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I’m planning a trip to France for the first time and I want to research the burden of French tolls beforehand. I have heard estimates of €100 to €200 to get from Cherbourg to the south of France (and the same back again).
While I will accept the fact that tolls are part of a French motorhome holiday, I would like to know if these costs can be significantly controlled. I’m sure a lot of my time will be spent on non-tolled back roads but I am also sure there will be times when I’ll want to get to places as quickly as possible. Below is a collection of routes where I envisage that this could potentially be the case.
Can I now ask experienced motorhomers if they come across any clever ways to reduce these costs. The kind of things I’m looking for include “this motorway route is a similar length but is more toll cost efficient than that one”, “the non tolled backroad for that route is actually a very good road” or indeed other things that you may have thought of that I haven’t.
All pieces of information in relation the above will be greatly appreciated, no matter how small. Thank In Advance for all responses.
Cherbourg To/From (cities)
We find that asking the sat-nav to avoid toll roads works very well. It means that we aren't stuck with a single route should we decide to take a scenic detour. It also knows which autoroutes are toll-free so that we don't lose time if that is important.
Hi Jackflash, depending on how much time you have to spare on your first French holiday, why not just stick to the non motorway roads, they are SOOOO much quieter than our normal roads and don't cost anything. You can then spend a lot more time seeing the REAL France. We have an AutoSleepers Clubman, 2 berth and my wife & I spend up to five weeks, (school hols,) in France and never touch a motorway,,, Cheers Jack & Patty, Cornwall.
There are some long free sections of motorway type road, for example this is what Wikipedia says of the A20
From Vierzon to Martel
The motorway is managed by the respective DDE in Cher, Indre, Creuse, Haute-Vienne, of Corrèze and Lot. It is a free motorway with 2x2 lanes, with certain sections with 2x3 lanes, for example the by-pass of Limoges.
There are others, you'll find them with a search engine.
We prefer non-motorways but what we generally do is to go on to a motorway just before a city or large town (unless we want to visit it) and use the motorway around the city, then leave it shortly afterwards. This never costs much, if anything, as most city sections are free anyway, and makes the journey easier.
In Brittany there are no motorway costs, the roads are called something else. We were told this is a legacy of Eleanor of Aquitaine but this could be a tall story! If you are, for example, on the motorway from Paris into Brittany A11 / A81 you pay no charges after entering Brittany between Laval and Rennes.
Hi Jackflash, can't help noticing your list of cities zig zag from one side of the country to the other, East West etc, to save money on miles driven it would be better to plan your visits more carefully. Secondly we live in France and drive around by car and motorhome (motorhome only before we moved here) not only because I'm tight but I steer clear of any toll roads for most journeys, travelling in a motorhome means your not looking to cruise at ridiculously high speeds and most toll route will add a fair few kilometers to your journey. Stick to the RN roads where possible although some d roads are very good (still haven't got my head around how some of the roads are classified) You'll find the "normal roads" (away from the big towns) will be relatively traffic free and pleasant to drive on. As already advised if you use a sat nav then choose the fastest routes option then the avoid toll roads option.
I am very pleased to hear that you have obviously made the purchase that you talked about last month and I am sure that you will enjoy planning and then carrying out your proposed trip to France.
As has already been suggested you can find out the costs of autoroutes via;
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but you will need to do it in sections depending on where you want to go. As Rapide has suggested you will need to know what class vehicle you are classified as - that can also be checked and depends on the size primarily (as well as number of axles etc.) - particularly the height.
Planning a trip using SatNav will work very well - on TomTom it is advance planning and can cover a multitude of trips. You can also directly compare toll and non-toll options for time etc. If you have a copy of a good atlas such as the Michelin book you will find the comparison easier to do, this is available at W.H.Smith and also via Amazon;
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As you will no doubt realise you have asked for a vast amount of information with your list of suggested towns and countries - you may well find it preferable to do your own planning to allow you to break your trip as you wish. I would be surprised if many people would have experience of all of those destinations with recent prices etc. - hence why a little internet research may well help you make up your mind about where and how.
I also hope that you will spend the extra £10 to become a full subscriber to MHF - we have found that such a minor expenditure has reaped massive returns through advice and assistance. We will all be interested to read accounts of your trips, when it takes place and wish you well for this trip.
We plan to make a trip much like yours to the south of France in the beginning of June. We also do not wish to waste 150-180 euros on toll roads so are using the trusty Tom Tom with the avoid toll road feature.
I also found a free route planner which calculates journeys with the option of avoiding tolls, also can give a estermate about fuel prices. Type, Mappy Route Planner into Goggle and you should find it.
Hope this helps.
At risk of sounding like a Luddite ( ) I think the initial route planning for such a diverse holiday is best done with a large fold-out map spread out on the dining table.
Then you can see the whole of France and have a realistic idea of the relative positions of your key visits, and can easily run a highlighter pen down the toll autoroutes so they can be avoided "at a glance".
High tech gadgets are great, in their place, but to plan out a basic route (plus or minus a bit!) you can't beat a good old fashioned map.
Just my opinion of course, but based on several experiences where friends have relied entirely upon the satnav - while we planned (loosely) with the map before setting out. We had by far the most relaxing journeys, didn't get lost, usually saw much more of interest en route . . . and still used the infernal satnav gadget but made it do as it was told by entering our chosen route in smallish sections, or ignored the little swine when it got into a strop!!
Hence we knew in advance where we were going! On more than one occasion they have looked at our map after the journey and said, "How on earth did it take us right out there!!"
P.S. They still go for holidays across the Channel and don't even take a map. They must be mad!!
Zebedee you are absolutely right and that is what we always do, and we carry the map with us so we can always have a 'big picture' of where we are and where we are going. You can easily see places of interest on and off the route. Then I tend to use Google Maps to get info about distances, etc and to zoom in and out of particular areas. Then we feed stages of the journey as required into the sat nav. Even so we still travel with a road atlas, usually open for reference and for when we make changes, as we always do!
I like the idea of using a laptop instead of the road atlas and if I could get a Mac download that would work like Google Maps without having to be connected to the internet, well that would be great.
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