Traffic chaos in 2018 did little to endear the new-old French F1 venue to the Grand Prix going public. A new mobility plan in 2019 did much to remedy that with park-and-ride, more shuttle buses, dedicated lanes and better managed parking among some of the solutions. Now with a few tweaks Paul Ricard has one of the most comprehensive strategies for getting fans into the circuit with the least amount of hassle.

Transport strikes are common in France. Check news sources near the time of travel and try to have a back up plan just in case.

Getting to the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard

Marseille (44km), Toulon (33km) and Aix-en Provence (61km) all make good bases for Grand Prix goers. Nice at 165km away is a useful point of entry to the region but a bit far for the daily commute to the circuit.

Flights

Though Circuit Paul Ricard has the distinction of having an international airport on site in the form of Le Castellet Airport, this caters to private planes only and most visitors arriving by air will want to look for flights to either Marseille (MRS) which is closer, or Nice (NCE) which is favoured by many budget airlines like Easyjet.

Kiwi.com lets you search for the lowest cost flights and shows you route combinations that often don’t show up on other search engines. If you miss a connecting flight due to delay the Kiwi guarantee means you can take the next available flight at no extra cost.

Travel to the Circuit by Car or Motorbike

Once in the region driving is one of the most practical ways of getting to Paul Ricard. If there are at least four passengers in the car or you’re coming by motorcycle it’s also one of the cheapest.

Choose between parking at the circuit (free and paid) or drive part of the way and use the free park-and-ride services.

While there is no shortage of car hire companies at the airport, you’ll get better deals reserving one in advance using a search aggregator like RentalCars.com that searches multiple car hire companies at once for the best prices.

Directions to the circuit

From the A50 motorway, take exit 11 and follow Le Beausset – Aubagne – Circuit du Castellet.

Paul Ricard has partnered with Waze, and organisers recommend using the app to get up-to-the-minute info on traffic near the circuit. Road closures and diversions probably won’t be reflected on your usual GPS so it’s worth paying attention to the app as well as looking out for circuit staff or the local gendarmes directing traffic.

On-site Parking

If there are at least four of you in the car you can park for free at a dedicated parking area near the circuit. There’s no need for a ticket but you will need to register in advance. If you don’t qualify for the carpool car park you can still park at the circuit but will have to pay a surcharge for a Green Access Pass, a scheme which subsidises more sustainable modes of transport for the event.

On the day, just show up and you will be directed to the nearest available car park depending on which road you arrive by.

Motorcycle Parking

There is a dedicated asphalt parking area for motorcycles where crash helmet lockers are provided. Parking for motorcycles is free but visitors will need to register in advance.

Premium Parking

For most spectators, the standard parking will be perfectly sufficient but if you want to beat a hasty getaway or you’re worried about getting your Lamborghini stuck in the mud, premium parking is available.

Premium parking is not only a hard-standing, tarmacked car park it’s also right in the centre of the circuit meaning quick access to your grandstand. It will also grant you access to a ‘privilege lane’ meaning less time spent in traffic. Premium parking for €189 is available to book here.

Park-and-Ride

All vehicles regardless of the number of passengers can park in free park-and-ride car parks and use a free shuttle bus to get to the circuit gates. The park-and-ride service at Paul Ricard is free for anyone with a single or multi-day ticket to the Grand Prix.

With a dedicated lane these buses are a quicker option than parking at the circuit. You don’t need to buy a ticket but you do need to register as parking is limited to 6,000 spaces.

Park-and-ride sites are located at the motorway exits – La Ciotat, Roquefort la Bédoule, Le Beausset, Signes, Aubagne and Bandol. Once parked, shuttle buses depart frequently and reach the circuit in about 40 minutes.

Train

There are stations at Toulon, Marseille, Nice and Aix-en-Provence. TGV connections to these towns make it a very convenient entry point from other destinations on the Paris – Marseille line or the Genoa – Nice – Barcelona line. From Toulon, Marseille and Aix-en-Provence there are shuttle buses to cover the rest of the journey directly to Paul Ricard (see below).

If you wish to continue by train, the nearest station to the circuit is Bandol at 20km away. However, there are no shuttle services from here and unless you arrange one in advance it could be hard to get a taxi. Instead, F1 fans travelling from Toulon and Marseille can avail of a special SNCF TER train service to La Ciotat-Ceyreste for €10 return (€5 for children). From this station, frequent shuttle buses take you to the circuit gates and return to the station in the evening.

You can search train schedules across multiple operators simultaneously to and from just about any station in Europe using Omio (formerly GoEuro) and purchase tickets for the same cost as buying direct from the train lines.

French Grand Prix Shuttle Bus

There are ExpressGP shuttle buses for F1 fans from the 3 major regional transport hubs of Marseille (Saint-Charles station) Aix-en-Provence (Coach station) Toulon (TER station). As well as being cost-effective, these services are also one of the best ways to avoid the worst of the traffic by using dedicated lanes to get to the circuit.

There are departures every couple of minutes to the circuit between 7am and 10am and returning in the evening from 7pm to 9pm. ExpressGP tickets cost €25 for a return journey and must be booked in advance.

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About Me

I’m Danny, an incurable Formula 1 fan for over 30 years and founder of The F1 Spectator. My aim is to inform and inspire, arming you with helpful tips and advice for your next F1 trip.