvais into town is the most time consuming. The best option is an 80-minute shuttle bus that departs approximately 20 minutes after every flight arrival and drops off less than a kilometer from the Arc de Triomphe.

What Is There to Do in Paris? 

There's something for everyone in Paris. The foodie, the history buff, the fashion-obsessed, the art lover—all are accounted for in this culture-rich metropolis. Besides the famous landmarks (the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Champs-Élysées) there's the endless avenues of pâtisseries, cheese stalls, and falafel houses to get lost in. The Latin Quarter, Le Marais, and Montmartre are popular neighborhoods to walk around, too. If you want to be kept busy, the Paris Museum Pass offers access to 50 museums and monuments for a flat rate.

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