Driving to the south of France, which route, Dieppe to Beziers?

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  • Driving to the south of France, which route, Dieppe to Beziers?
  • Premier Icon woody74
    Subscriber

    So for the first time we are driving to the south France., Dieppe to Beziers, loads of routes on Google maps and other route finders but wondering if people have any suggestions or areas to avoid. We have 3 days to get there so any recommendations of places to stop would also be great.

    We are going in the camper van so will stop on the way. Just need to find some ok campsites.

    Any help much appreciated!!

    Edukator
    Member

    viamichelin

    On route 1 there’s nothing to avoid.

    spooky_b329
    Member

    Mobile Data, Google Maps traffic layer, keep your options open.

    We left Dieppe early (off the first ferry) and the autoroute was completely empty on the outskirts of Western Paris.

    If your campervan is a hightop, take care near Paris. There are height restrictions and you may make the assumption its just for a toll plaza, but its actually the 2m height restriction for 10km of tunnel. Its a strange feeling being on a motorway with such a low ceiling 🙂

    Premier Icon coolhandluke
    Subscriber

    As recommended on here, get a Sanef tag for the toll roads, no cheaper but loads quicker.

    Edukator
    Member

    If you save more than the time it’s taken you to read this far on route 1 I’ll be surprised. The time you take to order the tag will be recovered on maybe journey three or four.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    Via Michelin (very good site) route is the way to go as Edukator says. As I post every time this comes up none of my French relatives have a Telepeage tag and neither do we. We drive to/from Paris once every 3-6 weeks. There is one Peage booth, it takes seconds to put card in. On (say) 10 toll booths 2 will be Telepeage only, 4 will be Telepeage or card and rest card or cash (rough numbers). Waze app is excellent and works very well in France (social network aspect to traffic info) also shows speed vs limit (set to km if you wish) and with eu data roaming it should be free to use. The other good tip is to look for petrol away from Autoroute you’ll save a lot, eg at supermarkets, waze is good for that. Easy to do if you are stopping to camp.

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    Would a tag be useful though if you’re driving down alone? I can’t remember whether all the péages have ticket slots on the right hand side or not.

    atlaz
    Member

    As I post every time this comes up none of my French relatives have a Telepeage tag and neither do we.

    As I post every time ( :P) , I do have a tag and it saves me time as far as I’m concerned. The drive to my parents place is the best part of 1600km there and back and I reckon on the average drive in holiday time I save probably an hour. I drive in France enough that it’s worthwhile anyway.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    🙂

    We are thankfully free to make our own choices. I suppose the fact we are in a left hand drive car and/or two of us makes the toll booths easier as it is a phaff if you are on your own in a rhd car especially in the winter ! (as @wallop points out)

    Edukator
    Member

    No ticket machines on the right in the SW. I’d just get out and walk around, but then any excuse to stretch my legs is good on a long trip. There’s generally a roof.

    mariner
    Member

    If you are not in a hurry try Travellers France by Arthur Eperon.
    He had a route N to S which did not use motorways just the roads that are no longer used. Lots of interesting places along the way.
    Failing that route yourself down to Clermont then across the Millau Viaduct then motorway all the way to Beziers.
    Wish I was going. 😥

    rone
    Member

    Surely the tag saves the queues?

    I’m a fan. Really doesn’t cost much.

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    What queues!? 😆

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @rone when it’s really busy there are queues for the Telepeage lanes too.

    aP
    Member

    We have a Sanef tag. We use it for 3-4 journeys a year.
    The benefits for us aren’t saving time but separating some of the travel costs from the trip and most importantly removing a source of argument. Herself can remain snoring in the passenger seat as I drive through the 30 lane.

    spooky_b329
    Member

    I got a tag last year. As above, it saves waking up your passenger, who will then grumble about the toll cost/proceed to change your music/max out the heating as its 1 degree too cold etc etc 🙂

    We probably saved less than 5 minutes with the tag for the entire return trip to the Alps, but its nice to just cruise through the booths. We went to a combined card/tag booth the first time to check the tag worked (drive forward just past the payment machine) and from then on, used the 30kph lanes where available.

    Sanef also do the dartcharge, it would be nice to think that at some point, you can use the same tag…

    Dickyboy
    Member

    Would the TAG save you from the banks non sterling payment fees 🙁

    I ‘think’ you also need to have an emissions sticker on your vehicle now, sure I read this somewhere so worth a Google, as there’s restrictions in some cities.

    Other than that we went Dieppe to Pau a few years ago in our campervan and set the Tom Tom to no toll roads and it was fantastic, nice quiet roads through the countryside and we stopped at loads of interesting places and lovely villages, took us 3 days but we weren’t in a rush and it was part of the holiday.

    deadlydarcy
    Member

    Would the TAG save you from the banks non sterling payment fees

    Fees are taken as a DD from your nominated UK bank account. Not sure what exchange rate is used but I imagine it’ll be the wholesale rate or something similar.

    Premier Icon woody74
    Subscriber

    We got ourselves a Tag already so hopefully it will save some time, if not one less thing to think about.

    spooky_b329 – Thanks for the tip about hightop campervans and Paris as we have one. Helps me to make my mind up to avoid Paris.

    Any tips on places to stop or campsites on route?

    deadlydarcy
    Member

    Any tips on places to stop or campsites on route?

    We’re camping for a week towards the end of August. Cool Camping was pretty good for searching for campsites that weren’t just big Eurocamp type things. It wasn’t as full of achingly middle-class hipster glamping type sites as I thought it would be. My guess would be to just stick a pin in the map around 1/3 and 2/3 down and search within that area.

    Premier Icon orangespyderman
    Subscriber

    If your campervan is a hightop, take care near Paris. There are height restrictions and you may make the assumption its just for a toll plaza, but its actually the 2m height restriction for 10km of tunnel. Its a strange feeling being on a motorway with such a low ceiling

    That’ll be the A86 tunnel; Fairly easy to avoid, and also be aware it’s pricey at peak times. It’s also a good reason to have a tag as without a tag you always pay for the full length of the tunnel (pay up front), whereas with a tag if you peel off at one of the earlier exits (the A13) you only get charged half at off-peak times.

    Premier Icon ads678
    Subscriber

    I bought a TAG a couple of years ago and love it. Most of the time there aren’t many queues but at busy times they can be horrendous. Feb half term and weekends in August. With the TAG I just take the far left lane and wave at all the skinflints jostling for positions.
    It might not save much time normally but it definitely less hassle. The down side to it is you don’t get to get rid of all that useless change you accumulate…..

    stevextc
    Member

    Depending on speed/stops I’d avoid Paris altogether as its such a hit and miss for traffic during daylight hours.

    I’d aim more for Orleans..(ideal conditions it’s an extra 10-20 mins… non ideal “le depart” might be 1-2 hours faster ).. and we often make a stop in the Loire for a day…before continuing

    If you never checked it out then a small diversion through the Morvan is nice and check out pony du Gard if that interests you… or try the “new” bridge instead…

    Premier Icon alexpalacefan
    Subscriber

    Bookmarked for trip in Sept. Thanks all for top tips.

    APF

    mrmonkfinger
    Member

    Failing that route yourself down to Clermont then across the Millau Viaduct then motorway all the way to Beziers.

    This, and avoid Paris; from Dieppe go through Evreux/Dreux/Orleans. Loire valley is nice to (slightly) detour down if you’re not in a particular hurry. Follow it up to Clermont. Personally I’d try and make it to Clermont in the first day as the scenery gets better around that point, the North is a bit flat. Spend a day in the Auvergne perhaps? Go through the Ardeche toward Nimes, see the viaduct and Roman bits in the town, then do the coast trip over to Bezier.

    ocrider
    Member

    As it’s already been pointed out, the viamichelin “route 1” avoids Paris and is the fastest, most direct way down.
    Plenty of nice spots on that route for stop offs; day 1 stop next to Orléans on the Loire, then scoot across the boring flat bit to the auvergne volcanoes or further to the gorges du Tarn. Pop over the viaduct (the only toll south of Clermont-Ferrand before Beziers) and even if you’re in a camper, you’ll be in Beziers within 2 hours. Just don’t forget the speed camera at the exit to the tunnel de l’escalette, it’s very easy to go over the limit even using your gears braking 😕

    atlaz
    Member

    French speeding tickets don’t make it to the UK (or has that changed in the last year). If the police catch you though…

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    We bought a tag for an August drive from Calais to Ile de Re last year, I thought it saved us a few minutes at most. Not worth it IMO unless you’re driving a RHD car alone.

    hammyuk
    Member

    Ignore Paris completely.
    No need to go near it.

    Dieppe, Rouen, Dreux, Chartres, Blois, Châteauroux, La Souterraine, Limoges, Tulle, Figeac, Millau, Beziers.

    Do that route whenever heading down the the coast via the french house (just south of Limoge)
    Expect 10hrs’ish to Limoge but there are loads of cracking places to stop off, lakes, cafes at the roadside, etc.

    stevextc
    Member

    Ignore Paris completely.
    No need to go near it.

    Dieppe, Rouen, Dreux, Chartres, Blois, Châteauroux, La Souterraine, Limoges, Tulle, Figeac, Millau, Beziers.

    Do that route whenever heading down the the coast via the french house (just south of Limoge)
    Expect 10hrs’ish to Limoge but there are loads of cracking places to stop off, lakes, cafes at the roadside, etc.

    Completely agree … Paris is a potentially miserable route (at least until half way down to Lyon) and not much upside … where as the alternatives all pretty much have cracking stops and things to see.

    If the detour is possible I always love Saumer (but we are usually heading to Atlantic coast) but well with an overnight and some cycling/kayaking etc.

    Blois is closer to a natural route though and IMHO at least well worth doing the Da Vinci pilgrimage (especially with kids) – Tours is fine (just rely too big for a short overnight IMHO even though I know it quite well)

    I quite often wonder why we even go past the Loire and don’t just stop for 2 weeks with the bikes and other activities (including eating and drinking)

    rone
    Member

    @rone when it’s really busy there are queues for the Telepeage lanes too.

    You have more experience. But I’ve certainly had one or two trips where we blitzed passed the card/cash queues. But we have to travel in holidays.

    It really doesn’t cost much and you can share the tag.

    Much less hassle as well with RHD.

    I’m all for making the trip of a holiday as fluid as possible. For me worth all the tweaks you can remove any stress.

    Also you pay for the peage a month later or so. Spreads the cost.

    rone
    Member

    With the TAG I just take the far left lane and wave at all the skinflints jostling for positions.

    Brill.

    When we were in Provence last I think it added on about 0.005% of the holiday using a tag. [/Joke]

    I heard it saves about 20mins on average across a journey down to around the preAlps, across a variety of periods.

    I wouldn’t argue the toss though as my requirements for travelling are all about minimum stress rather than cost.

    spooky_b329
    Member

    Woody, no tips on campsites as we stayed in Normandy the first time, and high-tailed it to the Alps the second without stopping.

    However, going from Dieppe, I wouldn’t necessarily avoid Paris, its the East side from Calais that is the worst I believe.

    We got off the early ferry and flew through Paris early morning at the weekend…hardly any traffic and empty lanes at every toll! Sat at the speed limit into, around and after Paris. And as suggested above, I’m sure there’s an easy route around the tunnels for a camper.

    Even coming home the same route mid-afternoon, it was busier but virtually no queues and most of the time we were at the speed limit.

    Google makes it so easy now, real-time traffic, it’ll find you the best route and divert you if things change 🙂

    cchris2lou
    Member

    Wave when you get onto the Millau viaduc

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    No need to buy an emissions sticker unless you are driving through Lyon (as one motorway route does sadly) if you are just driving around the Peripherique in Paris (most people’s view of through/via Paris) then you don’t need one either. As above do not go via Paris/Peripherique unless absolutely unavoidable.

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