The best ways get to Circuit Paul Ricard for the 2021 French Grand Prix on June 25-27, plus advice on getting around in Marseille.
The return of the French Grand Prix in 2018 was tainted for many fans by significant delays getting into and out of the Paul Ricard Circuit on race weekend, poor trackside parking and a lack of information for spectators. Many fans were stuck in traffic on local roads for up to 6 hours due to poor communication between the circuit and local traffic police, coupled with inefficient systems for controlling access to circuit parking.
Thankfully, a new ‘mobility plan’ was put in place for 2019 that was focused on four main areas: matching the number of vehicles going to the circuit with road capacity, overhaul the organization and management of trackside parking, use new roads and modify existing roads to improve road capacity and finally, to advise and inform the public before, during and after the event. In addition to dedicated lanes for public buses and vehicles with five or more passengers, the biggest new initiative for 2019 is a “park and ride” facility in nearby La Ciotat with capacity for 4000 cars and free onward buses to the circuit. A paid bus service also connects Paul Ricard each day with the larger regional centres of Nice, Toulon, Marseille and Aix-en-Provence.
Join our closed Facebook group Going to the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard to ask travel-related questions, connect with fellow fans and plan joint journeys to the circuit.
Flights to the French Grand Prix
The Paul Ricard circuit is approximately 40km east of Marseilles, France’s second biggest city, in the direction of Toulon. If you own or have access to a private jet, then you are in luck. The Paul Ricard circuit complex includes the private Le Castellet Airport. The rest of us need to fly into one of the larger airports nearby served by international carriers:
- The best airport to fly into is Marseille Provence (MRS), approximately 65km from Paul Ricard. This growing hub serves many European and some international routes. The largest number of flights are with discount carriers Ryanair, Easyjet and Volotea. Seasonal destinations further afield include Istanbul, Tel Aviv and Montreal.
- The closest airport – 55 km from Paul Ricard – is Toulon Hyères (TLN), but this only serves a handful of routes, many seasonal. Example routes: Paris (Orly or CDG) and Lyon with Air France/HOP!, Southamption in the UK with Flybe and Copenhagen with Scandinavian Airlines
- Finally, Nice Côte d’Azur (NCE) is only 176 km from Paul Ricard and is larger than MRS. It serves as a hub for Air France and Easyjet, and also has more long-haul flights, including New York, Doha and Dubai.
Trains & Driving to Circuit Paul Ricard
- French trains are reliable, fast and often quite expensive, though you will save by booking in advance. Paris and Marseilles are connected by a high-speed TGV train that covers the distance of 750km+ in under 4 hours. Prices from €10 each way. Book on SNCF. Other train stations close to the circuit include Bandol, Toulon and Aix-en-Provence.
- Depending on where you are traveling from, it could be worth driving your own car to Le Castellet (especially if you decide to camp). This part of Europe benefits from an excellent system of motorways, though you will have to factor in the cost of tolls. Both traffic and parking can also be a problem, but this is compensated by some incredible coastal and mountain scenery.
- Rental Cars: browse the best deals in Marseilles and surrounds with Rentalcars.com
How to Get to Circuit Paul Ricard
- Drive yourself: Given the fairly remote location of the Paul Ricard circuit, the best way to get to the race will be to drive yourself or stay as locally as possible, e.g. trackside camping. If you decided to base yourself in nearby Marseilles for the weekend, then the 40-45 km trip to the circuit via the A50 autoroute (use exit 11) should take around 45-60 minutes, notwithstanding traffic. After last years issues, trackside parking is FREE for ticketholders in 2019. Note that if you are travelling with at least five people in your vehicle, you can use a special carpooling lane and use a special parking area close to the circuit. Click here for a map of local roads with access to the circuit.
- Park & Ride: new for 2019, 4000 free parking spaces are on offer in La Ciotat (Zone d’Activité Athélia de La Ciotat), around 20km from the circuit. From the parking area, free buses should take around 45 minutes to get you from the parking to the circuit via a decidated traffic lane.
- Shuttle Buses: the organizers offer daily shuttle buses to Circuit Paul Ricard from Marseille, Toulon, Aix-en-Provence and Nice. Price are from €40-60 return per day, depending on distance. Be aware that these buses leave early every day from the respective cities (between 6am and 7:30am). Book here.
- Taxis / shuttles / ride sharing: taxis are not cheap on the French Riviera. Expect to pay around €100 each way to get to Paul Ricard from Marseilles: OK if you are sharing with fellow fans.