History of Bus Providers in France
Long-distance bus travel has only started to develop in France over the course of the last few years, mostly due to the dominance of the country's rail network. Unlike many European countries, France doesn't coordinate intercity buses but rather most medium-distance bus services are operated by the rail provider SNCF as part of a public regional transport network. In fact, it was only in 2011 that a company (Eurolines) was allowed to develop inter-regional lines in France.
Major Bus Providers in France
In addition to the urban and regional companies that provide bus services in France, there are two major companies running inter-regional and international routes.
Eurolines connects over 60 cities across France with its national network, linking major cities like Paris, Lyon and Marseille, as well as various international destinations such as London, Berlin, Bareclona, Amsterdam, Brussels and Milan. Eurolines' fleet of 500+ coaches across Europe are modern and comfortable.
iDBUS is a subsidiary of the state railway SNCF which has operated bus services in Europe since 2012 in competition with Eurolines. The company is mainly present in the northern parts of France, serving Aix-en-Provence, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, as well as Amsterdam, Brussels, Genoa, Milan, London and Turin though its network of routes is expanding fairly rapidly. iDBUS have a fleet of coaches that meet the Euro 5 emission standard, are fitted with Wi-Fi, plug sockets and can accommodate passengers with reduced mobility.
Popular Bus Routes in France
Though coach travel is still in its early stages in France, some 100,000 people travelled by long-distance bus in 2013. The routes connecting Paris-Amsterdam and Brussels-Lille-Lyon-Barcelona are among the most frequented lines.