Paris to Besançon: How to Get There (Local’s Guide)

Are you looking to travel from Paris to Besançon?

Well, you’ve come to the right place!

I’ve been living in France for over six years and spent three of those years in Paris. Not only that but I’ve done this trip dozens of times. I know every route, from the fastest to the most convenient.

So, to help you organize your trip, I’ve put together the best ways to get to Besançon from Paris.

I’ll break down each option so you can choose the one that works with your travel plans.

Here is your complete guide on how to get from Paris to Besançon. It has everything you need to plan an incredible trip.
Getting to Besançon

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3 Ways to Get from Paris to Besançon

The distance between Paris and Besançon is approximately 414 kilometers (257 miles). And, while that might seem far, traveling between these two cities is easy.

Below is an overview of the best travel options:

  • By Train – Fastest
  • By Car – Most Flexible
  • By Bus – Cheapest

Now, I’ll go over each way in more detail.

1. By Train

This is a high-speed TGV train that run the route between Paris and Besançon. This is the front of the train so you can see the conductors window and the logo for TGV.
High-Speed TGV Train

There are so many amazing things to see in Besançon, you’ll want to get there as fast as possible. That’s why taking a high-speed TGV train is my preferred option.

It takes about 2 hours and 35 minutes and a one-way ticket costs about €35.

Helpful Tip: I recommend buying your tickets as soon as you can. For some trips, I’ve paid up to €75 for a one-way ticket.

Trains leave from Paris’ Gare de Lyon station and arrive at Besançon’s main train station – Gare de Besançon Viotte.

There are a few direct trains every day, but, in most cases, I’ve had to change at the Besançon – F Comte TGV station or at the Dijon Ville station.

The wait time between trains is usually 15 minutes, but it can be longer, especially for the trains that pass by Dijon Ville.

Helpful Tip: If you buy a ticket that requires a change at Dijon Ville, the journey can take up to three hours.

Finally, there is an option to leave from a train station called Paris Austerlitz. I, personally, avoid this route because it takes much longer (about 4 hours and 30 minutes).

Tickets are cheaper, but the extra time it takes is not worth it in my opinion.

Book and Purchase your Train Tickets here ➔

2. By Car

This is a photo of me, Jen Ciesielski, taking a picture of myself in the driver's side window of my rental car. You can see me holding the camera and the camera is in front of my face. You can see trees in the distance and the road in front.
My Rental Car

Renting a car and driving to Besançon is my next favorite option. It’s not as fast as taking the train, but I love having control over my itinerary.

There are two routes you can take – the fastest route and the most scenic. If you have room in your itinerary for a road trip, I recommend the scenic one.

Below, I’ll cover both in detail.

Fastest Route

The fastest way follows the A6 highway for most of the trip. Without any traffic, it takes about four hours (Distance: 414 kilometers (257 miles)).

Below is a map that outlines this route. Click on the map to open Google Maps.

This is a map of the fastest driving route between Paris and Besançon. Click on the map to open Google Maps.
Fastest Route

Get the Best Car Rental Rates Here ➔

Most Scenic Route

When I can, I always try to make room in my travel schedule for a road trip around this part of France. And there are tons of places to stop on the way to Besançon.

I recommend spending time in Auxerre and Dijon.

Both cities have a wealth of history, culture, and things to do. And they sit along the A6, so you won’t have to go out of your way.

In the following section, I’ve put together an example itinerary. If you stop by both cities, you’ll need three days to see everything.

Below is a map detailing the stops I suggest you make. Click on the map to open Google Maps.

This is the scenic driving route between Paris and Besançon. Click on the map to open Google Maps.
Scenic Route

Get the Best Car Rental Rates Here ➔

Stop 1: Auxerre

This a wine glass filled halfway standing next to a bottle of wine from Burgundy, which is the region Auxerre is in.
Bourgogne Wine

Auxerre is easily one of the most underrated places I’ve been to in France. It’s a small city with stunning architecture, delicious food, and fantastic wine.

The biggest attraction here is the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.

Its bright red doors reminded me of the ones I saw at the infamous Amiens Cathedral.

Next, take a stroll through the Vieille Ville (Old Town). Here you’ll find historic sites like the Tour de l’Horloge and Église Saint-Eusèbe d’Auxerre.

Then, if you have time, I recommend visiting the Musée Leblanc-Duvernoy.

It’s a small museum, but it houses an incredible collection of earthenware, ceramics, and tapestries.

Paris to Auxerre:

  • Distance: 169 kilometers (105 miles)
  • Driving Time: 1 hour 53 minutes

Stop 2: Dijon

This is Place François Rude in Dijon. There is a half-timbered house with a pointed roof. It's home to a cafe that has table with umbrellas in front. I took this photo at night so the sky is dark and the street lights are turned on.
Place François Rude

Famous for its namesake mustard, Dijon is also packed full of history and culture. The cobblestone streets are lined with beautiful buildings, churches, and museums.

And, best of all, it’s easy to see the main attractions in a day.

The most famous is the Palais des Ducs de Bourgogne, a well-preserved palace housing the Musée des Beaux-Arts. It’s also home to the Tour Philippe le Bon, which offers stunning views of the city.

Helpful Tip: I had to reserve my tickets to climb the Tour Philippe le Bon two days in advance.

Next, head to Dijon’s Notre Dame Cathedral, a beautiful church known for its intricate stone sculptures.

A few other highlights worth seeing are Place François Rude, the Rude Museum, and Arquebuse Botanical Gardens.

Helpful Tip: I followed the Parcours de la Chouette (Owl’s Trail) during my visit. It winds through Dijon, stopping by 22 points of interest.

Auxerre to Dijon:

  • Distance: 149 kilometers (92 miles)
  • Driving Time: 1 hour 38 minutes

Stop 3: Besançon

This is a panoramic view of Besançon from the Citadel of Besançon. You can see the rooftop, trees, and the Doubs River.
View from the Citadel of Besançon

This will be your final stop on this mini-road trip.

Besançon is a charming city with a rich history, stunning natural scenery, and a vibrant cultural scene.

The main reason I traveled to Besançon was to visit the Citadelle de Besançon.

This 17th-century fortress is one of the finest examples of Vauban’s military architecture and offers breathtaking views of the city.

It’s also home to three fascinating museums.

But I found there was so much to see here. The city also boasts a beautiful historic center, filled with narrow streets and stunning architecture.

Several museums are worth stopping by including, the Maison Victor Hugo, the Musée du Temps, and the Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Archéologie.

This is Besançon's Astronomical Clock that sits in the Besançon Cathedral. This is a photo of a small section of the clock. There are two rows of ten dials on either side of a large circular dial that is surrounded by 8 other dials.
Besançon’s Astronomical Clock

And you can’t miss the astronomical clock. It weighs two tons and has 30,000 mechanical pieces.

It’s housed in the clock tower of the Besançon Cathedral, which is itself a masterpiece.

Dijon to Besançon:

  • Distance: 97 kilometers (60 miles)
  • Driving Time: 1 hour 17 minutes

Parking in Besançon

If you’re driving to Besançon, you’ll need to park your rental car. There’s very limited free parking, and you’ll most likely have to pay a small fee.

Helpful Tip: Some hotels offer free parking but be sure to check with your hotel beforehand.

Here are the best places to park your car in Besançon:

  • Parking Gare de Besançon Viotte Sud – EFFIA
  • Onepark – Parking Besançon – They have two locations: Gare de Besançon Viotte and Centre-Ville de Besançon
  • Parc de Stationnement Veil-Picard

3. By Bus

This is a Flix bus that runs between Paris and Besançon. It's a large two story bus and there you can see the logo on the side of the bus. The bus is parked at the bus station. There are trees on the sidewalk next to where the bus is parked.
Flixbus

Taking a long-distance bus is another great way to travel between these two cities. It’s also the cheapest option on this list.

Flixbus is the only company that makes this trip. They offer one or two departures per day.

Buses leave from the Paris Bercy Seine bus station and arrive at the Gare de Besançon-Viotte train station.

On average, the journey takes about 5 hours and 30 minutes. A one-way ticket costs anywhere from €15 to €20.

When I took the bus, I opted for a late departure time (11:10 pm) so I wouldn’t waste a day traveling. I arrived around 4:30 am somewhat rested. If you need to save time, it’s an option I recommend.

Helpful Tip: Be careful when buying your bus tickets. There is a route that first passes by Dijon. The ticket costs the same as the direct option, but the journey takes two hours longer.

Book and Purchase your Bus Tickets here ➔

Conclusion and Verdict

Traveling between Paris and Besançon is, for the most part, straightforward.

Taking a high-speed TGV train is the easiest way to get there, and it’s my preferred option, especially when I’m in a hurry.

Driving offers the most flexibility and there are tons of beautiful places to stop along the way.

But, if you’re looking to save money, nothing is cheaper than the bus.

Now that you know how to get to Besançon, it’s time to reserve your train/bus tickets or rental car.


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Jen Ciesielski
Jen Ciesielski

Jen Ciesielski is the creator of Dabbling in Jet Lag. She has lived abroad for over ten years, traveled to more than 50 countries, and speaks French and English fluently. Her areas of expertise include moving abroad, learning languages, and travel planning. Originally from the United States, she now lives in France, where she has been for more than six years. She has also traveled extensively around the country. She shares her experiences as an expat living in France and helps thousands of people plan their trips every month.

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