Driving through France

  • This topic has 21 replies, 17 voices, and was last updated 10 years ago by  Elmo.
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  • Driving through France
  • Elmo

    I can manage this country!

    Driving from Dunkerque to La Mole, St Tropez.
    Don’t want to use the Tolls, but i want a modicum of speed, don’t want to be stuck on the back roads either.
    I’ve been trying too google a route that may involve a bit of both. Can’t find much, never driven that area of france.

    Any tips?! 😕

    Most of the French A roads are deserted during the day and a lot are dual carriageways.

    Take a couple of days to do the drive and stay somewhere nice on the way down


    why not use the toll roads? they are fast and empty.


    A roads are fine, especially if you’re into crazy overtaking… You also get to see a bit more of real france, which is nice! What I will say though is fill up whereever you can. They’re not big on 24 hour petrol stations over there and some places (quite a lot) only take french credit cards as payment.


    Driven through France to Spain before, just used the toll roads.

    Fine till you have to pay! Want to fine a happy medium and cut the cost!


    This is a route avoiding tolls

    I’d play around with it to avoid Paris though


    Seriously, use the tolls, the extra time needed if you dont will mean you staying overnight somewhere.

    I always used to drive along the A roads too when I was a student which as someone has already said are mainly dual carriageways. I do find the north part of France pretty monotonous though, a bit like the prairie belt in the Sates. Huge endless fields slightly rolling land and a straight road as far as the eye can see. Depends if you want to make the journey there part of the holiday as it will take a couple of days if you don’t use the motorways.

    never driven that area of france.

    Lol mate, you’re pretty much driving the length of the country aren’t you?

    uplink’s route is good, but seriously…avoid Paris unless you’re driving around it after midnight and before 6 am. Using A roads, it will be at least two day’s drive (if not three, depending on the number of drivers) and you’ll be more tired from having to concentrate a bit more. Also, you only need to hit the wrong town at the wrong time and traffic can actually be bad in parts of France (contrary to what everybody will tell you).

    So it’s all down to time and money innit? If you fancy getting off the beaten track and staying a few nights here and there, then A roads it is but for speed and fuel efficiency, then Peage is your only man.

    How about a bit of both…do the first half of the trip on Peage and then as you get towards the Massif Central, get on to the A roads and see a bit of France that few other people ever bother with…stunning villages in the forests etc…nice bit of the country.


    I drove from Bradford to Perigeux a few years back. Took two days each way (including Bradford-Folkestone-Le Shuttle) using M1-A57-A1-M25-M20 in UK and N-routes in France: Calais-Boulogne-Dreux (overnight stay); Dreux-Orleans-Limoges (or vice versa) – Perigeux.

    Perigeux is only about 2/3 of the way to Provence.

    Last holiday I flew Leeds/Bradford – Nice & hired a car when I got there. 2 hour flight & tres relaxed when you get there.

    It takes longer to get from Ste Maxime to St Tropez (20 miles max) than I spent on the plane. Do not attempt to drive into St Trop. get the boat from Ste MAxime or St Raphael.

    The toll roads are indeed fast & straightforward. & expensive & yawningly boring. Fuel’s also more expensive on them. I was well pi$$ed off when my sat nav said, ‘drive for 185 miles’…. If your’e in a hurry, fair enough but if you want a bit of variety & see things, cheaper then keep off em.
    I did do Perols (Montpellier) to Calais in 10 hours on them though, just slept most of the way.


    I wouldn’t even think of driving this route outside of motorway. Unless it’s a road trip with plenty of overnight stays. Contrary to what people have said, A road ‘nationales’ are not all dual carriageway, can be fairly busy, plus you’ll be going trough a lot of town (speed limit 50km/h) and can even get stuck in traffic jams.if you want to enjoy you could take motorway to grenoble and then la route napoléon to down south and then la corniche d’or up to saint tropez.
    Another very important point to consider DO NOT i repeat DO NOT drive during the week end from mid june to end of august. And I am not taking the piss.
    If you want to plan your route I advice you to use mappy.com and to have a look on the “bison futé” web site.
    If you need any help just shout.


    AA road map of France. Used mine loads (oddly enough in France). Start by picking out the towns along the route and away you go.

    What are you reasons for not wanting to use the Toll roads?

    I found the extra time, cost of fuel and overnight stops negated any savings on toll fees.


    What Juan said (obviously) – especially about avoiding the heavy traffic days, or you will sit for hours in jams, even on the autoroutes. Here is a handy planner:

    As for Paris – it is over-rated in terms of driving difficulty. Problem is (as above) people leaving for vacation en masse.


    Done both many times. Toll roads win every time. Sitting in a car is sitting in car ultimately regardless of what sort of road you are on. Unless you get some perverse joy out of it go for the quickest option. Trust me.


    What Juan said (obviously)

    Mods can we get a sticky to this thread 😉


    Via MIchelin is great for setting preferences such as “tight git” and “lead foot” 🙂

    Click here

    Just back myself.

    And for what it’s worth, I highly recommend the “new” A75 from Millau to Clemont Ferrand and then the A89 to Roanne. Great landscape to drive through.


    One other option would be to use the train. It’s a tad more expensive (I think it’s 130€ for the car only) but it’s much more convenient as you can drop it the day before, spend a day in paris, train/fly to somewhere enjoy one day and then take your car one day after it arrives.


    the way tomtom takes me to morzine and back (avoiding tolls) is via belgium, swizerland, luxomberg. It’s still on fast roads (as there’s no tolls in those countries) but its a little longer – adds about 2 hours onto the journey. so its slower, but costs £70 less in tolls. Getting to morzine is easypeasy in a day, st tropez would be a slog but definately possible with an early start. i’d rather take 2 hours longer and spend £140 on beer


    I don’t mind the drive taking a little longer, trying to avoid the 80 euros each way toll!

    At the moment we’re looking at motorway to lille (free). Then a couple of major roads that nip into belgium at one point i think! Then down to St Tropez

    Posssibly use the tolls for the return, just get home!

    Deadlydarcy………meant i’ve only ever driven down the west side! And then straight through to sspain and Gibraltar. 28Hrs…….and that was after picking a car up from from leeds.



    Your linked page has expired 🙁

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